Columbia-focused gold explorer Andes Resources is eyeing an ASX listing.

The company is raising $2 million in seed capital and will soon begin drilling on an 80,000 hectare gold and copper-prospective landholding in Colombia.

Colombia is becoming a more attractive jurisdiction for junior Australian explorers, particularly gold players, following a peace deal between guerrilla forces and the government.

Exploration in the Latin American country has not progressed in line with its neighbours due to the armed conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government that started in 1964.

But gold mining in Colombia dates back to the time of the Spanish Conquistadors and even earlier.

A ceasefire deal was reached in June 2016 and Colombia is becoming a much better place to do business.

“The only reason you don’t have as many gold discoveries is because Colombia has had this issue with the FARC for decades and now this is slowly opening up,” managing director Jason Stirbinskis told Stockhead.

Andes Resources MD Jason Stirbinskis
Andes Resources MD Jason Stirbinskis

Despite its past woes, Colombia is actually very rich in gold.

This has attracted the likes of Continental Gold, Newmont Mining, AngloGold Ashanti and Fortescue Metals Group to the region.

‘Gold territory’

“It really is gold territory,” Mr Stirbinskis said. “Within 35km of us there is 65 million ounces of gold-equivalent discovered.”

AngloGold’s Nuevo Chaquiro, which sits 22km above Andes porphyry discovery, hosts 30 million ounces of gold equivalent alone.

A porphyry is a volcanic rock generally found in very large structures, with their size making even low concentrations of minerals economic to mine.

Andes has been in Colombia for the past four years and is now sitting on one of the largest gold and copper-prospective holdings in the country.

“It’s not scattered around the place on the periphery of other big discoveries hoping that there might be some strike extension or something,” Mr Stirbinskis said.

“It’s 80,000 hectares in one big chunk in the Andes region of Antioquia. You wouldn’t be able to do that now because that opportunity for juniors to get in there and get a strategic foothold in prime gold real estate has gone. All the big guys there are now grabbing all the ground and doing deals.”

Andes is also now permitted to drill and has a mining licence — a process that can take years, according to Mr Stirbinskis.

Artisanal mining in the area has shown grades of typically about 20 grams per tonne (g/t). Sampling of the old mines has returned grades of up to 63g/t. Anything above 5g/t is considered high-grade.

Andes’ goal now is to list after it receives the next lot of drilling results, which it expects to have in hand by mid-year.

The target would be between $3 million and $5 million, but could be more if the results impress.

“If we get some spectacular results then we will go big,” Mr Stirbinskis said.