“Following the completion at the end of 2021 of the current underground development down to the next level, Baita Plai is expected to be one of the lowest cost per tonne copper producers globally”

  • Baita Plai is a skarn deposit comprising several veins in calcareous sediments in eight distinct pipes
  • Measured, Indicated & Inferred mineral resource category of 608,000 (gross)/486,400 (net attributable to Vast) tonnes @ 2.58% copper (‘Cu’) equivalent
  • Exploration target (gross), including the historical mineral resource estimates of 1,800,000* tonnes under the NAEN Russian Code, between 3.2M–5.8M tonnes with Cu range of 0.50–2.00%, gold (‘Au’) range of 0.20–0.80 g/t and silver (‘Ag’) range of 40-80g/t
  • Unmeasured resources in other pipes and further substantial exploration upside
  • Commenced concentrate production under Vast’s operating control in October 2020
  • Ramping up mining to target ~38,000-40,000t ore per quarter by the end of 2021
  • Production targeted to reach 2,330t concentrate per quarter by the end of 2021 (comprising 1,463t Cu, 593t Zn and 273t Pb)
  • Current forecasts suggest Baita Plai will deliver surplus cash (after development costs) of ~US$9,410,000 during 2021

* The historic mineral resources (NAEN Code) for Baita Plai are reported as 1.8Mt at grades of 2.19% Cu, 3.07% Pb, 3.46% Zn, 1.41 g/t Au and 128.2 g/t Ag

Baita Plai is located in the Apuseni Mountains, Transylvania, an area which hosts Romania’s largest polymetallic and uranium mines. The project is 50km north-west of Romania’s largest Au-Cu mine, Rosia Montana (>10Moz Au) and 52km north-west of Roșia Poieni, which contains over one billion tonnes of porphyry copper ore.

Due to lack of capital investment and modernisation by the previous operators, the Baita Plai mine became uneconomic and was put on care and maintenance in 2013. Following the formal approval by ANRM on 10 October 2018 for the grant of an Association Licence to African Consolidated Resources srl, now called Vast Baita Plai SA, the Company’s 80% subsidiary, Vast Baita Plai SA and Baita SA, the holder of the head licence, signed a pre-agreed commercial contract on 16 October 2018 giving Vast Baita Plai SA the right to mine at Baita Plai.

The mine benefits from full infrastructure including underground, surface and processing equipment and an EU registered and operational tailings facility. The Company has rehabilitated the mine and invested in new capital equipment and an accelerated drilling programme. Specific accomplishments include the following:

  • Delivery and working installation of locomotives
  • Delivery of underground railway cutting and bending equipment
  • Delivery and installation of railway tracks
  • Delivery of underground wagons, modification as necessary and installation
  • Delivery of underground rock loaders and mining jackhammers
  • Delivery of underground pneumatic loaders
  • Delivery and installation of ceramic filters and hydrocyclones
  • Delivery and installation of slurry pumps
  • Continued refurbishment of existing plant equipment
  • Rehabilitation of underground mining infrastructure
  • Completion of tailings pipe
  • Metallurgical test work on initial underground working areas to determine formulas for processing
  • Drilling and assay work as part of preparing a JORC 2012 compliant resource estimate and further defining
  • Updated and optimised mine plan
  • Repair to a railway bridge access point using an alternative steel structure

A JORC compliant Resource & Reserve Report was completed in October 2020. Highlights of the JORC report include:

  • Measured, Indicated & Inferred mineral resource category of 608,000 (gross)/486,400 (net attributable to Vast) tonnes @ 2.58% copper (‘Cu’) equivalent
  • Exploration target (gross), including historical mineral resource, between 1.8M–3M tonnes with Cu range of 0.50–2.00%, gold (‘Au’) range of 0.20–0.80 g/t and silver (‘Ag’) range of 40-80g/t
  • The mineral resource estimate represents an additional 600,000 tonnes (gross) over and above the reported (non-JORC) historical mineral resource estimates of 1,800,000 tonnes under the NAEN Russian Code as announced on 10 December 2014
  • The mineral resource estimate underpins the initial mine production life of approximately 3-4 years of in-situ 15,695 tonnes copper equivalent available for mining.
  • Based on an assumed copper metal price of US$6,655/tonne the initial mine production generates an in situ metal value of US$104,450,225* over the 3-4 year period
  • Significant further upside:
    • a significant portion of the Exploration Target is expected to be converted to a JORC compliant mineral resource in the coming months as the Company continues exploration activities and the continued analysis of historic data sets.
    • the Antonio North skarn may provide a similar quantum of mineral resource in addition to the current mineral resources declared and would provide sufficient mineralisation for a further approximate 7 to 8 year period
    • Significant upside to increase the mineral resources on adjacent skarns through the extension of development on 16 level, 17 level and 18 level and underneath the Baia Rosie skarn

* Based on $6,655 Cu metal price multiplied by the Cu Equ tonnage as illustrated in the JORC report

A metallurgical test work programme was undertaken in 2020 with three samples representing high grade copper mineralisation, a polymetallic copper-lead-zinc mineralisation and a copper-molybdenum ore. All three types of mineralisation contain gold and silver mineralisation.

Highlights of the test work include:

  • Copper recoveries range between 88.2% – 93.8% into a copper concentrate
  • Gold recoveries into the copper concentrate range between 72.7% – 78.2%
  • Silver recoveries to the copper concentrate range between 69.3% – 83.0%
  • Zinc recovery of 51.1% into a zinc concentrate with gold and silver credits
  • Molybedenum recovery of 65.3% into a molybdenum concentrate with gold and silver credits
  • Gravity recoverable gold potential as visible gold was seen on the shaking tables when attempting the de-leading of copper concentrates

You can download the presentation here…

Baita Plai Progress Report – May 2020

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