Chontash is a very promising deposit which deserves further significant exploration. The maiden resource published in 2011 identified a resource containing molybdenum, copper and gold and there are good geological and geophysical reasons to believe there is significant potential still to be found in Chontash.
The Chontash Project is located in the Akshirak range of mountains, which extend along the edge of the main fault in the region, the Talas Fergana. The range hosts a number of mineral deposits with associated mining infrastructure, the best known of which is the Makmal deposit which used to host the largest gold mine in the country.
Chontash is focused on two connected targets: a porphyry intrusive body, which has the potential to be developed into a copper, gold, molybdenum and rare earths (Cu-Au-Mo-REE) deposit, and a skarn deposit at its periphery. Skarn is metamorphic rock formed at the contact of an intrusive body (the porphyry) and carbonate rocks (the existing formation).
Fifteen holes have been drilled at Chontash. Targeted drilling of the skarn type mineralisation has delineated 2.9 Mt of mineralisation with a Mo grade of 0.196%, with copper and gold credits of 0.13% and 0.08 g/t respectively.
Three drill holes, which seem to have penetrated the porphyry type mineralisation in the periphery of the skarn, delineated 380,000 tonnes of porphyry mineralisation with 0.9% Cu and 0.43 g/t of Au. Additional geophysical work will be required in order to further delineate the presumed porphyry target which may have generated the skarn.
The results of four holes drilled in the intrusive rocks showed that another phase of mineralisation in the porphyry contains REE at a grade of 0.232%. Although the grade may not be economic on a standalone basis, this result may contribute considerably to the attractiveness of Chontash, by adding credit to the Mo-Cu-Au deposit. Further work is needed to determine the development potential of an REE deposit, in both commercial grade and size.