Another year goes by, and what a triumphant year it has been for SolGold.
We end the year as the largest most active explorer in the most under explored and prospective copper belt in the world; with an enviable budget and the largest team of well-trained, exploration geologists in Ecuador.
SolGold’s potential is no longer just in Cascabel, the Company’s upside is Ecuador, where we believe we have the opportunity to discover several world-class projects that will ultimately match or exceed the Cascabel project.
Our pan-Ecuadorian strategy, first unveiled in May, continues to develop, with the country’s Department of Mines recently awarding us 77 new concessions across almost 3,248 km2, and is already showing promise. These new concessions are held by four new 100% owned local subsidiaries; Valle Rico, Green Rock, Cruz del Sol, Carnegie Ridge.
Exploration to date at our 100% owned La Hueca project in southern Ecuador suggests a 25km long porphyry trend, with the best rock chip samples ranging from 1.8% to 13.82% copper over a 5km by 1km area. Other concessions subject to reconnaissance and field mapping and rock chip sampling are Porvenir, San Antonio, Sharug, Agustin and Rio Amarillo. Initial rock chip samples have returned grades of up to 12% copper.
At Cascabel work continues at pace. We have completed over 56,800m of drilling and the Cascabel drilling fleet is constantly expanding.
We are on schedule to release our maiden resource estimate by the end of the year and plan to update this on a regular basis as Alpala Central is still open in multiple directions, Alpala Northwest continues to expand and Alpala East is also showing promise. Over 120,000m of drilling is planned for 2018.
Alongside significant operational progress, SolGold has also made substantial corporate developments. In July, we listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and in October we moved from AIM to the Main Market on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). These developments have provided greater access to institutional investors worldwide and elevated SolGold’s international profile.
Newcrest invested a further USD40m in June to increase its stake in SolGold to 14.5%. Craig Jones has been a very welcome addition to the Board given his operational and block cave mining expertise.
In November, we announced the closing of our £45m bought deal. This puts us in a great position to continue our exploration to advance our flagship Cascabel Project, selective regional exploration in Ecuador, working capital and general corporate purposes.
Finally, as a result of SolGold’s ethos to do things differently we have had huge successes this year, with the SolGold team, Ecuador and our CEO, Nick Mather, being recognised amongst its Latin American peers at the Mines and Money awards in Toronto and globally at the Mines & Money awards in London.
SolGold won the Exploration Award and Ecuador was acknowledged for its measures to further its mining industry, winning the Latin America Country Award for 2017 and the Most Innovative Country.
Our CEO, Nicholas Mather, won the coveted CEO of the Year (Latin America) award and the CEO of the Year (Exploration) in London.
SolGold would like to thank you for your continued and unwavering support. We look forward to another successful year in 2018.
Have a great Christmas and a very happy new year!