Adriatic’s Vares silver-led-zinc project in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Adriatic’s Vares silver-lead-zinc project is located in central Bosnia and Herzegovina some 50km north of the capital Sarajevo. It occupies a strategic position over the established Vares mining district, taking in a number of historical mines and prospects including the high-grade silver mines at Rupice and Veovaca.
After successfully identifying and drilling a number of extraordinary, multi-commodity mineral deposits in Bosnia, Adriatic Metals has moved to lock up the wider mineral province around its key project areas. The company has now more than quadrupled the size of its ground holdings in the region and locked up most of the 25km long metal rich terrane. Adriatic’s five concession areas now cover more than 4,000 hectares and take in the Veovaca and Rupice silver ore bodies in addition to eight other prospect areas.
By any measure Adriatic has seen a meteoric rise since listing on the ASX just a couple of years ago at 20c. Its 60 and 70m long drill intersections that are littered with almost every known commodity – at commercial grades – have propelled the company’s share price to around $2.80 since then.
“Our focus now will be to continue to identify the right structural, lithological and geo-chemical conditions that resulted in the high grade Rupice silver deposit and explore for possible repeats of that mineralisation in the new concession area.”
The Vares mineral field is an east-west trending sedimentary basin that covers around 25km of strike surrounding the regional centre of Vares. The region has a mining history that dates back to the 13th century and historically boasted the largest iron ore mine in Yugoslavia immediately adjacent to the town at Smreka, which in the 1980s, produced around 1Mta of siderite-limonite iron ores to feed the nearby foundry at Zenica.
The ore bodies scattered throughout the Vares mineral field are interpreted to be sedimentary-exhalative, or ‘SEDEX’ style deposits and produce a range of mineralisation styles from siderite-limonite iron ore deposits through to silver-lead-zinc deposits similar to the company’s Rupice discovery.
Globally SEDEX deposits are of considerable economic significance and include the massive Zambian Copperbelt deposits in Africa. They were also the precursors to the world-class Carlin-type gold deposits in the United States. SEDEX deposits typically occur in clusters and, with right structural architecture in place, can develop into ore systems of colossal proportions – a message that appears not to have been lost on Adriatic market followers who have already propelled the company to a market cap of over $400m.
Adriatic has recently finalised an application with the local regional Government approving a significant expansion of the company’s mining concessions. Adriatic’s new concession areas expand the company’s ground holdings in the region from 868 hectares to over 4,000 hectares, covering two key project areas – the Rupice-Semizova Ponikva area west of the town of Vares and the Brezik-Vares East project, east of the town. These new areas lie along strike from the company’s high-grade silver-lead-zinc deposits in the region and will become priority target areas as Adriatic works to complete its feasibility studies over the Rupice and Veovaca deposits and begin to expand its resource inventory in the region. The company’s regional exploration program over its expanded Vares ground holding is already underway, with the historical exploration and mining data currently being collated and airborne geophysics planned over the wider concessional area.
Several areas within the new tenure present as targets for immediate follow up including the Brezik concession east of Vares. Brezik hosts two historical iron ore mines at Brezik and Droskovac. Droskovac also hosts a residual lead-zinc deposit that weighs in at 900,000 tonnes at 3.9 per cent combined lead and zinc. This deposit was discovered in the 1980s and has yet to be followed up with modern exploration.
Historical exploration at Vares East, adjacent to the company’s Veovaca deposit area, has identified a host of copper and barite rich targets along strike from the deposit. The Barice target has returned some enticing rock chip samples at up to 23 per cent copper and 54 g/t silver, whilst sampling in trenches at the Grubanovici, Ljevaci and Debele Mede prospects has produced samples grading up to an incredible 89 per cent barite – interestingly, these projects have not been explored since the 1960s.
Work on Adriatic’s pre-feasibility for the Rupice and Veovaca silver-lead-zinc deposits continues in the wake of this week’s resource update for Rupice with results expected in the coming weeks.
With an expanded playing field, two potential mining operations moving through feasibility and a wealth of new targets, Adriatic looks well positioned to take full advantage of a booming metals market and its trail-blazing position in the Balkans.
Tethyan Resource acquisition of past-producing silver-zinc-lead mines in Serbia is completed
Kizevak and Sastavci are former silver-zinc-lead mines in the Raska district of South-western Serbia. Serbian company EFPP d.o.o. is the holder of two exploration licences over these past-producing mines. Tethyan Resource Corp. announced that it has closed the transaction for the acquisition of 10% of EFPP and the exclusive right to purchase the remaining 90% of EFPP at Tethyan’s election within 12 months.
The Licences are contiguous with Tethyan’s existing exploration rights and the acquisition completes the consolidation of a district of known silver-zinc-lead vein-type and copper-gold porphyry deposits, presenting numerous strategic advantages;
-The Licences include two past-producing open pit silver-zinc-lead and indicate excellent brownfield exploration potential
-Staged acquisition payments allow Tethyan to focus funds on drilling
-Acquisition is a key condition precedent for the proposed acquisition of Tethyan by Adriatic Metals plc
Fabian Baker, Tethyan’s President and CEO, commented: “The acquisition of the past-producing Kizevak and Sastavci mines has been a long term goal of Tethyan’s, and so we are very pleased to have achieved this important step. With the recently announced financing and proposed acquisition of Tethyan by Adriatic Metals plc, we are well funded to commence drilling at Kizevak, which is planned to begin in early June. We see a bright future for the Raska mining district that is now consolidated under Tethyan, and look forward to developing the potential of these former mines and the significant exploration potential around them.”
Terms of EFPP Acquisition
The acquisition of EFPP will occur in two steps, an initial ‘First Closing’ completed today, whereby Tethyan has acquired 10% of the shares of EFPP and management control of the company, and a 12 month period in which to decide, in its sole discretion, whether to proceed to a ‘Second Closing’. By proceeding to complete Second Closing Tethyan will acquire the remaining 90% of the shares of EFPP. A summary of the terms of the transaction is as follows:
In consideration for 10% of the shares of EFPP Tethyan will pay to the Sellers a total of €625,000 cash, of which €100,000 was previously advanced and the remaining €525,000 payment was also made.
At any time within 12 months of First Closing, Tethyan may elect to acquire the remaining 90% of shares of EFPP on the Second Closing by:
-Granting to the Sellers a 2% Net Smelter Return over the Licences
-Issuing a total of 4 million ordinary shares of Tethyan, to be issued in four equal tranches of 1 million shares, with the first tranche issued on the Second Closing and each additional tranche issued each six months thereafter
-Paying a deferred cash payment of €500,000 on the two-year anniversary of First Closing
Tara Mines resumes production operations in Ireland despite coronavirus risk; zinc and lead used for healthcare products
While most workplaces outside those involved in the delivery of frontline emergency services, food and medicines have closed in response to the Government’s imposition of new public health guidelines its Swedish owner Boliden told its employees it had decided to reopen Tara Mines. The mine will resume production on the grounds that the zinc and lead it extracts from the site are used for healthcare products and other applications.
Located at Knockumber, outside Navan in Co Meath, Tara is the largest zinc mine in Europe. The facility employs 580 people directly and mines about 2.6 million tonnes of ore every year.
While news of the mine’s reopening is understood to have received a guarded welcome from some of Boliden’s employees, The Irish Times has been contacted by a number of miners concerned by the potential threat they believe a return to work at Tara Mines during the Covid-19 crisis will pose to both their health and that of their families.
Contacted for comment on Boliden’s decision to reopen the site, Tara Mines’ general manager Gunnar Nyström said: “Boliden Tara Mines is a part of the important international chain for zinc and lead, which is used in both healthcare and other applications. Both we and our union partners believe it is essential for society to try to resume operations.
“Over the last few weeks we have implemented a number of significant precautionary measures to help ensure we stay infection-free. A Covid team, set up to look at areas for improvement on site, have implemented many changes including signage, sanitisers, washing facilities, cleaning products, staggered start and finish times etc. As part of the efforts to try reopening, we will be carrying out a further review of the site to ensure that we are following all public health guidelines and that any further measures we need to take are in place.”
When asked if Boliden had sought and secured approval from any of the relevant Government departments or authorities before making the decision to resume production at Tara Mines, a spokesman for the company said: “The Irish government doesn’t make any approvals. Instead it is up to every business to evaluate if the guideline given is applicable to them. In that evaluation we have found that the mine is essential due to the fact that we are a part of international value chains for raw material needed in a variety of industries. Of course this evaluation was made together with union representatives.”
Lundin Mining temporarily suspended activities at the Zinc Expansion Project in Portugal
Lundin Mining Corp. attributed the decision to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. The company announced that it has temporarily suspended construction and commissioning activities at the Zinc Expansion Project (ZEP) at its Neves-Corvo copper-zinc mine in Portugal. Previously, the zinc expansion project was on track for a phased start-up beginning in the second quarter of 2020, with $155 million earmarked by Lundin to spend in 2020 to complete the project.
Lundin is a diversified Canadian base metals mining company with operations in Chile, the United States, Portugal, Sweden and Finland, primarily producing copper, nickel and zinc. Lundin shares eased 12.2% or 71 cents to $5.11 on volume of 1.87 million. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $8.08 and $4.91.
Despite the softer fourth quarter operational results, total 2019 consolidated copper, zinc and nickel production of 235,000 tonnes, 152,000 tonnes and 13,500 tonnes respectively all met or slightly exceeded the most recent annual guidance ranges of 227,000-245,000 tonnes, 149,000-157,000 tonnes and 12,000-15,000 tonnes respectively.
Lundin has recently said it anticipates strong growth in its metal production. The company said copper production is expected to rise by over 20% in 2020 compare to 2019, with full year contributions from the Chapada copper-gold mine and Candelaria mining complex. It said zinc production is forecast to increase by over 15% in the same period while nickel production will jump by over 25%.
Neves-Corvo is mainly a copper and zinc mine, producing copper, zinc and lead concentrates. The operation is owned and operated by Lundin Mining’s Portuguese subsidiary Sominor. Neves-Corvo mines underground from five major orebodies. The processing facility consists of two plants. The copper plant processes copper ores and has a capacity of 2.6 million tonnes annually. The zinc plant, which can process zinc or copper ores, has a capacity of approximately 1.1 million tonnes per annum. The capacity is currently being expanded to 2.5 million tonnes.
ZEP was approved in 2017. Its aim was to increase the zinc mining and processing capacity at Neves-Corvo to approximately 2.5 million tonnes annually, generating an average of 150,000 tonnes annually of zinc concentrate over 10 years.
New mine infrastructure for the ZEP includes a new crusher station, a conveyor system connecting this to the 700 shaft hoisting facilities, an upgrade to the main hoisting shaft, together with extensions to the mines’ ventilation, pumping and electrical distribution systems. Much of the zinc ore for the ZEP will be mined in deep areas of the Lombador orebody using primarily bench and fill mining methods, with limited amounts of drift and fill. In 2020, the Neves-Corvo is expected to produce between 38,000-43,000 tonnes of copper and 95,000 to 105,000 tonnes of zinc.
Tethyan Resource Corp. to purchase Kizevak and Sastavci silver-zinc-lead mines in Serbia
Tethyan Resource Corp. made an agreement to purchase a 100% ownership stake in Serbian company EFPP d.o.o. EFPP is the holder of two exploration licences over silver-zinc-lead mines Kizevak and Sastavci in the Raska district of Southwestern Serbia.
-The Licences are contiguous with Tethyan’s existing exploration rights and the acquisition would complete the consolidation of a district of known silver-zinc-lead vein-type and copper-gold porphyry deposits, presenting numerous strategic advantages:
-The Licences include two past-producing open pit silver-zinc-lead mines and host significant historical mineral resources and reserves that were reported in accordance with Yugoslav GKZ reporting criteria and indicate excellent brownfield exploration potential
-At Kizevak, historic drilling and underground channel sampling data define mineralisation that is present from surface up to 200 metres depth and 1.2 kilometres in strike length that is open down dip and along strike, representing an immediate drill-ready target
-Staged acquisition payments allow Tethyan to focus funds on drilling
-Serbia is establishing itself as a recognised mining jurisdiction, attracting significant investment interest
Fabian Baker, Tethyan’s President and CEO, commented: “This acquisition is a key step in Tethyan’s strategy to consolidate a district of historical mines and exploration prospects in Serbia. The Kizevak project in particular gives Tethyan an immediate drill ready target, and we can now drill the 1.2 kilometres of strike length, reported to host historical resources, between the former open pit mine and Tethyan’s excellent 2018 drilling results. With Kizevak as a cornerstone project the many satellite exploration targets identified by historical drilling, all within a few kilometres of Kizevak, become relevant to a possible district-wide operation. The plan moving forward is for Tethyan to commence drilling of these high-grade silver-zinc-lead targets in parallel with advancing our two copper-gold porphyry projects at Rudnica and Kremice in the Raska district of Serbia.”
Kizevak is a past-producing mine reported to host considerable historic mineral resources, along-strike from which Tethyan drilled mineralization including 12 metres at 22.03% zinc, 10.29 % lead, 167 g/t silver and 0.18 g/t gold. The mine was operated as an open pit by the Serbian state between 1984 and 2000, ceasing operations due to conflict in the region. The project benefits from numerous infrastructure advantages including water, power, road and rail access all within 5 kilometres, and a local workforce with a long history of mining. Additionally, the land comprising the wider project area is designated for mining purposes under the Serbian State spatial plan, providing many permitting benefits and efficiencies.
Mineralisation at Kizevak comprises steeply dipping, southeast striking, structurally controlled lenses of quartz-carbonate-sulphide vein breccias and stockwork zones hosted in andesite volcanics. Historic drilling and underground sampling data indicate that mineralisation occurs over a strike length of at least 1.2 kilometres, between 1 and 30 metres wide, and up to 200 metres down dip. This dominant southeast striking trend is intersected by at least one perpendicular southwest striking mineralised structure, which is inferred as an important control on high grade shoots.
Mineralisation is open down dip and along strike to the northwest, southwest and southeast. In 2018 Tethyan drilled four drill holes on its wholly owned licence 1.2 kilometres along strike to the southeast of the mine that returned mineralized intervals including:
-12 metres at 22.03 % zinc, 10.29 % lead, 167 g/t silver, and 0.18 g/t gold for 35.09 % ZnEq (Hole KSEDD002, from 130 m)
-43 metres at 4.30 % zinc, 2.49 % lead, 26 g/t silver, and 0.21 g/t gold for 7.39 % ZnEq (Hole KSEDD001, from 193 m)
including 13.1 m @ 11.28 % zinc, 5.05 % lead, 57 g/t silver, and 0.32 g/t gold for 17.44 % ZnEq (from 221 m)
-0 m @ 4.35 % zinc, 2.14 % lead, 27 g/t silver, and 0.34 g/t gold for 7.37 % ZnEq (Hole KSEDD003, from 137 m)
Sastavci was also mined historically by open pit on a smaller scale than at Kizevak and represents a priority drilling target. Outcropping, steeply dipping, massive sulphide veins up to 5 metres wide are visible in the pit walls. Tethyan collected 65 rock-chip samples across the Sastavci area, which returned assays ranging from trace to >30 % zinc (over range), 7.1 % lead, 94.3 g/t silver and 0.47 g/t gold in the Sastavci pit. A historic resource estimate is reported in the Serbian geological archives.
Additionally, to the north of the Sastavci open pit Tethyan has defined a greater than 100 ppb gold in soil anomaly over 800 metres long and 400 metres wide in strongly silica altered volcanic rocks. Rock-chip sample assays range from trace to 3.7 g/t gold, representing a separate epithermal gold exploration target.
Historic Resource and Reserve Estimates
In 1994 the Yugoslav Geological Survey reported combined estimated mineral resources in GKZ compliant A+B+C1+C2 categories of 8Mt at 45 g/t silver, 5.06 % zinc and 2.96 % lead at Kizevak, Sastavci and Karadak (a portion of the Kizevak resource, and Karadak are located on Tethyan’s existing licences).
The mineral resource estimates were reported by the state geological survey according to Yugoslav GKZ guidelines and do not comply with NI 43-101 reporting requirements and associated CIM definition standards. The authors caution that a qualified person has not done sufficient work to validate the historical estimates, and Tethyan is not treating the historical estimates as current mineral resources or reserves. Tethyan has not completed a detailed review of the historical resource or completed a new mineral resource estimate.
The historical resource estimates were completed using the polygonal method using data acquired from diamond drilling and underground sampling.
For readers not familiar with Yugoslav mineral estimates, such estimates were always stated as “reserves” and classified according to the A+B+C1+C2 or “alphabetical” classification, which was derived from the Russian system and is still applied throughout many countries in southeast Europe. The reserves had to be approved by the official Commission for Ore Reserves. The A, B, C1 and C2 categories reflect the levels of confidence in the actual tonnage exploited from a reserve, with confidence levels being – 95%, 80%, 70% and 35% respectively. Henley (2004) and others have evaluated the alphabetical classification system with respect to the compliant codes in Canada and Australia, and concluded that A+B is comparable to “measured”, C1 to “indicated” and C2 to “inferred” in internationally acceptable codes for reporting resources. However, these comparisons are only an approximation, and cannot be considered as equivalents.
To verify the historical resource estimate as current mineral resources or mineral reserves, drilling, mapping, detailed geological interpretation, geological modelling, grade mapping by interpolation using geostatistical analysis and mineral resource classification, using industry standard software, is required.
Terms of EFPP Acquisition
Closing of the transaction to acquire EFPP is subject to satisfactory due diligence and TSX acceptance on or before 15th April 2020. The acquisition of EFPP will occur in two steps, an initial ‘First Closing’ whereby Tethyan will acquire 10% of the shares of EFPP and management control of the company, and a 12 month period in which to decide, in its sole discretion, whether to proceed to a ‘Second Closing’ when Tethyan has the right to acquire the remaining 90% of the shares of EFPP. A summary of the terms of the Transaction is as follows:
In consideration for 10% of the shares of EFPP Tethyan will pay to the Sellers a total of EUR 625,000 cash on the First Closing.
At any time within 12 months of First Closing, Tethyan may elect to acquire the remaining 90% of shares of EFPP on the Second Closing by:
Paying EUR 1,375,000;
Granting to the Sellers a 2% Net Smelter Return over the Licences;
Issuing a total of 4 million ordinary shares of Tethyan, to be issued in four equal tranches of 1 million shares, with the first tranche issued on the Second Closing and each additional tranche issued each six months thereafter;
Paying a deferred cash payment of EUR 500,000 on the two-year anniversary of First Closing.
Central Asia Metal demonstrate ‘fundamental strength’ with the results at its lead zinc mine in North Macedonia
Central Asia Metals’ copper, zinc and lead production and exploration company demonstrate the “fundamental strength” of the business with the results for the year ended. The company owns two low-cost base metals operations, one in Kazakhstan and the other in North Macedonia.
CEO Nigel Robinson says this is demonstrated by CAML having ended the financial year in a strong position with $32.6-million in cash in the bank and gross debt that has been reduced to $108.8-million, almost half the level that it was two years ago when CAML acquired its Sasa zinc and lead mine, in North Macedonia.
Despite this, the company remains conscious that it is announcing its results in “very uncertain times”, when the short-term outlook for the world’s health, the commodity markets and the global economy is in doubt owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Taking this into the account, Robinson indicates that both Sasa and Kounrad, a copper operation in Kazakhstan, remain fully operational at present, with no disruptions experienced to either production or the sales of metal products so far.
However, both North Macedonia and Kazakhstan have now closed their borders to neighbouring countries for the movement of people, although not trade, owing to the escalating number of Covid-19 cases.
Currently, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Kazakhstan stands at over 340, while in North Macedonia, this number is more than 240, Robinson told Mining Weekly.
CAML has, as expected, implemented the respective government guidance plus additional stringent procedures to protect the welfare of its staff at both operations, as well as the company’s London-based headquarters, where the CAML team now works remotely.
While both North Macedonia and Kazakhstan currently have, so far, relatively few cases of the Covid-19 virus, compared with the rest of the world, the numbers are, unfortunately, rising daily. This has translated into seeing subsequent escalations of government measures, and CAML indicates that “the potential for increased restrictions” can therefore, not be ruled out.
Given the current period of uncertainty, CAML has decided not to recommend a final dividend for 2019 and is now reviewing its 2020 capital expenditure budgets with the aim of identifying near-term savings.
CAML did, however, declare an interim dividend of 6.5p for the 2019 full-year, compared with 14.5p in the prior comparable period.
“Despite the underlying strength of our business with a strong balance sheet and lowest quartile industry costs, we feel these measures are necessary to conserve cash given the unpredictable nature of the current situation, the potential impact on our operations and the volatility of the underlying commodity prices to which we are exposed,” Robinson says, adding that CAML “remains confident for the medium and long-term future” of the business.
The decision will be reviewed as the year progresses and the world gains more clarity on the Covid-19 situation and its impact on mining operations and metal prices.
Looking ahead, CAML says it remains focused on maintaining a strong cash position for 2020, which it intends to achieve through starting the year with $32-million in the bank, and cutting back on non-essential capital expenditure during the year.
Additionally, considering that it is currently unknown whether CAML will need to put its mines on care and maintenance, like the mining industry in South Africa, Robinson notes that CAML is “well placed” to continue with operations for a while, should Kazakhstan and North Macedonia decide to follow suit and declare a lockdown.
While the company may not survive with this approach indefinitely, Robinson is confident that the global market will have more clarity on the Covid-19 situation in the coming months.
The group’s gross revenue for the 2019 financial year was $108.8-million, with net revenue slightly lower at $171.8-million.
The group’s profit before tax was $67.8-million, and group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation $108.6-million with a 60% margin.
Earnings a share from continuing operations were $29.36.
CAML produced 23 369 t of zinc in concentrate, up from the prior year’s 22 532 t.
Lead-in-concentrate production was 29 201 t, down from the previous comparable period’s production of 29 388 t.
Copper production for the year reached 13 771 t, down from 14 049 t the year before.
Looking ahead, CAML has set its production guidance for this year at between 12 500 t and 13 000 t of copper, between 30 000 t and 32 000 t of lead, and between 23 000 t and 25 000 t of zinc.
However, Robinson notes that these guidance figures should be considered as a caveat, as these numbers could change depending on the direction that the Covid-19 virus forces CAML, and the global market, to take.
Adriatic Metals will open lead-zinc-gold mine in Bosnia’s Vares in 2022
Adriatic Metals company has invested some 30 million marka ($17 million/15.3 million euro) in geological research and research on the amounts of lead, zinc, barite, silver, and gold in Vares, some 50 km north of Sarajevo.
The company has concession rights on a surface of 8.6 sq km.
This UK-based company plans to open a lead, zinc and gold mine in Vares in Bosnia in 2022 if it obtains the necessary permits according to plan, a senior company official said.
“The feasibility study which we work on at the moment shows that we will need some 350 workers,” Milos Bosnjakovic, the CEO of Adriatic Metals’s wholly-owned Bosnian unit Eastern Mining, said in an interview.
Since 2017, Eastern Mining has completed the drilling of some 33,000 metres with 150 bores.
Adriatic Metals said it has amended its concession agreement with Bosnia’s Zenica-Doboj Canton to include the rights to gold, silver and copper at its projects in the Balkan country.
Adriatic Metals is an ASX-listed zinc polymetallic explorer and developer via its 100% interest in the Vares project.
Zenica-Doboj Canton is one of ten cantons comprising Bosnia’s Federation entity. The Federation is one of two autonomous entities forming Bosnia and Herzegovina. The other one is the Serb Republic.
UK Mineco Group lead zinc mines in Western Balkans marks full results in 2019
Mineco Group System, Business Results Summary for 2019
Mineco Group has fulfilled its Plans
The British company Mineco Group, one of the largest mining investors in Serbia and the Western Balkans, is pleased with the results achieved in 2019, as it fulfilled its investment plans and the mines in the Group had certain sales of products.
“In terms of Mineco results in this region during 2019, this was a year of great and many small challenges. First of all, it was successful because we managed to provide certain sales of the products from our mines and to maintain the level of planned investments, although the situation on the market for the metals we deal with, became even more complex due to disruptions in the US-China trade relations”, said Mineco Group Director Bojan Popovic in Belgrade.
Popović reminded that Mineco achieved the best results in 2017 since its establishment, while in the second half of 2018, prices on the international market of non-ferrous metals decreased, which directly affected the mines resulting in lower revenues. “This trend continued into 2019, but it did not slow Mineco’s development programme,” he added.
The mines operating within Mineco Group at full capacity – Rudnik Mine and Flotation near Gornji Milanovac, Veliki Majdan near Ljubovija and Gross Mine near Srebrenica, have continued a number of successful years – having fulfilled their production plans, continued exploration works and confirmed mine reserves.
Popović pointed out that Rudnik Mine on the Mountain of Rudnik achieved a special success because it managed to discover and confirm new mineral resources. “Four years ago, geological services followed with concern the diminishing reserves in ore bodies, but with great effort and millions of investments, new mineral resources have been found and now they are already being exploited. Now, this old mine has reserves confirmed for at least another ten years of production of lead, zinc and, to a lesser extent, copper concentrates, while future explorations will be focused on verifying the existence of other ore bodies based on new indications”, said Popović.
According to him, the impetus in the mineral exploration activity has inspired Mineco to include this activity in its regular business operations over the past two years – by purchasing sophisticated rigs for drilling at depths up to 500 meters, but also by engaging expert staff and retraining new personnel to perform these site work activities.
These expert teams have facilitated accelerated explorations on the Rudnik Mountain and at other sites, primarily near Foča in the Republic of Srpska, where Mineco has a concession for exploration and mining of lead, zinc and copper ores.
Mineco Director also said that he was particularly pleased that the construction of a brand new cerussite mine, lead oxide mineral, in Olovo, north of Sarajevo and a Plant for processing of that ore into lead concentrate was completed.
The first new mine with underground exploitation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the last 30 years was opened almost two years ago, but for the processing of ore in that mine it was necessary to construct a completely new gravity separation plant, which was purchased in South Africa. The delivery of this equipment to the mine was very complex and kilometres of forest roads were built. “Now all of the individual systems are installed in one technological unit at the mine site, and the production of concentrate has been commissioned and our experts are currently optimizing production parameters and the further training of operational personnel is underway“, said Popović.
As for another mine in this region that Mineco is developing, the Bosil-Metal mine in the Municipality of Bosilegrad, Popović recalled that a year and a half ago, a pilot project for flotation ore processing was commissioned, and a Feasibility Study Concerning the Construction of Commercial Lead, Zinc and Copper Ore Flotation Process was ordered and prepared during the last year.
“During this year, the Main Mining Project for the Bosil-Metal mine and the Environmental Impact Study will be prepared and all necessary approvals of the competent ministries of the Republic of Serbia for the construction of a commercial plant will be provided”, said Popovic, noting that the construction work has been planned for the third or fourth quarter of this year, in order that the commercial operation of the Mine could commence during 2021.
Mineco Director also estimated that 2020 might not bring a significant rise in metal prices on the world markets, but it is important for this company to successfully control the development of its projects. “This will give us an opportunity for two major capital projects to move into the revenue phase, which is an excellent basis for further development of other projects in the coming years,” said Popović.
UK Mineco Kontango lead zinc mine, deposits guarantee the sustainable exploitation in Serbia
The lamps on the helmets of the mine workers in the womb of the mine and the “Rudnik” flotation on the mountain of the same name, the “roof” of Sumadija, will not be extinguished for at least a decade, and probably much longer. It is guaranteed by new reserves of lead and zinc ore of millions of tons, the excavation which has already begun. The latest geological surveys conducted by our and foreign specialized experts indicate that there is certainly more reserves in these ores.
– We started to dig the ore from our new ore body – confirms Aco Ilic, General Manager of Rudnik. – Its contents are outstanding, even better than expected. This was shown in November by a very high concentration of lead and zinc in the ore from the new mine. So far, we have fulfilled the plan for this year by 90 percent.
About 15 years ago, the lead and zinc mine, as it was called before the sale to the Belgrade company Kontango, was threatened to be shut down. The explored and safe reserves of the ore were at a minimum, as was the existence of the employees, whose numbers had dropped. Economists rank this privatization as one of the top ten and most successful in Serbia.
– “Rudnik” has 466 employees. The average salary is 65,000 dinars net. Of all the workers, 260 are miners, who go 62,500 times a year to the pit, more than 400 meters below the ground. The rest are working on flotation and other jobs. Recruitment of new workers is also planned. We have reduced the number of employee injuries to four, five per year, but we want to reduce them to zero. “Rudnik” received the most prestigious European awards for safety at work, because of the effective protection of workers – continues Ilic.
Earlier two million euros were spent to explore new ore deposits, 45 kilometers of wells have been drilled, while about 60 kilometers have been drilled this year.
What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Macedonia?
Iron ore, copper, zinc, etc., are some of the major natural resources of North Macedonia.
Macedonia, officially known as the Republic of North Macedonia, is a landlocked country in Southeast Europe located in the Balkan Peninsula. It is a successor state of Yugoslavia from which it declared independence in 1991 as the Republic of Macedonia. Following a conflict with Greece over the name, Macedonia changed its name to the “Republic of North Macedonia” in February 2019. The country is bordered by Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Kosovo. With an area of approximately 25,713 square miles, it is the 145th most extensive country in the world. North Macedonia has a population of about 2.1 million inhabitants and a population density of 207.5 persons per square mile. The majority of the population are the ethnic Macedonians while Albanians and Turks also account for a significant majority.
The Natural Resources Of Macedonia
Since independence, the economy of North Macedonia has undergone considerable reforms. The country is considered an open economy with trade accounting for about 90% of the GDP in recent years. The country’s reserve has been boosted by privatization. North Macedonia host several natural resources including precious minerals such as gold, iron ore, silver, copper ore, manganese, and lead. Other major resources include non-metallic minerals, arable land, and agricultural products such as tobacco, grapes, and vegetables. Mining, quarrying, electricity steam, and gas accounted for 15.6% of the country’s GDP in 2014 and the share is expected to increase as many firms (180) are involved in the exploration of the country’s national resources. Below are some of the major natural resources of North Macedonia.
Copper And Gold
Macedonia has one of the longest mining histories in the Balkan Peninsula with active minerals such as copper and gold among other minerals. Copper and gold are some of the oldest minerals in the country and have been used in many ancient cultures. Today, copper is mainly used in construction and as a conductor in electrical equipment. Gold is mainly used in coinage, dentistry, and electronics. Macedonia has several copper and gold mines, the majority of which are still in the exploration stage. According to the USGS, North Macedonia has a total reserve of approximately 79,030 kilograms of gold and 510 million tons of copper. In 2014, the only operating copper mine was the Buchim Mine and was operated by Solway Investment Group Limited of Cypres. The company is also currently exploring the Kadiica Mine. There are also several gold projects in the country including the Ilovica gold-copper project owned by the EUromax Resources. Other gold and copper mining projects under exploration include two exploration concessions being held by reservoir minerals.
Lead And Zinc
Lead and zinc are some of the most important and valuable metallic resources of North Macedonia. The two minerals have been produced in the Sasa Mine which was operated by Solway Investment Group Limited and the Toranica and Zletovo Mines operated by Indo Minerals and Metals. The Zletovo mine is situated in the eastern part of the Kratovo-Zletovo volcanic complex. The deposits found at the mine have been classified as sub-volcanic hydrothermal zinc-lead, composing of pyrite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, and galena. The reserve at Zletovo mine is estimated to be approximately 13 million tons. Solway Investment Group Limited invested US$ 22 million to prepare and upgrade the mine with facilities and equipment.
North Macedonia is a significant producer of lignite with over 2.5 billion metric tons of lignite reserves. Lignite has been a major resource for electricity production in the country. Coal is mainly explored by AD ELEM in several mines including Brod-Gneotino Mariovo, Suvodol, and Drimkol Mines. The largest coal mines in the country are the Suvodol Mine and Oslomej Mine with a total capacity of 7 million tons per year and are estimated to last approximately 15 years. The Pelagonia basin is currently being explored for possible lignite deposits. The country’s average consumption is 7.6 million tons of which about 95% is used in power generation. With the current level of consumption, Macedonia is expected to start importing coal from 2025 since some of the current mines are quickly running out of coal deposits. Half of the coal imported will likely go into electricity production.
Other Mineral Resources
Apart from the above mineral resources, Macedonia also has abundant metal resources such as iron ore, steel, nickel, and silver. These resources are found in different parts of the country including Zelezara Skopje, Zivojno, and Mariovo, and contribute significantly to the country’s mining sector. However, these minerals occur in small quantities and are currently under exploration. The government of Macedonia is looking to partner with foreign companies intending to make the minerals, especially iron ore, economically viable.
Agriculture plays an important role in the economy of Macedonia. It is the 3rd largest sector and contributes greatly to the country’s export. Crops such as wheat, grapes, tobacco, and vegetables are some of the largest cultivated crops in the country. Wheat farming is concentrated in the south-central region of Macedonia while cereals such as corn and barley are produced throughout the country. Annually, the country produces approximately 378,000 tons of wheat, 142,000 tons of barley, and 200,000 tons of corn. Other important crops produced in the country include tomatoes, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and sugar beets. Macedonia is also a major producer of grapes, producing an average of 32,000 tons every year.
Macedonia’s forestry sector has been neglected for so long, owing to its limited contribution to the GDP. The sector is normally combined with the agricultural sector, making it difficult to measure its contribution to the economy. North Macedonia has one of the largest forest covers in the Balkan, covering approximately 950,594 hectares or 37% of the total land area. By growth, high forests account for less than 30% of the total forest cover while the low forest accounts for 70%. The forests in Macedonia contain about 60 million metric tons of living forest biome. In the last ten years, the average gross volume of timber harvested is 1.03 million cubic meters of which 76% have originated from the state-owned forest and the rest from the private forest. About 75% of the timber harvested is mainly used as fuelwood, especially in industrial processing.