A Galantas Gold Corporation wholly-owned subsidiary owns the freehold title to over 220 acres of land upon which the initial open-pit mine, processing plant, tailings facility and water clarification ponds are situated. The mine is now in the development stage with more than 2,000 metres of ore and waste development completed. The mine is planned to commence the production stage in early 2022, when the first stopes will be open on the Kearney vein.

The future of the Cavanacaw property lies in the development of an underground mine. An active program of drilling has partly assessed the gold and silver resource at depth. Detailed costing studies have been carried out to estimate the cost of underground development and these studies have been released within the 2014 Resource Assessment. The report has been released and estimates a high internal rate of return. (Report available to download below). The drilling program is expected to continue from cash-flow generated from underground mine production. A budget of £1million per year is budgeted within the 2014 study. Past drilling has achieved a cost of approximately GBP£10 per ounce in identified gold resource.

Plans to develop an underground mine have been approved and the mine is in development. Plans include a decline to the base of the Kearney zone for Phase 1 mining and a separate access to provide emergency egress and ventilation. A third access is planned to provide emergency egress and ventilation to a linked development between the Kearney and Joshua vein systems. The principal mining method will be longhole open-stoping and long-term stability will be achieved by backfilling with cemented rockfill. The mine may potentially progress to deeper levels within the Kearney zone than planned for Phase 1 but this will be subject to the identification of resources through drilling.

Environmental protection is an important operating criteria for the mine. Development, health, safety and environment impact are continually controlled to comply with strict regulations. This ensures that the impact on the environment is minimized, monitored and held below fixed parameters. There is routine monitoring of water, dust, and noise.

Galantas is committed to using environmental best practice. Operating methods are selected for maximum cost effectiveness and minimum environmental risk. The ore, containing gold, silver, lead, iron and sulphur, was mined from steeply dipping veins within a small open pit. The Kearney vein was until recently the focus of operations. The ore and barren country rock was mined separately, without the need for blasting, by ripping with powerful hydraulic excavators and bull-dozers.

The ore is taken to the processing plant, which is close to the open pit, by dump truck. It is crushed by a three stage crushing system (two stage for the smaller pieces) and ground with water in a ball mill to a fine sand (approximately 50% of which is less than 75 micron in size). Some of the ground material is treated by gravity methods but the majority of the material, mixed with water and a small amount of foaming & flotation agents, is passed to froth flotation tanks. Here the mixture is agitated and air pushed into the mixture. The metallic minerals have a preference for air rather than water and attach themselves to bubbles.

Rising to a froth, the foam is taken from the top of the cell, cleaned further by a repeat process, the water squeezed out and the resultant concentrate packed into bulk bags for shipment and sale to a smelter. The washed, fine sand that is left behind is very clean and is routinely tested several times a day to ensure process efficiency remains high and that minimal metals are left behind. Independent laboratory tests show that the clean tailings sand produced by the process is environmentally safe for the future.

Management have identified potential uses for the clean tailings sand. These uses include the protection of pipes and conduit being laid in trenches during construction, a filler for bitumen based products, admixture for plaster based products or for the manufacture of soils in combination with other materials on site. Nearly half of future tailings sands production are expected to be used as permanent backfill during underground operations.

Mining of clean, barren country-rock creates an increase in volume of that material by virtue of the pore spaces created. The amount of increase of volume varies between 30% and 40%. The company is obliged to backfill the open pit, restore the site and dispose of the surplus rock from the site under restoration arrangements.

The major mobile plant operated at the open pit comprises of a bull-dozers, hydraulic excavators, articulated, dump trucks and subsidiary plant.

Planning permits have been received for mining underground, where the majority of resources lie. Galantas is actively engaged in mine development. It has a trained crew and equipment to carry out the necessary tasks. Additional labour and equipment will be added as the mine expands. Some limited ore is produced in development of the gold veins and this feeds the processing plant on a part-time basis. The first concentrate derived from underground sources has been shipped.

Environmental Impact Assestment

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), based upon new data and data from 14 years of environmental monitoring, is complete and was examined as part of the planning process for underground mining. The EIA considers the processes involved, impact on water, air and noise amongst other environmental factors and is available on the Northern Ireland Planning Portal.

The figures below represent an early-stage iteration of plans and are presented to give a generalized picture of the underground development.

Detailed drawings are available via the Planning Service, DOENI Planning Portal (a third-party website). Registration is required.

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