New mining technology uncovering Mongolian gold

Tuesday September 15, 2009 12:54:19 PM GMT
GOLD-CONFERENCE/IVANHOE
By Steve James
DENVER, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Mine engineers using technology that can identify ore bodies more than 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) underground have discovered new gold and copper deposits below Mongolia's Gobi desert, Ivanhoe Mines Chairman Robert Friedland said on Tuesday.
Ivanhoe is using the proprietary "Zeus" technology -- which measures electrical conductivity to locate mineral deposits -- along a 20-km (12-mile) stretch near Ivanhoe's Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project, he told the Denver Gold Forum industry gathering.
Meanwhile, Ivanhoe is awaiting final approval by the Mongolian government, of Oyu Tolgoi, after the country's parliament recently approved mining law changes that removed most remaining hurdles for its start-up operations.
Friedland said he was not involved in negotiations going on with the government and could not speak further about the project, one of the world's largest gold deposits, containing at least 46 million ounces.
But the Ivanhoe chief did speak about new discoveries in the area some 50 miles (80 km) from the border with China.
"Recently we found a new deposit, called Heruga, which is a 13 million-ounce gold deposit in its own right, with about 16 billion tonnes of copper," Friedland said.
He said another, as yet unnamed deposit had been located in the area, using Zeus, which was developed by a company called Goviex and is licensed to Vancouver-based Ivanhoe.
"This is non-invasive exploration technology like you would experience if you had a liver problem and needed a CAT scan or if there was something wrong with your brain and you needed an MRI.
"What we're doing is stretching enormous copper wires across he Gobi...and through those wires we put an enormous electrical current," said Friedland.
"This is technology that separates the needles from the haystacks," he said, adding that results of the survey allow mining engineers "to directly see copper and gold." The information is then sent to the drill rigs which can drill straight into the ore body, avoiding the hit-and-miss of traditional mining.
"It would be like burying a 1957 Volkswagen a mile or two deep and discerning whether it is a '57 or '58 model from the shape of the rear bumper," Friedland said.
He said Oyu Tolgoi and other discoveries will be a boon for Mongolia's economy, giving it over 100 years of mining, boosting Gross Domestic Product by 30 percent and increasing employment by 10 percent.
Mongolia's finance minister said on Aug. 25 that the agreement with Ivanhoe would be concluded within two weeks. Ivanhoe and partner Rio Tinto said they expected to sign a deal soon.
(Editing by David Gregorio)


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