Australia-based SolGold has released a maiden resource for the Alpala deposit at its Cascabel copper-gold porphyry project in Ecuador.
Australia-based SolGold (TSX:SOLG,LSE:SOLG) has released a maiden resource estimate for the Alpala deposit, located at its Cascabel copper-gold porphyry project in Ecuador.
Indicated and inferred resources total 1.08 billion tonnes at 0.68 percent copper equivalent (CuEq) (7.4 million tonnes CuEq) at a 0.3-percent CuEq cut off, with 40 percent in the indicated category (by tonnage).
The resource estimate was calculated using 53,616 meters of drilling; that’s about 84 percent of the 63,500 meters of drilling completed by SolGold at the site to date. The company is waiting on results from the remaining 9,844 meters of drill core.
Further highlights of the Alpala resource estimate include:
- Contained metal content totals 5.2 million tonnes of copper and 12.3 million ounces of gold, some 45 percent of which is in the indicated category (by contained metal).
- Higher-grade core stands at 120 million tonnes at 1.8 percent CuEq (2 million tonnes CuEq) at a 1.1-percent CuEq cut off, some 60 percent of which is in the indicated category (by tonnage).
- A further 100 million tonnes at 1-percent CuEq (1 million tonnes CuEq) is added to the high-grade core if a 0.9-percent CuEq cut off is used, some 50 percent of which is in the indicated category (by tonnage).
The firm notes that the average grade of all meters drilled to date on the project stands at 0.3-percent copper and 0.24 g/t gold.
“This maiden Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) is a tremendous start and in our view by no means represents a final size or grade because the deposit is still growing. That the maiden MRE is so big, achieved with so few drill holes and that such a large percentage is in the indicated category is testimony to the size of the system at Alpala,” said Nick Mather, SolGold’s CEO and managing director.
The company plans to announce updated resource estimates throughout 2018, followed by a preliminary economic assessment and a prefeasibility study later in 2018.
“Unlike many producers, this project is unhedged to copper prices going into what we see as a copper bull market for some years to come,” said Mather.
Copper prices hit a three-and-a-half-year high in late December. Prices rose about 19 percent last year after strikes at mining operations in South America impacted the market. As more employee contracts come up for renewal in 2018 the risk of additional strikes remains.
Experts are bullish on copper prices as demand in top-consumer China improves. Meanwhile, the International Copper Study Group has forecast a deficit of 105,000 tonnes in 2018.
The Cascabel concession is 100 percent held by Exploraciones Novomining, in which SolGold has an 85-percent interest. Joint venture partner Cornerstone Capital Resources (TSXV:CGP) owns the remaining 15 percent. SolGold also has a 5.8-percent interest in Cornerstone Capital Resources.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Shaw, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.