Great Panther Mining Limited (TSE:GPR) (NYSEAMERICAN:GPL) outlined plans to maximise its Tucano gold mine's exploration potential and has plans to drill 55,000 metres, at a budget of US$6.6 million this year.
Tucano in Brazil was bought in March last year and is already seeing improved production rates. Last year, Great Panther carried out 17,400 metres of exploration drilling.
"With a three-fold increase in drilling metres planned for 2020, we are working to capitalize on Tucano's exploration potential," said Jeffrey Mason, the miner's interim president and CEO.
"We have identified near-mine targets that could lead to the development of new mineralized zones, and we are prioritizing prospects for new discoveries farther afield. In addition, with the current gold price well above the prices used in the historic pit shell designs, we are analyzing opportunities to expand the existing pits."
Near mine exploration will consist of 10,000 metres of reverse circulation (RC) holes this year and 18,000 metres of diamond drilling, while around 27,000 metres are planned for regional exploration in 2020, including 18,000 metres of RAB (rotary airblast) and 9,000 metres of Auger drilling.
Notably, Great Panther's plant upgrade at Tucano last year means it can now process sulphide ore (whereas, oxide ore was the focus previously), which opens up depth extensions for evaluation and exploration.
Furthermore, the current gold price offers the potential to widen and deepen some open pits, and delineation drilling is ongoing between the current pit outlines and proposed deeper pit shells, said the miner.
For near mine exploration, the targets includes: the four TAP AB pits, which are entirely in oxide ore and which are considered to have expansion potential.
There is also the Torres / TAP AB South, where 11,000 metres of drilling is planned for 2020.
At the Urucum East Pit, an exploration report has been filed and accepted by the Brazilian Mines Ministry and Great Panther expects to be issued an Environmental Permit and granted a Mine Operating Concession in 2020.
Other targets are the Urucum North Pit and Underground, URSO / TAP AB3 East and Duckhead.
In terms of regional work, the firm holds around 2,350 sq km in various stages of licensing covering a largely unexplored greenstone belt in the Guyana Shield.
Great Panther is strategically prioritizing concessions. Most of these targets are early stage, based on airborne magnetics, soil sampling, auger and RAB drilling, said the company.
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