Sonoro Metals Corp. [SMO-TSXV, SMOFF-OTCQB] shares were active Friday December 28 after the company said it has terminated its option and joint venture agreement with Northern Empire Resources Corp. regarding the Hilltop gold project in Alaska. No expenditures were incurred by Sonoro on the Hilltop Project during 2018 and the agreement was terminated on December 27, 2018.
Northern Empire was acquired by Coeur Mining Inc. [CDE-NYSE] in October 2018. Its principal asset is the Sterling Gold Project near Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hilltop is an exploration-stage gold project located 70 km southeast of Fairbanks. Gold producers in the region are Sumitomo’s Pogo Mine located 75 km east of Kinross Gold Corp.’s [K-TSX, KGC-NYSE] Fort Knox Mine 135 km to the north.
The 12,836-hectare Hilltop property is bordered to the south by the Richardson Hwy. and is close to high-power electrical transmission lines and the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Northern Empire granted Sonoro an option to earn a 60% interest in Hilltop via the expenditure of $3 million on exploration and the issuance of 1 million Sonoro shares to Northern Empire prior to December 31, 2019.
In a January, 2018, press release, Sonoro said it had amended the agreement with Northern Empire allowing Sonoro to defer the balance of 2017 expenditures until 2018. At that time, Sonoro said it had contributed $286,833 against the 2017 exploration budget of $500,000.
In consideration for deferring the balance of 2017 expenditures, Sonoro said it had agreed to issue 100,000 shares to Northern Empire.
“Our board of directors has determined that it is in the best interest of Sonoro’s shareholders to focus exploration efforts at Sonoro’s gold and silver projects in Sonoro state, Mexico,” said Sonoro President and CEO Kenneth McLeod.
Sonoro is a gold and silver-focused mineral exploration company with a portfolio of exploration stage properties in Sonora, Mexico and the United States.
“The ongoing 10,000-metre drilling program at the Cerro Caliche gold project in the Cucurpe mining district will continue into the first quarter of 2019 while exploration activities at the nearby San Marcial gold/silver project are expected to advance towards the drilling phase during 2019,” McLeod said. San Marcial is located 30 km west of Cerro Caliche.
In a press release on December 5, 2018, the company released assays from 17 drill holes that were completed as part of the 10,000-metre program at Cerro Caliche. With a total of 30 holes totalling approximately 3,000 metres drilled and assayed to date, Sonoro has defined portions of seven distinct northwest-oriented structural trends hosting gold mineralized veins, surrounded by variable-frequency parallel sheeted veinlets and stockwork veinlets.
“Drilling by earlier operators suggested the potential to develop a large-tonnage, heap leachable resource at Cerro Caliche suitable for open-pit mining,” MacLeod said. “The current results support that proposition.”
Sonoro shares advanced on the news, rising 34.6% or $0.045 to 17.5 cents. The 52-week range is 20 cents and $0.07.