Filo Mining Corp. [FIL-TSXV, NASDAQ First North] said the most extensive exploration program in the company’s history is now under way at its 100%-owned Filo del Sol Project, which straddles the border of Region III, Chile and San Juan Province, Argentina.
The company said three diamond drills are on site with a fourth scheduled to arrive this week. “I’m excited to report that we are off to an early start and drilling is under way at Filo del Sol,” said Filo CEO Adam Lundin. “We will soon have four rigs turning; and with a plan to drill over 10,000 metres, this season, this is the most extensive exploration in the company’s history,” he said.
Filo shares advanced on the news, rising 0.45% or $0.01 to $2.21, and now trade in a 52-week range of $2.01 and $3.25.
Filo Mining is a member of the Lundin Group of companies. The Filo del Sol Project is a high-sulphidation epithermal copper-gold-silver deposit associated with a large porphyry gold system.
It is located in the Andes Mountains, 140 km southeast of the Chilean city of Copiapo and was recently the subject of a Pre-Feasibility Study that is based on proven and probable reserves of 259.1 million tonnes, grading 0.39% copper, 0.33 g/t gold, 15.1 g/t silver, or 2.2 billion pounds of copper, 2.7 million ounces of gold and 126 million ounce of silver.
The Pre-Feasibility Study envisages annual production of approximately 67,000 tonnes of copper (including copper as a precipitate), 159,000 ounces of gold and 8.6 million ounces of silver at a cost of US$1.23 per pound of copper equivalent.
The pre-production capital cost is estimated at $1.27 billion. Over a 14-year mine life (including pre-stripping) the operation is expected to produce almost 1.75 billion pounds of copper as cathode, and 1.92 million ounces of gold and 104 million ounces of silver as doré over a 13-year leach feed schedule.
Additional copper is also expected to be recovered as high-grade copper precipitate.
The Pre-Feasibility Study contemplates that Filo del Sol would be mined using conventional open pit methods. It is forecast that ore would be trucked from the open pit to a conventional two-stage crusher, designed to process 60,000 tonnes per day of ore, followed by hydrometallurgical processing to produce copper cathodes and gold-silver doré.
That material would be transported by truck to Puerto Caldera, which is located approximately 245 km by road from the plant site.
In the May 28, 2019 press release, Filo CEO Adam Lundin said results from the 2018/2019 exploration program provided a step change in the company’s understanding of the Filo del Sol mineral system and continued to demonstrate that the ultimate size of the deposit could be well beyond Filo’s current mineral resources estimate.
Previous drilling also extended the depth of mineralization 530 metres deeper than previously known. Exploration crews also outlined continuous mineralization over a 3-km north-south distance, leaving a deposit that is open in both directions beyond this.
On Thursday November 14, the company said three holes are under way in the Filo Deep area testing for extensions of both the high-grade gold mineralization encountered last season, and for copper-gold mineralization underlying drill holes FSDH028 and FSDH030, both of which ended in strong mineralization.
The fourth rig will begin drilling at the newly discovered Tamberias West Zone, where surface mapping and trenching during the past season encountered steam-heated alteration to that which outcrops above the Filo del Sol deposit.
Reinterpretation of the fault systems as part of the regional geology mapping effort last season has resulted in the identification of a northeasterly structure (Portozuelo fault) that may control the geometry of the deposit. This puts the steam-heated alteration in context as the possible southwestern continuation of the Filo del Sol deposit and makes it a high priority drill target, the company said.
Assay results from the current drill program will be released early in the New Year.