Xanadu delivers substantial resource upgrade for Kharmagtai ahead of PFS

Mongolia’s porphyry copper belts. Credit: Xanadu

A substantial resource upgrade for Xanadu Mines’ (ASX: XAM, TSX: XAM) flagship Kharmagtai project in Mongolia has cemented its status as one of the largest undeveloped gold-rich copper assets globally.

Located in South Gobi region, the Kharmagtai project is being developed together with China’s Zijin Mining Group, which has invested about $35 million into its development.

The 2023 resource update is derived from Xanadu’s drilling results over the past 24 months, which included 162 holes for more than 58,000 metres.

It is estimated that Kharmagtai now boasts 790 million tonnes of indicated material containing 2.1 million tonnes of copper and 5.6 million ounces of gold, which are 50% higher for each than the previous estimate in 2021.

The project also has 460 million tonnes of inferred material containing 1.3 million tonnes of copper and 2.8 million ounces gold, both down from the previous estimate due to resource category upgrades.

Highlighted in the resource upgrade was a 25% increase in the higher-grade component to over 125 million tonnes at 0.75% copper-equivalent, which Xanadu says is expected to enhance project cashflows in the early years.

“This upgraded resource is a major milestone for Xanadu and our joint venture partner Zijin Mining and reinforces Kharmagtai as one of the largest undeveloped copper and gold resources on ASX and globally,” stated Xanadu’s executive chairman and managing director Colin Moorhead.

“The result is in line with our expectations for both the tonnes and the grade, and it is materially better where it matters. The higher-grade zones (0.75% CuEq) that drive our project economics and capital payback are now 25% larger, and these well-defined, large, high-value zones really set Kharmagtai apart from similarly sized orebodies,” he added.

As the project operator, Xanadu is pushing ahead with a pre-feasibility study (PFS) and an inaugural mineral reserve estimate, which are expected in the third quarter of 2024.

According to Moorhead, the new resource upgrade marks the completion of the largest data acquisition step in the Kharmagtai PFS, and the company is now commencing trade-off studies to select a single go-forward project design.

“With 63% of the mineral resource estimate now classified as ‘indicated’ and holding together at rigorous cut-off grades, we have confidence in its ability to underpin a long life, profitable mine operation across a wide range of metals prices,” he said.