Amur Minerals Corp.,the London-listed group developing a feasibility-stage nickel-copper sulfide projectin the Russian Far East, said May 10 that exploration at its Kun-Manie deposit over the past year has resultedin an over 100% increase in measured and indicated resources since last April, whilea resource estimate by SRK Consulting has highlighted the underground potentialof some components of the deposit.
Since the Russian government approved Amur's plans for Kun-Manie last year, the companyhas been busy drilling at the site, located north of the Chinese border, in theAmur region of the Russian Far East, in an attempt to expand resources.
It said in April that it expanded resources at the of Kun-Manie.Then on May 4, it released its expanded resource estimates for the .
Overall, the company said measured and indicated resources ofKun-Manie have more than doubled since last April, from 52.9 million tonnes to 107.2million tonnes, containing 484,100 tonnes of nickel and 136,600 tonnes of copper.
Such a resource should provide a good base to begin convertingreserves for the definitive feasibility study, said Robin Young, managing directorof Amur.
He said metallurgical analysis by consultants SGS Minerals ishelping to do that, while exploration work at the site is likely to continue thisyear.
Amuranticipates that the current measured and indicated resources are substantial, andwill likely be enough to cover the key early years of production wherein constructionloans will be repaid.
Whilethe Kun-Manie deposit is one of the more prospective nickel deposits in the world,Amur has been struggling to continue with the project amid record-low nickel pricesand the geopolitical stand-off between the West and Russia.
Bothfactors have dramatically increased the perceived risks of investors in mineraldeposits in the former Soviet country.
Despitethat, the company successfully raised£12.5 million via a private share placement last December.
Thefunds will be spent on preparing the definitive feasibility study for the Kun-Manieproject, the company said at the time.
SRK'slatest resources estimate update focused on Kubuk, one of the four component depositsof Kun-Manie on which Amur is planning to base an open pit mine.
Estimatesto date assumed an open pit-only mine plan, but SRK's latest model-based estimatesalso took into account the possibility of partially mining underground.
Thereport found that, in the Kubuk zone, high-grade structures represent a prime targetfrom which to develop both open pit and underground reserves.
Amurplans to take account of the new models in its DFS, Young said, but no informationon when the study is expected to be completed was revealed.