CNMC says latest assessment raises estimate of gold at flagship Sokor mine, but with less confidence

Ore rocks found at a CNMC gold mine in Malaysia.
Ore rocks found at a CNMC gold mine in Malaysia.PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - CNMC Goldmine Holdings' share of gold resources in its flagship Sokor project in Malaysia increased 16 per cent after the latest independent assessment of the site, although the estimated resources are now more probable than proven compared to a year ago.

An independent assessment by Australia-based Optiro said that as at Dec 31, 2017, the project is believed to hold 724,000 ounces of measured, indicated and inferred gold, based on 13.86 million tonnes of ore and 1.6 grams of gold per tonne of ore. CNMC's share of the gold resources is 586,000 ounces, a 16 per cent increase from the last assessment in 2016.

But measured gold resources attributable to CNMC decreased 5,000 ounces to 40,000 ounces. CNMC's share of indicated gold resources, which are less certain than measured estimates, increased 6,000 ounces to 228,000 ounces. Taken together, proven resources increased by 1,000 ounces to 268,000 ounces.

Inferred resources attributable to CNMC increased 81,000 ounces, or 34 per cent, to 318,000 ounces.

CNMC, a Singapore-listed gold miner, said it is ramping up production in 2018 after five consecutive quarters of "dismal output due to low ore grades".

In a statement, CNMC chief executive Chris Lim said: "The findings of this independent review support our plans and commitment to steer the company back to higher growth this year. This report should put to rest any concerns that Sokor is no longer commercially viable after more than a year of below-average gold output since the final quarter of 2016."

CNMC shares traded at 26 Singapore cents on Thursday before the midday break and before the assessment report was published, up 2 per cent or half a cent.