Ecuador is known for its oil exports, but that’s not all the country has to offer. The country hosts gold, copper and silver deposits that have the potential to be developed into world-class mining operations. However, it has historically been difficult for mining companies to explore and develop the country’s resources largely because of its mining laws, which state that the country has the rights and first opportunity to develop every deposit. Despite this, the government has lacked the financing and technical expertise required to explore and fully develop its rich deposits.
Everything changed in 2019 when Lundin Gold (TSX:LUG) acquired a previously abandoned project and reached an agreement with the Ecuadorian government to develop the now-prolific Fruta del Norte Project. It was the country’s first large-scale modern gold mine and remains the largest producing gold mine in the country. Fruta del Norte is largely responsible for doubling Ecuador's mining exports in 2021 to US$2 billion, with the operation surpassing its own forecast. The Chinese-owned Mirador Copper-Gold Project is another large-scale mining operation that also contributed to the country’s record-breaking 2021 mineral exports. Both projects are located in Southern Ecuador.
Now, the Ecuadorian government has seen the power of foreign investment in developing its natural resources. Mining-friendly President Guillermo Lasso is actively encouraging foreign companies to invest in the country’s booming mining industry, which is projected to reach roughly US$4 billion by 2025. Three Canadian-owned mining companies were granted gold concessions and are now in advanced exploration stages: Dundee Precious Metals’ (TSX:DPM) Loma Larga Project, Atico Mining (TSXV:ATY) La Plata Project, and Adventus Mining’s (TSXV:ADZN) Curipamba Project.
Ecuador has also seen the emergence of powerhouse mining companies such as BHP-Newcrest jointly acquiring 15 percent of Sol Gold. Franco Nevada paid U$150 million to Sol Gold for a royalty over that project, which demonstrates long term confidence that Ecuador is a safe place to invest.
Other notable entrants are Hancock Prospecting, Fortescue Metal Groups (OTCQX:FSUMF) and First Quantum (TSX:FM), all searching for major mining opportunities not presently found in many other countries globally.
Another good sign is the presence of other mining companies now exploring and developing assets within the country, such as the Adventus Mining’s (TSXV:ADZN) Santiago project in south-central Ecuador and Cornerstone’s (TSXV:CGP) two wholly-owned exploration projects in Southern Ecuador. Cornerstone is also exploring its Caña Brava Project and Bramaderos Project in partnership with Sunstone Metals (ASX:STM).
The presence of all of these miners means one thing: Ecuador is finally open for business.
Titan Minerals (ASX:TTM) is focused on developing its gold and copper projects in Southern Ecuador. The company has four projects in Ecuador, each providing fresh opportunities to develop the country’s next large-scale mining operation. All of Titan Minerals’ projects are located in Ecuador’s Andean region, the same region as the two prolific mining operations currently comprising the majority of Ecuador’s mining exports. A management team with direct experience in developing large-scale gold mines is at the helm of Titan Minerals, creating confidence in its ability to capitalize on its assets.
The company’s flagship project, Dynasty Gold, has a resource estimate (in full accordance with Canadian NI-43-101) totalling 2.1 million ounces of gold averaging 4.5 g/t. The project is only 25 kilometers away from the Peruvian border, which opens up access to Peru’s modern processing facilities and robust trade routes. The company has released its own assay results that corroborate aspects of the foreign resource estimate, confirming high-grade gold and silver deposits throughout the project’s area.
Recently, Titan Minerals released additional exploratory results from an additional 30 diamond drill holes throughout Dynasty Gold, which further confirmed the presence of high-grade gold and silver up to a depth of 300 meters. The company is working towards a resource estimate that’s in full accordance with the JORC code.
It’s quite unusual for a junior mining company to possess an asset with millions of ounces of gold. In a recent interview, Executive Director Matthew Carr explained why the company is so optimistic about its holdings. He stated, “The interesting thing about Ecuador is all the concessions that have been granted. From a real estate point of view, it’s awfully difficult for anyone to get in and pick up new ground. It’s certainly looking at everyone who has ground and what they’re sitting on. From our perspective, these types of assets you don’t see in Australia junior. It’s rare that a junior has the types of assets that we’ve got, and it’s starting to catch the attention of bigger players in the market.”
Titan Minerals has assembled an experienced team of managers and experts to help the company reach its full potential. Peter Cook, non-executive chairman, brings over 35 years of experience from roles throughout the mining industry, such as field exploration and corporate management. Michael Skead brings a combined 60 years of experience and formal training in mining exploration, evaluation and development. Matthew Carr, executive director, and Nick Rowley, non-executive director, both have a strong background in fundraising and corporate finance.
The company has also brought on experts in operating in Ecuador. Freddy Villao, vice president of government affairs in Ecuador, is a lawyer with 15 years of experience in Ecuador. He is helping the company navigate Ecuador's mining laws. Pablo Morelli, exploration manager in Ecuador, is a geologist with direct experience with copper-gold and gold-rich porphyry systems.
- Titan Minerals is focused on underdeveloped and undervalued gold and copper assets in Southern Ecuador’s Andean region.
- Other mining companies have already had success in Southern Ecuador and serve as a strong indication of what’s possible for Titan Minerals.
- The company’s flagship project, Dynasty Gold, has a foreign resource estimate of 2.1 Moz of high-grade gold, with the company’s assay results corroborating the presence of high-grade gold and silver deposits.
- Titan Minerals has capitalized on Ecuador only recently opening its doors to foreign investment to capitalize on its natural resources. The company now has four promising projects in underexplored areas.
- A management team with direct experience in gold exploration and development, including a lawyer with expertise in Ecuadorian law, builds confidence in the company’s ability to capitalize on its holdings.
Dynasty Gold Project
Dynasty Gold Project is the company’s flagship project and Titan Minerals is focused on further exploration with an eye on future development. A previous resource estimate indicated the presence of 2.1 million ounces of gold with an average grade of 4.5 g/t gold. The 2.1Moz sits in the top 150 meters from the surface. New drilling indicates that the system runs down dip to over 300 meters. The project is in the advanced stage of exploration and consists of five concessions totaling 138 square kilometers.
- Ongoing Diamond Drilling: Additional exploration is underway to create a resource estimate that’s fully JORC compliant. The company released encouraging assay results in Q1 2022 that further confirm the presence of high-grade gold and silver to a depth of 300 meters.
- The Cerro Verde Prospect Shows Potential for Additional Gold Mineralization: Sampling of the Cerro Verde prospect has identified a wider zone of mineralization that was not identified by previous explorers, which may mean Dynasty Gold contains even more gold than previously estimated. Two cross-cut veins that only had shallow channel sampling have been revisited to reveal deeper mineralization with high-grade gold and silver with results up to 7.25 g/t gold at 8 meters. They recently intersected 102 meters at 1.48g/t in the porphyry stockwork of the Kaliman Porphyry — a very interesting development. This could materially change the size and scope of this project, representing a discovery within a bigger system.
- The Papayal Prospect Indicates Additional Gold Mineralization: Much like the Cerro Verde prospect, the company’s updated exploration assays indicate better intercepts of the known quartz vein, such as 2.59 meters at 18.3 g/t gold and 4.48 meters at 8.33 g/t gold. Silver is also present in the updated exploration results, reaching an impressive 768 g/t silver. This area has high grade epithermal gold veins.
Titan Minerals is simultaneously further exploring its Linderos Project, which contains high-grade gold at-surface mineralizations. The project is 25 kilometers southwest of the Dynasty Gold Project. Linderos contains four contiguous concessions that total 143 square kilometers.
- Encouraging Geology: The Linderos Project is located in a major flexure of the Andean Terrane and sits on a corridor of mineralization that extends from Peru and is associated with the early to late Miocene aged intrusions, which are known throughout Ecuador to contain porphyry copper and epithermal gold deposits.
- Exploration Campaign Already Underway: Titan Minerals has begun an exploration campaign that makes use of multiple modern exploration techniques, such as heliborne geophysics, ground IP geophysical surveys and surface geochemistry.
- Targeting Two Prospects to Confirm Historic Results: Both the Copper Ridge and Meseta Gold camp prospects have encouraging historic exploration results, indicating up 55.25 meters at 0.33 percent copper and 21 meters at 18.5 g/t gold respectively. Meseta Gold camp sits on the fringe of the outcropping porphyry at Copper Ridge.
- Linderos is a wildcard poised to be a major new discovery similar to Solaris and Sol gold in Ecuador. Drilling is anticipated between April and May 2022.
Copper Duke Project
Believed to have the potential to become a Tier One asset, Copper Duke has outcroppings that indicate a gold-rich porphyry copper system. The project contains 13 concessions across 130 square kilometers and is located a mere 18 kilometers east of the Dynasty Gold project. Titan Minerals is currently conducting systematic soil survey sampling, which is 40 percent complete.
- Multi-Phase Outcropping Targets: Copper Duke contains a porphyry copper-gold mineralization as well as epithermal gold-bearing quartz-magnetite vein systems.
- Encouraging Historic Exploration Results: A 1978 UN drill program resulted in two diamond drill holes reaching 440 meters and returned encouraging results: 33.1 meters at 2.5 g/t gold from a 9-meter drill depth and 45.4 meters at 1.9 g/t gold from the surface.
- Exploration Results Indicate Tier One Potential: Airborne magnetic surveys and 3D geophysical modeling of the results reveal characteristics that are similar to Tier One assets around the world located in similar porphyry districts.
- Nearby Highway for Future Transport: The project is located 5 kilometers away from the Pan American Highway, which will facilitate streamlined transportation once the project is in full production.
Jerusalem Gold Project
The small yet encouraging Jerusalem Gold Project contains one concession over 2.25 square kilometers. The project is believed to contain millions of ounces of high-grade gold and silver based on historic results. It contains high-grade mineralizations from the surface level.
- Encouraging Historic Results: Historic foreign resource estimates indicate the presence of 1.2 million ounces of gold at 14.5 g/t, alongside 8.5 million ounces of silver at 98 g/t. The estimate was based on the results of 47 diamond drill holes totalling 13,838 meters.
- Located Between Two Prolific Gold Mines: The Jerusalem Gold Project is 40 kilometers south of Lundin Gold’s famous Fruta del Norte deposit, which hosts 13.9 million ounces of gold. Additionally, the project is contiguous with Lumix Resources’ Condor Project which contains 6.6 million ounces of gold.
- Exploration Targets Identified: Multiple high-grade targets have been identified but remain unexplored.
Peter Cook - Non-Executive Chairman
Peter Cook is a Geologist with over 35 years of experience in the field of exploration, project, operational and corporate management of mining companies. Over the past two decades, Cook has founded or served as Managing Director or Chairman for many successful mining and resource development companies in gold and base metals. He is currently the non-executive chairman of Westgold Resources (ASX:WGX), where he was previously executive Chairman before recently deciding to step back from all executive roles.
Cook is also the non-executive chairman of Castile Resources (ASX:CST) and served as the non-executive chairman of Nelson Resources (ASX:NES) until February 2019. Over his distinguished career Cook has been recognized by the industry, being awarded the GMJ Mining Executive of the year in 2001, the Asia-Mining Executive of the year award at the Mines and Money Conference in Hong Kong in 2015, the Mining News CEO of the Year award in 2018 and the Gavin Thomas Mining Award in 2019.
Matthew Carr - Executive Director
Matthew Carr is a successful and experienced company director having founded Urban Capital Group. Urban Capital Group is a private equity company with a strong focus on property-backed investment and security. Matthew is also the non-executive chairman of Andina.
Nick Rowley - Non-Executive Director
Nick Rowley is an experienced corporate executive with a strong financial background having previously worked in the financial services industry for over 15 years where he has gained widespread experience in corporate advisory, M&A transactions and equities markets, advising domestic and international institutional sales and high-net-worth individuals. Rowley also advised on the equity financings of numerous ASX- and TSX-listed companies predominantly in the mining and resources sector. Rowley currently serves as non-executive director of Cyprium Metals (ASX:CYM) and Oro X (TSXV:OROX), he is also director of corporate development for Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY).
Barry Bourne - Non-Executive Director
Barry Bourne is a geologist and the principal consultant at Terra Resources Pty Ltd which specializes in geophysical survey design, acquisition, processing, modeling, inversion, data integration, interpretation, and drill hole targeting. Bourne has significant exploration success and strong leadership qualities alongside his technical abilities. Bourne worked for over 12 years with Barrick Gold which included six years in-country experience in developing nations, including Papua New Guinea, East and West Africa and South America. He also spent three years working on the Carlin trend in the USA.
Prior to Barrick Gold, Bourne was the principal geophysicist of Homestake Gold. He was shortlisted for the Australian Innovation Awards in 2012 and was the Advance Global Australian of the Year for Mining and Resources in 2013. Bourne holds Bachelor of Science Honours degree, is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists, is on the technical advisory committee for UWA Centre for Exploration Targeting and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Zane Lewis - Company Secretary
Zane Lewis is a principal and joint founder of corporate advisory firm SmallCap Corporate which specializes in corporate advice and compliance administration to public companies. He is also a Fellow of Chartered Secretaries Australia. Lewis provides the board with a wealth of knowledge obtained from his diverse financial and corporate experience in previous appointments.
Michael Skead - Executive Vice-President of Exploration and COO
Michael Skead is a geologist with over 30 years of international experience in mining exploration and development. He holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in geology from the University of Cape Town, (RSA) and Master of Science degree in exploration geology, from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, (RSA). Skead most recently worked as the vice president of project development at GT Gold (TSXV:GTT) which was recently acquired by Newmont (NYSE:NEM) for C$393 million.
While at GT Gold Skead delivered the geological model and resource for the gold-rich copper porphyry Saddle North Project which comprised an indicated resource containing 1.81 Blb copper and 3.47 Moz gold and an Inferred resource containing 2.98 Blb copper and 5.46 Moz gold. Prior to his role at GT Gold, Skead was director of geoscience at Newmont and has previously held senior management positions in several internationally-recognized mining companies including Goldcorp, Randgold Resources (LSE:RRS) and Dundee Precious Metals (TSX:DPM).
Freddy Villao - Vice President Government Affairs, Ecuador
Freddy Villao is a lawyer with 15 years of experience across several public sector institutions in Ecuador. Villao's most recent position was as the under-secretary-general of strategic development and prior to that he was the under-secretary of administration for hydrocarbon contracts and assigned areas. He holds a master’s degree in Administrative Law from Austral University in Argentina, a Higher Diploma in Local Government Management in Ecuador, and a Diploma in Mining Management at the Catholic University of Chile.
Pablo Morelli - Exploration Manager, Ecuador
Pablo Morelli is a geologist with over 15 years of experience working across various epithermal systems as well as copper-molybdenum, copper-gold and gold-rich style porphyry systems. This experience was gained working with Barrick, Newmont, Kinross and Rio Tinto working in the Cretaceous, Palaeocene, Eocene-Oligocene and Miocene Belts of Northern and Central Chile and Mexico. Morelli recently worked as geology and exploration superintendent on the Norte Abierto Project, a joint venture between Newmont and Barrick Gold, evaluating the Cerro Casale and Caspiche copper-gold projects.
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