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Bluebird moves closer to production in South Korea

Bluebird Merchant Ventures (AIM:BMV) has moved closer to production in South Korea by submitting its application for the “permit to develop” the Kochang mine.
Bluebird moves closer to production in South Korea Bluebird moves closer to production in South Korea Bluebird moves closer to production in South Korea Bluebird moves closer to production in South Korea Bluebird moves closer to production in South Korea

Bluebird is moving closer to reopening the Kochang gold-silver mine in South Korea

Staff reporter

Once approved, the permit will allow Bluebird to start Kochang's construction and production phases.  

As part of the process, the application's technical document will be available in the public domain for 40 working days. 

March is looking to be an important month for Bluebird, with the decision on the Gubong "permit to develop" and the drilling grant application to government-owned Korea Resources Corporation (KORES) both due this month.

Gubong's "permit to develop" application was submitted on January 23, meaning a response is expected around March 23, taking into account the 40-day period and the Korean New Year holidays.

"Since the application is largely a technical document it would be expected that in the response, clarification may be requested on some issues and the company is confident in responding positively," Bluebird said.

It added that it was confident it could reach the target of achieving production in South Korea during the December 2019 quarter.

Earlier in the year, the KORES invited Bluebird to apply for a drilling grant, with the application submitted at the end of January.

"KORES personnel have undertaken two site visits to review the planned underground drill programme and the company remains confident that the application will be accepted this month," it said.  

Bluebird said the purpose of the assisted drilling programme was to support mining activity and it would be a success if the supported programmes resulted in operating mines.

COO Charles Barclay said the development at Kochang and Gubong was progressing.

Both are historic mines that operated over the 1928-1975 and 1908-1971 periods, respectively, when gold prices were lower, mining less productive and processing far less advanced.

He said the Bluebird team had extensive experience in reopening old mine workings.

"We also have the advantage of much existing infrastructure in the form of developed tunnels, remnant areas developed but unmined due to pay limits of the day and broken ore not effectively cleared at closure.

"We also have substantial records on the two mines which were well known in their day. Gubong was the second largest gold mine in Korea for a number of years and Kochang was known for its high-grade production," Barclay said.

Bluebird's shares have climbed 13.9% in the oast six months to the current 2.79p (US3.62c).