SolGold PLC

Continued Growth at Alpala and Aguinaga

RNS Number : 4193Q
SolGold PLC
06 June 2018

6 June 2018

SolGold plc

("SolGold" or the "Company")


Cascabel Exploration Update

Continued Growth at Alpala and Aguinaga


The Board of SolGold (LSE and TSX code: SOLG) is pleased to provide an update on the drilling programs at the Company's Cascabel project in Northern Ecuador.




Ø Drilling at Alpala extends high-grade resource along the deep northeast margin of the deposit.  For example, Hole 41-D1-D1 is currently intersecting intense visible copper sulphide mineralisation and Hole 41-D1 final assay results returned:

-     756m @ 0.82% CuEq, (incl. 380m @ 1.20% CuE, and 252m @ 1.53% CuEq)

Ø Drilling at Alpala extends high-grade resource along the southwest margin of the deposit.  For example, Hole 42-D2 and Hole 44 final assay results returned:

-     278m @ 0.83% CuEq (incl. 52m @ 1.63% CuEq), and 342m @ 0.38% CuEq.

Ø Infill and extension drilling proximal to high grade core of the Alpala Deposit is upgrading and expanding the high-grade core of the deposit.  For example, Hole 53 is currently intersecting strong visible copper mineralisation, extending the southeast margin of the deposit, whilst infill Hole 43 final assay results returned:

-     974m @ 0.71 % CuEq (incl. 478m @ 1.02% CuEq and 160m @ 1.56% CuEq)).

Ø Extension drilling at Alpala Northwest and Alpala Southeast continues to add significant growth to Alpala deposit.  For example, Holes 49, 37-D1, 36-D1, and 39-D1 final assay results returned:

-     302m @ 1.04% CuEq (incl. 120m @ 1.57% CuEq), 549m @ 0.43% CuEq (incl. 101m @ 0.60% CuEq open at depth), 652m @ 0.41% CuEq (incl. 138m @ 0.49% CuEq), and 192m @ 0.43% CuEq (incl. 74m @ 0.61% CuEq).

Ø Drilling at Trivinio prospect intersected visible copper sulphide mineralisation in Hole 49 from 1412m to 1641m depth.  Assay results remain pending and further drill testing is in progress.

Ø Aguinaga drilling building potential for second porphyry deposit at Cascabel, as SolGold continues drill testing of the 2 of 5 targets identified at Aguinaga.

Ø Aguinaga Holes 1 and 2 assay results have thus far returned: 

-     218m @ 0.45% CuEq (incl. 122m @ 0.52% CuEq)

-     58m @ 0.58% CuEq open at depth.  Final assay results pending.




References to figures and tables relate to the version of this release available in PDF format by clicking the link below:




The Cascabel Project is located on the northern section of the prolific Andean Copper belt, 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 in northern Ecuador, approximately three-hour drive north of Quito, close to water, power supply and Pacific ports (Figure 1).  Having fulfilled its earn in requirements, SolGold is a registered shareholder with an unencumbered legal and beneficial 85% interest in ENSA (Exploraciones Novomining S.A.) which holds 100% of the Cascabel tenement covering approximately 50km2.


Approximately 114,000m of diamond drilling has been completed on the project.  Currently, 12 drill rigs are active on site, with 10 rigs drilling on the Alpala cluster (Figure 2), and 2 rigs drilling at the Aguinaga prospect (Figure 3).  The Cascabel drill program for 2018 comprises over 120,000m of planned drilling focussing on extending and infilling the Alpala Resource, as well as further drill testing of the rapidly evolving Aguinaga prospect.  Drill testing of the Trivinio target continues, whilst the numerous other untested targets, namely at Moran, Cristal, Tandayama-America and Chinambicito, are flagged for drill testing as overall program demands allow.


Alpala Targeted Resource Additions and Conversions


Assay results from the initial 53,616m of drilling at Alpala were incorporated into the Alpala maiden Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) completed in December 2017 and announced on 3 January 2018.  A further 60,300m of drilling has been completed since development of the MRE, and major resource growth is expected in a revised MRE. 


SolGold geologists are observing extensive resource growth outside current inferred and indicated resource blocks at Alpala as well as observing substantial conversion of previously estimated resource tonnage to higher grades as drill hole density increases throughout the deposit area.  The recent and ongoing drilling at Alpala Central is predicted to significantly increase the resource estimate of the high grade core at Alpala. 


Several drill holes (including Holes 37-D2, 39-D2, 41, 41-D1, 41-D1-D1, 42-D1, 44, 45, 50-54, 55R, and 56) have intersected significant visible copper sulphide mineralisation await final assay results.  Considerable further resource expansion and upgrade is expected over the coming quarter from these results, as well as the results from current drill holes (57-61) that will continue to expand the growing resource at the Alpala Deposit (Figure 2). 


Highlights from recent assayed drilling results at Alpala include:

·     Hole 41-D1 (Alpala Central):  756m @ 0.82% CuEq, (incl. 252m @ 1.53% CuEq)

·     Hole 42-D2 (Alpala Central):  278m @ 0.83% CuEq (incl. 52m @ 1.63% CuEq).

·     Hole 44 (Alpala Central):  342m @ 0.38% CuEq.

·     Hole 43 (Alpala Central):  974m @ 0.71 % CuEq (incl. 478m @ 1.02% CuEq).

·     Hole 48 (Alpala Central):  172m @ 0.68% CuEq open at depth, awaiting remaining assay results.

·     Hole 49 (Alpala NW):   302m @ 1.04% CuEq (incl. 120m @ 1.57 % CuE), open at depth, awaiting remaining assay results.

·     Hole 37-D1 (Alpala NW):  549m @ 0.43% CuEq (incl. 101m @ 0.60% CuEq open at depth)

·     Hole 36-D1 (Alpala NW):  652m @ 0.41% CuEq (incl. 138m @ 0.49% CuEq)

·     Hole 39-D1 (Alpala SE):  192m @ 0.43% CuEq (incl. 74m @ 0.61% CuEq).


Drill hole assays have been received for over 91,900m metres of drilling to date, whilst over 22,000m of drilling has assays pending.  Recent construction of an in-country certified preparation facility by ALS Global is expected to expedite assay turnaround over the coming weeks.  All of the Company's assay results to date have come from ALS Laboratories in Lima, Peru.


Drilling at the Trivinio prospect intersected visible copper sulphide mineralisation in Hole 49 from 1412m to 1641m depth.  Assay results remain pending and further drill testing is in progress.


Aguinaga Drilling Program


The mineralisation intersected in drilling at Aguinaga thus far has similarities to that discovered at surface in rock saw channel samples that returned an open-ended, rock-saw channel sample result of 9.0m @ 1.51% CuEq (1.01% Cu, 0.79 g/t Au).


SolGold geologists believe that the first two drill holes at Aguinaga confirms the potential for a second large porphyry deposit at Cascabel, demonstrating a vertical column to the mineralising system of more than 600m, and a width of approximately 320m thus far.


Aguinaga Holes 1 and 2 assay results have thus far returned:

·     218m @ 0.45% CuEq (incl. 122m @ 0.52% CuEq);

·     58m @ 0.58%CuEq open at depth. Final assay results pending.


The drilling program at Aguinaga is only in its initial stages.  Drilling thus far has intersected mineralised host rock, intra-mineral dykes, and late dykes and breccias.  The source mineralising intrusion has yet to be encountered.   


Drilling thus far shows potential for a second and near surface porphyry deposit as drilling continues towards initially testing 2 of 5 targets areas, (identified by geological, geophysical and geochemical modelling) from a revised initial 7 drill hole program.  Target areas at Aguinaga cover a surface area of approximately 1.5km2 and range over 1300m depth from surface (1600mRL) to approximately 300mRL.


Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) Disclosure


Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 until the release of this announcement.


Qualified Person:


Information in this report relating to the exploration results is based on data reviewed by Mr Jason Ward ((CP) B.Sc. Geol.), Exploration Manager Global of the Company.  Mr Ward is a Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, holds the designation MAusIMM (CP), and has in excess of 20 years' experience in mineral exploration and is a Qualified Person for the purposes of the relevant LSE and TSX Rules.  Mr Ward consents to the inclusion of the information in the form and context in which it appears.


By order of the Board

Karl Schlobohm

Company Secretary





Mr Nicholas Mather                                                                                       Tel: +61 (0) 7 3303 0665

SolGold Plc (Chief Executive Officer)                                                                   +61 (0) 417 880 448

[email protected].au


Mr Karl Schlobohm                                                                                         Tel: +61 (0) 7 3303 0661

SolGold Plc (Company Secretary)

[email protected]


Ms Anna Legge                                                                                                 Tel: +44 (0) 20 3823 2131

SolGold Plc (UK Market IR / PR)

[email protected] 


Follow us on twitter @SolGold_plc




SolGold is a Brisbane, Australia based, dual LSE and TSXlisted (SOLG on both exchanges) copper gold exploration and future development company with assets in Ecuador, Solomon Islands and Australia.  SolGold's primary objective is to discover and define worldclass coppergold deposits.  The Board and Management Team have substantial vested interests in the success of the Company as shareholders as well as strong track records in the areas of exploration, mine appraisal and development, investment, finance and law.  SolGold's experience is augmented by state of the art geophysical and modelling techniques and the guidance of porphyry copper and gold expert Dr Steve Garwin.


In October 2017, at the Mines and Money Americas Conference in Toronto, SolGold's Nicholas Mather won the award for the CEO of the Year - Exploration, Latin America.  SolGold won the Exploration Award for Latin America, and Ecuador won the Country Award for Latin America.  Each party then duly won the 2017 award for each respective category on a global basis at London Mines and Money on 30 November 2017.


The Company announced USD54m in capital raisings in September 2016 involving Maxit Capital LP, Newcrest International Ltd and DGR Global Ltd, and a USD41.2m raising in June of 2017 largely from Newcrest International with USD1.2m raised from Ecuadorean investors.  All of these raisings were undertaken at substantial premiums to previous raisings.  In November 2017 SolGold raised a further £45m at 25p per share, placed with institutions and Newcrest pursuant to their anti-dilution rights.  SolGold currently has circa USD90m in available cash to continue the exploration and appraisal of its flagship Cascabel Project, and with which to conduct regional exploration programs on its 73 other 100%-owned projects in its wholly owned subsidiary companies.


Mr Craig Jones joined the SolGold Board on 3 March 2017, nominated to the Board of SolGold by Newcrest Mining, now a 14.54% shareholder in SolGold.  Mr Jones is a Mechanical Engineer and is currently the Executive General Manager Wafi-Golpu (Newcrest-Harmony Joint Venture).  He has held various senior management and executive roles within the Newcrest Group, including General Manager Projects, General Manager Cadia Valley Operations, Executive General Manager Projects and Asset Management, Executive General Manager Australian and Indonesian Operations, Executive General Manager Australian Operations and Projects, and Executive General Manager Cadia and Morobe Mining Joint Venture.  Prior to joining Newcrest, Mr Jones worked for Rio Tinto.


Cascabel, SolGold's 85% owned "World Class" (refer flagship coppergold porphyry project, is located in northern Ecuador on the underexplored northern section of the richly endowed Andean Copper Belt.  Having fulfilled its earn-in requirements, SolGold is a registered shareholder with an unencumbered legal and beneficial 85% interest in ENSA (Exploraciones Novomining S.A.) and approximately 5% of TSXVlisted Cornerstone Capital Resources ("Cornerstone"), which holds the remaining 15% of ENSA, the Ecuadorian registered company which holds 100% of the Cascabel concession.  Subject to the terms of existing agreements, Cornerstone is debt financed by SolGold for its share of costs to completion of a Feasibility Study.


In terms of repayment, SolGold shall receive 90% of Cornerstone's share of earnings or dividends from ENSA or the Tenement to which Cornerstone would otherwise be entitled until such time as the amounts so received equal the aggregate amount of expenditures incurred by SolGold that would have otherwise been payable by Cornerstone, plus interest thereon from the dates such expenditures were incurred at a rate per annum equal to LIBOR plus 2 per cent until such time as SolGold is fully reimbursed.


The investments by Newcrest for 14.54% of SolGold endorses Ecuador as an exploration and mining destination, the management team at SolGold, the dimension, size and scale of the growing Alpala deposit, and the prospectivity of Cascabel and its multiple targets.  The gold endowment, location, infrastructure, and logistics are important competitive advantages offered by the project.  Cascabel is characterised by fifteen (15) identified targets, "World Class" drilling intersections over 1km in length at potentially economic grades, and high copper and gold grades in richer sections, as well as logistic advantages in location, elevation, water supply, proximity to roads, port and power services; and a progressive legislative approach to resource development in Ecuador.


To date SolGold has completed geological mapping, soil sampling, rock saw channel sampling, geochemical and spectral alteration mapping over 25km2, along with an additional 9km2 of Induced Polarisation and 14km2 Magnetotelluric "Orion" surveys over the Alpala cluster and other targets at Aguinaga, Parambas, Tandayama-America, Moran and Chinambicito.


SolGold has completed over 114,000m of drilling and expended over USD100M in Ecuador, which includes Cascabel exploration, regional exploration, corporate costs and investments into Cornerstone.  This has been accomplished with a workforce of up to 260 Ecuadorean workers and geoscientists, and 6 expatriate Australian geoscientists.  The results of all holes drilled and assayed to date have produced some of the greatest drill hole intercepts in porphyry copper-gold exploration history, as indicated 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.  Intensive diamond drilling is planned for the next 12 months with up to 12 drill rigs operational.


SolGold has drill tested 9 of 15 copper-gold targets delineated in the 50km2 tenement with a focus on Alpala and Aguinaga.  


The Company and its external consultants prepared an initial mineral resource estimate at the Cascabel Project in December 2017.  Results are summarised in Table B within the Cautionary Statement.  The Mineral Resource Estimate was completed from 53,616m of drilling, approximately 54% of 100,000m metres drilled as of mid-December 2017, the cut-off date for the maiden resource calculation.  There remains strong potential for further growth from more recent drilling results, and continued rapid growth of the deposit.


The Company is currently planning further metallurgical testing and completion of an independent Preliminary Economic Assessment and Pre-Feasibility Studies at Cascabel.  SolGold is investigating both high tonnage open cut and underground block caving operations, as well as a high grade / low tonnage initial underground development towards the economic development of the copper gold deposit/s at Cascabel.


Drill hole intercepts have been updated to reflect current commodity prices, using a data aggregation method, defined by copper equivalent cut-off grades and reported with up to 10m internal dilution, excluding bridging to a single sample.  Copper equivalent grades are calculated using a gold conversion factor of 0.63, determined using an updated copper price of USD3.00/pound and an updated gold price of USD1300/ounce.  True widths of down hole intersections are estimated to be approximately 25-50%.


Following a comprehensive review of the geology and prospectivity of Ecuador, SolGold and its subsidiaries have several applications for additional exploration licences in Ecuador over a number of promising porphyry copper gold targets throughout the Country.


SolGold, through its 4 subsidiary companies, has 100% ownership of extensive concession areas throughout Ecuador.  Each subsidiary company has technical teams, led by experienced senior geologists, on the ground prospecting granted tenements and collecting baseline data, whilst regional geophysics surveys are being planned.  Significant copper occurrences have been identified at numerous projects to date, including La Hueca, Machos, Rio Armarillo, Sharug, Porvenir and Timbara.


In Queensland, Australia the Company is evaluating the future exploration plans for the Mt Perry, Rannes and Normanby projects, with drill testing of the Normanby project planned for the coming quarter.  Joint venture agreements are being investigated for a joint venture partner to commit funds and carry out exploration to earn an interest in the tenements.


SolGold retains interests in its original theatre of operations, Solomon Islands in the South West Pacific, where the Kuma prospect on the island of Guadalcanal exhibits surface lithocap characteristics which are traditionally indicative of a large metal rich copper gold intrusive porphyry system. 


SolGold intends to apply its intellectual property and experience developed at Cascabel to target additional "World Class" copper gold porphyries within Ecuador and at Kuma in the Solomon Islands.


SolGold is based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  The Company is listed on the LSE and TSX, with both exchanges using the ticker code: SOLG, and currently has on issue a total of 1,696,245,686 fully-paid ordinary shares, 31,795,884 share options exercisable at 28p; 9,795,884 share options exercisable at 14p and 46,762,000 share options exercisable at 60p.




News releases, presentations and public commentary made by SolGold plc (the "Company") and its Officers may contain certain statements and expressions of belief, expectation or opinion which are forward looking statements, and which relate, inter alia, to interpretations of exploration results to date and the Company's proposed strategy, plans and objectives or to the expectations or intentions of the Company's Directors.  Such forward-looking and interpretative statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors beyond the control of the Company that could cause the actual performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from such interpretations and forward-looking statements. 


Accordingly, the reader should not rely on any interpretations or forward-looking statements; and save as required by the exchange rules of the TSX and LSE or by applicable laws, the Company does not accept any obligation to disseminate any updates or revisions to such interpretations or forward-looking statements.  The Company may reinterpret results to date as the status of its assets and projects changes with time expenditure, metals prices and other affecting circumstances.


This release may contain "forward‑looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation.  Forward‑looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements regarding the Company's plans for developing its properties.  Generally, forward‑looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". 

Forward‑looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward‑looking information, including but not limited to: transaction risks; general business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties; future prices of mineral prices; accidents, labour disputes and shortages and other risks of the mining industry.  Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended.  There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements.  Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward‑looking information.  The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.


The Company and its officers do not endorse, or reject or otherwise comment on the conclusions, interpretations or views expressed in press articles or third-party analysis, and where possible aims to circulate all available material on its website.


The Company recognises that the term "World Class" is subjective and for the purpose of the Company's projects the Company considers the drilling results at the growing Alpala Porphyry Copper Gold Deposit at its Cascabel Project to represent intersections of a "World Class" deposit.  The Company considers that "World Class" deposits are rare, very large, long life, low cost, and are responsible for approximately half of total global metals production. 


"World Class" deposits are generally accepted as deposits of a size and quality that create multiple expansion opportunities, and have or are likely to demonstrate robust economics that ensure development irrespective of position within the global commodity cycles, or whether or not the deposit has been fully drilled out, or a feasibility study completed.


Standards drawn from industry experts (1) Singer and Menzie, 2010; (2) Schodde, 2006; (3) Schodde and Hronsky, 2006; (4) Singer, 1995; (5) Laznicka, 2010) have characterised "World Class" deposits at prevailing commodity prices. The relevant criteria for "World Class" deposits, adjusted to current long run commodity prices, are considered to be those holding or likely to hold more than 5 million tonnes of copper and/or more than 6 million ounces of gold with a modelled net present value of greater than USD 1 Billion.


The Company and its external consultants prepared an initial mineral resource estimate at the Cascabel Project in December 2017. Results are summarised in Table B attached.


The Mineral Resource Estimate was completed from 53,616m of drilling, approximately 84% of 63,500m metres drilled as of mid-December 2017, the cut-off date for the maiden resource calculation.  There remains strong potential for further growth from more recent drilling results, and continue rapid growth of the deposit.


Any development or mining potential for the project remains speculative.


On the basis of the drilling results to date and the results of the Alpala Maiden Mineral Resource Estimate, the reference to the Cascabel Project as "World Class" (or "Tier 1") is considered to be appropriate. Examples of global copper and gold discoveries since 2006 that are generally considered to be "World Class" are summarised in Table A.


References cited in the text:

1.      Singer, D.A. and Menzie, W.D., 2010. Quantitative Mineral Resource Assessments: An Integrated Approach. Oxford University Press Inc.

2.      Schodde, R., 2006. What do we mean by a world class deposit? And why are they special. Presentation. AMEC Conference, Perth.

3.      Schodde, R and Hronsky, J.M.A, 2006. The Role of World-Class Mines in Wealth Creation. Special Publications of the Society of Economic Geologists Volume 12.

4.      Singer, D.A., 1995, World-class base and precious metal deposits-a quantitative analysis: Economic Geology, v. 90, no.1, p. 88-104.

5.      Laznicka, P., 2010. Giant Metallic Deposits: Future Sources of Industrial Metal, Second Edition. Springer-Verlag Heidelberg.


Table A:  Tier 1 global copper and gold discoveries since 2006. This table does not purport to be exhaustive exclusive or definitive.










Contained Metal

Cu (%)

Au (g/t)

CuEq (%)

Cu (Mt)

Au (Moz)

CuEq (Mt)

>1.1% CuEq

















0.9 - 1.1% CuEq

















0.3 - 0.9% CuEq

















Total >0.3% CuEq


















 Table B: Alpala Mineral Resource statement as of 18 December 2017



·          Mr. Martin Pittuck, MSc, CEng, MIMMM, is responsible for this Mineral Resource estimate and is an "independent qualified person" as such term is defined in NI 43-101.

·          The Mineral Resource is reported using a cut-off grade of 0.3% copper equivalent calculated using [copper grade (%)] + [gold grade (g/t) x 0.6] based on a copper price of US$2.8/lb and gold price of US$1,160/oz.

·          The Mineral Resource is considered to have reasonable potential for eventual economic extraction by underground mass mining such as block caving.

·          Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability.

·          The statement uses the terminology, definitions and guidelines given in the CIM Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (May 2014).

·          The MRE is reported on 100 percent basis.

·          Values given in the table have been rounded, apparent calculation errors resulting from this are not considered to be material.

·          The effective date for the Mineral Resource statement is 18th December 2017.

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