The ASX-listed company has come a long way since listing on the bourse back in 2004 as Crusader Holdings with ground in the Southern Cross region of WA.
Fast-forward 12 years and Crusader now wholly owns two gold development projects: Borborema and Juruena, as well as the Posse iron ore mine where it has been producing high-grade hematite ore since 2013. Between the projects, Crusader has over 130,000m of drilling and almost 3moz of gold resources.
Crusader Resources’ executive director Paul Stephen said next year would be a game-changer for the company with Juruena expected to be brought into production.
“At Juruena we are planning a staged development concentrating on the highest grade deposits,” he said.
“We have little doubt that further exploration around the current known resources will yield significant results, however we already have sufficient ounces to justify production and the opportunity to take advantage of the depressed currency in Brazil and availability of mining services and equipment following the downturn in iron ore and oil prices is very attractive. “
Crusader’s second gold project can only be described as a true exploration success.
“As a company we also like to take a practical approach to developing our projects. Juruena is in the Amazon, it’s very high grade and the fit for purpose approach is a selective mining operation with a small footprint, avoiding big infrastructure costs that can always hamstring an operation and delay development by going too big too early.” Stephen said.
Crusader has currently conducted drilling on five of these prospects. At Dona Maria, one gold intercept was particularly impressive with hole MD-09 returning 10m @ 101g/t gold from 125m including a spectacular 0.4m @ 2,009 g/t gold from 133m. Donna Maria currently has a JORC inferred resource of 74,000oz at 11.8g/t that will be updated with the results above by the end of the year.
In a further sign it is ramping up towards production at Juruena, Crusader has purchased a primary crushing plant with maximum capacity of 100t/h from Brazilian equipment supplier and foundry GNA and been successful in getting a mining licence over the Querosene prospect, the most advanced of the current prospects, and likely first production through an expansion of the existing open pit operations.
Crusader’s second gold project can only be described as a true exploration success. After spending time in Western Australian Tropicana gold belt, Crusader’s managing director Rob Smakman identified the North Eastern corner of Brazil as displaying similar geological features.
He acquired a large continuous land package including the Borborema gold project that was an historic heap leach mine.
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Crusader has completed 90,000m of drilling over the project with a bankable feasibility study (BFS) due to be completed next year converting the project to a carbon in leach (CIL) operation.
“Borborema is a much larger project and is the only major gold resource in Brazil which will be fully licenced and ready for development in 2017,” he said.
With a measured, indicated and inferred mineral resource estimate of 2.43moz @ 1.10 g/t gold, open in all directions, the project hosts three granted mining leases covering a total area of 29sq km including freehold title over the main prospect area.
Crusader is currently testing over six tonnes of samples from Borborema in Australia as part of an extensive metallurgical testwork program to confirm the process route going forward. Results will form the basis of an updated feasibility into the project’s development.
One of the most significant steps towards Borborema’s development is expected over the next few weeks with the project expected to receive a full mining permit.
Crusader has also had significant success on the bulk commodity front with its Posse iron ore mine where it has been producing high-grade hematite since 2013.
“We have had a fantastic experience with Posse. Since we opened the project, which we bought for $2 million, we have booked about $40 million in revenue and net cash flow of approximately $12 million. Not bad considering the state of the iron ore markets over the last couple of years,” Stephen said.
Mr Stephen said with the iron ore price around $76 a tonne the local Pig Iron markets in Brazil are certainly better than we had expected or budgeted for.
Crusader boasts over 12 years of in-country experience and has forged a reputation in the Brazilian mining community as a company able to deliver results. Recent appointments of highly experienced mineral process engineer Carlos Fonseca and senior geologist Luis Navarro is further evidence that the company is getting the team in place to quickly ramp up to gold production.