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Bluebird Merchant Ventures on course for first production

Drilling at Kochang is scheduled for July with process plant construction to start in September
gold mine
BigPicture
Kochang and Gubong are old underground mines n Korea

 

  • ·Korea-focused gold junior that aims to have two mines up and running by end of 2019

  • ·Management has extensive experience in narrow vein mining and re-opening old mines

  • ·Korea keen for mining to return to country

  • ·Partner Southern Gold shortly to list in London

 

What it does

"Millions of ounces of gold remain untapped within old gold mines around the world. Bluebird's mission is to bring old mines back to life by utilizing our global experience in re-opening old mines to unlock hidden value."

What it owns

Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd (LON:BMV) is working at currently closed mines at Gubong in South Korea and at nearby Kochang,

Southern Gold is the partner in the Gubong venture and also at two other mines, gold and silver mine Kochang and copper mine Taechang.

Under the arrangement, Bluebird has paid US$500,000 for a study into re-starting production at each mine along with an A$250,000 placing each time for Southern Gold.

A fourth mine is reportedly close to being added to the portfolio, though Patterson notes there are over 1,400 abandoned gold mines in South Korea and "many more opportunities.”

Bluebird does have a project elsewhere, at Batangas in the Philippines, though this is on a care and maintenance basis until changes to the country’s mining regime are clarified.

 

Gubong and Kochang are the immediate focus.

Bluebird sees the potential for a resource of greater than one million oz of gold at Gubong with a further 300,000 oz in satellite areas.

The plan is to get into profitable mining at about 30,000oz per year initially and see what the full potential might be as operations go deeper.

At Kochang, Bluebird has just received a grant from Korean state-owned firm KORES to drill three holes to help identify the position of the three known veins.

Drilling is scheduled to start in July with construction of the processing plant to get underway in September.

Samples taken by KORES from a small section at Kochang pointed to an indicated and inferred resource of 113,000oz while Bluebird has estimated the resource slightly higher at 117,000oz.

 

What the boss says: Colin Patterson, chief executive

“We are delighted to have received official confirmation of the drilling grant from KORES.

“This demonstrates the level of confidence the South Korean authorities have in the prospectivity of the Kochang Mine and Bluebird as a company.

“We also find it significant that this assistance is being provided to Bluebird, a foreign company. 

 

Video interview

 

What the broker says: SP Angel 

"News of this [Kores] grant is very positive in our view as it shows support from the Korean authorities. 

"The intention of the team to start production early next year is also good news for investors as it demonstrates a determination to de-risk the project and develop some early cash flow.

"While early production will be small to start, we suspect it will not take long to grow the scale of the operation at Kochang and also at the Gubong gold mine."

Inflection points

The intention is to re-open both the old mines simultaneously and use one processing plant to save on costs.

A permit application for Gubong has already been submitted.

Drilling at Kochang is scheduled to start in July

Both mines were closed in the seventies when the price of gold slumped but prior to that had been consistent producers for many years.

The design of the plant and the placing of the facility is expected to be determined by the end of June and be debt funded.

Blue Sky

A fourth mine might be added to the portfolio, though Patterson notes there are over 1,400 abandoned gold mines in South Korea and "many more opportunities.”

“Narrow vein underground mining is a specialist skill not many people have," he says.

“We go in and systematically mine properly, put in the right systems and mining methods and we have the utmost confidence in our ability to make money where no-one else can.”

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