Emerita Resources Corp.(TSX-V:EMO), a Canadian natural resource development company, is preparing to commence development on its exciting Aznalcóllar Zinc Project. The project is located in the prolific Iberian Pyrite Belt in the Andalusia region of southern Spain.
The Iberian Pyrite belt is considered to be one of the world’s largest and most productive volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) structures. It has been mined for over a thousand years and has produced over 2000 million tons of ore. Aznalcóllar is considered to be one of the world’s top undeveloped zinc deposits and the project is essentially a world-class pre-production development asset. CEO Dr. David Gower recently indicated during an interview with The Deep Dive that Emerita will soon commence development on the property upon the final official awarding by the Government of Spain.
Spain is a well established mining jurisdiction with a long history of mining, and Emerita’s projects are supported by well established mining infrastructure. The company has an excellent, experienced management team with extensive mining and public company experience and has an extensive track record working with major mining companies to discover and develop mineral deposits into successful mining projects around the world.
Emerita has been waiting on the final resolution of an appeal for a five-year legal dispute regarding the public tender process for its acquisition of the Aznalcóllar Project, and in February, the Supreme Court ruled in Emerita’s favour. The zinc-lead-silver Aznalcóllar mine operated during the 1990s until it closed due to a combination of tailings-related environmental failure and low metal prices. Once the site was rehabilitated, the government opened up the rights to the project through a public tender process. It was initially awarded to another major mining company, but Emerita believed that their bid was superior and asked for an investigation into the tender process for the property.
The Aznalcóllar Project consists of the past-producing Aznalcóllar and Las Frailes open pit zinc mines. The historical Los Frailes open pit mineral resource calculated by the previous property owner is estimated to be 71 million tonnes with a grade of 3.86% zinc, 2.18% lead, 0.34% copper and 60 ppm silver. The mineralized zones of the ore body have a thickness of 30-60 metres and are open at depth.
The project itself will effectively be the re-development of the Los Frailes deposit, which was initially developed in the mid 1990’s. After operating for just a year and a half, a tailings dam failure resulted in the development of the project being halted with much of the mineralization remaining in the ground. Following the failure, the government took control of the site and completed reclamation work before putting the property out to tender. With that process nearly finalized, and in Emerita’s favor, the company is looking to commence work immediately on the project amid receiving the required permits, with the goal of completing a 43-101 resource estimate and conducting a feasibility study.
Emerita is planning to develop the deposit into an underground mining operation focusing on mining the high-grade zones, which are estimated to contain 20 million tonnes at a grade of 6.65% zinc, 3.87% lead, 0.29% copper and 84 ppm silver. As a requirement of the public tender process, Emerita submitted comprehensive engineering, environmental and water management studies to the government, and now the company nearly has the green light to proceed with developing the project. The comprehensive studies are as a result expected to expediate related feasibility studies.
The Iberian Pyrite Belt is host to eight giant-sized deposits of more than 100 million tonnes of massive sulphides, and a number of major mining companies such as Lundin Mining, Trafigura Mining Group and ALMINA have major operations in the region. Aside from Emerita, there are two other junior companies exploring in the vicinity, Pan Global Resources Inc (TSX-V:PGZ) and Avrupa Minerals Ltd (TSX-V:AVU).
It is rare to see a relatively small junior company with the quality of assets such as Emerita controls in such a prolific mining district. The company has a stellar management team and is well financed, having recently received a strategic investment of $3 million from renowned investor Eric Sprott.
With 122.02 million shares outstanding and a market capitalization of $33.24 million, Emerita Resources Corp appears to be undervalued relative to the world-class assets it is developing. We believe that is primarily due to the long court battle that held up acquisition of the Aznalcóllar Project and maintained a cloud of uncertainty over the stock, but now Emerita nearly owns the project and is to begin drilling in the near future. Shareholders can expect a steady flow of news as development on the project progresses.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Emerita Resources is a client of Canacom Group, the parent company of The Deep Dive. The author has been compensated to cover Emerita Resources on The Deep Dive, with The Deep Dive having full editorial control. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security.