articles | 12 April 2021

Cyprus copper is high grade, and rich in the Troodos — Venus Minerals chief

Venus Minerals has started diamond drilling in the Troodos, and this means that Cyprus will soon be able to take advantage of the rising demand for copper.

“Cyprus can play a large part in this market,” commented Peter van der Borgh, managing director of Venus Minerals, a Cyprus-based mining and exploration company in operation for 15 years.

“Based on diamond drilling in combination with today’s computing technologies, we’re able to model these resources quite precisely and do some fairly accurate estimations of what we believe the metal content is,” van den Borgh told the Cyprus Mail in an interview.

“The sharp rise in the demand for copper, which is the largest Cyprus resource, is not transitory,” van den Borgh insisted. “It’s linked to the overall global quest to tackle climate change. Demand for copper will be increasing over many years to come. While Cyprus deposits are smaller than, say, the massive deposits in Peru, they are very high grade. They’re good economic deposits. And the concentrates and the products that they produce are renowned for being good quality. So I think Cyprus in general will always have a place in that market.”

Over the last year, Venus Minerals has reclassified three of the resources within what it calls the Magellan project. And we now have a resource base of about nine and a half million tonnes of ore at a grading of about .65% copper. So that’s obviously a very good base on which to build.”

For now they’re just copper, but Venus Minerals has found that these resources have gold and silver and zinc in them as well. “We’ve got a diamond drilling rig working at the moment, which drills the core and we’re taking samples out to analyse for gold and silver,” van den Borgh explained.

“So we have found a good supply of the metals we started out looking for. We’ve done a lot of confirmation on what we thought might be there. Now that is we’ve got a nice resource base, some of these things look like opportunities for further development. We’re still working on which resources are worth extracting, and we expect to make that determination this year,” he continued.

“For now, the shareholders are happy,” he noted.

In terms of technology, Venus makes use of the latest and most advanced. “Modern technologies are engineered to be more productive, they’re more streamlined. Mining today is a very much more sophisticated operation than it was 30 to 40 years ago which is when there last was any really serious mining in Cyprus, back in the mid 70s. So over the last 45 years, the mining world has come a long way on many levels. Mineral processing technologies have also advanced significantly. The recoveries are all more efficient, more cost-effective than they were 45 years ago,” van den Borgh said.

“Automation, for example, has advanced greatly as well. I’ve worked on mine sites where you don’t see very many people and a lot of tracks are automated, a lot of the underground works are done via automation. It enables you to be more efficient, quicker, less reliant on labour.”

For van den Borgh, this is one of the main areas that’s changed in his 30 years in the industry. “The safety elements are very, very different. Every decision made in mining operations now has health and safety at the core of it.”

How have these changes affected the industry? “I think there was a chap by the name of George Jones, who said in a recent speech that when he started mining in the in Western Australia back 40 odd years ago, there were four deaths in Western Australian mines, and there were no shark attacks. The day he gave the talk, there were four deaths by shark attacks and no deaths in the mining industry.”

Mining today is also done with great care for the environment. “We do use a lot of low impact, high tech methods these days. So we use we have a lot of instruments now that we can take out into the field, rather than having to dig stuff up and send it back to the lab for analysis,” van den Borgh pointed out.

“I think, on the mining side, the general technological developments themselves, in addition to the much-changed ethos, are good, with many geared towards improvements, both in terms of economics and also in health and safety.  I think the whole industry is just moving forward in that direction on a great many levels.”

The regulatory side has also stepped up, he said, “and they’re much better at setting the guidelines, setting the limits under which we operate. Monitoring has also received clear guidelines, so that we know what these obligations are exactly.”

Van den Borgh and his company are at the forefront of a larger effort that is bringing mining back to Cyprus. These companies will certainly be a source of jobs and growth in the future.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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