Kaapelinkulma Gold Mine

Overview

The Kaapelinkulma Gold Mine (“Kaapelinkulma”) is   located in the Valkeakoski municipality in southern Finland, 65 kilometres east of the Vammala Plant. The Kaapelinkulma project area comprises  65.10 hectares of mining tenure that encompasses portion of the Vammala Migmatite Belt.

The Kaapelinkulma deposit was discovered by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) after a gold bearing boulder was sent to them by an amateur prospector in 1986.  Since 1986  exploration carried out at Kaapelinkulma has principally involved drilling by the GTK, Outokumpu Oy and Dragon Mining.  A total of 258 diamond core drill holes for 21,231 metres have been completed, resulting in the delineation of a small, medium to high-grade gold lode system.  Dragon Mining commenced open-pit mining of the southern most of the two gold occurrences in 2019, completing mining in 2021. 

Geology and Mineralisation

The Kaapelinkulma gold deposit represents a Palaeoproterozoic orogenic gold deposit within the Svecofennian domain of Finland and part of the Vammala Migmatite Belt. The deposit is associated with ‘en echelon’ -type shear zones located mainly near the western contact area of a quartz diorite. Shear zones are narrow (0.1 to 5 m), north-south trending and moderately eastwards dipping (35° to 45°). In the shear zones, quartz diorite is strongly biotite-altered and quartz-veined. Quartz veins are narrow, 1 to 20 mm, and bright, bluish or brownish-white in colour. Gold and other ore minerals occur in the shear zones, and especially in association with quartz veins and veinlets.

Typically, mineralised shear zones contain banded quartz veins and veinlets that are characterized by variable amounts of pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite, loellingite, pyrite, chalcopyrite, scheelite, tellurides, bismuth, maldonite and gold. The edges of sheared zones graduate to barren quartz diorite in a distance of a couple of centimetres. Many types of veins cut the tonalites, quartz diorite and the mineralised shear system. Gently-dipping mafic dykes replace the mineralisation, and break the continuity of ore lodes many places. Pegmatite and aplite veins cut all rock type units.

Two zones of gold mineralisation have been identified, both associated with north-north west trending sinistral shears. Native free gold is chiefly associated with quartz (locally visible to the naked eye), and some gold is associated with native bismuth and as inclusions in arsenopyrite. General alteration is biotitisation of hornblende with quartz as a by-product, tremolite and minor rutile in selvages in some of the mineralised veins.

The southernmost gold occurrence is the largest and extends over a strike length of 280 metres and the northern gold occurrence extends over 190 metres.  The deposit exhibits a vertical extent of 85 metres for the upper level and 80 metres for the lower level, with both occurrences remaining open in several directions.

Production

The Company commenced open pit mining at Kaapelinkulma in February 2019, with the first ore tucked to the Vammala Plant in April 2019.  The Company incurred minimal capital investment to achieve mine start-up as it drew on its extensive experience of establishing mining operations in the Nordic Region.

The mining method used was selective mining by hydraulic excavators mining 5 metre high benches and loading standard off-highway rear dump trucks for haulage to surface ore stockpiles and waste rock dumps. These are supported by front-end loaders for stockpile rehandle with ore transported to the Vammala Plant by road trucks.

Mining was completed in April 2021.

Exploration

The Kaapelinkulma deposit was discovered by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) after a gold bearing boulder was sent by an amateur prospector in 1986.  Since 1986  exploration carried out on the Kaapelinkulma Gold Project has principally involved drilling by the GTK, Outokumpu Oy (“Outokumpu”), and then by Dragon Mining. 

 

A total of 258 diamond core drill holes have been completed at Kaapelinkulma for an advance of 21,231 metres, resulting in the delineation of the small, medium to high-grade gold lode system.

 

In 2020, Dragon Mining completed an 8 hole, diamond core campaign that was directed at the down plunge extensions of the Southern and Northern gold occurrences and the lateral extensions of the recently identified lower diorite unit that is located approximately 200 metres below the Southern gold occurrence.

Results from the campaign were lower than expectations, with a best intercept of 0.80 metres @ 11.65 g/t gold received.

Mining November 2019
Results from the recent 8 hole diamond core campaign.
Reserves and Resources

The Measured, Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource for the Kaapelinkulma Gold Mine totals 164 kt grading 3.8 g/t gold for 204 kozs as at 31 December 2021. 

The Mineral Resource is reported at a cut-off grades of 0.9 g/t gold for the South gold occurrence above 0mRL, 1.5 g/t gold for the South gold occurrence below 0mRL, 1.5 g/t gold for the South gold occurrence in the Butterfly Exclusion Zone and 0.9 g/t gold for the North gold occurrence.  These cut-off grades are based on operating costs, mining and processing recoveries from Kaapelinkulma actuals and a gold price of US$1,800 per troy ounce extrapolated for the potential economic extraction of the resource at a level approximating 120% of the long term average consensus forecast gold price of US$1,500 per troy ounce.

No Ore Reserves are reported for the Kaapelinkuma Gold Mine.

For further information on the Mineral Resources for the Kaapelinkulma Gold Mine refer to the Resources and Reserves page.

Environment

The Environmental Permit to undertake mining activities at Kaapelinkulma was obtained on the 14 October 2015 and the Mining Concession that encompasses the known deposits, granted on the 24 October 2012.

At Kaapelinkulma, an environmental limit due to a native butterfly habitat has constrained mining to the northern portion of the South gold occurrence.

A population of a butterfly Woodland Brown (Lopinga Achine) has been discovered south of the open pit area. The butterfly is protected under a European Union Directive the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC. The butterfly is listed in Directive’s Annex IV that covers species in need of strict protection. The legislation, that is adopted into the Finnish Nature Conservation Act (1096/1996) states that those places, which the butterfly uses for breeding and resting, are not to be destroyed. The open-pit or any other mining-related activity cannot be extended into this area.

The Company is continuing exploration activities in the area with a view to recommence mining operations and is investigating the possibility of utilising the waste rock outside the mine area. Changes to the current Environmental Permit are required before the continuation of mining activities. If exploration results are unsuccessful, rehabilitation works are expected to commence in 2024. The Pirkanmaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (“PIR ELY”) have confirmed that the supplemented Closure Plan is in compliance with the Environmental Permit.  The PIR ELY also confirmed the research plan for contaminated soils has been accepted. Planned activities would also commence in 2024, in line with the Closure Plan.