JV Royal Road – Nicaragua
In September of 2017, the Company executed a 50%-50% Strategic Alliance with Royal Road for gold and copper exploration in Nicaragua. The objective of the Alliance is to identify and explore gold and copper targets in Nicaragua in the areas covered by Royal Road’s and the Company’s respective existing licenses, which together cover large regions of highly prospective and under-explored areas and include in excess of 35 currently identified prospect areas. Royal Road Minerals is operator of the Strategic Alliance.
Exploration under the Alliance has so far identified two key targets in north-eastern Nicaragua: Luna Roja and Caribe.
The Luna Roja Exploration Target is a joint venture gold skarn exploration target located on the Hemco Property, approximately 26 kilometres southeast of the Panama Mine in Nicaragua. Royal Road as the operator, has been exploring the property using a combination of soil, grab, channel sampling, ground geophysics and diamond drilling. On September 3, 2019, Royal Road declared the Luna Roja Exploration Target a “designated project area” or DPA under the Royal Road Nicaragua Alliance Agreement, constituting it a joint venture between Hemco and Royal Road. On May 1, 2020, the parties confirmed their agreement not to transfer the Luna Roja Exploration Target to a joint venture company until such time as mutually agreed between the parties after results of forthcoming drilling program are completed and agreed on certain other matters relating to the operation of the Luna Roja Exploration Target. Each of Hemco and Royal Road holds a 50% interest in the Luna Roja Exploration Target.
In 2019, Royal Road completed a drilling program of 17 diamond drill holes totalling 2,472 metres in mid- to late-2019. Drilling identified broad zones of auriferous skarn to 150 m depth and extending 400 m northwest-southeast in artisanal mining activity area. Significant intersections included:
In the first quarter of 2020, Royal Road completed ground-based magnetic and microgravity surveys over the entire Luna Roja Exploration Target, which further defined further drill targets. The gold in soil anomaly is characterized by a “grainy” magnetic (TMI RTP) signature with punctual highs and lows. Three dimensional inverted gravity density data highlighted a discrete density low surrounded by a density high in the south portion of the property area which Royal Road interprets as a possible deeper, downthrown endoskarn and adjacent exoskarn bodies worthy of drill testing.
In May 2020, Royal Road completed an expansion drilling program of 3,095 metres in 19 holes at Luna Roja, aimed at locally extending known gold mineralization and exploring newly identified and deeper targets identified by ground microgravity surveys. Results from this drilling program returned significant results including:
Luna Roja – Nicaragua
- At this point the true width of the mineralized zone is unknown.
- As publicly disclosed in a Royal Road press release on the website www.royalroadminerals.com, dated September 14, 2020, except for LR-DDH-036.
Caribe is a gold Exploration Target located on the Hemco Property, approximately 42 kilometres southeast of the Panama Mine, and 26 km southeast of the Luna Roja Exploration Target, in Nicaragua. Caribe is held as a joint venture in which Hemco and Royal Road each hold a 50% interest.
In February 2018, exploration targets at Caribe were identified by Royal Road during reconnaissance follow-up of airborne geophysical anomalies. In 2019, Royal Road and Hemco completed an initial 4-hole, 413 metre, exploratory drilling program at Caribe which returned significant intersections including:
Drilling confirmed significant near surface intercepts of gold mineralization related to quartz-carbonate-adularia-pyrite stockwork veinlets hosted in volcanic units.
In August 2020, a follow up diamond drilling program of approximately 2,000 m was initiated at the Caribe Exploration Target and 10 drill holes were completed for a total of 1,319 metres. Drilling is ongoing. Significant results from the first seven drill holes, showing gold grades equal to or exceeding 0.9 g/t Au, include:
Lower-grade gold (less than 1 g/t Au, applying a 0.2 g/t Au cut off) is notable in longer intersections including CB-DDH-006 which returned 144 m at 0.7 g/t Au from 6.0 m to 150 m , CB-DDH-009 which returned 146 m at 0.7 g/t Au from 0.0m to 146.0m , and CB-DDH-011 which returned 80 m at 0.7 g/t Au from 0.0m to 80.0 m. Generally gold mineralization is associated with elevated molybdenum and copper.
Gold, copper and molybdenum mineralization is almost exclusively hosted within a multi-phase breccia body, disseminated in the breccia matrix and within crosscutting quartz veinlets. The breccia body is interpreted to be a diatreme or fissure-controlled breccia. Fine free gold is associated with chalcopyrite and molybdenite with traces of bornite and covellite. Alteration is predominantly chlorite-sericite. The mineral and alteration assemblages imply a porphyry-style association and are interpreted to suggest a porphyry copper-gold target beneath or adjacent to the breccia body.
On March 2, 2020, the Company and Royal Road entered into the Royal Road Colombia Agreement, a strategic alliance to jointly identify, explore, develop, market and exploit gold and other metals resources at areas covered by Royal Road’s and the Company’s respective existing licenses, which together cover a region of highly prospective and under-explored areas in Colombia. Pursuant to the Royal Road Colombia Agreement, Royal Road’s GNM Exploration Target has been designated as a joint venture, with Royal Road as operator. The Company has the option to acquire a 25% interest in the GNM Exploration Target by funding $1 million of exploration expenses, and a second option to acquire a further 25% interest by funding a further $1.5 million of exploration expenses.
As part of the strategic exploration alliance with Royal Road, in 2020 Mineros contributed 100% towards the exploration expenditures including mapping, drilling and sampling on the Guintar-Niverengo concessions and its Margaritas title application (“GNM Exploration Target”). AngloGold Ashanti commenced work on the project area in 2015 and completed two scout drilling campaigns for a total of 5662 meters. The Guintär title area covers an artisanal mining district with more than 50 known historic underground adits developed on steeply dipping east-west oriented gold mineralized vein structures.
Royal Road has completed an initial 1,179 metre diamond drilling program focused on the Niverengo title area and plan to complete a further 5,000 metres in 2021. Drilling intersected skarn-style mineralization hosted primarily in folded calc-silicate sedimentary rocks with gold, silver and copper.
At Niverengo, gold mineralization is related to garnet, pyroxene and early pyrrhotite skarn alteration that recent geochemical vector studies have identified as being distal from what may be the primary gold source. This implies that further drilling should target deeper probably intrusion-related, vein or breccia bodies identified in in the study.
Work planned for the GNM Exploration Target in 2021 includes further field-based studies and refine drill targeting at Guintär and Niverengo. Concurrently, Mineros has applied to the Secretary of Mines in Antioquia for conversion of the Margaritas application to an exploration-stage concession contract prior to drilling targets in the GNM area.