Solaris Resources (TSX:SLS) (OTCQB:SLSSF) has announced the start of its 2024 drilling program at the Warintza copper-gold project in southeastern Ecuador. The company plans to have six drill rigs operating by the end of February as part of an aggressive exploration and resource expansion campaign this year.
The first drill rig has begun turning at the Warintza East zone, with a goal of significantly increasing the project’s mineral resource estimate. An updated estimate is expected in late Q2 2024, incorporating nearly double the previous meterage. Solaris aims to demonstrate major growth potential at the Warintza Central, East and Southeast zones within a common open pit shell.
Drilling will continue beyond the updated resource estimate, with a focus on further expanding mineralization and infill drilling covering at least 30 square kilometres. Additional permitted platform locations will enable optimized drill hole patterns. Some holes will serve the dual purpose of collecting data for metallurgical, geotechnical, and hydrogeological studies to support mine design.
Meanwhile, field exploration programs are underway to define new drill targets at prospective areas around the Warintza project. This includes follow-up sampling at the Mateo prospect, where previous soil sampling outlined a 3-kilometre by 1.4-kilometre copper-molybdenum anomaly surrounding a sandstone unit that may overlay a buried porphyry system.
On the financing side, Solaris has closed US$40 million in funding, including US$10 million in equity financing and the first US$30 million tranche of its previously announced US$80 million offtake debt facility. This financing package will support baseline exploration and development programs in 2024 and 2025.
Upon closing a recently announced C$130 million strategic investment by Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd., Solaris plans to aggressively expand its drilling and exploration activities in 2024 and 2025. The company will aim to have ten drill rigs in operation and significantly increase regional exploration. Further details on infrastructure development and mine planning will follow in the coming months.