Engineering & Mining Journal

AUG 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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74 E&MJ • AUGUST 2018 MINING IN PERU tial 5,000-meter drill program this year; and Lukkacha, a porphyry copper project situated in Tacna, 55 km from Southern Copper's Toquepala mine. Being a foreign company, for the latter project Miramont requires a special approval from the central government due to the fact that Lukkacha sits within 50 km of the Chilean border. Bill Pincus, president and CEO of Mira- mont, gave his impressions about the cur- rent state of the exploration market: "In the last decade, a lot of larger companies over- paid for projects and the cycle went down, which in turn caused companies to become very conservative. The effects of this can still be seen; certainly in the copper space there is a dearth of good exploration and new de- velopment projects for the large producers. The known deposits are already being mined and, in some cases, running out of reserves. I believe there will be a scramble for more gold projects as well." Money for grassroots Pucara Resources, a company formed in 2013 with the exploration team and early- stage projects of the former Esperanza Re- sources, had to survive the worst of the downturn in a market that did not have any money to offer for grassroots explorers. For that reason, Pucara relied partly on the pros- pect generator model, acquiring joint venture partners to fund exploration. Today, the company counts Nexa Re- sources and Iamgold as partners, while it has recently closed significant financing with the support of Resource Capital Fund and Sandstorm that should allow Pucara to en- gage in substantial drilling campaigns. The team has set aside around C$3 million for its Lourdes and Pacaska gold projects this year. "During the downturn there was a lot of ground available and very few companies were picking up exploration opportunities," said Steve Zuker, CEO of Pucara Resources. "Today, we control more than 300 square km, mostly in central and southern Peru, in Ayacucho and Cusco. We are one of the few juniors doing grassroots exploration." Pucara is focused on high-sulphidation, bulk-minable gold projects, so it is open for joint ventures on its base metals proj- ects. Zuker is happy to see that the market is picking up: "We are seeing interest from mid-tier and major companies that are be- coming more aggressive – this is new in the market. The BHP's and Rio Tinto's are still in Peru but they definitely prefer projects that are more advanced." Another company with a similar focus on project generation, and who also plans Steve Zuker, CEO, Pucara Resources. Laurence Stefan, president and COO, Plateau Energy Metals.

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