Of our 2011 worldwide exploration budget of approximately $54.0 million, about $13.0 million will be spent in Turkey. Our programs will include both step-out drilling and testing of new targets at our Kişladağ and Efemçukuru mines, and drilling at several of our early to mid-stage exploration projects.
The Efemçukuru mine, which began commissioning in June 2011, is situated in a high grade, intermediate sulfidation vein system with peripheral stockwork zones.
The existing mineral reserves are restricted to a single vein (the Kestane Beleni vein), and comprise three ore bodies referred to as the South, Middle, and North ore shoots. Mineralization in the Kestane Beleni vein is open at depth and along strike. Our 2011 surface exploration program at Efemçukuru includes over 11,000 metres of planned drilling focusing on two main areas: the northwest along-strike extension of the Kestani Beleni vein, and the parallel Kokarpinar vein, located 400 to 500 metres to the east of the Kestani Beleni vein.
Kestane Beleni Northwest Extension
Systematic drilling along strike to the northwest of the North Ore Shoot has defined a new zone of gold mineralization, referred to as the Kestane Beleni Northwest Extension. The Kestane Beleni northwest extension represents the strongest Au + Ag soil anomaly on the property outside of the South Ore Shoot. The current phase of drilling is testing shallow portions of the vein over a 500 metre strike length and has identified a northwest-plunging mineralized zone which is open below the tested depth of approximately 200 metres. Initial results include intercepts of 1.75 metres at 20.1 g/t Au, and 0.5 metres at 67.3 g/t Au.
The Kokarpinar vein, which has mineralogical and textural characteristics similar to the Kestane Beleni vein, has been traced on surface for a strike length of over 2,500 metres. The Kokarpinar vein has received significantly less exploration; previous drilling in 2009 included shallow reverse circulation holes in the northwestern vein segment, and several fences of diamond drillholes which produced ore-grade intercepts. Surface samples of the Kokarpinar vein have produced numerous multi-gram assay results. The 2011 drilling program is testing the northwest vein segment beneath the previous RC drillholes, as well as following up on results from the 2009 drilling in the southeast vein segment. All of the 2011 drillholes at Kokarpinar have intersected mineralized veins at projected levels, and assay results received from the first three are positive.
Geological map of the Efemçukuru deposit area, showing surface traces of mineralized veins, locations of 2010 Kokarpinar vein drillholes, and Northwest Kestane Beleni extension target area.
Following our successful 2009 and 2010 resource drilling programs at Kişladağ, the focus of the 2011 exploration program has shifted to new target generation peripheral to the main porphyry system, focusing on possible satellite deposits concealed beneath volcanic cover. We are currently conducting soil sampling and a 3-dimensional IP survey covering approximately 40 km2 surrounding the deposit to identify new targets.
Our 2011 drilling to date at Kişladağ totals 12 diamond drillholes testing fault-controlled hydrothermal conduits emanating southward from the deposit area, and investigating areas reserved for infrastructure expansion. No significant mineralized intersections have been obtained.
EARLY TO MID-STAGE EXPLORATION PROJECTS
The Konya-Sizma gold prospect in south-central Turkey targets anomalous gold values within a sequence of mixed limestone and phyllite, and lies within an area of mercury prospects and former mines. Preliminary shallow reverse circulation drilling in 2010 intersected low gold grades over tens of metres, with isolated multi-gram intercepts. Our 2011 diamond drilling program, currently in progress, is testing the down-dip projection of these zones. To date nine drillholes have been completed, although in two holes core recovery was inadequate for geochemical analysis.
The 2011 exploration budget also includes an allowance for drilling late in the year at several early-stage porphyry-epithermal projects in the Pontide belt, contingent on the outcome of ongoing field programs.
Last update: November 28, 2011.