SolGold has now labeled 13 projects as "core" and is looking to get rid of the rest, hoping at least some of them will attract a joint-venture partner. 20 concessions totalling 86,000 hectares..."Some will be of interest to companies with adjoining projects,"
Before I speculate on some of those concessions and likely suitors let me say a couple words on legal ambiguity.
Some of SolGold's non-core concessions are in the Azuay exclusion zone. Both SolGold and INV Metals maintain that exclusion zone doesn't apply to them because they were already granted mining rights. I'll just say good luck with that if you try to advance those projects and all your permit applications get denied. I expect there will be lawyers and it will be fought in the courts. INV Metals is advanced enough they probably will fight it out in the courts. But SolGold is likely to walk away from Azuay and I don't see any partners looking to pick up those concessions on a hope and a prayer.
Exploration concessions also have minimum expenditures associated with them. Solgold has held that they meet those minimum expenditures as long as the total of what they are spending across all of them is larger than the total mimimum expenditure of the total of all of them. It's clear their spending on Cascabel and Porvenir exceeds the total of their minimum requirements, but it's not clear to me that it can be applied this way. I am not a lawyer but it seems like there is at least some small risk on the concessions where SolGold has spent next to nothing of Ecuador maybe deciding to take those concessions back for lack of minimum spend.
Let's run through the concession up for joint ventures.
Aurora 1 & 2 north of Llurimagua. It's immediately adjacent to Palma Real, which used to be owned by Lumia before they spun off Luminex. Luminex doesn't list Palma Real anymore, but back in 2018 they called it the Macuchi VMS Belt.
El Descanso 1A & 1B are really close to Atico's La Plata project.
Augustin 1,2,&3 are just a bit northwest of the historic (1940-1946) Machuchi mine. Also just a bit north of Luminex's Pegasus projects that Anglo American has a buy in on. Just a bit south of those is Adventus/Salazar's Curipamba/El Domo project. Might Anglo want to do some exploration on Agustin 1,2,3? Or Salazr or Adventus?
Just a bit on the other (south) side of Curipamba / El Domo SolGold has a series of 4: Salinas, Salampe, Yatubi I, and Yatubi II.
A bit farther south is Zhucay & San Antonio. They aren't really near any other notable projects but all the rivers flowing west below them are covered with small mining claims. That river gold probably came from up in the hills and some of it from these concessions.
El Cisne 1A & 1B are in Azuay province, but they straddle the continental divide. I expect they'll still be non-starters because the east side does drain to Cuenca.
Carmen is really close to the three concessions that make up Adventus / Salazar's Pijili project.
Sacapalca 1&2 are next to a lot of claims. Some by a Chinese company. Dynasy Gold has their main Dynasy project in that area, Sunstone has their Bramaderos project, heck it's not to far from Salazar's Macara project.
Machos 1&2 are in the Zamora river valley near Fruta Del Norte.
Cumtza 1&2 along with Ayangasa 1&2 are in the east up near Aurania's exploration mega blocks.
Hole 14 released in this batch is their best hole to date in my opinion, though all 16 in Warintza Central seem economically world class to me. 922m of 0.94% CuEq = 866m%CuEq/t. What depth did that mineralization start at? 0m, that's right from surface.
I pulled up the Solgold Alpala project presentation and compared it to the Warintza drill results. Warintza would fit right in on that world class drill hole spreadsheet. But then you remember that Alpala is under a lot of cover and has to be mined with underground block caving, while Warintza mineralization starts from surface and would be amenable to open pit mining.
Lennin Muñoz had a nice tweet showing the holes in 3D
In my opinion Warintza is going to be the better more economic orebody over Solgold's Alpala. The real question is social license. Solaris has done a great job with getting very strong social buy in from the local indigious group (Warints and Yawi) that have recognized rights on the land emcompassing the project. That combined with a pro-mining national government may be enough to build a mine. That said, there is some opposition to mining in the region that is not to be quickly dismissed.
Luminex starts a 3000m program on their 100% owned Cascas program. They did the ZTEM survey, geologic mapping, grid soil sampling, etc. Their first drill hole is aimed at a 300m deep magnetic anomoly uner strong showing at surface of copper/moly. They are hunting copper/gold porphyries. It's a small initial program if they are chasing deep targets at 3 1000m holes or 6 500m holes.
Meanwhile BHP started drilling on the JV project Tarqui. It's an even smaller 2000m drill program, but it's a sign BHP is still active and interested.
If the first 355 holes at El Domo / Curipamba didn't convince you this is a good project here's 3 more holes with good results to push you over the edge.
Sunstone/Cornerstone Drill Results
Sunstone is having a rough go of it. But sometimes you push through the bad results to get good ones.
If intervals are 0.5m the grade needs to be higher at Bramados Esperitu epithermal polymetalic target. I think the wording of this press release is very reasonable, which if you read the end of January news summary makes me happy. Drilling continues.
A press release on a half finished unassayed hole number 8 into a porphyry cluster on the Bramados project they are calling Brama. The grades on the first seven drill holes have been marginal but not terrible. The type of thing you could add to a resource to extend mine life and increase tonnage, but not the higher grade core you'd need to pay back your capital investment quickly. Certainly enough to make you want to drill more. Sunstone updated their slide deck with core photos from hole 8, a 3d model that includes hole 8 to current and planned depth. Are they really excited or just pressing for any good news? I guess we'll find out when the assays come in.
The last project they have is El Palmar. It's located really close to Llurimagua, a project that is stalled due to local opposition. Farther north is Cascabel, a project that is stalled for economics. Hopefully their drilling (planned to start soon) can lift El Palmar out of the shadow of its neighbors.
Of the companies mentioned in this article I have long positions in Salazar and Aurania that were purchased in the public markets. I have not received any compensation or special access to private placements from any of the companies discussed.