Solaris reports long copper intercepts at Warintza porphyry system in Ecuador

Environmental work at Warintza project in Ecuador. Credit: Solaris Resources

Solaris Resources (TSXV: SLS) has reported assay results for the second and third drill holes completed as part of a 40,000-metre drill program at its Warinzta project in southeastern Ecuador. The program is the first drill campaign in 20 years at the 268-sq.-km project.

Hole SLS-02 hit 660 metres of 0.97% copper-equivalent (0.79% copper, 0.03% molybdenum, and 0.1 gram gold per tonne) starting at surface, and confirmed an extension of the mineralization reported in August. August’s hole returned 567 metres of 1% copper-equivalent (0.8% copper, 0.04% molybdenum and 0.1 gram gold).

Hole SLS-03 returned 1,010 metres of 0.71% copper-equivalent (0.59% copper, 0.02% molybdenum and 0.1 gram gold) from surface, and included a higher-grade section of 716 metres of 0.75% copper-equivalent (0.63% copper, 0.02% molybdenum and 0.1 gram gold). The intercept was completed down to the depth capacity of the drill rig and was collated approximately 426 metres east of the first two holes. The result “greatly improves upon the depth extent of known mineralization,” the company said in a statement. Historical drilling was completed to an average depth of under 200 metres.

“The third hole stepped out over 400 metres to the east of the first drilling location within Warintza Central and provided further evidence of the depth extent of the system, which still remains open,” Jorge Fierro, the company’s vice-president of exploration, said in a statement.

The company’s geological interpretation of the system at Warintza suggests that the mineralization drilled to date is from the outer halo of a porphyry system, with future drilling expected to vector toward the higher-grade core.

“Warintza Central continues to demonstrate the potential to become a large, high-grade open pit copper porphyry deposit, which is a rarity in the modern context of the industry,” Richard Warke, Solaris’ executive chairman, said in a statement.

Warke added that drilling has only been completed at Warintza Central thus far, with a 5-km long trend at the property, which also includes the Warintza East, West and South areas – and all of these have a roughly equal footprint, with higher-grade soil and chip samples previously collected at the West and South zones.

The Warintza Central area features an existing pit-optimized inferred resource of 124 million tonnes grading 0.56% copper, 0.03% molybdenum and 0.1 gram gold (0.7% copper-equivalent), which is based on less than 7,000 metres of historic drilling. This resource is based on a 0.2% copper cutoff and remains open for expansion.

Warke joined Solaris as executive chairman in January, when it joined the Augusta Group of companies, which he founded in 2005. Augusta has racked up more than $4.5 billion in exit transactions since 2011, including the sale of Ventana Gold for $1.6 billion in 2011; the sale of Augusta Resource for $667 million in 2014; the co-founding of Equinox Gold (TSX: EQX; NYSE-AM: EQX) in 2017, now a mid-tier gold producer with a market cap of more than $2.5 billion; and the sale of Arizona Mining for $2.1 billion in 2018.

According to its latest corporate presentation, Equinox Gold owns 29% of Solaris and Warke owns 21%. Lukas Lundin owns 6%, Ross Beaty owns 5%, and David Lowell, the geologist who first discovered the 5 km trend of copper outcropping porphyry, owns 2%.

— An earlier version of this article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal, part of Glacier Resource Innovation Group.

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