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Antilles Gold set to test trio of Cuban copper-gold porphyries

Updated: May 8, 2023

Antilles Gold’s promising El Pilar copper-gold project is on flat, undeveloped land in central Cuba. Credit: File

Antilles Gold has finalised 3D modelling and interpretation of its ground magnetic and induced polarisation (IP) surveys completed across a 700-hectare area at its El Pilar project in central Cuba.

It has enabled the company to etch out a cluster of highly-prospective copper-gold mineralised porphyries along a 1350m strike length, spearheaded by big intrusive bodies at El Pilar, Gaspar and the newly-named Camilo – which is the biggest of the lot.

The El Pilar porphyry body is interpreted to extend through a 300m strike and a 200m width. At the nearby Gaspar target, the porphyry has been outlined over a 200m strike and up to a 200m width.

Interestingly, both targets have been interpreted to extend vertically down to the lower limits detected by the surveys – depths of a whopping 800m from surface. The company says surface copper-gold mineralisation and intense hydrothermal alteration at El Pilar and Gaspar are part of the same porphyry-related hydrothermal metalliferous system.

Ground magnetic and IP geophysical surveys are techniques widely used in the exploration industry and can successfully map out zones of sulphide-hosted mineralisation. Antilles notes that a series of sub-vertical porphyry intrusives are clearly evident in the IP data, with anomalism potentially related to copper-rich chalcopyrite mineralisation.

Encouragingly, the interpreted porphyry bodies coincide with a suite of key porphyry mineral assemblages mapped at the surface and logged in shallow historical drilling.

A solitary deep diamond hole drilled into the outer zone of the El Pilar porphyry returned a whopping 134m averaging 1.23 per cent copper from a depth of just 49m downhole, including 18.5m coming in at 4.85 per cent copper and 14m averaging 38.31 grams per tonne gold, with mineralisation remaining open at depth.

Following on from the promising results, Antilles is set to wheel in the drill rig to test the trio of potentially lucrative porphyries in the next fortnight.

The company will plunge five drill holes into each of the porphyries for about 9000m of drilling. Each hole will test the top 600m to determine both the size of the porphyry, in addition to copper and gold enrichment.

The El Pilar project covers 1700 hectares and is one of three exploration concessions currently held by Antilles in its joint venture (JV) agreement with the Cuban government’s mining company, GeoMinera SA.

Late last month, the company kicked off a 7000m resource infill drilling program into the El Pilar gold-copper oxide deposit to feed into an upcoming maiden mineral resource estimate. It expects the shallow deposit, extending to depths of less than 100m, to be development-ready by the fourth quarter of this year.

Management argues that while the project would only be small, it could serve as an early contributor to cash flows for the JV partners and will require minimal financial contributions.

According to Antilles, a 752ha exploration concession covering the cluster of prospective porphyry intrusives has been excised from the duo’s landholding and will be transferred into a new JV entity between Antilles and GeoMinera.

The second JV company will focus on exploring and potentially developing its growing pipeline of copper prospects at El Pilar and Sierra Mestra. The JV will also be obliged to reimburse Antilles for the cost of its preliminary exploratory drilling.

The ASX-listed company is already eyeing the potential for the JV to have the capacity for a majority foreign owner to encourage future participation from another international mining company seeking entry into the jurisdiction.

Antilles believes the El Pilar site offers huge potential for a major mine because it is on flat, undeveloped land and sits adjacent to a 60km rail link to the port of Palo Alto. High-voltage power transmission lines, the Cuban central highway and a town providing a ready labour source are also all nearby.

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