Orla Mining reports initial resource for copper-gold deposit in Panama

Cerro Quema project, looking south to Idaida and Caballito. Credit: Orla Mining Ltd.

Orla Mining (TSX: OLA) (NYSE: ORLA) announced on Monday an independent mineral resource estimate for the Caballito copper-gold deposit, part of its 100% owned Cerro Quema project in southwestern Panama.

According to Orla, the Caballito deposit represents an opportunity for the company to potentially transform the scale and scope of Cerro Quema beyond the separate oxide project outlined in the July 2021 pre-feasibility study (PFS).

Cerro Quema, located on the Azuero Peninsula in Los Santos province, is an oxide heap-leach gold project containing 560,000 ounces of total probable reserves (21.7 Mt at 0.80 g/t).

The 2021 PFS contemplates an open-pit operation capable of producing 81,000 oz per year over a six-year mine life, recovering 489,000 oz of gold. The project will be developed in multiple phases, with ore mined from the La Pava and Quema-Quemita pits.

Caballito is a new zone comprised of low-arsenic copper-gold mineralization, located south of the Quemita reserve that was discovered in 2017. The deposit locally outcrops at surface, and the mineralization has been intersected over an estimated strike length of approximately 800 m and a vertical extent of approximately 400 m. It remains open along strike and at depth.

The initial mineral resource estimate for Caballito consists of 31.95 Mt of sulphide indicated resources at an average grade of 0.96% CuEq (for 676 Mlb of CuEq), plus about 22.57 Mt of sulphide inferred resources at an average grade of 0.85% CuEq (for 425 Mlb of CuEq).

“Caballito is a grassroots discovery that has the potential to transform our future in the country. We first discovered this high-grade copper-gold mineralization in 2017, and have continued to systematically explore the region, having now drilled over 40 more holes in Caballito,” Orla CEO Jason Simpson said in a news release.

Orla is now targeting a 2022 drill program aimed at expanding the known resources at Caballito, as well as the Idaida zone to the northwest. The company will also drill test several newly defined targets.

“Our regional work has highlighted coincident geophysical and geochemical anomalies in a similar geological context in targets such as La Pelona and Quemita and defined a highly prospective porphyry target at La Prieta, which we intend to drill test in 2022. We have also identified copper-gold mineralization below both of the La Pava and Quemita gold-oxide pits, requiring additional follow-up work,” Simpson said.

Shares of Orla Mining rose 3.8% by 12:10 p.m. in Toronto following release of the Caballito resource estimate. The company has a market capitalization of C$1.4 billion ($1.1bn).