Ecuador-focused miner SolGold (LON, TSX:SOLG) has restarted its regional exploration program, following a hiatus of activities due to the government restrictions triggered by the covid-19 pandemic.
The Australian miner said it had received drilling permits for exploration activities on a number of concessions, including Target 15 (Porvenir), Target 6 (La Hueca) and Cerro Quiroz (Blanca).
“Drill rigs and equipment are being mobilized to these projects and teams are back on the ground in preparation for the commencement of scout drilling,” it said on Monday.
The company noted it had worked closely with all levels of government and local communities, providing and distributing medical supplies and covid-19-related health information.
According to the latest statistics provided by Ecuador’s Ministry of Health, the nation of 17 million has had over 47,000 infections and nearly 4,000 deaths due to the pandemic.
SolGold, a prime takeover target due to the potential of its undeveloped project in the South American country, is exploring and assessing 75 regional concessions across 14 provinces in Ecuador.
The explorer has been in talks with multiple investors since March, hoping to secure $2.85 billion to develop its flagship Alpala asset.
Once developed, the mine is expected to produce an average of 150,000 tonnes of copper, 245,000 ounces of gold and 913,000 ounces of silver in concentrate per year during its 55-year life-of-mine.
Over the first 25 years of mining, the average annual production is expected to be 207,000 tonnes of copper, 438,000 ounces of gold and 1.4 million ounces of silver.
In the last two years, Ecuador has attracted a flurry of interest from big miners looking to increase their exposure to copper. The highly conductive metal is in demand for use in renewable energy and electric vehicles, but big, new deposits are rare.