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Aurania Resources eyeing potential multiple discoveries at Lost Cities-Cutucu project in Ecuador

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  • Flagship asset is the Lost Cities-Cutucu project in the eastern foothills of the Andes in Ecuador
  • Proven management team that discovered much of the gold and copper in the adjacent Cordillera del Condor
  • ‘Outperform’ rating from Noble Capital Markets

What Aurania Resources does:

Aurania Resources Inc (CVE:ARU) (OTCQB:AUIAF) is a Toronto-based junior explorer, focused on precious metals and copper, whose flagship asset is the Lost Cities-Cutucu project in the eastern foothills of the Andes mountain range in southeastern Ecuador.

The company’s origin story reads akin to something of a swashbuckling novel. Aurania’s entry into Ecuador was driven by colonial Spanish documents describing the “lost cities” of Logroño de los Caballeros and Sevilla de Oro – gold mines that operated between about 1562 and 1600. Today, Aurania’s management team believe that these “lost cities” are located within the firm’s large concession area.

Far from being a treasure hunter, the company is led by a team of respected geologists with a track record of world-class discoveries under their belts. CEO Keith Barron co-founded gold explorer Aurelian Resources, which discovered the Fruta del Norte gold deposit in 2006 and is currently being developed by Lundin Gold.

The Lost Cities-Cutucu project lies along-trend of a mineral belt that contains 26 million ounces of gold and almost 40 billion pounds of copper in the Cordillera del Condor region of the country. Aurania’s aeromagnetic data indicates a similar granitic batholith beneath the central part of the project area which, if proven, may have provided a similar source of porphyry, epithermal and skarn mineralization.

How is it doing:

Aurania has been very active so far in 2021.

In August, Aurania reported that drilling has intersected sediment-hosted copper mineralization visible over about two metres at the Tsenken N1 target in its Lost Cities-Cutucu project.

The company said it also intersected salt, a key element of sediment-hosted copper mineralized systems. Scout drilling continues for sediment-hosted copper at Tsenken N1 and for silver-zinc at the Tiria-Shimpia target area. 

Aurania noted the geological formation consists mostly of “red bed” sediments and is analogous to the Rotliegendes found beneath the Kupferschiefer in Poland and Germany. The carbon in the Chapiza has acted as a chemical reductant, causing the dissolved copper to fall out of solution where oxidized, copper-charged groundwaters come in contact with the carbon.

Meanwhile in July, the company said a review of drill core shows that the fault system which links the Tsenken target with the Tiria-Shimpia target has been confirmed in Ecuador. 

According to Aurania, the fault system moved periodically throughout the development of the sedimentary basin, providing a pumping mechanism for metal-bearing fluids that deposited sediment-hosted zinc-silver at Tiria-Shimpia and copper-silver at Tsenken. 

The company noted the additional scout drilling at Tsenken N1 is focused on sediment-hosted copper-silver adjacent to this fault system that extends 45 kilometers from the copper area in the south to the zinc zone in the north in the central part of the Aurania’s Lost Cities – Cutucu project.

On June 15, Aurania reported that drilling has intersected sediment-hosted copper mineralization at Tsenken N1. As a result, the company said drilling will continue at the Tsenken N1 target and the second rig is being moved to the Tiria-Shimpia target area.

The firm said it thinks Tiria-Shimpia forms part of the same mineralized system as the sediment-hosted copper at Tsenken – and if it is correct, it will have a 45-kilometre-long mineralized system on its hands.

Prior to that news, in May 2021, it reported that the follow-up of a high-grade boulder found in a stream has led to the discovery of silver-zinc mineralization in an outcrop over 2.7 kilometres in the Tiria-Shimpia target area.

The company said that follow-up exploration, and channel sampling of the mineralized layers, where they are exposed at surface, is turning up “key information” on the distribution of grade on surface within the 15km trend along which, silver-zinc is located at Tiria-Shimpia. According to Aurania, the trend was recently extended to 22 kilometres after the discovery of a 7 kilometres long mineralized zone at Shimpia North.

Earlier exploration extended Tiria-Shimpia to 22 km in length from 15 kilometres with the discovery of Shimpia North. Sampling during the first exploration in this area at the Lost Cities – Cutucu project had uncovered elevated metal values in streams draining a ridge that is 7 kilometres long.

Results included 40 grams per tonne (g/t) silver in an extensively weathered gossan outcrop, said the company. Another sample from a stream returned 19 g/t silver, 6.5% lead and 1.1% zinc.  Aurania said it has begun selecting drill sites at the Tiria-Shimpia target area and expects to begin drilling this quarter.

Meanwhile, earlier in May, Aurania announced it had confirmed the presence of significant amounts of high-tech metals in samples taken from Tiria-Shimpia.

Assays from the laboratory indicated the presence of gallium and indium, which are used in products like smartphones and solar cells.

Sampling at Tiria-Shimpia produced maximum values of 163 parts per million (ppm) for gallium and 39 ppm for indium. The firm said that it has not yet performed any metallurgical testing to see if the metals are economically recoverable.

Also in May, the company reported on a new epithermal target called Kuripan in the Lost Cities-Cutucu Project. The company said gold has been panned from streams that drain the target area with silica veinlets that have typical epithermal characteristics and occur in volcanic tuff.  It added that results from stream sediment sampling show that, in addition to gold and silver, the area is enriched in pathfinder elements such as naturally occurring arsenic and antimony.

Inflection points:

  • More exploration and drill results
  • Development of joint ventures over parts of the flagship asset
  • Identify specific targets at Kirus for scout drilling

What the broker says:

In a note to clients published on August 20, analysts at Noble Capital reiterated their ‘Outperform’ rating and $3.75 target price on shares of Aurania, a day after the company reported drill results at the Tsenken N1 target on its Lost Cities-Cutucu project.

“Aurania’s exploration program is providing an abundance of drilling targets for a variety of metals and the potential to make multiple discoveries in its large concession package,” the analysts wrote.

“One of the unique aspects of Aurania’s large land position is the potential for it to have entire mineralized systems hosting large deposits.”  

The Noble Capital analysts noted the current drilling program appears to be providing management with a clearer view of the system encompassing Tsenken N1 and Tiria-Shimpia, along with its potential.

They added that management believes that Tsenken and Tiria-Shimpia may be part of the same mineralized system, extending over 45 kilometers, that gradually changes from copper-dominant to zinc-dominant mineralization.

“Management believes the copper-silver found within the Lost Cities project is similar to that found in the Kupferschiefer of northern central Europe, one of the world’s largest sediment-hosted accumulations of copper ore.”

What the boss says:

Commenting on more positive results from Tiria-Shimpia drilling, CEO Keith Barron told investors:  ”We believe that Tiria-Shimpia forms part of the same mineralized system as the sediment-hosted copper at Tsenken, and if we are correct, we have an enormous mineralized system on our hands – one that extends over some 45 kilometres.”

He added: “The remarkable opportunity to explore this entire system is afforded to us because we have a large concession block. With one drill rig continuing the drilling at Tsenken N1 and the second moving from Kuri-Yawi to Tiria-Shimpia, we will be drilling at both ends of this extensive mineralized system. We have the option of returning to Kuri-Yawi when we have incorporated all the new data to advance our knowledge of the epithermal target there.”

Contact Sean at [email protected]

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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