Mon, 19 Jul 2010

INDONESIA is highly prospective - but it can also be a difficult country to work in, leading some investors to shy away from the country.

There have been problems in some areas with local unrest. Then there was the infamous Bre-X scandal which, although the salting of the prospect was not the work of the Indonesians but the foreign miners, left a bad taste about the country. And then there have been the mining laws - nowhere near as easy to navigate around as some of the better African jurisdictions, for example.

All that said, we’ve been talking to a few analysts lately who detect that investors are warming to Indonesia. And, it must be said, there have been no major problems with the mining laws of permitting of late to upset the applecart. One perhaps might also say that Indonesia is "moving forward".

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And, of course, if the story is good enough, the investors will take the risk.

In light of all this, Pure Speculation will keep a closer eye on Indonesian plays in the coming months.

Today we heard from Arc Exploration that it has identified a new gold prospect at Bima on Sumbawa, one of the two islands that make up West Nusa Tenggara province (immediately east of Bali). The reconnaissance work identified an epithermal gold target lying in the same belt of volcanic rocks that host Newmont Mining’s giant Batu Hijau and Elang copper-gold deposits in West Sumbawa.

On Friday, Sumatra Copper & Gold moved to take full control of five of its Indonesian gold properties in a deal with the minority interest. Earlier, SUM reported what it called bonanza grades at its Belinau project in South Sumatra province. The highest grade was 1.95m at 81.92 grams/tonne gold and 208g/t silver.

BGF Equities has just put out a note on Sihayo Gold which it says can claim to have one of the best grades among ASX emerging gold producers with open pittable projects. This followed SIH releasing an upgraded resource at its Sihayo-Pungkut in northern Sumatra. The grades at the main deposit have risen by 25 per cent to 10.7 million ounces at 2.9 grams/tonne golod, or 1.01 million contained ounces.

BGF says that, not only do the new figures give the current definitive feasibility study a boost, “but we can also look forward to strong news flow over the coming weeks and months as SIH re-starts exploration drilling”. The study is assessing the plan to produce between 60,000oz and 70,000oz a year with a mine life of eight years.