View imagery from our Alpala operations
View imagery from our Alpala operations
The Alpala deposit is the main target in the Cascabel concession, located on the northern section of the heavily endowed Andean Copper Belt, the entirety of which is renowned as the base for nearly half of the world’s copper production. The project area hosts mineralisation of Eocene age, the same age as numerous Tier 1 deposits along the Andean Copper Belt in Chile and Peru to the south. The project base is located at Rocafuerte within the Cascabel concession in northern Ecuador, an approximately three hour drive on sealed highway north of Quito, close to water, power supply and Pacific ports.
Alpala has produced some of the greatest drill hole intercepts in porphyry copper-gold exploration history, as exemplified by Hole 12 (CSD-16-012) returning 1560m grading 0.59% copper and 0.54 g/t gold including, 1044m grading 0.74% copper and 0.54 g/t gold.
Location Imbabura province, northern ecuador
Tenement area 50km2
Ownership 85% ESNA
Status Advanced exploration, drilling
Infrastructure 3 hour drive from Quito 180km from deep water port, Esmeraldas 30km from Hydropower Network
Deposit type Copper-gold porphyry
The tenement lies on the margin of the Eocene and Miocene metallogenic belts which are renowned for hosting some of the world’s largest porphyry copper and gold deposits
Northern Ecuador lies within the under-explored northern section of the richly endowed Andean Copper Belt, which extends from Chile in the south to Colombia in the north and then north-west into Panama. The tenement lies on the margin of the Eocene and Miocene metallogenic belts which are renowned for hosting some of the world’s largest porphyry copper and gold deposits, like the giant La Escondida Copper Mine in Chile, which is the world’s largest producer of copper and hosted within the same age host rocks as Cascabel.
The project is located within the Cordillera Occidental (or Western Cordillera) of the Ecuadorian Andes. Basement rocks consist of ocean floor basalts and sediments of Cretaceous age. High-level Eocene (and possibly Late-Miocene) batholiths and associated granite, granodiorite and diorite bodies intrude volcanic and sedimentary rocks of Cretaceous to Tertiary age. The regional controls that localise gold and copper mineralisation at Cascabel are intimately related with the three-dimensional interaction of deep seated NE-trending 1st order (arc-parallel) structures, with NW-trending 2nd order (arc-normal) faults, and NNW-trending 3rd order structures.
Within the Cascabel concession, volcanic and sedimentary rocks are intruded by a number of Quartz diorite, diorite and hornblende diorite stocks and dykes. The SolGold field teams completed 1:500 scale, “Anaconda” style geological mapping over the tenement area and all high priority porphyry target centres have been elevated to drill ready status.
The November 2018 Alpala MRE update, dated 15/11/18, was estimated from 68,173 assays, with 66,739 assays representing diamond drill core samples, and 1434 assays representing rock-saw channel samples cut from surface rock exposures. Drill core samples were obtained from total of 133,576m of drilling comprising 128 diamond drill holes, including 75 drill holes (Holes 1-75), 34 daughter holes, 8 redrills, and 11 over-runs, and represents full assay data from holes 1-67 and partial assay data received from holes 68 to 75. Rock-saw samples were obtained from 2743m of rock-saw cuts from 262 surface rock exposure trenches. In contrast, the Dec 2017 Maiden MRE was estimated from 26,814 assays obtained from 53,616m of drilling comprising 45 drill holes (Holes 1-33) including 10 daughter holes and 5 redrills.
There now exists approximately triple the amount of drilling and assay information since the maiden MRE of December 2017, and this has resulted in significant growth in tonnage (approximately 273%) and contained metal (approximately 108%) and a far greater proportion of the MRE now being in the Indicated Mineral Resource category (2018: 77%, 2017:40%).
The November 2018 Alpala updated Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) totals a current:
Alpala updated MRE across both Indicated and Inferred classifications equates to a current 2.95 Bt @ 0.52% CuEq (15.4 Mt CuEq) containing 10.9 Mt Cu and 23.2 Moz Au at 0.2% CuEq cut-off, 79% of which is in the Indicated category (by metal content).
The Alpala deposit includes a 420 Mt High Grade Core @1.47% CuEq (6.1 Mt CuEq) containing 3.8 Mt Cu and 12.3 Moz Au at a 0.9% CuEq cut-off, 97% of which is in the Indicated category (by metal content).
The November 2018 MRE update is reported using a cut-off grade of 0.2% copper-equivalent (CuEq) which SolGold and SRK Consulting consider to be reasonable, reflecting the potential for economic extraction by high production rate mass mining methods such as block caving. The central portions of the deposit present an opportunity for early extraction of higher grade material.
The updated MRE is presented on a 100% basis and has an effective date of 7th November 2018. It represents an overall reported resource increase of 108% (by metal content) from 7.4Mt CuEq in Dec 2017 Maiden MRE (at a cut-off of 0.3% CuEq) to the current 15.4 Mt CuEq (at a cut-off of 0.2% CuEq).
The MRE is reported in accordance with the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Definition Standards for Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (May 2014).