El Domo - Curipamba is one of the highest grade and lowest capital intensity copper-gold projects not just in the Americas, but globally. With a detailed feasibility study completed to top international standards, and strong community and government support, El Domo - Curipamba is expected to be the next modern mine in Ecuador.
In 2017, Adventus Mining Corporation (formerly Adventus Zinc Corporation) entered into an agreement with Salazar Resources Ltd whereby Adventus may earn a majority interest in the Curipamba project located in central Ecuador by funding exploration and development expenditures of US$25 million over five years and meeting certain development obligations. This includes the completion of a feasibility study for the development of the high grade copper-gold El Domo volcanic massive sulphide ("VMS") deposit located within the Curipamba project concessions, which was completed in 2021 (see October 26, 2021 news release - link). Adventus will fund capital costs to production and receives 95% of the free cashflows until all of its investments since 2017 are repaid, after-which the project cashflows will be shared 75% to Adventus and 25% to Salazar. In 2021, Adventus announced it had completed its earn-in option to obtain majority ownership of the Curipamba project (see December 10, 2021 news release - link).
In parallel with the detailed engineering and site works, Adventus continues to advance broader greenfield exploration within the greater 215 sq. km Curipamba project.
Curipamba Project & El Domo Deposit
The Curipamba project comprises of seven concessions representing approximately 21,500 ha (215 sq. km) and includes the advanced high grade copper-gold El Domo deposit. Curipamba is located in central Ecuador approximately 150 km northeast of the major port city of Guayaquil - about a 3-hour drive. The concessions span low-lying hills and plains between 300 to 900 masl.
El Domo is a flat-lying tabular shaped VMS deposit, with mineralization beginning at 30 metres from surface and dimensions of approximately 800 x 400 metres. Three well-maintained gravel roads provide direct access to El Domo and most of the Curipamba project area. Approximately 75,000 metres of diamond drilling has been completed on the Curipamba project - mostly centred on El Domo. Highlights of historical intercepts include:
- 24.02 metres of 5.41% copper, 6.40 g/t gold, 2.68% zinc, 58.6 g/t silver, 0.15% lead (~11.5% CuEq) – CURI 336
- 8.16 metres of 2.17% copper, 19.67 g/t gold, 23.17% zinc, 229.0 g/t silver, 4.01% lead (~28.4% CuEq), including: 3.71 m of 3.00% copper, 36.55 g/t gold, 32.17% zinc, 411.3 g/t silver, 6.80% lead (~47.0% CuEq) – CURI 285
- 32.43 metres of 4.40% copper, 1.29 g/t gold, 1.84% zinc, 13.3 g/t silver, 0.09% lead (~6.2% CuEq), including: 19.41 m of 7.00% copper, 1.61 g/t gold, 3.00% zinc, 18.4 g/t silver, 0.14% lead (~9.5% CuEq) – CURI 266
In 2019, Roscoe Postle Associates Inc. completed an independent National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report on the Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Curipamba - El Domo project, which included an updated mineral resource estimate and produced robust technical and economic results (see May 2, 2019 news release).
In 2020, Adventus acquired surface rights covering 100% of the land overlaying the estimated Mineral Resources and proposed open pit and underground mines as outlined in the 2019 Technical Report. A number of detailed technical studies and trade-off evaluations were completed as part of an internal pre-feasibility study.
In 2021, Adventus advanced El Domo development with infill and geotechnical drilling programs in conjunction with the completion of the feasibility study (see October 26, 2021 news release - link). The feasibility study included the first estimate of mineral reserves (open pit) and updated the total estimate of mineral resources (open pit & underground):
- Proven & Probable Mineral Reserves (open pit): 6.5 million tonnes at 1.93% Cu, 2.52 g/t Au, 46 g/t Ag, 2.49% Zn, 0.2% Pb
- Proven: 3.1 million tonnes at 2.50% Cu, 2.83 g/t Au, 41 g/t Ag, 2.30% Zn, 0.2% Pb
- Probable: 3.3 million tonnes at 1.39% Cu, 2.23 g/t Au, 50 g/t Ag, 2.67% Zn, 0.3% Pb
- Underground Mineral Resources:
- Indicated: 1.9 million tonnes at 2.72% Cu, 1.37 g/t Au, 31 g/t Ag, 2.38% Zn, 0.14% Pb
- Inferred: 0.8 million tonnes at 2.31% Cu, 1.74 g/t Au, 29 g/t Ag, 2.68% Zn, 0.11% Pb
- Total Measured & Indicated Mineral Resource (open pit & underground): 9.0 million tonnes at 2.11% Cu, 2.36 g/t Au, 45 g/t Ag, 2.59% Zn, 0.24% Pb
- Measured: 3.2 million tonnes at 2.61% Cu, 3.03 g/t Au, 45 g/t Ag, 2.50% Zn, 0.24% Pb
- Indicated: 5.7 million tonnes at 1.83% Cu, 1.98 g/t Au, 45 g/t Ag, 2.64% Zn, 0.24% Pb
- M+I: 9.0 million tonnes at 2.11% Cu, 2.36 g/t Au, 45 g/t Ag, 2.59% Zn, 0.24% Pb
- Inferred: 1.1 million tonnes at 1.72% Cu, 1.62 g/t Au, 32 g/t Ag, 2.18% Zn, 0.14% Pb
- Curipamba feasibility study results, including economic and technical parameters are summarized in the October 26, 2021 news release and provided in detail in the NI 43-101 Technical Report filed on SEDAR on December 10, 2021 (link to SEDAR)
As a positive result of the feasibility study, Adventus submitted a detailed environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) as part of the formal stakeholder consultation and environmental licensing process with the Government of Ecuador for future construction and operation of the Curipamba project (see November 18, 2021 news release - link).
In 2022, Adventus secured a project financing package of over US$235 million with Wheaton Precious Metals and Trafigura for the future construction of El Domo (see January 17, 2022 news release - link). In addition, Adventus signed a contract with contractors Stracon S.A. and Ripconciv for project community training, future earthworks and mining activities (see November 17, 2022 news release - link), which included a future US$5 million equity commitment. With the Government of Ecuador, Adventus also secured an investment protection agreement for El Domo development (see December 28, 2022 news release - link) - only the third investment contract signed for future mineral exploitation which follows the Fruta del Norte and Mirador mines in operation.
Adventus believes significant exploration potential exists to expand the El Domo deposit as well as to find additional deposits within the greater Curipamba district.
Regional Exploration at Curipamba
With minimal systematic exploration work having been conducted across the entire Curipamba property since the discovery of El Domo in 2008 by Salazar, the partners undertook and completed an airborne MobileMT geophysical survey in 2019 totaling 2,142 line-kilometres (see September 19, 2019 news release - link).
Since completing the MobileMT survey, the first airborne geophysical survey at Curipamba, the Partners have made significant progress generating targets through a target generation initiative (“TGI”) that has processed and integrated all geoscience data collected from surficial geochemistry, geological mapping, prospecting, drilling, and ground geophysical surveys at Curipamba. These data sets have been compiled to produce a target ranking matrix that continues to drive exploration planning.
Exploration focus is on high priority targets that have been classified as either VMS-related, such as El Domo, or intrusion-related examples in central Ecuador. In total, 15 compelling high priority targets have been defined during the TGI process to date, which are being followed-up by technical staff in the field to refine the priority ranking and drilling campaigns. Of key importance is that most of these targets are new and have not seen significant exploration or drilling historically.
For example in 2021, Adventus discovered a new VMS system approximately 4.5km southwest of the El Domo deposit (see August 9, 2021 news release on Agua Santa target - link). The first drill hole at Agua Santa intersected 6.34 metres of 1.77% copper, 1.46 g/t gold, 7.45% zinc, 23.2 g/t silver, and 0.24% lead – including 1.40 metres of 1.58% copper, 2.67 g/t gold, 31.20% zinc, 55.0 g/t silver, and 1.01% lead. Adventus is continuing exploration work within Curipamba in parallel with El Domo development.
For the latest information on the Curipamba project and El Domo development, please refer to the Adventus corporate presentation and the company's news releases.