Challenger Exploration (ASX: CEL) is developing two complementary gold projects in South America. The strategy is for the 2.1 million ounce Hualilan Gold Project to provide a high-grade low capex operation in the near term as which funds a much larger bulk gold operation at in Ecuador.
Challengers flagship Hualilan Gold Project, located in San Juan Province Argentina, is a near term development opportunity. CEL has both grade and scale with an interim resource of 2.1 million ounces (that contains a high-grade core of 6.3 Mt at 5.6 g/t AuEq for 1.1 Moz AuEq) which remains open in all directions. The resource was based on 126,000 metres of CEL's ongoing 204,000 metre drill program. Typical results include 6.1m @ 34.6 g/t Au, 21.9 g/t Ag, 2.9% Zn and 10.3m @ 10.4 g/t Au, 28 g/t Ag, 4.6% Zn with high high-grade gold intercepted over 3.5 kilometres of strike. Recent drilling has demonstrated this high-grade mineralisation is underlain by a significant intrusion-hosted gold system with intercepts including 209.0m at 1.0 g/t Au, 1.4 g/t Ag, 0.1% Zn and 110.5m at 2.5 g/t Au, 7.4 g/t Au, 0.90% Zn hosted in intrusives. The Company will upgrade the interim Mineral Resource Estimate late this year with the updated resource feeding into a Scoping Study which is expected to be completed in H1 2023.
The El Guayabo Gold/Copper Project covers 35 sq kms in southern Ecuador prior to CEL's current program was last drilled by Newmont Mining in 1995 and 1997. The project lies 5 kilometres along strike from a 17 million ounce orebody and Challengers initial drill results have confirmed the discovery of a major gold-copper-silver-molybdenum system spanning multiple zones. Drilling has tested the first five of fifteen regionally significant Au-soil with over 500 metres of mineralisation intersected at all five anomalies confirming the potential for a major bulk gold system.
Recent results Include Intersections such as 257.8m at 1.4 g/t AuEq including 53.7m at 5.3 g/t AuEq; 528.7m at 0.5 g/t AuEq from surface to the end of the hole including 397.1m at 0.6 g/t AuEq from surface; and 307.9m at 0.6 g/t AuEq from surface to the end of the hole, including 102.9 metres at 1.2 g/t AuEq. The Company is targeting a maiden Mineral Resource Estimate in Q2 2023 on the main discovery zone which is first of the 15 Au-soil anomalies to be drilled.