VANCOUVER – A long copper-gold intercept suggests the Ccalla deposit has more mineralization to offer for Panoro Minerals (TSXV: PML) as the company gets set to update the resource estimate at its Cotabambas project in Peru.
Located 50 km west of Cusco in the Andes, Cotabambas is already home to 404 million inferred tonnes grading 0.42% Cu, 0.23 g/t Au, and 2.84 g/t Ag. In the year since that estimate was completed, Panoro has punched 75 new drill holes into the project's two deposits, named Ccalla and Azulccacca.
Most of the drill holes probed Ccalla, which was noted in last year's resource report to offer considerable expansion potential, particularly to the east. The report also suggested testing for mineralization down-dip from the defined deposit, which would mean deep mineralization to the north.
Instead, drills have been returning mineralization from all around the defined deposit.
The latest set of results includes a long, high grade hit from southwest of the zone. Hole 139 returned 128.9 metres grading 1.29% Cu, 0.96 g/t Au, and 9.4 g/t Ag, starting 46 metres down hole. Just 20 metres later the drill started into another long mineralized segment: 198.6 metres grading 0.48% Cu, 0.24 g/t Au, and 4.7 g/t Ag. Both intervals comprise primary sulphide mineralization.
Nearby, hole 125 returned 33 metres of oxide mineralization, starting from surface and grading 0.21% Cu, 0.27 g/t Au, and 3.9 g/t Ag. The oxide zone transitions directly into primary sulphide mineralization; a first intercept returned 96 metres of 0.24% Cu, 0.11 g/t Au, and 2.3 g/t Ag while a second interval, starting 153 metres down hole, cut 140 metres averaging 0.46% Cu, 0.22 g/t Au, and 3.2 g/t Ag. Lower-grade mineralization continues almost uninterrupted to the bottom of the drill hole, more than 600 metres below the surface.
So Ccalla looks set to expand to the southwest, but other directions are also promising. To the northwest, for example, hole 120 returned 155 metres of oxide mineralization grading 0.6% Cu, starting from surface. The hole then transitioned into primary sulphide mineralization, cutting 72 metres of 0.32% Cu and 0.09 g/t Au followed by 108 metres of 0.34% Cu and 0.11 g/t Au.
Hole 128 returned similar results from the same area. Collared on the northwest side of Ccalla, the hole first cut through 172.5 metres of oxide mineralization grading 0.33% Cu, 0.1 g/t Au, and 1.2 g/t Ag. Fifty metres later it encountered supergene enrichment that returned a 29-metre intercept grading 0.81% Cu, 0.39 g/t Au, and 4.4 g/t Ag. Below that, primary mineralization produced a 191-metre intercept grading 0.43% Cu, 0.19 g/t Au, and 1.8 g/t Ag.
According to Panoro most of the material in this area northwest of Ccalla is currently classified as waste. With results like those from holes 120 and 128, that classification could change in the updated resource estimate, which is due out in September.
To the north, two recent holes returned good oxide intercepts: hole 134 cut 52.5 metres of 0.77% Cu from surface while hole 135 cut 53.6 metres of 0.62% Cu from surface. Neither hole, however, encountered deeper mineralization.
Moving east from Ccalla, mineralization seems to trend deeper. Six holes from the latest batch of results returned various copper intercepts, some of which also carry notable molybdenum grades. Hole 138, for example, returned seven intercepts between 168 and 583 metres depth, including 55.7 metres grading 0.93% Cu, 0.74 g/t Au, and 6.5 g/t Ag from 339 metres down hole.
It seems Panoro will have a lot of intercepts to incorporate into its new resource estimate. And the intercepts should continue: the company has three drill rigs operating at Cotabambas and the current work program includes infill holes to upgrade the resource confidence as well as step-out holes to expand the resource and exploratory holes to test new targets on the property, 80% of which Panoro says remains essentially unexplored.
The company has money to fund the program, after raising $15 million in a private placement in March. Panoro sold 27.3 million shares at 55¢ apiece.
Cotabambas is part of the Eocene-Miocene porphyry belt of southern Peru. The belt is home to one operating mine – the Tintaya copper mine, operated by Glencore Xstrata PLC (LSE: GLEN) – as well as several medium-sized copper deposits in various stages of development. It is also home to Panoro's other main project, the Antilla copper-molybdenum property 140 km southwest of Cusco.
"The completion of this important financing during a period of very difficult market finance conditions is further validation of the high quality of the Cotabambas project," said Panoro's president and CEO Luquman Shaheen, at the time. "Panoro's Cotabambas project together with Xstrata's Las Bambas and Antapaccay projects, Hudbay Minerals' (TSX: HBM; NYSE: HBM) Constancia project, First Quantum Minerals' (TSX: FM; US-OTC: FQVLF; LSE: FQM) Haquira project, and Grupo Mexico's (US-OTC:GMBXF) Los Chancas project will together go a long way to achieving Peru's goal of becoming the world's premier copper-producing nation."
Panoro's share price remained unchanged at 24¢ on news of the latest Cotabambas drill results. The company has a 52-week share price range of 23¢ to 86¢, and 205 million shares outstanding.
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