The recent signing of the shareholder agreement between Toronto-listed Sunridge Gold and the Eritrean National Mining Corporation has accelerated activities on the Asmara copper- zinc-gold project and the mine is on track to start production in 2015. The Asmara project is to be held and operated by the Asmara Mining Share Company of which Sunridge has a 60% share and Enamco 40%.
A three-phase start-up design will reduce initial capital costs. During phase 1A, the high-grade copper direct shipping ore (DSO) will be mined from the Debarwa deposit by open-pit methods, crushed and loaded into containers and transported 120km to Massawa for shipping and sale to a smelter.
To access the DSO zone found about 30m from surface, the enriched gold oxide cap at the surface will be mined, and this material, along with the similar gold cap from Emba Derho will make up Phase 1B, which is the open-pit mining of the gold caps from both deposits with recovery of the gold by heap-leaching methods. Providing that the mining licence is issued as expected in late 2014 or early 2015, and funding is in place, phase 1 production should start in the fourth quarter of 2015.