Guyana Goldfields reported in mid-November 2011 it signed a mineral agreement with and received a mining license from the government of Guyana for its 100%-owned Aurora gold project, located about 170 km west of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana. The mining license is Guyana Goldfield’s permit to build and operate the project and is the first such license for a large-scale gold project to be issued in Guyana since 1991. The license is valid an initial 20-year term with provisions for extension on application by the company.

Guyana Goldfields expects to deliver the feasibility study for the Aurora project in mid-January 2012. Construction of the mine-site facilities and mill will begin in the first quarter of 2012 and is scheduled to be completed over a period of 24 months. The mine and mill are planned to be fully operational by the first quarter of 2014.

In a September 2011 project update, Guyana Goldfields reported its feasibility study team had locked-in some key parameters for the Aurora project. Open-pit mining is expected to include six pits within a square mile, with bottom depths varying from 70 to 315 m. The average strip ratio is expected to be between 9 and 10 to 1, waste to ore.

Underground mining will focus on the Rory’s Knoll deposit, with access via a 1,200-m-deep shaft and a main ramp from surface to allow production from several mining areas concurrently. Some underground mining will also be conducted via ramps below the Aleck Hill, Mad Kiss and East Walcott Hill pits.

Milling will be through a SAG mill and ball mill combination, with design throughput of 9,500 mt/d. Ongoing design work was focused on optimization of the grinding circuit and the tailings disposal system and acquiring vendor quotations for the various plant components, including long-lead items.

Measured and indicated open-pit resources for the Aurora project at a $1,200 gold price currently total 2.18 million oz of gold in 20.22 million mt grading 3.34 g/mt. Measured and indicated underground resources at the same price total 3.52 million oz of gold in 26.82 million mt grading 4.09 g/mt.