South32 on verge of activity at copper project

Inca Minerals says it expects South32’s first round of earn-in funding on the Riqueza copper project in Peru will start in the next seven days.

The news comes as Inca confirmed the transfer of title for the project’s concession to newly formed Inca-South32 subsidiary Brillandino Minerales — a condition precedent to receiving the funds.

The two companies announced their initial discussions of an earn-in agreement on the project in August 2018, which was eventually confirmed by a signing in April 2019. South32 had earlier funded a $275,000 geophysical survey at the site four months prior in April 2018.

South32 has agreed to provide $US9 million ($12.9 million) over a four-year period in return for a 60 per cent stake in Riqueza, in addition to the option to assume an operator role. South32 also has the option to acquire a further 10 per cent of the project in return for additional funding towards completion of Inca’s pre-feasibility study (PFS).

Riqueza (officially Greater Riqueza) is a project with zinc, lead, silver, gold and copper potential that runs northwest-southeast across an area of the Miocene poryphory-skarn within Peru’s mineral belt.

Inca has commenced three programs of its year-one exploration campaign with South32 at Riqueza in the past month.

The first stage is a satellite imagery program of the project area, with data processing now ongoing. The second involves field work associated with a mapping program covering the northeastern and south-central areas of the project.

The lead up to this mapping program led to the discovery of a new copper prospect at the project site, dubbed the Cuncayoc copper prospect. Inca announced an independent report related to its mapping work could be expected within the next 10 days.

The third program, related to the final configuration of a 1500-sample grid soil sampling program, will start in the next seven days.

“The three programs have kickstarted the Inca-South32 year one exploration campaign with results anticipated to flow through more regularly,” Inca managing director Ross Brown said.

“Each of these initial programs are designed to provide an additional layer of information critical in the definition of potential drill targets. Additional 3D modelling of high-priority geophysical targets is being considered for the same purpose.”

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