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Torq Resources’ New Gold-Copper Project a Game Changer for Investors

Denise Deveau, Postmedia Content Works
0 Comments| November 2, 2021

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Torq Resources latest procurement in Chile is a transformative move for the company, whose team has worked diligently to build a presence in a region dominated by major mining operations. The newly announced acquisition of the Santa Cecilia project has established the Vancouver-based junior exploration company in an enviable position in the world-class gold-copper Maricunga belt, surrounded by several multi-million-ounce deposits such as Salares Norte, La Coipa, Cerro Maricunga, Marte, Lobo, La Pepa, El Volcan, Caspiche and Cerro Casale.

“The Santa Cecilia project was the reason we went to Chile in the first place — we liked it so much,” says Shawn Wallace, Torq’s executive chair. “We always said during our years of researching projects, if we could get something like Santa Cecilia, all our efforts would be worthwhile.”

The closest neighbour is Norte Abierto, a project jointly held by Newmont and Barrick, comprised of two deposits that are both within 10 kilometres of Torq’s Santa Cecilia. Collectively, the Cerro Casale and Caspiche deposits form one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold projects, with proven and probable reserves of 23.2 million ounces of gold and 5.8 billion pounds of copper and measured and indicated resources of 26.6 million ounces of gold and 6.7 billion pounds of copper. However, unlike Norte Abierto, Torq’s new flagship project has had minimal exploration.

The lion’s share of the work completed at Santa Cecilia was conducted by Anglo American in the late 80s and for Torq’s chief geologist, Michael Henrichsen, it’s the stuff of every geologist’s dreams. “I’ve waited a decade for us to get our hands on a project like this. In my years in the junior market, I have never come across something as significant as this before. It’s very rare for a junior exploration company to be in a position to acquire something of this magnitude.”

Santa Cecilia is the company’s third acquisition in Northern Chile. It had already acquired the Margarita iron-oxide-copper-gold project that has now commenced its maiden drilling program, as well as the Andrea copper porphyry project, which is slated to start drilling in a few months.

But Santa Cecilia represents the jewel in the crown for Torq, says Henrichsen.

“We are in the midst of the best of the best, and that’s a rare thing,” says Henrichsen. “When I stood on top of the hill and did a 360-degree look around the site, I was surrounded by 50 million ounces of gold and 13 billion pounds of copper in the neighbouring projects. That’s the scope of major players in the market.”

When asked how a junior company managed to acquire a prized project, Wallace attributes their success to being in the right place at the right time with the right people. “It took a lot of hard work and strategic wrangling to get into the position we are in today.”

Key to their success was building partnerships with well-known and established Chilean mining professionals, including Waldo Cuadra, Piotr Palaczek and Javier Rojas, who were instrumental in the discovery of the renowned La Fortuna (El Morro) copper-gold deposit in Chile, and had a good relationship with the owners of Santa Cecilia.

“We had to take those steps to have any kind of shot at the project,” Wallace explains. “As a North American company, we would never have been able to build the credibility to be considered. Working with Waldo and his team gave us that.”

Another draw was the seller’s belief that Torq would do the right technical work with the right integrity and intention, says Wallace. “The team we built at home and in Chile has unblemished reputations. That was an important factor for the owner.”

Wallace has earmarked Santa Cecilia as the flagship project for Torq Resources. “From a capital project standpoint it’s our biggest investment, but it also promises the highest degree of success.”

The timing is ideal given that the market for copper is rapidly gaining traction as a metal of choice. In fact, copper has been coined “the new oil” by many industry observers. Much of this can be attributed to the rise in electrification as a replacement of fossil fuels.

“There aren’t enough copper reserves in the world today to satisfy the current demand, so there is huge pressure to increase copper production globally,” says Wallace, adding that Chile ranks as the largest global supplier of copper, accounting for 28 per cent of the world’s supply.

Henrichsen considers Santa Cecilia to be a transformative event for the company. “This type of asset comes about once in a career.”

If all goes according to plan, he expects to see drilling at Santa Cecilia starting in Q1 2022. “That’s the goal. And having Margarita drilling at the same time is beautiful. We’re delivering what we said we would do for investors when we started; that is, building a high quality portfolio in Chile.”

“With the three projects, we’re giving ourselves the best shot of success we can,” notes Wallace. “That’s what exploration is all about.”

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Torq Resources Inc.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Torq Resources Inc. is a client of Stockhouse Publishing.

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