SolGold was born in the South-West Pacific on Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands. The collision of the huge Pacific and Australian tectonic plates resulted in a fragmented and complex geological system which produced infertile unoxidised crustal melts and dominantly low-grade porphyry systems. Back then the SolGold team operated within a primitive regulatory environment and an aggressive and dynamic physical environment on very steep terrain dominated by rainfall measured in metres and the risk of large landslides and flash floods.
Applying Our Knowledge
The SolGold team took that knowledge and experience to the gold rich northern section of the worlds most endowed copper theatre, the Andean Copper Belt. The geology is predictable, the systems are highly oxidised and gold rich in the northern sector, producing highly fertile melts and clusters of rich copper-gold porphyry targets. The Board honed in on Ecuador because it had been relatively under explored and presented a huge opportunity as the country emerged as a pro-business, mining supportive administration.
Tier One Targets
We wanted a Tier 1 discovery - one that transcends metal price cycles, is always profitable and lives for many generations. The Andean Copper Belt has a habit of delivering assets of that sort (eg. La Escondida, Chuquicamata, El Teniente and others) and it can transform SolGold as other porphyry discoveries have transformed companies of similar fortune in other parts of the world.
Why did we choose Ecuador?
Ecuador was shut for many years up until 2010 as the Government focused on oil revenues from the western Amazon Basin. Ecuador did not develop a mining culture from as far back as the great Indian aboriginal nations rule, hence there were no significant discoveries until now. Unlike the barren ‘moonscapes’ of Chile, in Ecuador explorers cannot see the orebodies through the soil vegetation, rain and cloud cover.
In 2012, when the Government decided to endorse the development of the mining industry to replace revenues from declining petroleum resources and prices; SolGold saw the opportunity. Ecuador began its collaborative and constructive liaison with industry, and we arrived, armed with experienced explorers and a set of geophysical tools that peeled back the wrapping on Ecuador's treasure, we felt we had walked in on Aladdin's cave.
Cascabel was selected after a top down search that led us to a very early stage but promising data set and a favourable deal with the tenement owner. Just 95 samples from stream sediments and rocks in the Cascabel tenement showed diagnostically critical anomalies for copper, gold and most importantly molybdenum. Molybdenum told us that this was a giant, magnetic melt hosted deposit - a porphyry, and not just a small copper-gold vein set.
SolGold negotiated the rights to 85% of the holding company, Exploraciones Novomining SA (ENSA), by expending USD2.5million and investing USD1.4million into Cornerstone Capital Resources, the vendor. Cornerstone is debt carried for expenditures to completion of the feasibility.