Sunstone Metals Ltd (ASX:STM) has confirmed its El Palmar Project in Ecuador contains a gold-copper porphyry, with initial assays revealing extremely wide intersections and mineralisation runs from surface.

Assays from the first hole included 163.55 metres at 0.71 g/t gold and 0.20% copper (1.05 g/t gold equivalent) from 52.35 metres within 480.85 metres at 0.41 g/t gold and 0.15% copper (0.66 g/t gold equivalent) from 11.3 metres.

As Sunstone managing director and CEO Malcolm Norris recently told Proactive, the company has been on the hunt for a big porphyry discovery in Ecuador, and now, they have found it.

Investors responded very strongly to the news as shares surged as much as 91% to A$0.042, a new two-year high, with more than 385 million shares changing hands.

Major porphyry discovery

Norris told investors in a statement that the company had clearly made a major porphyry discovery.

“We are very excited about these results – these grades and widths, combined with the size of the magnetic target we are drilling and the fact that mineralisation starts from the surface, show that El Palmar is an outstanding discovery with huge potential,” he said.

“And it is early days, to have drilled mineralisation in all four holes drilled to date is an incredible start to this drilling program.

“Importantly, the copper and gold grades in drilling are aligning very well with the magnetic target, which gives us immense confidence in the size of the prize.”

Porphyry is a term for a rock consisting of coarse-grained crystals such as feldspar or quartz dispersed in a fine-grained silica-rich groundmass; porphyry deposits are very large, polymetallic systems that typically contain copper along with other important metals, including gold.

Location of the El Palmar project in northern Ecuador.

Assay details

Sunstone made a 480-metre intersection of gold and copper in its first drill hole at El Palmar, including high gold-grade sections that are characteristic of gold-rich porphyry systems.

Results detailed are from the first hole with partial results from the second hole for the including 167.5 metres at 0.58 g/t gold and 0.26% copper (1.02 g/t gold equivalent) from 250 metres.

The presence of bornite and other high-tenor copper sulphide minerals suggests higher copper grades can be expected within the system.

Assays from the remainder of the second hole and from a third hole are expected in about six weeks.

El Palmar is in northern Ecuador in the vicinity of the 1-billion-tonne Llurimagua copper-molybdenum porphyry deposit and in the same regional structural belt that hosts the 2.6-billion-tonne Alpala copper-gold deposit within the Cascabel project.

Location of the El Palmar project relative to the Llurimagua and Alpala (Cascabel) deposits and the Toachi fault system.

Next steps

In August 2020, Sunstone agreed to the staged acquisition of the El Palmar copper-gold project as part of its strategy to expand holdings in Ecuador on projects which pass the company’s technical and commercial criteria and offer the potential for significant resource discoveries.

Sunstone can acquire 100% of the El Palmar project and has met all the obligations under the staged acquisition agreement to move to 51% ownership, with the process to transfer the shares underway.

The company is fully funded for ongoing exploration at El Palmar, with cash and equity investments totalling $21 million.

– Daniel Paproth

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