SolGold starts additional drilling at flagship project in Ecuador

Ecuador-focused miner SolGold (LON:SOLG) (TSX:SOLG) said Friday it had begun additional exploration drilling at its 85%-owned Cascabel copper-gold project, 180 km north of the country’s capital Quito.

The Australian gold miner noted said efforts are now focussed on targeting high-grade extensions to the Alpala resource. It also said that an additional 13,384 metres of drilling has been completed at the project located since the release of maiden resource estimate in early January.

The Cascabel project is located in the northern portion of the Andean copper belt in Ecuador, renowned for hosting almost half the world’s copper known reserves.

“The maiden resource is just the tip of the iceberg at Alpala,” the company’s CEO and Managing Director Nick Mather noted in the update. “We are looking to substantially increase it, and focussing on high grade expansion,” he said, adding he was confident the team would find “a deep, rich root at Alpala.”

The company, which began trading in the Toronto Stock Exchange last year, plans to drill over 120,000 metres at Alpala prospect of the project over the next twelve months. It said that drilling costs have more than halved to$530 per metre, from $1,100 per metre and that it now has 12 operational rigs on site.

SolGold’s Cascabel has been compared to Rio Tinto’s world class Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia and the results from hole 26 seem to indicate there is much more intense mineralization in the property than evident in previous drilling results.

It’s located in the northern portion of the Andean copper belt in Ecuador, renowned for hosting almost half the world’s copper known reserves.

SolGold starts additional drilling at flagship project in Ecuador

Cascabel project location. (Courtesy of SolGold.)

The South American country has been gaining ground as a mining investment destination thanks to a revised regulatory framework and a major investor engagement campaign that has already attracted around 420 applications for concessions in less than a year.

Currently, the nation’s emerging mining sector employs 3,700 people, but the government estimates the figure will rise to about 16,000 in the 2017-2020 period.