We have budgeted $25 million for exploration in China, just under half of our 2011 worldwide budget. Our exploration team in China operates from regional bases at our mining operations at Jinfeng, White Mountain, Tanjianshan, and Eastern Dragon focusing on both near-mine projects and district opportunities.
Please see our October and November 2011 exploration updates for additional details.
JINFENG REGION (GUIZHOU)
At the Jinfeng mine, we commenced a 22,000 metre underground exploration drilling program in August, and expect to complete the first 12,000 metres by year-end. Results to date broadly support the revised structural model for grade distribution within the deposit.
The goal is to infill areas of low drillhole density, to confirm a new structural model for the deposit, and to test new exploration targets. Initial results confirm the revised structural model, and we will begin drilling step-out holes and testing new exploration targets during Q4, 2011.
We conduct regional exploration in the Jinfeng area under three separate joint venture agreements. Targets at all of these projects are sediment-hosted disseminated gold mineralization, similar to that presently being mined at Jinfeng.
The Jinfeng 42 agreement covers four exploration licenses immediately surrounding the Jinfeng mine. Our 2011 exploration plan here includes drill testing of several new targets, as well as 24,000 m of resource drilling at the Jinfeng.
The Jinluo agreement covers a belt of prospective rocks contiguous with and extending southwest from the Jinfeng 42 licenses. Drilling is planned on several prospects within the Jinluo licences to test stratigraphically and structurally controlled targets.
Our Jindu agreement covers seven exploration licenses, most at early stages of target definition. Work on these during 2011 will include geological mapping, geophysical surveys, and geochemical surveys, with drilling planned for the second and third quarters of the year. We have budgeted for an additional 15,000 metres of drilling of early-stage targets on the Jinfeng 42, Jindu, and Jinluo exploration licenses.
Geological map of the Jinfeng region, showing locations of Jinfeng mine and other
significant gold deposit, and outlines of Eldorado Gold's exploration licenses.
WHITE MOUNTAIN REGION (JILIN)
At the White Mountain mine, we are conducting stepout and infill drilling of the main deposit from underground stations, and deep drilling from surface to follow up on the discovery of a new, deeper zone of high grade gold mineralization announced in late 2010. The surface drillholes have confirmed and extended the 2010 intercept of 24.7 metres grading 8.7 g/t Au previously reported from drillhole 337. Intercepts in this area outline a new mineralized zone, open both along strike to the north and down dip. While the widths of these new intercepts are consistent with the upper portion of the orebody, the grades are significantly higher than the current reserve grade. The final drillhole of the campaign is now in progress, testing a ~150 metres stepout of the high grade intersections in previous drillholes 337, 342, and 344.
At the Xiaoshiren project located 20 km SE of the White Mountain mine, we have completed 14 diamond drillholes testing three distinct zones of gold mineralization outlined by soil geochemical anomalies, trench exposures of high-grade breccias, and boulder trains of high-grade breccia. The best results came from two of the four drillholes at Zone 4, where elevated gold values are associated with zones of brecciation and silicification. The final two holes for the season are currently (November 2011) underway.
Elsewhere in the White Mountain district, we completed three drillholes at the Zhenzhumen project located southwest of the White Mountain Mine; results are pending. We also completed soil sampling and mapping at the Dongdapo project in preparation for drilling in 2012.
At the Zhenzhumen exploration license (adjoining White Mountain to the west), two drillholes (750 metres) were completed during the quarter, testing strong gold in soil anomalies within an area underlain by the dolomitic marble and slate units equivalent to footwall units at White Mountain.
TANJIANSHAN REGION (QINGHAI)
At the Tanjianshan project in Qinghai Province, our 2011 exploration activities include infill drilling of the 323 deposit to support application for a mining license, and mapping/sampling programs aimed at generating new drilling targets on the four surrounding exploration licenses. We have completed approximately 7,000 metres of drilling at the 323 deposit, and initial results confirm continuity of geological features and grade distribution predicted by the preliminary model.
During Q3 2011, we completed reverse circulation drilling in the ZXS target area to identify possible geochemical anomalies concealed beneath Quaternary gravels (60 drillholes, 2,972 metres). Results of this program are pending.
EASTERN DRAGON REGION (HEILONGJIANG)
Exploration plans for the Eastern Dragon area include both stepout drilling of the Lode 5 orebody and drill testing of high grade veins on the surrounding exploration license. The program will commence once consolidation of the underlying licenses has been completed. We have budgeted for 12,000 metres of diamond drilling at Eastern Dragon.
Last update: November 28, 2011