Hunter Bay Minerals Plc

October 11, 2011 08:00 ET

Hunter Bay Minerals Commences Bulk Sampling Program at Mazaruni and Puruni Permits

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 11, 2011) - Hunter Bay Minerals plc (TSX VENTURE:HBY) ("Hunter Bay") is pleased to announce that it has commenced a bulk sampling program of gold alluvial tailings located within fourteen medium scale prospecting and mining permits in the Mazaruni and Puruni Mining Districts of Guyana (the "Mazaruni and Puruni Permits"). Hunter Bay will initially concentrate on an accessible area containing more than 50 alluvial fans over a strike length of two kilometres. Individual fans typically contain between 2,500 m3 to 10,000 m3 (ca. 4500 to 18,000 tonnes) of clean quartz sand and gravel derived from the mining of primary alluvial gravels.

In order to carry out the bulk sampling program, Hunter Bay designed and built two pilot washing plants with a combined capacity of approximately 60 m3 / hour (ca. 110 tonne / hour). Each plant comprises a hopper, multiple in-line jigs and a cyclone system (see Figure 1: Tests conducted during commissioning of the plants indicated that gold grains of 50 microns (0.05 mm) diameter and above were recovered into a concentrate dominated by magnetite, gold and minor quartz. Microscope study of pan concentrates indicates that the majority of gold observed in the tailings is coarser than 50 microns and a significant percentage is coarser than 100 microns.

Hunter Bay has also designed, built and commissioned a concentrate cleaning facility comprising a spiral helix system (see Figure 2:, an optional wet magnetic separator and shaking tables. Hunter Bay plans to test various flow paths with concentrates derived from the bulk sampling in order to optimise gold recovery from wash-plant concentrates. This may include metallurgical tests on concentrates in order to assess the viability of recovering the finest gold using flotation techniques.

Hunter Bay elected to proceed with the bulk sampling program based on the results from its scout sampling program of alluvial tailings located throughout the Mazaruni and Puruni Permits. The scout sampling program involved the collection of 142 pan concentrate samples from 100 or 200 litre tailings samples. During the initial phase of sampling, the number and size of gold grains in each pan concentrate were counted, before the concentrate was submitted to the Stewart Group assay facility at Omac in Ireland for determination of gold grade by cyanide bottle roll. Results from Omac indicate that the gold grade of tailings varies from <0.01 g/m3 to >1.0 g/m3 and that grade distribution is erratic.

Analysis of gold production figures from primary alluvial fields within the Mazaruni and Puruni areas indicates that the average recovered gold grade from near surface palaeo river gravels varies from between 0.5 g/m3 to >3.0 g/m3. Local operators generally target a recovered grade of >1 g/m3 and recover gold using simple sluice box systems. The results of the pan concentrate sampling program indicate that a significant percentage of gold is lost to the tailings, especially in fields where gold grains are less than 200 microns in size.

Hunter Bay believes that bulk sampling is the only meaningful way in which to test the potential of the alluvial tailings. Hunter Bay will initially use one pilot washing plant and intends to commission the second pilot washing plant in approximately four weeks, subject to initial results. Each bulk sample will comprise between 1000 m3 to 5000 m3 (1,800 to 9000 tonnes) dependent upon the size of the tailings fan being sampled. The plants will be fed by dedicated CAT 320 DL excavators. Hunter Bay also plans to trial hydraulic mining as an alternative to using excavators to feed the plants.

Andrew Tunningley, a director and Chief Geologist of Hunter Bay Minerals, said that, "Hunter Bay is extremely pleased to have completed construction of both wash plants and to have commenced the bulk sampling program. The Mazaruni and Puruni areas have a long history of alluvial gold mining by small scale operators generally using crude recovery systems, and there is a very significant volume of tailings material available for reprocessing." Mr Tunningley further commented, "There are potential cost savings associated with reprocessing alluvial tailings when compared to exploiting primary alluvial deposits. This is because access roads have already been built, vegetation and overburden removed, and the relatively thin (<1-2 m) primary gravels have been concentrated into tailings fans composed largely of undiluted gravels."

Andrew Tunningley, MAusIMM (CP), a director of the Company, is a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects and has reviewed and approved all technical information contained in this news release.

The Stewart Group assay facility at Omac in Ireland is a member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and is accredited to ISO 17025 by the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB).

About Hunter Bay

Hunter Bay is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral resource properties located in Canada and South America. Hunter Bay currently owns a one-hundred percent (100%) interest in the Great Bear Lake Properties located in the eastern side of Great Bear Lake, NWT, has an option to acquire up to an eighty percent (80%) interest in the Sela Creek Project located in Suriname and has a thirty percent (30%) interest in the net profits of the Fortuna Project located in the Nambija Gold District, Ecuador.

Hunter Bay also has the right to operate the alluvial tailings within the Mazaruni and Puruni Permits (the "Mazaruni and Puruni Operating Rights"). The operation of the alluvial tailings will be done under a 70/30 joint venture with the vendor of the Mazaruni and Puruni Operating Rights and will be subject to a 15% royalty payable to the owner of the Mazaruni and Puruni Permits.

Forward-Looking Statements

Information set forth in this news release contains forward-looking statements that are based on assumptions as of the date of this news release. These statements reflect management's current estimates, beliefs, intentions and expectations. They are not guarantees of future performance. Hunter Bay cautions that all forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain and that actual performance may be affected by a number of material factors, many of which are beyond Hunter Bay's control. Such factors include, among other things: risks and uncertainties relating to Hunter Bay's ability to complete the bulk sampling program on the alluvial tailings within the Mazaruni and Puruni Permits, erratic gold distribution rates of alluvial tailings; Hunter Bay's limited operating history; the need to comply with environmental and governmental regulations; and potential defects in title to Hunter Bay's properties. Accordingly, actual and future events, conditions and results may differ materially form the estimates, beliefs, intentions and expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking information. Except as required under applicable securities legislation, Hunter Bay undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise forward-looking information.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information

  • Hunter Bay Minerals plc
    Christopher Wilson
    CEO and President
    (+44) 207-127-9125