Exploration and development company Inca Minerals (ASX: ICG) has returned significant zinc, lead and silver results from a reconnaissance mapping and channel sampling program at its Cerro Rayas project in Peru.
Highlights included one sample with grades of 33.91% zinc, 6.81% lead and 4.5 grams per tonne of silver, plus up to 32.8% zinc, up to 33.10% lead and up to 123 grams per tonne of silver from other samples.
The company also announced it has applied for five new concessions totalling 22sq km, which cover the many new discoveries and inferred mineralised trends.
Inca said it has re-rated the Cerro Rayas project as it has now quadrupled in size, with numerous more mine workings, mineralised outcrops and 18km of mineralised corridor now captured.
Inca managing director Ross Brown described it as an “exciting development” as “it elevates Cerro Rayas to equal billing with Inca’s flagship Greater Riqueza project and significantly enhances the company’s project portfolio”.
Four of the new concessions cover the Vicuna and Puyu areas, located northwest to northeast of the original Cerro Rayas concessions, and the fifth concession, Huaytapata, is located 200m east of the original tenements.
According to Inca, the recent sampling program made it “clearly evident that mineralisation at Cerro Rayas is distributed along prominent northwest-southeast trending regional-scale structures”.
This pattern, which was already evident at the Vilcapuquio, Torrepata and Wari mine workings, is “mimicked on a much larger scale across the entire new project area”, the company reported.
Inca has also been conducting a trench sample program at the Torrepata mine working, which is nearing completion.
The purpose of the trenching program is to expose country rock in non-outcropping areas northwest and southeast of Torrepata – the largest mine working at Cerro Rayas,” Brown said.
Detailed mapping and assay results area expected next month.
Concession granting and exploration regulations
Inca said the granting of its five new concessions was now in progress, as no existing concessions or competing applications cover this new ground.
According to the company, the granting process is expected to take around four to six months.
At the end of last year, new exploration regulations were introduced in Peru that included the commencement of a new form of drilling permit, which would allow for up to 20 drilling platforms and be granted within 10 business days.
The regulations also reclassified the “DIA” drill permit, allowing up to 40 drilling platforms. Inca holds this type of permit at its Riqueza project, which previously only permitted up to 20 drilling platforms.
The regulations will come into force once the Peruvian government publishes the official documents, which is expected imminently.
In an announcement last week, Inca said the new regulations would have a positive impact on the company’s 2018 exploration and drilling activities at both the Riqueza and Cerro Rayas projects.
“The new exploration regulations could be a tremendous fillip for exploration in Peru and, whilst it is frustrating there has been slippage [as the documents were due to be published last week], target generation at Greater Riqueza and Cerro Rayas continue to gather pace which provides further drill opportunities for Inca,” Brown said.
Inca shares rose 20% on the Cerro Rayas sampling results by midday trade on Monday, but fell back down to remain unchanged by the afternoon.