Sunstone Metals (ASX: STM) will soon begin drilling at its Bramaderos gold-copper project in southern Ecuador after receiving approval for its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Receiving the EIA greenlight paves the way for the issuance of an environmental licence required for drilling, which the company expects to receive in the next few days.
Sunstone, and its TSX-V listed joint venture partner Cornerstone Capital Resources, will now mobilise a drill rig to the Bramaderos site ahead of commencing drilling within the next two to three weeks.
The initial drill program is anticipated to be approximately 5,000 metres and will also include holes at Bramaderos Main to follow up on historical drilling that intersected 248m at 0.56 grams per tonne gold and 0.14% copper.
Specifically, drilling will begin at the Limon target where surface trenching has delivered 97.6m at 0.71g/t gold and 0.23% copper over a poorly outcropping porphyry system.
The company expects to have first assay results ready by early June.
Sunstone managing director Malcolm Norris said the company was pleased to be progressing towards drilling at Bramaderos.
“This has been a long process but it is clear that the Ecuadorian government is committed to supporting sustainable growth in the exploration and mining sector and we have seen improved interaction with government departments since September 2018,” he said.
“We will now get on with our drilling activities which will result in considerable local investment and employment in southern Ecuador.”
Sunstone said it was well funded to complete the initial 12-hole drill program at Bramaderos after receiving a $3 million cash injection for the recent sale of its Viscaria copper project.
The company sold the asset to Copperstone Resources while also becoming a 39.2% shareholder in Copperstone.
Sunstone expects to receive an additional $3 million from the sale prior to 8 July 2019.
Sunstone’s other assets include the Southern Finland gold project, with the company holding a large land position of just over 2,000 square kilometres in an emerging gold district that remains significantly under-explored.
Sunstone shares jumped 28.1% to $0.041 in early afternoon trade.