Pinargozu Zinc Mine
Mine production from Pinargozu in 2020 is expected to be at least 1,000 tonnes per month. Production will predominantly come from currently developed areas. As such, most of the production is expected to be oxide product material with a grade of around 30%.
2020 Mine Development
During the three months ended September 30, 2020, Horzum AS began developing a new fourth adit at the 541 metre level, approximately 84 metres below the water table level, which occurs at the 625 metre level. The initial development took place in poor ground, which required extensive ground support including steel sets, mesh and extensive grouting. By the end of September 2020, approximately 130 metres of the fourth adit had been completed. The current objective is to complete approximately 60 metres of development per month in the current ground conditions. Once the more competent limestone is reached, currently expected to be an additional one to two months, the rate of development is expected to increase.
The deep zinc sulphide product, which is expected to contain a grade of between 50% to 60%, is expected to be reached once the adit has reached a length of approximately 550 metres. In addition, it is expected that the zinc sulphide product, which has already been identified just below the 625 metre level, can be extracted once the fourth adit allows this area of the mine to be dewatered. The ground between the 625 metre level and the 541metre level has had little exploration to date with the potential below the 541 metre level completely unknown. The fourth adit will allow this area to be drilled from underground and will enable the depth potential to be better delineated.
Horzum Joint Venture
In the province of Adana, south-central Turkey, there is a 80 kilometre-long corridor between the historical Horzum zinc mine in the south and the historical Ak cal/Belbasi zinc mines near Tufanbeyli in the north. This area is underlain by a northeast-southwest trending belt of carbonate-dominated rocks, the Horzum Zinc Trend (HZT), known to host Carbonate Replacement-type zinc-lead deposits. There are several known historical small high-grade oxide zinc deposits in these rocks but the HZT had never been systematically explored using modern, advanced exploration techniques and models. The potential is strong for discovery of new much larger oxide and sulphide zinc deposits.
Recognizing this potential, Pasinex began acquiring exploration properties in 2012. Late in 2012 Pasinex, through its wholly owned Turkish subsidiary, Pasinex Arama ve Madencilik AS, formed the 50/50 Horzum AS joint venture (JV) with Akmetal AS, a large Turkish mining company and historical operator of the Horzum Zinc Mine. The JV combined the technical expertise of the Pasinex team and the mining infrastructure capabilities of Akmetal AS. Pasinex transferred its exploration properties into the joint venture.
The joint venture has a mandate to explore, develop and mine for zinc and lead mineralization in the provinces of Adana and Kayseri, Turkey. The key focus area is the JV properties concentrated along the HZT extending at least 20 kilometres to the north of Horzum Mine.
The Akmetal-owned Horzum Mine produced approximately 1.0 million tonnes of zinc oxide ore grading 20% to 30% Zn from 1974 – 2000. From 1985 to 1997 it produced approximately 420,000 tons of sulphide ore. Ore was shipped to the Kayseri zinc smelter for processing. The Horzum property is not part of the JV but Pasinex controls a 5% interest in the property in exchange for providing exploration, geological and metallurgical consulting services to Akmetal for this project.
The JV acquired the Pinargozu property in 2013 from a private Turkish party for the sum of US$250,000. The Pinargozu license lies immediately to the north and east of the Horzum Mine on the HZT. The property is easily accessible by a gravel road connecting to Highway 815. In 2015, the JV made it a priority focus to develop the Pinargozu Mine in order to use cash flow from the sale of mined ore for development of the mine and exploration.
In 2012 the JV acquired the Akkaya property, located 1.5 kilometre north of Pinargzou Mine along the HZT. In 2015 additional properties were acquired along the HZT.
Turkey’s geology is very complex and consists of several continental fragments (terranes) which were joined together into a single landmass in the late Tertiary. Turkey is geologically divided into three main tectonic units: the Pontides, the Anatolides-Taurides and the Arabian Platform. Several thousand meters of shallow marine carbonates were deposited over the Anatolide-Tauride terrane during the Mesozoic. The terrane was intensely deformed, partly metamorphosed and intruded by calc-alkaline magmatism during the Late Cretaceous Alpide orogeny.
The project area straddles both the Bozkir and Geyik Dagi Units of the Central Tauride Belt portion of the Tauride-Anatolian Terrane. Post-Devonian-age strata overlie these two units in places. All three rock packages are known to host zinc mineralization.
The joint venture properties lie within the 80 kilometre-long corridor between the historical Horzum zinc mine in the south and the historical Ak cal/Belbasi zinc mines near Tufanbeyli in the north. It is underlain by a northeast-southwest trending belt of carbonate-dominated rocks which range in age from Cambrian to Upper Cretaceous. These limestones host reef breccias (which control zinc deposition near Tufanbeyli) and are subject to faults and fractures, dissolution collapse breccias, and lithological transitions (which control zinc deposition at Horzum). These limestones are primary targets for Carbonate Replacement-type zinc-lead deposits.
Carbonate Replacement Deposits (CRD) are orebodies of metallic minerals formed by the replacement of sedimentary, usually carbonate, rock by hydrothermal metal-bearing solutions in the vicinity of igneous intrusions. The mineralogy changes with distance from the intrusive rock. Closest to the intrusion is the copper-gold zone; next is the lead-silver zone, then the zinc-manganese zone. Typically CRD deposits are much younger than their host carbonates. This is in contrast to Mississippi Valley Type (MVT) deposits typically occurring along passive tectonic margins where the ages of the mineralization and the host carbonate are very similar and the ore fluids are typically low temperature (100 °C-150 °C) and have the composition of basinal brines.
The shapes of CRD deposits are often strongly controlled by faults and fractures in the rocks through which the mineralizing fluids flowed resulting in deposit shapes including “chimneys” for deposits with vertical dispositions, and “mantos” for deposits with horizontal, blanket-like orientations. Chimney deposits are often formed closer to their igneous source while manto deposits often occur further away and are defined by a strict stratigraphic control on their distribution, generally within a porous formation within a structural trap site. The igneous link to manto deposit formation is usually not conclusively proven. CRD deposits are notoriously difficult to explore for as there is a sharp contact between high grade mineralization and barren host carbonate rock. Limestone just inches from the mineralization can appear fresh with no alteration or geochemical signature.
Geochemical characteristics of the Horzum and Pinargozu deposit strongly suggest that they are CRD deposits, rather than MVT. It is thought that Pinargozu is at the oxidized manto “top” of what they conjecture could be a larger CRD orebody at depth (see figure below).
Skarn deposits are formed by direct reaction of intrusive rocks with carbonates and occur in contact with or within the igneous intrusions. No intrusive rocks have been mapped in the JV area to date. However the possibility exists for igneous bodies and skarn deposits at depth.