"The new resource estimate at AntaKori is approximately 8 billion pounds of copper equivalent, versus 5 billion pounds before. From a gold perspective, there is approximately 17 million oz of gold equivalent. We see the potential for the resource to continue to grow in the future.”
What were the main highlights for Regulus in 2018?
We had a very positive 2018. First, we had a successful raise of C$20 million during the year, which was very important. Also, in conjunction with that, we completed the spin-out of our Argentina assets into a new company called Aldebaran Resources. Most importantly, we continued drilling at the AntaKori copper-gold project throughout 2018 with very encouraging results. We completed the Phase 1 drilling program in late 2018 with around 23,000 m in 31 drill holes. This more than doubles the drilling previously done on the project, and that has been used to produce our most recent resource update, which we released March 1, 2019.
What are the highlights of the new resource estimate at AntaKori?
We have seen an approximate 75% increase in the size of the deposit while maintaining similar grades. There has thus been a substantial increase in the total amount of contained copper and gold. The previous estimate was 295 million tonnes (mt) (Inferred Mineral Resource), which has now been updated to an Indicated Mineral Resource of 250 million mt with 0.48% Cu, 0.29 g/t Au and 7.5 g/t Ag plus an Inferred Mineral Resource of 267 million mtwith 0.41% Cu, 0.26 g/t Au and 7.8 g/t Ag. These are very good combined grades, and on average there is about 0.7% copper equivalent.
To put it into perspective, if we convert the gold and silver into copper equivalent, the deposit will contain approximately 8 billion pounds of copper equivalent, versus 5 billion pounds of copper equivalent before. From a gold perspective and converting resources into gold equivalent, there is approximately 17 million oz of gold equivalent. We see the potential for the resource to continue to grow in the future.
Can you elaborate on Regulus Resources’ Phase 2 campaign, and how is the system shaping up in terms of mineralization?
Regulus Resources anticipates that we will be drilling an additional 25,000 m in 2019 with the focus of expanding the size of the deposit. Last year, in drill hole 26 we encountered an upper zone of skarn-hosted mineralization that had over 230 m with 1.09% copper equivalent; but the real news in that hole is that we had a lower interval of nearly half a km (473 m) at 1.16% Cu, 0.21 g/t Au and over 8.43 g/t Ag, for 1.39% Cu equivalent hosted in a breccia. This is the most northerly hole we have drilled to date, and the mineralization remains open in that direction. We look forward to completing more drilling towards the north during 2019. We will then evaluate and publish another resource update in 2020.
The system has two principal styles of mineralization. On the southern margin, as we approach the Tantahuatay mine, we have extensive high sulphidation copper-gold-silver mineralization hosted in Miocene volcanic rocks. This style of mineralization has quite good grades, but there is arsenic associated with it, which will require additional considerations for processing. Below the high sulphidation mineralization, we encounter copper-gold mineralization associated with skarn and breccias. This style of mineralization is metallurgically cleaner with significantly less arsenic content, and it remains open to the north where it comes to the surface as the overlying volcanic cover terminates. We anticipate that the skarn and breccias are related to porphyry style mineralization, which we hope to encounter as drilling progresses to the north in 2019.
How strategic is your location next to the Tantahuatay and Cerro Corona mines?
We are in quite an exciting neighborhood with Buenaventura, Southern Copper and Gold Fields operating two mines immediately adjacent to us. We are very actively drilling out our resource, and those groups are also working to define additional resources. I am very pleased about the synergies created between the companies; we have a collaborative agreement for exploration with Compañía Minera Coimolache (Buenaventura and Southern Copper), the operators of the Tantahuatay Mine, who have an opportunity to transition from an oxide gold-silver heap-leach operation to a larger copper-gold sulphide operation with milling and flotation. We also have an option to acquire an interest and form a joint venture in a large area to the north with Buenaventura. Both agreements are working very well, but it is still early to define the future of the district.
How has the Aldebaran spinoff resulted in a more focused Regulus?
The spinoff was designed around several things. We wanted Regulus to isolate its focus on the AntaKori copper-gold asset, which has the potential to become a significant mine. At the same time, we wanted to make sure we did not just abandon the assets in Argentina. When the opportunity to acquire the Altar copper-gold project materialized, we had what we needed to form a strong new company in Aldebaran. The current market for copper is following a very encouraging pattern, with increased demand due to electrification of vehicles at a time when there are not many new mines coming into production. The major copper companies are clearly on the hunt for new assets that they can turn into mines, and that is why we are in a very good situation: to replicate what we did with Antares when we sold the Haquira deposit to First Quantum. One of the very nice aspects about the AntaKori and Altar projects is that, in addition to attractive copper grades, we have very significant precious metals associated to these deposits as well.
Regulus reported the results of its first three drill holes in its Phase 2 Drill Program at AntaKori Cu-Au on April 2, 2019, see the news release here.