Shares in Ecuador-focused miner SolGold (LON:SOLG) (TSX:SOLG) received a fresh boost on Monday, after it said it had found “strongly mineralized” extensions at its 85%-owned Cascabel copper-gold project, 180 km north of the country’s capital Quito.
The discoveries, the Australian miner said, are predicted to significantly increase Cascabel’s high-grade resource tonnage. The project, located on the northern section of the prolific Andean Copper belt, has been compared to Rio Tinto’s world class Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia and the results from 11 of the 12 drilling rigs currently engaged at the Alpala cluster, SolGold said, suggest there is much more intense mineralization in the property than evident in previous drilling results.
“The current focus on drilling for extensions to the high-grade resource at Alpala is proceeding at pace and the mineralization we are encountering supports this approach,” chief executive Nick Mather said in a statement. “A collateral outcome will of course be a likely increase in the overall resource size.”
The executive also said the early intersection of strong porphyry style veining and strong visible copper sulphide mineralization confirmed Aguinaga as an important second resource target at Cascabel.
SoldGold believes that cluster has the potential to deliver a step-change to the magnitude and value of its Ecuadorian project.
The company stock jumped almost 2.3% in early trading, following the update, and was still up, though only 0.17% to 22.14p at 1:46 PM, London time.
In January, the miner tabled an astonishing maiden resource for Cascabel of 430 million indicated tonnes grading 0.52% copper and 0.43 gram gold per tonne, plus 650 million inferred tonnes grading 0.45% copper and 0.30 gram gold.
Ecuador has gained ground as a mining investment destination in the past two years 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.
Only a few days ago, Anglo American (LON:AAL) became the latest big miner to land in the South American country. Through a deal with Lumina Gold, a Toronto-listed group, the company plans to develop two copper and gold concessions there.
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.