Shawn Wallace, Executive Chair,
"The real potential we are trying to unearth is – can Santa Cecilia, sandwiched between two major deposits which are currently suspended, tip the economic scale for the entire complex?"
What have been the main milestones achieved by Torq Resources in the last 12 months?
Over approximately a years time - Torq Resources has assembled a portfolio of three copper and gold projects in Chile, conducted an inaugural drill program at one of those projects, and made a discovery. We intersected 90 metres of 0.94% copper and 0.84 g/t gold at our Margarita IOCG project in our last hole of the drill program, which was the first drilling to ever take place on the property. But while our exploration success at Margarita is significant and we look forward to expanding upon our new discovery, Torq is also highly focused on its Santa Cecilia gold-copper project in the Maricunga belt, where historical discoveries were inherited by the company when the option agreement was secured late in 2021. These discoveries have never been followed up on and we very much look forward to advancing these targets later this year.
What potential do you see in the Santa Cecilia gold-copper project in the Maricunga Belt?
Santa Cecilia is located approximately 100 km east of Copiapó, in the southern region of the world-class Maricunga belt, and is immediately adjacent to the Norte Abierto project, which is owned jointly by Newmont and Barrick. Norte Abierto is compromised of the Caspiche and Cerro Casale gold-copper porphyry deposits, collectively containing proven and probable reserves of 23.2 million ounces of gold and 5.8 billion pounds of copper. At Santa Cecilia, results from two historical drill holes and additional surface and geophysical work support the logic that the project has a similar mineral system to Norte Abierto, and we believe we can make a discovery that will be attractive to a major mining company. The real potential we are trying to unearth is – can Santa Cecilia, sandwiched between two major deposits which are currently suspended, tip the economic scale for the entire complex?
There are technical attributes on the project which suggest this could be the case. On top of the porphyry system discovered through the two historical drill holes, there is an oxide gold cap, which was uncovered through a small drill program by a major mining company in the late eighties. Our next steps are to drill off the porphyry to establish economic viability, while also outlining the potential of the gold system on top. We also believe there is another potential porphyry on the boundary between Caspiche and Santa Cecilia, and will identify targets to make this discovery.
How do you intend to advance the Margarita IOCG project and Andrea copper porphyry project?
Our discovery hole at Margarita is located on a structure, Falla 13, that is approximately 900 metres in length and correlates with a magnetic high and a hydrothermal alteration system. We plan to drill along this structure, which we believe has the potential to generate the same type of result as was observed in our discovery hole.
We are initiating surface exploration work at Torq’s Andrea project, including mapping, geophysical and geochemical surveys.
In terms of the longer term exit plan for Torq, what type of company would you expect to see move these projects into production?
Torq Resources is focused on exploration, as this is where we have expertise. Our goal is to make meaningful mineral discoveries and we would like to see an experienced mining company take them into development and production. Being in the industry for many years, I have learned that it is best to know your place in the food chain, letting each company do what they are specialized in and have the skill set for.
How do you view the current market sentiment for investment in copper junior companies?
Looking at current market conditions, although the sentiment is good for copper, gold, and mining in general, investors seems to be taking a ‘hold and see’ approach to investing, which I believe is largely due to the anticipation of monetary policies from some of the major economies and what the impact could be on inflation. However, the electrification of the world is going to continue, and copper will soon run into a serious supply deficit. I believe we will see significant interest and investment into copper moving forward, just in time for Torq to discover the next big porphyry copper-gold deposit in Chile.
What are Torq Resources’ priorities for the rest of 2022?
As Torq only recently acquired the Santa Cecilia project, we are in the process of building relationships with local communities. We are fortunate that the community is familiar with mining as they are already dealing with Barrick and Newmont, and in some ways, they are educating us on how we can work together. We want to establish a working relationship so we can make a discovery that benefits all stakeholders.
Importantly, we aim to put money in the ground as quickly as we can. As a junior, it pays to put money into real exploration work as soon as possible, because all other overhead costs persist, so those who explore slowly get fewer dollars, percentage-wise, into the ground. With this in mind, Torq Resources intends to explore aggressively in 2022.