Gold being sieved from larger material at one of Glass
Earth Gold's recovery units, pictured near near Omakau last
year. Photo by Sarah Marquet.
The fortunes of boutique gold producer Glass Earth Gold
are gaining momentum, as weekly Central Otago gold production
surpasses $NZ150,000 and the company confirms private placement
funding well beyond a targeted $C3 million ($NZ3.68 million),
from investors worldwide.
While having spent about $40 million in exploration in recent
years, mainly in Otago, Glass Earth's cashflow has run
perilously low at times, but in one of the toughest capital
raising environments experienced in recent years it has
secured further investment funds. Glass Earth has two
alluvial (loose) gold recovery operations in the Manuherikia
Valley. Recent success in gleaning up to 80 ounces per week
from the tenements has prompted it to offer two small
franchise operations - one of which has been taken up in the
From modest 10-ounce-per-week recoveries beginning in March
last year, Glass Earth began recovering up to 70 ounces
weekly from August to October and was now ''steadily''
getting 70 to 80 ounces per week, chief executive Simon
Henderson said yesterday.
He described the potential of the franchise operations, in
the Ida Valley and Maniototo, as ''modest'' prospects of
potentially ''a few thousand ounces'', which in the Ida
Valley might be a year's work for a three-man crew. Glass
Earth had borne all costs of exploration, consenting and
permitting of the prospects so far, and the franchisee would
take an undisclosed minority share in any profits.
Mr Henderson said $C3 million had been sought in private
placements, with two tranches closed and the third and last
closing next week. He expected the final amount raised to be
''well beyond'' the original target. However, ''capital
raising at the moment is tough out there'', he said.
So far about 50% of the private placement raised was from New
Zealand interests, and the balance spread across investors
from Canada, London and Europe, Mr Henderson said.
The entire private placement would be used for exploration
programmes in the Hauraki, central North Island prospects for
gold and silver, while in Central Otago the prospects are now
cash-flow positive, with potential to grow.
Mr Henderson said he hoped productivity of the gold recovery
units could be raised by 20% to 85% by the end of March,
which should boost weekly production to 100 to 120 ounces.
For Glass Earth to access its Manuherikia Valley alluvial
gold, it is taking five metres of ''overburden'' from above
the target area. The two operations are then ''washing'' up
to 1000cu m of material per day, to get up to 10oz or more of