Orla Mining eyes expansion potential at Cerro Quema

Orla Mining eyes expansion potential at Cerro Quema
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VANCOUVER – Orla Mining Ltd. [OLA-TSX] said exploration in 2022 has reinforced the potential for the definition and discovery of more oxide and sulphide resources at its 100%-owned Cerro Quema Project in Panama.

The company said a $5 million exploration budget is planned for Panama in 2023, including 5,500 metres of core drilling.

Cerro Quema consists of a pre-feasibility-stage heap leach gold project, a copper-gold sulphide resource and a suite of exploration targets located on a 15,000-hectare concession on the Azuero Peninsula in the Los Santos Province of Southwestern Panama, 193 kilometres southwest of Panama City.

The company said a recent PFS demonstrates the possibility of a low cost, high return heap leach gold project. It said the estimated after-tax net present value (5% discount rate) is $176 million with an after-tax internal rate of return of 38% at a gold price of US$1,600 an ounce.

Life of mine capital costs are estimated at US$204 million, including US$164 million in initial capital.

The PFS envisages an average production rate of 81,000 ounces of gold over a 6.0-year mine life at an all-in-sustaining cost of US$626 an ounce.

Orla has said it will continue to advance the project towards feasibility level, providing the basis for a construction decision.

In 2022, exploration drilling at Cerro Quema began with regional exploration at the La Prieta and La Pelona targets before moving to metallurgical, infill and expansion drilling at Caballito and La Pava mineralized zones and early-stage follow-up drilling at Quemita Norte target.

In total, 9,044 metres were drilled during the year.

Drilling highlights include CQDH-22-223, which returned 0.98% copper, 0.20 g/t gold over 105.2 metres (Sulphide) from 90.4 metres at the Caballito Deposit, where drilling has increased confidence and refined geometry, controls and definition of the mineralization.

In the La Pava area, recent drilling combined with historical drilling defined zones of significant copper-gold sulphide mineralization beneath the oxide gold deposits. Notable results include CQDH-22-204, which returned 0.69% copper, 0.32 g/t gold over 15 metres (Sulphide) from 69 metres and 1.41% copper, 0.46 g/t gold over 4.5 metres (Sulphide) from 97.1 metres.

At the La Prieta target, intrusion-related copper-gold mineralization intersected in the first drill program highlights the potential of the tarett and justifies follow-up drilling in 2023.

“In 2023, our focus will be follow-up drilling at La Pelona and La Prieta targets where we believe there is significant exploration upside yet to be defined,’’ said Sylvain Guerard, Senior Vice-President Exploration at Orla.

“Upon completion of the exploration and drilling campaign during the dry season of the first half of 2023, exploration and operational activities will be reduced in Panama,’’ the company said. “Data interpretation of the results will take place primarily in the second half of 2023 while on-the-ground activities will be minimal.’’

On February 15, 2023, Orla Mining shares closed at $5.40. The shares currently trade in a 52-week range of $6.59 and $2.99.

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