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Chaarat Gold Project

The Chaarat Gold Project is a 7 million ounce high grade resource in the Kyrgyz Republic.  In common with other deposits in the region, the Chaarat deposit contains a combination of free milling and refractory ore.
The first stage of development of the Chaarat Gold Project will be the Tulkubash Heap Leach Project.  The Tulkubash Project is based on the free milling ore within the Tulkubash Zone of the deposit which comprises only 13% of the total resource.   
Free milling ore is amenable to direct cyanidation either by heap leaching or by milling followed by Carbon in Leach (CIL). These processes are well known and relatively less complex processing methods to extract gold.
Tulkubash Project – our route to production
A Bankable Feasibility Study for the Tulkubash Project is in preparation and due for completion in Q1 2018.  Based on our current plans this is based on a processing capacity of 2.8 million tonnes of ore per year which (based on the recovery achieved in previous metallurgical testing) would result in production of 60-70,000 ounces of gold per year with a mine life slightly in excess of five years.
We believe that the Tulkubash resource can be increased by further drilling as we have identified that it continues along strike and at depth.  A drilling campaign is now underway to increase the reserve of the Tulkubash and consequently the life of mine.
Progress to date:
·         We are drilling within the Tulkubash Zone to increase the resource and therefore prospective gold production;
·         We have achieved the social licence to operate a heap leach project – the first in the country;
·         We have a mining licence until 2032;
·         All payments to the Government in respect of the delineated resource to obtain the mining licence have been made;
·         A significant portion of the Project infrastructure is in place – roads, bridge, camps, a workshop and a fuel tank farm;
·         The access road has been designed;
·         The land needed to cover the whole footprint of the Project has been identified and the formal allocation is in progress; and
·         The site has been “sterilised” of alluvial gold deposits in preparation for construction of the mine.
Second stage development
87% of the ore in the Chaarat deposit is contained in the Main and Contact zones. At present there are only two main options to process the refractory ore contained in these zones.
The first is to process the refractory ore in order to produce concentrate which requires a smelter to produce gold from the concentrate. If the plans to build a smelter near the Chaarat deposit, which are being supported by the Kyrgyz Government, come to fruition the option of processing concentrate of refractory ore could by 2020 become a feasible and economic option which will both considerably reduce the capital cost of the project and its technological complexity.
The second processing option is to build an oxidation unit for the pre-treatment of the ore prior to cyanidation. The type of oxidation unit needed to achieve the highest recoveries from the Chaarat refractory ore would require a very high capital cost based on current technologies.

Given the technical developments which are being made to achieve more efficient processing of refractory ore, we consider that the economics of the second stage development of the Chaarat Project could become significantly more attractive in the short term. In the meantime we have the prospect of extending the production life of the Tulkubash Project.