Clarification to Misleading StatementsSource: RNS
28 January 2021
("SolGold" or the "Company")
Clarification to Misleading Statements
As a result of certain market commentary, the Board of Directors of SolGold (the "Board") wishes to clarify potentially misleading statements relating to Article 38 of the Ecuadorean Mining Law (the "Mining Law") on annual exploration reports and investment plans.
· Article 38 specifies that in each year, and throughout the duration of the exploration stage of the mining concession, the concessionaire is to file an audited annual report to the Ministry regarding exploration activities and investments made at the mining concession in the previous year along with an investment plan for the current year.
· In the event that the previous year investment plan is not fulfilled, the expiration of the mining concession can be avoided by paying a financial compensation equivalent to the amount of investment not made (as long as there has been investments equivalent to 80% of planned investments).
· SolGold has no financial liability to the Ecuadorean government in this regard, and is in full compliance with the Mining Law.
· SolGold has met all annual investment plan commitments to date. For instance, SolGold's annual investment commitment for 2020 was US$13,603,450 for all 76 concessions (including Cascabel). Upon the conclusion of the year, this amount was significantly exceeded for an aggregate amount in excess of $US50,000,000.
· The same policy of meeting or exceeding annual investment commitments has been applied consistently to all tenements every year.
· Full compliance by SolGold under Article 38 is factually beyond question.
Changes to Initial Exploration Phase Regulation
The Ecuadorean government adopted a change of regulation (9 December 2020) which clarifies that the four-year Initial Exploration phase of a mineral concession begins on the date on which the mineral concession-holder receives the required permits and government approvals to effectively carry out operational activities on each concession, not on the date that the concession was granted.
This change of regulation effectively extends the period available to concession holders to carry out Initial Exploration. Under the new regulation, SolGold has received so far, confirmation of new start dates for several of its 75 concessions and expects to receive additional confirmations on an ongoing basis.
Ongoing Company Strategy
SolGold is the largest concession holder in Ecuador covering some of the most geologically prospective areas of the northern extension of the Andean Copper Belt. SolGold continues its regional exploration programme across the 13 identified priority projects via four 100%-owned subsidiaries. The Company is fully funded for its regional exploration programme until mid-to-late 2021.
SolGold remains focussed on the development of its flagship Alpala Project and is expected to update the market on the Pre-Feasibility Study ("PFS") and the recommendation by the Alpala Committee in the near future.
By order of the Board
Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) Disclosure
Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 until the release of this announcement.
SolGold Plc (Chair)
Tel: +61 (0) 7 3303 0665
SolGold Plc (Company Secretary)
Tel: +61 (0) 7 3303 0661
SolGold Plc (GM - Project & Corporate Finance) email@example.com
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3823 2131
Eliza Michael / Fawzi Hanano
SolGold Plc (Investors / Media)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3823 2131
Follow us on twitter @SolGold_plc
SolGold is a leading resources company focussed on the discovery, definition and development of world-class copper and gold deposits. In 2018, SolGold's management team was recognised by the "Mines and Money" Forum as an example of excellence in the industry and continues to strive to deliver objectives efficiently and in the interests of shareholders. SolGold is the largest and most active concession holder in Ecuador and is aggressively exploring the length and breadth of this highly prospective and gold-rich section of the Andean Copper Belt.
The Company operates with transparency and in accordance with international best practices. SolGold is committed to delivering value to its shareholders, while simultaneously providing economic and social benefits to impacted communities, fostering a healthy and safe workplace and minimizing the environmental impact.
SolGold employs a staff of over 700 employees of whom 98% are Ecuadorean. This is expected to grow as the operations expand at Alpala, and in Ecuador generally. SolGold focusses its operations to be safe, reliable and environmentally responsible and maintains close relationships with its local communities. SolGold has engaged an increasingly skilled, refined and experienced team of geoscientists using state of the art geophysical and geochemical modelling applied to an extensive database to enable the delivery of ore grade intersections from nearly every drill hole at Alpala. SolGold has over 80 geologists on the ground in Ecuador exploring for economic copper and gold deposits.
About Cascabel and Alpala
The Alpala deposit is the main target in the Cascabel concession, located on the northern section of the heavily endowed Andean Copper Belt, the entirety of which is renowned as the base for nearly half of the world's copper production. The project area hosts mineralisation of Eocene age, the same age as numerous Tier 1 deposits along the Andean Copper Belt in Chile and Peru to the south. The project base is located at Rocafuerte within the Cascabel concession in northern Ecuador, an approximately three-hour drive on sealed highway north of the capital Quito, close to water, power supply and Pacific ports.
Having fulfilled its earn-in requirements, SolGold is a registered shareholder with an unencumbered legal and beneficial 85% interest in ENSA (Exploraciones Novomining S.A.) which holds 100% of the Cascabel concession covering approximately 50km2. The junior equity owner in ENSA is required to repay 15% of costs since SolGold's earn in was completed, from 90% of its share of distribution of earnings or dividends from ENSA or the Cascabel concession. It is also required to contribute to development or be diluted, and if its interest falls below 10%, it shall reduce to a 0.5% NSR royalty which SolGold may acquire for US$3.5million.
Advancing Alpala towards development
The resource at the Alpala deposit contains a high-grade core which will be targeted to facilitate early cashflows and an accelerated payback of initial capital. SolGold is currently progressing its Pre-Feasibility Study and is fully funded through to development decision following the Net Smelter Royalty Financing with Franco-Nevada Corporation for US$100million. Franco-Nevada will receive a perpetual 1% NSR interest from the Cascabel licence area.
SolGold is currently assessing financing options available to the Company for the development of the Alpala mine following completion of the Definitive Feasibility Study.
SolGold's Regional Exploration Drive
SolGold is using its successful and cost-efficient blueprint established at Alpala, and Cascabel generally, to explore for additional world class copper and gold projects across Ecuador. SolGold is the largest and most active concessionaire in Ecuador.
The Company wholly owns four other subsidiaries active throughout the country that are now focussed on thirteen high priority gold and copper resource targets, several of which the Company believes have the potential, subject to resource definition and feasibility, to be developed in close succession or even on a more accelerated basis compared to Alpala.
SolGold is listed on the London Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange (LSE/TSX: SOLG). The Company has on issue a total of 2,084,113,494 fully-paid ordinary shares and 112,275,000 share options.
Quality Assurance / Quality Control on Sample Collection, Security and Assaying
SolGold operates according to its rigorous Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) protocol, which is consistent with industry best practices.
Primary sample collection involves secure transport from SolGold's concessions in Ecuador, to the ALS certified sample preparation facility in Quito, Ecuador. Samples are then air freighted from Quito to the ALS certified laboratory in Lima, Peru where the assaying of drill core, channel samples, rock chips and soil samples is undertaken. SolGold utilises ALS certified laboratories in Canada and Australia for the analysis of metallurgical samples.
Samples are prepared and analysed using 100g 4-Acid digest ICP with MS finish for 48 elements on a 0.25g aliquot (ME-MS61). Laboratory performance is routinely monitored using umpire assays, check batches and inter-laboratory comparisons between ALS certified laboratory in Lima and the ACME certified laboratory in Cuenca, Ecuador.
In order to monitor the ongoing quality of its analytical database, SolGold's QA/QC protocol encompasses standard sampling methodologies, including the insertion of certified powder blanks, coarse chip blanks, standards, pulp duplicates and field duplicates. The blanks and standards are Certified Reference Materials supplied by Ore Research and Exploration, Australia.
SolGold's QA/QC protocol also monitors the ongoing quality of its analytical database. The Company's protocol involves Independent data validation of the digital analytical database including search for sample overlaps, duplicate or absent samples as well as anomalous assay and survey results. These are routinely performed ahead of Mineral Resource Estimates and Feasibility Studies. No material QA/QC issues have been identified with respect to sample collection, security and assaying.
Reviews of the sample preparation, chain of custody, data security procedures and assaying methods used by SolGold confirm that they are consistent with industry best practices and all results stated in this announcement have passed SolGold's QA/QC protocol.
The data aggregation method for calculating Copper Equivalent (CuEq) for down-hole drilling intercepts and rock-saw channel sampling intervals are reported using copper equivalent (CuEq) cut-off grades with up to 10m internal dilution, excluding bridging to a single sample and with minimum intersection length of 50m.
Copper Equivalent is currently calculated (assuming 100% recovery of copper and gold) using a Gold Conversion Factor of 0.751 (CuEq = Cu + Au x 0.751), calculated from a current nominal copper price of US$3.30/lb and a gold price of US$1700/oz.
See www.solgold.com.au for more information. Follow us on twitter @SolGold plc
News releases, presentations and public commentary made by SolGold plc (the "Company") and its Officers may contain certain statements and expressions of belief, expectation or opinion which are forward looking statements, and which relate, inter alia, to interpretations of exploration results to date and the Company's proposed strategy, plans and objectives or to the expectations or intentions of the Company's Directors. Such forward-looking and interpretative statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors beyond the control of the Company that could cause the actual performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from such interpretations and forward-looking statements.
Accordingly, the reader should not rely on any interpretations or forward-looking statements; and save as required by the exchange rules of the TSX and LSE or by applicable laws, the Company does not accept any obligation to disseminate any updates or revisions to such interpretations or forward-looking statements. The Company may reinterpret results to date as the status of its assets and projects changes with time expenditure, metals prices and other affecting circumstances.
This release may contain "forward‑looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward‑looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements regarding the Company's plans for developing its properties. Generally, forward‑looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved".
Forward‑looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward‑looking information, including but not limited to: transaction risks; general business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties; future prices of mineral prices; accidents, labour disputes and shortages and other risks of the mining industry. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking information include, but are not limited to, risks relating to the ability of exploration activities (including assay results) to accurately predict mineralization; errors in management's geological modelling; capital and operating costs varying significantly from estimates; the preliminary nature of visual assessments; delays in obtaining or failures to obtain required governmental, environmental or other required approvals; uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future; changes in equity markets; inflation; the global economic climate; fluctuations in commodity prices; the ability of the Company to complete further exploration activities, including drilling; delays in the development of projects; environmental risks; community and non-governmental actions; other risks involved in the mineral exploration and development industry; the ability of the Company to retain its key management employees and skilled and experienced personnel; and those risks set out in the Company's public documents filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward‑looking information. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
The Company and its officers do not endorse, or reject or otherwise comment on the conclusions, interpretations or views expressed in press articles or third-party analysis, and where possible aims to circulate all available material on its website.