Announcements on the amount of gold in the ground at Aurelian Resources’s Fruta del Norte (FDN) epithermal gold deposit in Ecuador are fruta del norte gold mineexpected by year’s end, according to the company’s president.

In an e-mailed response to queries, Patrick Anderson told Mineweb that at the end of the year the company should be able to issue some code-compliant resource numbers on the deposit.

Since April a number of very promising drill results from the FDN project have been released. They have been so promising that the company’s market cap soared from around C$22.8 million in the beginning of April to more than C$650 million during June. Aurelian is currently valued at about C$573 million.

FDN is the first gold target identified on the company’s Condor project area in southern Ecuador

On April 5 the first promising drill result was announced when the company intersected 237m at 4.14g/t. Over the month the shares leapt from around C$0.76 before the announcement to C$3.70. More results came out and by the end of May Aurelian was trading at C$7 a share. During June the shares peaked at C$22.70.

So why all the fuss? Well for one, for some time the world has been short of large discoveries in gold and other minerals. Large companies talk of having to look in higher-risk areas to find new deposits. Elephant gold deposits as they are nicknamed have been few and far between in the current commodity bull run.

In a presentation on its website, Aurelian points out a number of large deposits with ‘comparable’ intersections.

First was the Pierina deposit discovered in 1996, the intersection example was 77 metres at 4.7g/t of gold.

In 2005, Pierina produced 628,000 ounces of gold at total cash costs of $139 per ounce. It has existing reserves of 1.9 million ounces.

Another was Lihir, discovered in 1986, with intersections of 272 metres grading 5.01g/t. The mine produces 600,000oz gold a year.

Of course a lot more work needs to be done on the asset before any serious comparisons with these projects can be made. The company also has another 30 untested projects within the concession area, according to Anderson.

As more details come through from exploration, the picture should get clearer as to how much potential FDN really has.