The Fäboliden Gold Project ("Fäboliden") is an advanced exploration project in northern Sweden, 30 kilometres by road southeast of Dragon Mining’s Svartliden operation and 750 kilometres north of the Swedish capital Stockholm. It represents a potential source of open pittable gold bearing material that could be trucked to, and processed at the Svartliden CIL Plant.
The 1,964.96 hectare project area comprises the Fäboliden K nr 1 Exploitation Concession that hosts the Fäboliden Gold Deposit and two contiguous Exploration Permits that encompass the immediate strike extensions of the Fäboliden deposits host geological sequence.
Fäboliden Gold Project Location
The Fäboliden Gold Deposit represents an orogenic gold deposit, with mineralisation hosted by Paleoproterozoic meta-sediments and meta-volcanic rocks, surrounded by granitoids. The host sequence is cross-cut by a set of northwest-southeast striking, flat lying undeformed and unmineralised dolerites. The deposit has been is defined over a strike length of 1,295 metres and includes a 665 metre vertical extent from 485mRL to -180mRL. Gold displays a strong association with sulphides and most abundant gangue minerals.
Fäboliden Gold Project Geology
Exploration at Fäboliden commenced in 1993 and has primarily involved drilling, with 333 holes (64,770.45 metres - 322 diamond core drill holes; 11 reverse circulation drill holes) completed prior to Dragon Mining’s acquisition of the project. In addition to drilling, other activities undertaken by the previous owners include test mining and processing, resource estimation and compilation of a Definitive Feasibility Study for a large tonnage low-grade mining and processing operation.
In conjunction with the acquisition of Fäboliden in 2015, Dragon Mining completed a 34 hole (2,941.50 metres) diamond core drilling program to evaluate the near surface, higher-grade zone in the southern portion of the deposit. This program yielded a series of significant intercepts including highlights 4.00 metres @ 20.70 g/t gold, 7.00 metres @ 18.24 g/t gold, 14.00 metres @ 11.05 g/t gold, and 13.00 metres @ 8.37 g/t gold. The results from the drilling program have shown that the higher-grade zone displays good continuity both down dip and along strike, the grades received from drilling commensurate with the results from historic drilling.
In 2018 the Company completed a 15 hole, 707.5 metre diamond core drilling campaign that targeted areas where future waste rock and overburden dumps will be established once full scale production commences. The areas were effectively sterilised with no significant gold results received.
The Mineral Resource for the Fäboliden Gold Project totals 10,632,000 tonnes grading 3.0 g/t gold for 1,019,000 ounces, inclusive of Ore Reserves as at 31 December 2016 and reported at a 1.25 g/t gold cut-off for material above the 350mRL and 2.10 g/t gold for material below the 350mRL. It represents the Mineral Resource for the higher-grade material at Fäboliden that occurs within the broader lower grade envelope. It incorporated all results from the diamond core drilling campaign completed in 2015 that confirmed and better delineated the extent and geometry of the near surface, higher-grade zone of gold mineralisation in the southern portion of the deposit. It formed the basis of the Pre-Feasibility level study for the Fäboliden Gold Project.
The Company achieved a positive outcome for the Pre-Feasibility level study for the development of the Fäboliden Gold Project, generating an Ore Reserve of 1,160,000 tonnes grading 3.1 g/t gold for 115,000 ounces as at 31 December 2016, at a gold price of US$1,260 per ounce and gold recovery of 82%. The study was based on the establishment of a multiple open-pit mining operation and the haulage of ore to Dragon Mining’s Svartliden CIL Plant to produce doré bars. The Fäboliden Ore Reserves demonstrate a base case operation, which the Company expects to be able to further enhance.
For further information on the Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources for the Fäboliden Gold Project refer to the Reserves and Resources page.
The company completed the second phase of bench scale metallurgical test work for the Fäboliden Gold Project, returning gold recoveries higher than that obtained in earlier test work programs.
In summary the second phase of test work has shown that:
- Comminution results yielded moderate levels for abrasion and hardness with an Abrasions Index of 0.239 and Ball and Rod Mill Work Indices of 14.8kWh/t and 18.4 kWh/t, respectively. Values for abrasion and hardness are similar to levels obtained in previous test work;
- Diagnostic leaching returned values similar to those in previous test work, with the master composite showing approximately 80% of the gold available for cyanide leaching at a grind P80 of 75 µm;
- Whole ore leaching on variability samples returned overall gold extraction levels at 83%, higher than obtained in previous test work. Cyanide and lime consumption were moderate at approximately 0.7 kg/t and 0.4 kg/t, respectively; and
- Gravity regrind tests resulted in a 3% recovery increase to 86%, compared with the standard whole ore leach test.
The whole ore leach tests showed the material to be grind sensitive, with increasing recovery at decreasing grind size. The addition of lead nitrate was shown to improve leach kinetics and as such will be considered for inclusion in the Svartliden Plant reagent regime. In order to improve overall gold recovery a gravity (sulphide rich) concentrate was produced, reground and leached separately to the gravity tail.
Based on the results obtained a preliminary flow sheet has been developed for the Svartliden Plant, for the processing of Fäboliden material. Engineering evaluation is now being conducted to assess the economics for the inclusion of a gravity circuit, regrind and gravity leach facility, which could result in additional gold being recovered.
On 1 December 2017, the Company announced that the County Administration Board (“CAB”) in Vasterbotten had granted the Company an Environmental Permit for test mining operations at Fäboliden (“Test Mining Permit”) subject to a number of conditions. The decision to grant the Test Mining Permit by the CAB was subsequently appealed on 29 December 2017 by a local nature conservation NGO (“Appeal”), and on 18 April 2018, the Swedish Land and Environmental Court (“Court’) ruled in favour of the Company and rejected the Appeal. The Test Mining Permit gained legal force on the 11 May 2018 after no further appeals were received by the Court, enabling the Company to commence the initial phase of test mining work in August 2018.
The Company completed all required steps to commence pre-stripping activities but due to the conditions of the Test Mining Permit , only 6 weeks of operation was possible and approximately fifty percent of the overburden in the test mine area was removed in 2018. Test mining activities will recommence at the beginning of May 2019.
The test mining campaign at the project will incur minimal capital investment and will provide the Company with important information to further optimise both mining and processing activities when full-scale operations commence.
On 6 July 2018, the Company submitted its application to the Swedish Land and Environmental Court to secure an Environment Permit for full scale mining operations at Fäboliden.