The Company currently holds a 100% interest in the exploration permits for the Chon-Kaindy Property in Kyrgyzstan, which consists of five mineralization areas – Aksu, Promejutochnyi, Karabalta, Mazar-Ashu North, and Mazar-Ashu South. The license area covers some 408 km2.
The most explored to date is the Mazar-Ashu South mineralization area which, in turn, forms one geological structure together with the Mazar-Ashu North mineralization area, where a large amount of exploration work has been performed as well.
The data and assay results gained on Mazar-Ashu South only, make us admit that the mineralized zone identified contains approximately 580 million tons of ore with the average copper and gold grades of 0.8-0.9% and 0.2 g/t respectively, which is equivalent to 4 600 thousand tons of copper and 116 tons of gold. For more details about the data, our assumptions are based on, please, refer to Exploration Results Presentation and Wardell Armstrong Qualified Person Report on the Investors page.
The other three mineralized areas – Aksu, Promejutochnyi, and Karabalta were less explored yet, but, we believe, have great Exploration Potential as they belong to one geological system.
The property is located in the Chuy province – the northernmost province of the Kyrgyz Republic approximately 130 km southwest of the capital Bishkek.
The area is located in a favorable geographical and economic environment – close to the densely populated and industrialized part of the Chui Valley.
Although at a high altitude (>3,600 m), the Project area is very well serviced by roads (highway Bishkek-Osh), power (PL-35 kW), and communications (mobile telephony & Internet).
Access to the site is very good, via the main road to Osh from Bishkek, initially west to Kara Balta, then south to a turn of 113 km from Bishkek. From here, a narrow dirt road heads due west, past a small horse farm, before turning north and climbing to the camp.
Although the dirt road is in poor condition in places, the upgrade of this to a proper access road would appear to be relatively straightforward.
Looking North Towards the Project Area
Between 1962 and 1986, there were several exploration programs undertaken on a regional and local scale. These works comprised of compiling and/or updating geological maps as well as undertaking geological and lithogeochemical studies on the gold occurrences and ore-bearing structures at scales of 1:25,000-1: 50,000. During these studies, a number of occurrences for gold, copper, lead, and rare metals were identified.
When studying these works, four main mineralized clusters were identified: Mazar-Ashu, Kara-Balta, Promejutochnyi, and Aksu.
Further analysis of spectrozonal satellite images showed that the most prospecting areas are the Mazar-Ashu and Promejutochnyi areas.
In this regard, exploration in the field seasons 2013-2015 was focused on the Mazar-Ashu North area, and in the 2016-2019 seasons on the Mazar-Ashu South area.
In other prospecting areas, field works were very limited.
As a result of the retreat of the glacier, it became possible to access the previously covered area. Because the position of the glaciers until the beginning of the 90s was at 3400-3500 m and the location of mineralization was over 3 800 m, it made it possible to discover an earlier unknown copper-gold porphyry mineralization, which was made by Neon Mining in 2013-2016.
GEOLOGY & MINERALISATION
The geological structure of Kyrgyzstan is very complex. Basement rocks comprise Archean and Proterozoic metamorphic complexes, whilst folded structures are formed by Paleozoic sedimentary and volcanogenic formations. Intermountain areas are formed by Mezo-Cenozoic unconsolidated sediments.
Importantly, igneous rocks play a large part in the geology of Kyrgyzstan with Baikal, Caledonian, and Hercynian granite intrusions dispersed throughout the region.
Distinct tectonic zoning is represented by the different age of the fold system which is characteristic of the Tien Shan seen in Kyrgyzstan. In broad terms, the Northern Tien Shan is a Caledonian fold area, whilst the Southern Tien Shan is Hercynian. The Middle Tien Shan can trace both Caledonian and Hercynian tectonic movements.
Tien Shan Regional Geology
The Northern Tien Shan covers the northern regions of Kyrgyzstan and is bounded to the south by tectonic contacts. V.A. Nikolayev, a famous geologist, discovered and defined it as the most important structural line of the Tien Shan (Nikolayev’s Line).
Pre-Paleozoic metamorphic and Lower Paleozoic island-arc sedimentary-volcanogenic formations prevail in the Northern Tien Shan. Middle and Upper Paleozoic volcanogenic and terrigenous rocks are secondary. Granitoids of the Ordovician-Silurian period occupy approximately half of the region on the surface. The main folding is Caledonian. The area experienced tectono-magmatic activation in the Middle and Late Paleozoic period.
Caledonides of the Northern Tien Shan form a southward “convex bow” on the general plan. The strike of rocks and structures in the west are mostly northwestern, in the central part it is east-west and in the east, northeastern.
Numerous gold deposits have been discovered in the Northern Tien-Shan (Jerooy, Taldybulak Levoberezhnyi, etc.), copper porphyry deposits (Talas Taldybulak, Andash, Aktash, Severnyi), rare earth deposits (Kutessai), lead-zinc, silver, arsenic, beryllium, aluminum, vanadium, and bismuth deposits.
The Middle Tien Shan stretches in an east-west direction (20-100km wide) to the south of the Northern Tien Shan. The Talas-Fergana transverse fault divides it into two separate parts: Naryn (eastern) and Chatkal (western). Nikolayev’s line is its northern boundary, Atbashy-Inylchek fault (in the Naryn sector) and Kara-Suu fault (in the Chatkal sector) are its southern boundary.
The area of the Middle Tien Shan is formed by Proterozoic metamorphic rocks, sandstones, liparites, and tillite-like rocks of the Riphean-Vendian period, a terrigenous rock mass of the Lower Paleozoic period, and terrigenous-carbonate sediments of the Devonian and Carboniferous periods represented by tectonic blocks and plates. The rocks are intruded by granitoids of the Middle and Upper Carboniferous. Granitoids of the Proterozoic and Silurian periods are developed to a lesser extent.
Regarding the structure, the eastern and western sectors of the Middle Tien Shan differ from each other in that the folded structures in the Naryn sector have mainly an east-west strike whilst those in the Chatkal region have a northeast strike changing to a southeast strike near the Talas-Fergana fault.
The metallogeny of the Middle Tien Shan is diverse with deposits of gold (Kumtor, Makmal), copper-gold (Kuru-Tegerek, Bozymchak), lead-zinc, molybdenum, tungsten, iron, uranium, tin, antimony, as well as large wollastonite deposits.
The Southern Tien Shan replaces (to the south) folded structures of the Middle Tien Shan. In the south, it borders the folded system of the northern Pamir (to the west of the Talas-Fergana fault) and the Tarim platform (downstream of the Saryjaz river).
Sedimentary and volcanogenic rocks PZ2 and PZ3 prevail in this region. Pre-Paleozoic rocks and intrusive bodies are secondary. The main folding phase is Upper Paleozoic. Granitoid magmatism is widely spread.
The Southern Tien Shan, as distinct from the Northern and Middle Tien Shan, is formed by the Middle Paleozoic rocks developed in a geological setting from mid-oceanic ridges to the passive margin of the continent. The processes of overthrust-folding tectonics and intensive Hercynian orogeny can be observed in this area.
Minerals of the Southern Tien Shan are represented by ores of gold (Tokhtozan, Altyn Jylga), copper (Oital), antimony (Kadamjai, Abshir), mercury (Khaidarkan, Chonkoi), silver, tungsten, tin, aluminum, lead-zinc, arsenic, cobalt, strontium, tantalum and niobium, iron.
Local Geology and Mineralization
The geological structure of the study area comprises metamorphic formations of a poorly-defined Proterozoic system, terrigenous sediments of Middle-Upper Ordovician age and Upper Proterozoic age, as well as Quaternary age.
Geological Map of Chon-Kaindy License Area based on Historical Mapping
The Karabalta formation (O2kb) is divided into two sub-groups based on lithology and colour: Lower (O2kb1) and Upper (O2kb2). Rocks of the Upper subsuite are not seen in the area. The Lower subsuite is also divided into three series: series 1, 2, and 3.
These three series are composed of polymictic sandstone, conglomerates, clayey shales, siltstones, and phyllitic shales. The thickness of these series varies from 500 m to 750 m.
Baktybayskaya formation (O3bb) is divided into five series with four of them located within the license area.
The series comprises conglomerates, rounded pebbles, polymictic and arkose sandstones, black shales, and siltstone. The sandstones contain rare bands of brownish-grey, brown, and green siltstones. The apparent thickness of the series varies from 200 m to 300 m.
Ortomintukumskaya formation (D3om) is divided into four series (1, 2, 3, and 4) based on their lithologies. Series 1 and 2 are observed within the license area.
Series 1 and 2 are comprised of brown-red conglomerates, well-rounded pebbles, sandstone, siltstone, and rarely volcanic and intrusive formations. The apparent thickness of the series varies from 100 m to 400 m.
Quaternary formations are widely spread in the area, covering up to 20-25% of the area. They are divided into the Upper Quaternary, Lower Quaternary undifferentiated-recent, recent modern, and undifferentiated sediments.
They are comprised of glacial boulder and block formation; alluvial (pebble and sand), proluvial, and moraines, etc.
Intrusive rocks are widely distributed covering 60-65% of the area. They are present within the Late Proterozoic, Late Ordovician, and Silurian intrusive complexes and, very rarely, Late Paleozoic and Early Devonian dykes and dyke-like bodies.
Late Proterozoic (Riphean) intrusives are represented by two complexes – Mazarashuysky and Asparinsky.
The Mazarashuysky complex (PR2?M) is seen as granitoids whilst the Asparinsky complex series is in the form of remnants of the granitoids. Gabbro is converted into a gabbro-diorite and melanocratic diorite. The contacts between the gabbro-diorite and gabbro are gradual. Diorites have a sharp contact with the gabbros.
Gabbro and gabbro-diorite (ν-νδPR2?M) are apparently represented by a massive fine-medium-grained, medium-grained rocks of dark green colour.
Melanocratic diorites (δPR2?M) have a lighter colour than the above with secondary quartz and microcline. In addition, some primary gabbros are seen.
The Asparinsky complex (PR2?A) is observed in three phases, although only the first and second phases are observed within the area.
The first phase (δ1PR2?A) shows a grey-green medium-quartz diorite, often with a gneissic texture. The second phase is comprised of undifferentiated leucocratic quartz diorites (tonalites)-plagiogranite (δ-pγ2PR2?A), granodiorites (γδ2PR2?A) and granites (γ2PR2?A).
Undifferentiated quartz leucodiorite (tonalite)-plagiogranite externally are medium-grained rocks with a light grey color and a relatively low content of mafic minerals.
In a number of areas within the undifferentiated quartz leucodiorite (tonalite)-plagiogranite, potassium alteration (microclinisation) is seen.
Late Ordovician Intrusive Formations
Dzhelamyshsky complex (γO3d) is composed of associated granite and quartz syenite. Granites are medium-grained porphyritic rocks with rose-pink and grey colour.
Quartz syenite has a similar appearance to the granites, with the only difference between them being that the syenite has high potassium feldspar and quartz, which can be determined only under a microscope.
Silurian (?) Intrusive Formations
The Alaminsky complex (S? A) has two phases. The first phase (γ1S?A) is composed of pink, pale pink massive medium to coarse-grained leucocratic granite. In the endocontact parts (width from 3 m to 50 m) they tend to become fine-grained and bright pink. Numerous hornfels xenoliths are observed in the granite.
Phase 1 Alaminsky Granite, Showing Xenolith
The second phase (γ2S?A) is represented by light grey, pink-grey leucocratic granite forming numerous dykes and dyke-like bodies, mainly among the granites of the first phase.
Early Devonian (?) Intrusive formations
This age group is represented by a subvolcanic intrusive formation dyke complex – Barkolskaya suite. A few dykes are composed of diorite porphyries (δπ D1?). Generally, diorite porphyries are grey-green, greenish-grey fine-medium-grained rock. Plagioclase, and also hornblende are subject to secondary changes: carbonisation and chloritisation.
Late Paleozoic Intrusive Formations
They are represented by quartz porphyry (rhyolite or porphyry) (λπPZ3) with 20-30 m width and 100-350 m length. Dykes are located close to each other forming a “bush”. The quartz porphyry is characterized by pink, rose-red, and orange-red colour sometimes with greenish and often with pinkish hue differences.
Faults are represented by steeply dipping thrust faults and strike-slip type. In the area, there are two major faults, the Nasonovsky thrust, and the Chon-Mazarashuysky fault. The first of these relates to the zonal boundary fault, the second to a regional, intra-block fault.
The Nasonovsky thrust fault separates hard Asparinsky Proterozoic rocks that have been thrust over younger rocks. The fault dips to the south at an angle of 30-50° and is represented by a zone of breccia and mylonite up to 20 m wide.
The Chon Mazarashuysky fault strikes to the northwest and dips to the northeast at about 80°. A zone of crushing and silicification along the fault has a thickness up to 100 m.
In addition to the above-mentioned faults, the area has developed a set of steep minor dislocations with strikes from east-west, west-northwest, northeast, and, rarely, north-south that fragment the various lithologies present.
Large folded structures within the area are not seen due to the intense fracturing and intrusive formations.
Over the years, various workers have identified a number of occurrences of gold, copper, lead, and placer gold was identified within the Chon-Kaindy License Area. Many of these occurrences were found through basic field mapping, ridgeline and talus sampling as well as lithochemical sampling where appropriate.
The conclusions from this work were that gold represented the important manifestation to focus on, and based on the morphological features, spatial position, the composition of the host rocks, four groups of gold manifestation were identified.
The first type, which is the most extensive, is related to quartz veins in quartz diorites, undifferentiated plagiogranites of the Asparinsky complex. The thickness is usually thin from 10-40 cm, with short lengths of tens of meters. They exhibit pinch and swell morphology and are composed of high-temperature quartz, with some garnet aggregates. Sulfides include pyrite, chalcopyrite, and galena. Native gold occurs in quartz and pyrite.
The second type is seen in amphibolites, amphibole schist of the Chulaminsky unit, undifferentiated gabbro, diorite-gabbro, and granitoid complex of the Mazarashuysky, and the second phase of the Asparinsky complex. Here, in conjunction with the Mazarashuysky fault, feathering structures has resulted in an intense pyritization zone (pyrite content up to 30%) with dimensions of 1.5×0.7 km, elongated in a northwesterly direction. Crushed samples revealed pyrite, rarely chalcopyrite and galena.
In the third group, gold is noted in skarnified xenoliths among intrusive formations.
In the fourth group, gold was recognized and localized in a lamprophyre dyke situated among Ortomintukumsky Formation sediments.
In addition to the gold, a small amount of copper and copper-gold occurrences and mineralized points are localized in quartz veins and veinlets, vein silicification zones, and zones of fractured rocks. Mineralization is represented by minor amounts of chalcopyrite, galena rarely, malachite, and azurite smears. None of these are of commercial interest at this time.
The results to-date, two main types of copper-gold mineralization have been identified, notably, a gold-bornite type developed within stockworks associated with the emplacement of monzonites into gabbroides with fragments of magnetite-garnet skarn (800m x 1.4km), and chalcopyrite type which appears to be developed on the periphery of the first type of mineralization (1.5 x 7km).
Also, a zone of gold-rich epithermal type of mineralization (diatreme, silica cap?) has been discovered within 1 km from the zone of gold-silver-copper mineralization.
In total, this zone of gold-copper mineralization is developed within brecciated hornfels and metavolcanics with a width of 3 km and length (in a northwest direction) of up to 7km.