SolGold, the Australian originated, UK/Canadian listed small exploration group that now has BHP and Newcrest Mining as major shareholders, has produced another massive upgrade of its key copper/gold resource in Ecuador.
SolGold told the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday night that the new update has almost doubled the mineral resource estimate at its Alpala Porphyry copper-gold deposit in Northern Ecuador.
The high-grade resource had risen 99% — at a 0.96% copper equivalent cut off — to 420 million tonnes at 1.47% copper equivalent.
Overall, the resource metal content rose 77% at a 0.3 copper equivalent cut-off and by 108% at a 0.2% copper equivalent cut-off.
The Alpala Deposit is within company’s flagship Cascabel copper‐gold porphyry project in Northern Ecuador
The project now has a Total Mineral Resource estimated of 3 billion tonnes at a copper equivalent grade of around 0.5% Cu.
Alpala is estimated to contain an ‘indicated’ 8.4 million tonnes of copper metal and 19.4 million ounces of gold and an ‘inferred’ 2.5 million tonnes of copper metal and a further 3.8 million ounces of the yellow metal. That is not the recoverable resource estimate though.
This is up from the previous estimate of 1 billion tonnes at a copper equivalent grade of around 0.7% Cu eq.
‘We are very happy with the rapid and inexorable growth of this resource and progression of the Alpala project,’ chief executive Nick Mather said in the statement.
“The high grade, gold rich core of the deposit now contains double the copper and gold at a higher grade than in December 2017. The high‐grade resource has increased in size by 99%. Overall, the resource metal content has increased by 108% compared to the maiden MRE (estimate).
“The project has now surpassed the generally held requirements to be recognized as having Tier 1 status for both copper and gold projects worldwide. Alpala has got more to grow yet, and we are pursuing that aggressively over the coming months. The Preliminary Economic Analysis is advancing and Feasibility Studies will follow seamlessly. Our aim is to fast track towards development.
We have secured a 100% interest in 11 other high priority copper-gold targets throughout the 750 kilometre length of Ecuador, and our aim is to define a pipeline of Tier 1 and world-class copper-gold projects along a 750 km stretch of the most neglected sector of the Andean Copper Belt, the world’s most prolific copper province. We aim to drill test these as soon as possible, Mr. Mather said in the statement.
BHP is in the process of building a stake of 11.2% in SolGold via share buying and last month a placement with a two-year freeze on BHP buying further shares in the company. Newcrest has a 14.5% stake. ASX Listed DGR also owns 11% of SolGold.
The two-year freeze was a condition of a private placement agreement in October that will see BHP pay a 30% premium to market prices this week for an extra 5% of SolGold.