FRONTIER MINING LTD – Benkala Licence and Operations Update

FRONTIER MINING LTD – Benkala Licence and Operations Update

Frontier Mining Ltd (FML) is pleased to announce an update on the Benkala copper porphyry Project in north-western Kazakhstan; a 50-50 Joint Venture  between Frontier and Coville Intercorp Ltd , operated through KazCopper LLP.

KazCopper LLP has received technical and regional authority approval to connect electricity to the Benkala site. Construction work for this and other site infrastructure and the foundation works for a 20,000 tonne per year SX-EW cathode copper plant are planned to commence in Q3 2009.

A total of 29 holes have been drilled under the infill drilling programme since Q4 2008, with over 5000 metres drilled, the majority in the oxide/supergene zone, to an average depth of 115m. The programme for the oxide/supergene zone is expected to be completed in September 2009 by which time an additional 20 holes totalling 2,500 metres are expected to have been drilled. Assay results are expected by December 2009 and a JORC compliant resource statement for the oxide/supergene zone is expected to be completed by Q1 2010.

The strategic focus of the infill drilling programme at Benkala has been revised in order to achieve s earlier production and cash flows from the oxide/supergene zone. This requires closer spaced infill drilling to depths of 150 metres across the deposit. In addition, KazCopper  has also drilled several infill drill holes to depths of 300m and 500m. This revised drilling programme for 2009 is expected to see KazCopper   progress towards full feasibility, production and near term-cash flow on the oxide/supergene and mixed sulphide ores at Benkala early 2011 subject to further regulatory, permitting and production approvals.

By way of summary and as previously announced, KazCopper mobilized three drill rigs to site in September 2008, equipped with Boart Longyear equipment, built a field camp for 30 people and commenced infill drilling. Prior to this and in order to verify past drilling results from the Soviet era, three verification drill holes were drilled (, three metres from the collar of historic drill holes 198, 225, and 203 (the “verification holes”). Results indicate high convergence of contents and thickness of remnant ores, for both the historic and verification holes. High grades were identified in the verification holes, which will be further examined to determine their consistency and accuracy.

The verification drill results above showed the gross mineralogy of the ores to be consistent with Soviet findings with chalcocite dominant in the oxide ore, chalcopyrite in the sulphide zone and a combination of chalcocite and chalcopyrite in the transition zone, with chalcocite tending to be dominant.

Significant gold values were found particularly in the oxide zone. The findings also showed variation in the depth of the zones suggesting potentially considerable changes in the position of the oxide-transition-sulphide interface as well as grades within these zones. This also suggested that the oxide zone may be thicker and more extensive than originally modelled but confirmation of this required further work.

As previously reported, KazCopper, together with the Research Institute VNIICVETMET (Ust Kamenogorsk) conducted preliminary technological studies on samples obtained during verification drilling to determine the viability of heap leaching methods and SX-EW processing on oxidized ores from the Benkala deposit.

The results included up to 65.3% copper extraction over a period of 70 days. These results indicate the viability of heap leaching methods and SX-EW processing for the oxidized part of the Benkala deposit.

Flotation tests conducted by the Institute on the oxidized ore yielded encouraging results for utilizing flotation processing methods on Benkala ore. These tests resulted in a copper concentrate grade of 25.7% with a recovery of 77.4%. The accompanying recovery for molybdenum was 55.6% and gold recovery was 34.6%. These tests demonstrated that changes to the technological parameters can yield increased copper flotation recovery of more than 5% above Soviet era results. As such, flotation processing may be considered as an alternative method for processing the oxide ore. 

Erlan Sagadiev, CEO commented: “We are pleased with the significant progress made on the infill drilling programme at the Benkala Project. The regional authorities have been very supportive of KazCopper LLP and we are now firmly focused on completing the infill drilling on Benkala’s considerable oxide supergene zone and commencing construction works on the SX-EW cathode copper plant in Q3 2009.”

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