British mining company Western Tethyan Resources (WTR), a 75%-owned subsidiary of gold miner Ariana Resources, has announced a 78% increase in gold resource estimates at its Slivova gold project in Kosovo.

WTR, which is still in the early stages of developing the gold project, measured a confirmed 0.15oz of gold per tonne (oz/t) in 835,000t of resources, in the first mineral resource estimate (MRE) since 2018. A further 546,000t of mineral-rich earth was estimated to hold 63,000oz of gold, meaning a total definable potential haul of 176,000oz. This represents a total increase of 78% from the original measurements.

The project was also revealed to have 402,000oz of measured silver, with an estimated 244,000oz more. The 646,000 defined total is an increase of 115% on previous measurements.  

WTR managing director Kerim Sener stated in an update to the London Stock Exchange: “We are increasingly confident that further resource expansions will occur as exploration proceeds at the site in the upcoming years. Several exploration targets in the immediate vicinity require follow-up and drill-testing, and the broader project area contains significant exploration potential.”

Sener continued: “We are firmly in the planning stage for a new drilling programme at Slivova. We are targeting a minimum resource of 200,000oz of gold prior to the initiation of more advanced project development work and technical studies.”

Although the defined resources of gold at the site fall below that tally, in the coming months 4,500m of drilling will be conducted at the site and others around it to better define the current deposits and explore other potential mineral targets.

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WTR purchased 85% of the Slivova project in September 2022 from Canadian miner Avrupa Minerals for $37m. At the time, assays had only indicated 98,700oz of gold. If it chooses to develop the project, WTR can pay $2.02m (£1.54m) to increase its stakeholding to 85%.

It has the potential to increase interest in a fledgling mineral market in Kosovo. The country only has one operational gold mine, Trpeza mine, and although there are other, high potential projects in development, they are also yet to enter production.