The second key group of projects for Tempus are the Rio Zarza and Valle del Tigre projects located in south east Ecuador. The Rio Zarza project is located adjacent to Lundin Gold’s Fruta del Norte project. The Valle del Tigre project is currently subject to a sampling program to develop anomalies identified through geophysical work.
Valle Del Tigre Project
The Valle del Tigre project is an early stage, exploration project in the highly prospective Cordillera del Condor mineral belt of southeast Ecuador. VdT’s licence boundary is situated approximately 2.5km northwest of Lundin Mining’s Fruta del Norte (FdN), epithermal gold-silver mine and approximately 15km southwest of the Mirador copper-gold porphyry deposit owned by CRCC-Tongguan Investment Co..The property is underlain by the same sedimentary and volcanic rock formations and lies within the same rift faulting corridor as Fruta del Norte and the Jurassic Mineral Belt.
In 2019, Tempus conducted a ZTEM, Magnetics and Radiometrics helicopter-borne geophysical survey over the VdT license area (see Tempus announcement dated 15 December 2019). The airborne geophysics defined two east-west trending magnetic highs which are transected by a strong northeast trending ZTEM anomaly that extends for over 3 km in length. At other regional copper porphyry projects including, Panantza, Mirador and Warintza, the copper mineralization occurs in east trending zones with a similar orientation to the two magnetic anomalies that occur at VdT
In 2020 and 2021, Tempus completed a soil geochemistry sampling survey collecting approximately 1,000 soil samples within a 5 km2 survey area. Copper-bearing minerals, chalcopyrite and bornite observed within the survey area, as well the presence of sericite and potassic alteration. The soil sample survey results reconfirm the presence of copper and gold mineralization at Valle del Tigre – highlighting two zones of anomalous copper and gold values within the survey area
Anomalous copper and gold results correlate with 3 km geophysical anomaly “footprint” of target mineralisation zone identified in previous ZTEM fly over survey.
Rio Zarza Project
Rio Zarza comprises two concessions covering approximately 1,000 hecatares, directly adjacent to the west of Fruta del Norte. Previous exploration on the property was carried out from 2008 to 2012 and included surface magnetics, induced polarization (IP), gravey surveying, soil/stream sediment sampling, mapping and limited diamond drilling. Tempus has completed additional sampling and mapping and has permits in place to drill the down fault extension targets associated with the Fruta del Norte deposit.
Rio Zarza comprises two concessions covering approximately 1,000 hectares, directly adjacent to the west of Fruta del Norte. These were originally granted prior to the discovery of Fruta del Norte. Exploration was carried out from 2008 until 2012 by Ecometals Limited and included surface magnetics, induced polarization (IP), gravity surveying, soil/stream sediment sampling, mapping, and limited diamond drilling.
Exploration delineated several targets with most of the work focused on targets situated in the eastern section of the property.
Limited previous drilling at Rio Zarza was undertaken prior to a new geological interpretation and was ineffectual in reaching target depth. Further, several coincident geochemical and geophysical anomalies remain largely untested.
Rio Zarza’s geochemistry, alteration, and geology have been noted as being strikingly similar to Fruta del Norte, which is hosted by the Misahualli volcanics. Additional drilling was planned, vectoring from previous drill intersections that displayed low-temperature alteration and anomalous As, Sb, Hg, Mn geochemistry. Under the current geological interpretation, it is thought that the Misahualli volcanics have been dropped by step-faults to the west of Fruta del Norte and so the potential gold target is located at Rio Zarza is at depths of 700-800 m (Figures 2 and 3).
The Company’s view as that the previous wide-spaced drilling was unsuccessful for two reasons: (1) the majority of the holes never tested the upper part of the Misahualli volcanics; and (2) the favorable conjugate structures were not tested at the right orientation.
The favorable contact between the Suarez conglomerate/Misahualli volcanics was only encountered once during the drilling programs, failing to intersect mineralisation because the hole was located too far to the west near the Zamora Granodiorite complex manifested by high-temperature propylitic alteration with pyrite. A number of targets remain untested in the eastern part of the property.
Low temperature, epithermal calcite-quartz veining has been recognised in the Zamora granodiorite and validates the potential to host a gold-silver vein system. Mineralogical studies of the extensive alluvial gold mineralisation situated in the central and western areas indicated the gold is sourced locally and is epithermal in nature. A large number of coincident geophysical and geochemical anomalies remain untested in over 70% of the concession area.
Additional potential exists for large tonnage alluvial gold targets hosted by elevated dry river terraces.
A well-maintained exploration camp is available on the Rio Zarza Project, from which exploration will be based, and excellent road infrastructure has recently been established in the area as part of the Fruta del Norte development by Lundin Gold.
At Valle del Tigre, subparallel NNE trending rift faults that control the Fruta del Norte deposit are repeated. A similar age, fault-controlled western sedimentary-volcanic basin exists at Valle del Tigre, The Hollin/Suarez Formation sediments that cover the Fruta del Norte deposit cover 90% of the Valle del Tigre block, with the prospective Misahualli volcanics likely to exist at unknown depth below Hollin Formation sediments.
Significant gold in stream sediment anomalies is located in the southern part of the concession, and potential targets will be structural in nature (Figure 4).
In Ecuador, work continues on the interpretation of the geophysics and soil sampling results that the Company completed in early 2022. Follow up field work is planned at the Valle del Tigre Project in Q4 2022 / Q1 2023 to further develop the potential for both copper and gold mineralization on the property.
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