• 20km2 copper-in-soil anomaly has been identified southeast of main 2.8Moz gold equivalent Hualilan resource
  • Part of ongoing regional exploration using ionic leach geochemical soil surveys
  • The anomaly is in an area where no exploration has ever been done both historically and by CEL
  • Challenger well-funded for development through two recent individual investments totalling $9.6m


Special Report: Regional exploration has uncovered a monster 5km-long, 4km wide copper in soil anomaly at Challenger Gold’s low-cost Hualilan gold project in Argentina.

Challenger Gold’s (ASX:CEL) Hualilan, in San Juan Province in Argentina, is a near-term 2.8Moz gold development that contains a high-grade core of 1.6Moz at 5g/t gold equivalent (AuEq) .

A recent scoping study found that the project could deliver 116,000ozpa gold, 440,000ozpa silver and 9,175t of zinc for 141,000oz AuEq, raking in $1 billion in earnings over a seven-year mine life at a low AISC of $US820/oz.

Being an advanced, low-cost, near-term development and with gold prices recently hitting all-time highs of ~$US2,390/oz, investors are chomping at the bit to help fund Hualilan into production.

Earlier this month a prominent businessman injected $5.6m into the company through a private placement and led to a further $4m placement by a new investor on the same placement terms.


Copper anomaly discovery

CEL’s regional exploration program was designed to explore for potential Hualilan repeats and skarn-related mineralisation, initially along the 30km of prospective strike near the contact between the intrusives and sediments.

This is the zone that hosts the current Hualilan resource.

The explorer says the copper anomaly find has come out of left field while trialling an ionic leach geochemical technique designed to explorer undercover across four 7.5km-long regional reaverses east of the current Hualilan resource.

The soil sampling program is about 25% complete so far, with assays received for 2,377 samples with 1,459 pending and another 3,000 planned.

It’s so far defined copper, silver, molybdenum and tellurium with sample points of up to 6,230ppb copper with high volumes in the southwest of the anomaly.


The identified copper-in-soil anomaly from the ionic leach soil survey south of the main Hualilan resource. Pic supplied: (CEL)


CEL says the 5km x 4km coincident iodine anomaly is a pathfinder for several large copper systems in arid climates, such as Broken Hill in NSW and Chuquicamata in nearby Chile.

It’s extended 400m spaced sampling lines south to define the extent of the anomaly and once assays from the extension samples come back, CEL reckons the anomaly may then be infilled on 200m spacing to define the higher-grade portions of the anomaly prior to drill testing.

The traditional program has identified several target zones containing high-grade gold at surface and coincident pathfinder elements typical of the existing mineralisation at Hualilan.

Those results are currently being compiled and will be compared with results from the gold soil sampling employing the Ionic leach technique, given the targets appear to extend under cover.

Several potential gold targets are also currently being extended and infilled with closer spacing to better define these potential targets.



This article was developed in collaboration with Challenger Gold, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.