Vista Gold Corp.’s agreement with the Northern Territory of Australia for Vista’s Mount Todd gold project has been extended for an additional three-year period to December 2018. Additionally, the company reported progress on the environmental impact statement (EIS) permitting process for the project and has updated the resource estimate for the Quigleys deposit, a satellite deposit to the project’s main Batman deposit.
Vista President and CEO Fred Earnest said, “The advanced stage of our technical studies together with this three-year extension give us sufficient time to make a development decision at the Mount Todd gold project, provided gold prices improve. The extension of the agreement is indicative of Vista’s and the Northern Territory government’s desire to see the Mount Todd gold project successfully developed.”
The Mount Todd project is located 56 km by road northwest of Katherine, Northern Territory, and approximately 250 km southeast of Darwin. The project has more than 7.4 million oz of gold in measured and indicated resources and significant exploration potential across its more than 140,227 ha of exploration licenses and mineral leases.
The Mount Todd EIS was formally presented to the Northern Territory’s Environ-mental Protection Authority (EPA) in June 2013. As of late February, two questions remained to be resolved: the long-term stability of the waste rock dump and its ability to shed water in its reclaimed state, and the potential effect the expanded Batman pit may have on Gouldian Finch habitat and nesting areas. Vista expects to submit responses to these questions to the EPA by mid-year 2014 and is optimistic that these submissions will clear the path for final approval of the EIS in the third quarter of the year.
Vista’s work at Mount Todd has focused primarily on the Batman deposit. However, the company’s mining licenses also host the Quigleys satellite deposit, which has the potential to be an additional source of ore. To date, Vista has not undertaken the metallurgical testing and mine planning needed to include the Quigleys deposit in its economic evaluations of the project, but recent geologic work has provided new information.
During the fourth quarter of 2013, Vista re-evaluated the Quigleys deposit’s geology, mineralizing controls, and estimated resources utilizing knowledge gained over the past seven years from its analysis of the Batman deposit. This work was based on a comprehensive re-logging of available reverse circulation chips and drill core. Based on this work, the estimated mineral resources of the Quigleys deposit now stand at 299,000 oz measured and indicated and 407,000 oz inferred at cutoff grades of 0.4 g/mt gold.
Ernst said, “The Quigleys depositrepresents an opportunity to optimizethe economics of the Mount Todd gold project by providing a source of higher-grade ore in the early years of the lifeof the project. While we have yet to complete the appropriate metallurgical testing to confirm compatibility with the flowsheet selected for the Batman deposit, we are encouraged by the work recently completed to better define the geologic resource.”