GoldQuest Mining has commissioned a prefeasibility study (PFS) and a subsequent feasibility study of its 100% owned Romero gold-copper project in the Dominican Republic. Work on the PFS began in November and is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2016. The feasibility study will begin immediately upon completion of the PFS, with completion scheduled before the end of 2016.

The Romero project is located on GoldQuest’s Tireo property in the Central Cordillera of the Dominican Republic near the San Juan provincial capital of San Juan de La Maguana. Indicated mineral resources stand at 19.4 million mt grading 2.63 g/mt gold, 0.63% copper, 0.29% zinc, and 3.7 g/mt silver, with contained gold totaling 1.65 million oz.

The studies will build on a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) completed in April. The PEA considered development of a 2,500-mt/d underground mine producing a total of 750,000 oz of gold, 133.8 million lb of copper, and 526,000 oz of silver in concentrate over a nine-year mine life.

Mineralization is relatively stratabound and flat lying. The mine would be accessed via a spiral decline. Mining would be based on longhole and drift-and-fill methods, with cemented paste backfill. Ore would be trucked to surface.

Pre-production capital expenditure to develop the project is estimated at $143 million, and life-of-mine all-in sustaining production costs are estimated at $572/ gold equivalent oz.

Metal recoveries are estimated at 75% for gold and 96.8% for copper to a single concentrate for sale to copper smelters. The concentrate grade is estimated at 20% copper and 76.9 g/mt gold, with no perceived penalty elements.

The PEA noted that permitting for the Romero project carries some risk due to its proximity to a national park and the San Juan and La Guama rivers. “As project plans progress, it will be important to not encroach on the park, to complete thorough and scientifically defensible baseline environmental studies, and to conduct an effective engagement and consultation program from the community to the national level,” the PEA stated.