Firuz Alizade and the Lidya-Hod Maden Exploration Team
For the 2015 discovery of the Hod Maden gold-copper deposit in eastern Turkey
As is often the case with mineral discoveries, others had recognized the gold-copper potential of the Hod Maden property in northeastern Turkey before Lidya Madencilik arrived on the scene but were unable to advance exploration. It wasn't until Firuz Alizade, a prolific minefinder, took an interest in the project that drilling proceeded, leading to the discovery of a hundred metre width of high-grade copper and gold in 2015. Now a feasibility study is underway, with first production from Hod Maden expected at the end of 2022.
After finishing high school in Iran and England, Firuz earned a B.Sc. followed by an M.Sc. in Geological Engineering from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey in 1988. He began working for Cominco Resources' Turkey subsidiary and was promoted to project geologist in 1989. A series of exploration successes followed—first the Tac and Corak gold deposits, then the Cerratepe VMS mine. Firuz joined Denver-based Anatolia Minerals Development (Alacer) as chief geologist in 1998, managing exploration around the Copler gold deposit in eastern Turkey and other projects throughout the country. He went on to become the vice-president of Turkish operations for Alacer.
In 2014 Firuz joined Polimetal Madencilik, a subsidiary of Lidya Mining, as general manager and head of global exploration where he spearheaded the discovery of the Gediktepe polymetallic deposit in western Turkey. The same year his team secured an option to earn a 70% interest in the Hod Maden projects in the Eastern Pontides belt from Mariana Resources. After obtaining the permits Mariana had been unable to secure, Lidya started drilling. On February 5, 2015 the partners announced a 103-metre intersection of massive sulphide mineralization grading 9.0 gpt gold and 2.2% copper, including 33.4 metres grading 18.3 gpt gold and 3.3% copper.
Under Firuz's leadership, the Hod Maden project progressed from discovery to pre-feasibility in 40 months. In 2016, Sandstorm Gold Royalties purchased Mariana's 30% share of the project, plus a 2% NSR royalty. As of 2018, proven and probably reserves stand at 9.1 million tonnes grading 8.9 gpt gold and 1.4% copper (2.6 million ounces of gold and 129,000 tonnes of copper). A pre-feasibility study envisions an underground mine with an 11-year life processing 900,000 tonnes per year. Capital costs are estimated at US$272 million and all-in sustaining costs at US$374 per ounce for an extraordinary 50% internal rate of return.