Ottawa - Cornerstone Capital Resources Inc. ('Cornerstone' or 'the Company') (TSXV-CGP) (F-GWN) (B-GWN) (OTC-CTNXF) is pleased to announce an initiative by the Ecuadorian government to allow for 'scout (reconnaissance) drilling' within exploration concessions.
The initiative was announced by a representative of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources (MERNNR) during a presentation on July 10th at the 'Investing in LATAM Mining Summit' in Santiago, Chile. The representative said that as part of the initiative, MERNNR was studying a proposal that would allow scout drilling to take place on exploration concessions during the 4-year Initial Exploration Phase through a simplified permitting process.
Expedited administrative process (environmental 'registration' as opposed to 'license')
The Bramaderos project, which is a joint venture between Sunstone Metals Inc. and Cornerstone Capital Resources (TSXV: CGP), is currently covered by an exploration concession and has been awaiting the issuance of an environmental license to allow drilling to start. Under existing rules, an environmental license is granted after approval of an environmental impact assessment (EIA). Sunstone and Cornerstone filed their EIA in early 2018, and are awaiting comments from the Ministry of Environment (ME). Due to the large number of EIA approval applications in Ecuador as a result of greatly increased exploration activity in that country, the EIA approval process can take several months to complete. If scout drilling during the initial exploration phase is permitted this would allow phase 1 drilling to begin before an environmental license is granted.
Further clarity is being sought on the implementation of the scout drilling process and the implications for commencement of drilling at Bramaderos.
Access tracks for the proposed phase 1 drilling have been completed, as well as preparations for core handling facilities, fuel storage, and an exploration camp to manage the significantly increased number of employees and contractors on the project.
The Bramaderos concession is owned by Cornerstone subsidiary La Plata Minerales S.A. ('PLAMIN'), which has signed a binding letter of intent with Sunstone Metals Ltd. (formerly Avalon Minerals Ltd.) (ASX: STM), whereby Sunstone has the right to earn a 51% interest in the project by spending US$3.4 million over 3 years to complete a phase 1 drill program. If this first option is earned, Sunstone can go to 70% by funding a bankable feasibility study, and can go to 80% by financing 100% of the cost of construction of a mine and mill.
Cornerstone Capital Resources Inc. is a mineral exploration company with a diversified portfolio of projects in Ecuador and Chile, including in the Cascabel gold-enriched copper porphyry joint venture in north west Ecuador. Exploraciones Novomining S.A. ('ENSA'), an Ecuadorean company owned by SolGold Plc and Cornerstone, holds 100% of the Cascabel concession. Subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including SolGold's fully funding the project through to feasibility, SolGold Plc will own 85% of the equity of ENSA and Cornerstone will own the remaining 15% of ENSA. SolGold Plc is funding 100% of the exploration at Cascabel and is the operator of the project.
Pursuant to the previously announced plan of arrangement, Cornerstone will spin off all of its assets except for its interests in the Cascabel concession in Ecuador, shares of SolGold plc and the joint venture with Ecuadorian state mining company ENAMI EP into a new company called Cornerstone Exploration Inc. Cornerstone Exploration will own the drill ready Bella Maria, Shyri NW (Vetas Grandes) and Bramaderos properties in Ecuador, an option to own 100% of the drill ready Cana Brava property in Ecuador, the Tioloma property surrounding Cana Brava, the applications for new properties in Ecuador made by Cornerstone subsidiary La Plata Minerales S.A., and the Miocene property in Chile, in addition to Cornerstone's generative exploration databases for Ecuador and Chile. Cornerstone will be re-named Cascabel Gold & Copper Inc. ('Cascabel Gold & Copper').
The plan of arrangement to spinoff Cornerstone Exploration Inc. is proceeding in the ordinary course, pending TSXV approval. We previously estimated completion of the transaction by end of June, but it now looks like completion will occur in July 2018.
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