The richly gold-copper endowed Mid-Cauca porphyry belt in Colombia hosts numerous multi-million-ounce gold discoveries and attracted the world’s three largest gold producers — Newmont Gold Corp., Barrick Gold Corp., and AngloGold Ashanti.
Also drawn to the richly gold-copper endowed region is ASX-listed junior Los Cerros (ASX: LCL) which has a dominant position within the belt’s Andes and Quinchia regions. Los Cerros has just reported that it had intercepted thick gold mineralisation from surface at the Tesorito target at its Quinchia Project.
The stock closed up a handy 127% yesterday after the announcement was released to the ASX. That move lifted the company’s market capitalisation to $60 million — still only a fraction of its neighbouring mining majors.
Drill hole TS-DH08, the first hole of the company’s current expanded drilling program at Tesorito, returned an exceptionally wide gold intercept and hinted that there is further potential at depth. These first assay results confirmed the encouraging results of previous drill holes TS-DH02 and TS-DH07 that are located either side of the recently completed hole. This has further demonstrated both the deeper gold-copper porphyry and the near surface high grade epithermal gold potential.
Gold mineralisation exceeding 1g/t Au has now been demonstrated by three separate diamond holes to exceed 230m downhole thickness, over an area of 300m x 250m, and remaining open in all directions The raw data from these latest holes is extremely impressive with TS-DH08 returning 230 metres at 1.0 g/t gold, including some prominent intersections of 18 metres at 2.0 g/t gold from surface and 116 metres at 1.4 g/t gold from 114 metres to 230 metres. Importantly, these results build on 384 metres at just over 1 g/t gold from 16 metres and 253 metres at a similar grade from 2.9 metres.
In the heart of the multi Moz Mid-Cauca Gold Belt
Los Cerros’ Quinchia Project hosts the Miraflores Gold Deposit with a Resource of 877,000 gold ounces at 2.8 g/t gold and Reserve of 457,000 ounces at 3.3 g/t gold.
Within three kilometres of Miraflores is the Tesorito near surface porphyry where the company is currently drilling. Also in close proximity, is the Chuscal target where a maiden drilling program was completed in January 2020 and drilling is set to recommence in October 2020. The multi-million ounce Mid-Cauca Gold Belt is home to large producing mines, recent high profile discoveries and the subject of extensive investment by mining majors, including AngloGold Ashanti, a shareholder in Los Cerros.
AngloGold is the third largest gold mining company in the world based on production. This is an outstanding endorsement of the company’s prospects given Anglo’s comprehensive understanding of the region. AngloGold’s 30 million ounce Nuevo Chaquiro project (also known as Quebradona) lies 50 kilometres north of Los Cerros’ territory.
The gold component of the AngloGold’s reserve at the Nuevo Chaquiro copper-gold project was based on a gold grade of 0.71 g/t, highlighting the potential commercial viability of the grades being delineated by Los Cerros. Even at 0.71 g/t gold, the contained gold in Nuevo Chaquiro is 2.5 million ounces, highlighting the benefits of developing the large-scale projects that are characteristic of the region.
At Los Cerros’ Tesorito, there is already emerging evidence of scale and continuity of both near surface epithermal and deeper high grade porphyry style mineralisation. Down hole thicknesses exceeding 230 metres of gold mineralisation of 1 g/t or above, essentially from surface, have now been identified in three drill holes over an area of 300 metres x 250 metres. This mineralisation remains open to the north-northeast and east direction as well as showing additional promise to host copper with gold in depth extensions.
Current hole TS-DH09 is exploring an untested northern anomaly, currently at a depth of 329 metres, the outcome of which is much anticipated.
Los Cerros’ Senior Geologists, both of whom have worked at the multi-million ounce Nuevo Chaquiro deposit, 51 kilometres to our north, and La Colosa deposit, 104 kilometres south-east, have noted textural and mineralogical similarities to that deposit, especially its porphyry core which also carries banded veins, UST textures and primary bornite.
Commenting on these promising results, Los Cerros’ managing director Jason Stirbinskis said, “This is a highly encouraging start to the drill campaign as not only has it provided a sense of near-surface porphyry mineralised volume given similar results of nearby holes, it has hinted that there is further potential at depth.
‘’Primary bornite is a copper rich mineral species, its presence, based on visual logs, correlates to elevated copper in assays and has raised the possibility of more copper occurrences as we chase depth extensions in subsequent drilling.
‘’In this regard it is interesting to note that TS-DH02 recorded an intersection near end of hole, of 35 metres grading 0.2% copper from 365 metres downhole including 0.7 metres at 2.6% copper from 391 metres downhole depth, some 90 metres vertically below the TS-DH08 hole depth.
‘’The 18 metre intersection grading 2.0 g/t gold from surface including 6 metres at 4.1g/t gold also provides encouragement to further pursue the east-west trending epithermal veins for high grade gold resources to supplement existing resources and reserves at the nearby Miraflores deposit.
Stribinskis has referred to the possibility of adding high-grade gold resources to supplement the existing resource at Miraflores. This could become an integral part of the company’s strategy, particularly with the gold price hovering in the vicinity of US$2,000 per ounce.
Other options were pursued ahead of Miraflores when the gold price was approximately US$1,300 per ounce, but another $700 per ounce could make the mine highly economical, even more so if the resource was expanded and complemented by the addition of higher grade ore.