Bengaluru, NFAPost: K92 Mining Inc. has formally announced its selection by the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (“PDAC”) to receive the 2021 Thayer Lindsley Award for the discovery of its Kora North deposit at its Kainantu Gold Mine in Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea.
The award recognizes an individual or a team of explorationists credited with a recent significant mineral discovery globally and will be presented to the K92 Team during the annual PDAC Convention on March 9, 2021.
The award honours the memory of Thayer Lindsley, one of the most accomplished mine finders of the past century and who was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 1989. Throughout Mr. Lindsley’s long and extraordinary career, he either founded or was involved in the development of many famous Canadian mining companies, including Falconbridge, Sherritt Gordon, Frobisher, Giant Yellowknife, Canadian Malartic and United Keno Hill.
Kora North Discovery Background
In 2015, K92 acquired the past producing Kainantu Gold Mine from Barrick Gold. The mine had been on care and maintenance for several years and had previously unprofitably mined the Irumafimpa deposit. When K92 restarted Kainantu, the focus was to mine the Irumafimpa deposit while exploring and developing other deposits. By questioning the geological model and acting on the reinterpretation, the K92 exploration team transformed the previously struggling mine into a highly profitable and rapidly expanding gold producer.
The breakthrough came in 2017, when K92 tested the thesis that two of the mine’s deposits, Kora and Eutompi, were in fact the same deposit. Previously, Eutompi was viewed as a distinct and lower grade deposit that was not of interest for step-out drilling, while K92 believed there was the potential for a higher grade, northern extension of Kora at depth, below Eutompi. As a result, the team modified the development design to access and drill this untested area from underground. The first drill hole intersected 5.4 metres grading 11.68 grams per tonne gold, 1.33% copper and 25.5 grams per tonne silver about 500 metres north of the Kora deposit and 400 metres below the Eutompi deposit. The discovery of Kora North had been made.
Since then, Kora’s measured, indicated and inferred resource has grown from 1.65 million ounces gold equivalent (“AuEq”) inferred to 1.1 million ounces AuEq measured and indicated and 3.7 million ounces AuEq inferred at a discovery cost of less than US$5 per ounce. The exceptional characteristics of the Kora North discovery have allowed Kainantu to operate at head grade of approximately 18 grams gold per tonne since commercial production, placing the mine among the highest-grade operations in the world. An operation that was struggling to achieve 30,000 ounces AuEq annual production is now on track to produce more than 300,000 ounces AuEq per year upon the completion of its Stage 3 Expansion which is expected to come online in late 2023. In addition, there are several high-priority targets close to current mining operations at Kainantu that promise to rapidly boost existing resources through both underground and surface drilling.
The Kora North discovery has transformed K92 and positioned Kainantu as one of the premier high-grade, long-life, low-cost underground precious metals mines in the world. The discovery has delivered significant value creation to K92 shareholders, and importantly, has also delivered tremendous economic benefits to the people of Papua New Guinea and the local communities. K92 employs over 95% PNG Nationals, of which a majority are from the local communities, is a meaningful contributor to the nation’s tax and royalty base, and is delivering significant business development and community programs.
John Lewins, K92 Chief Executive Officer and Director, stated, “We are extremely proud to receive this distinguished award, which we believe strongly recognizes the world-class nature of the Kainantu Gold Mine, the tremendous geologic potential of Papua New Guinea and the significant value creation from the K92 team. From drilling the Kora North discovery hole in May 2017, the rapid progress has been truly remarkable, achieving commercial production in late-January 2018, exceeding production guidance in both 2018 and 2019, and commissioning our Stage 2 Process Plant Expansion and completing the Stage 3 Expansion PEA in 3Q 2020. This would not have been possible if it weren’t for the extraordinary commitment of our team and the strong support of all levels of government in Papua New Guinea.
“We continue to work at expanding the Kora deposit as well as carrying out near mine exploration on multiple other targets including Judd and Karempe. The Company currently has ten diamond drill rigs operating on various targets with an eleventh rig due in early 2021. Significant high-grade results from near mine exploration have recently been reported from underground drilling and underground development at Judd as well as surface drilling at Karempe. With only 20% of the near mine vein field drill tested, there remains very significant potential for further expansion of resources in and around the Kainantu Mine and we continue to add more drill rigs as results warrant,” he adds.
Jerry Garry, Managing Director, Mineral Resources Authority of Papua New Guinea (“MRA”), stated “As the Managing Director of the MRA and a geologist, I am pleased and proud for a notable world-class discovery in Papua New Guinea to be the recipient of the prestigious Thayer Lindsley award for the first time. The MRA strongly supported the restart of the Kainantu Mine by K92 Mining and we have followed closely the transformation of Kainantu from the initial discovery of Kora North to a robust and growing mine. I strongly believe that the future is very bright not only for the Kainantu Mine but also the Resource Industry in PNG.”
Global Kora Mineral Resource (Effective Date April 2, 2020)