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Trans-Atlantic treasures

February 26th, 2018

Emerita Resources fast-tracks high-grade zinc in Brazil and Spain

by Greg Klein

Two years of escalating prices and several years of historic work have Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO in an exceptionally sanguine mood. Following December’s oversubscribed $4.24-million cash infusion and last month’s TSXV approval to close the Brazilian acquisition, the company announced a breathtakingly ambitious timeline for its Salobro zinc project. Should all go to a very optimistic plan, the company would advance from updating an historic resource to completing pre-feas and mine permitting within two to three years.

Emerita Resources fast-tracks high-grade zinc in Brazil and Spain

Should success reward optimism, Salobro
could reach pre-feasibility next year.

The 1,210-hectare former Vale NYSE:VALE project’s located in southeastern Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, where regional infrastructure includes a zinc smelter, paved roads, rail, water and power.

Salobro comes with an historic, non-43-101 Vale-compiled resource of 8.3 million tonnes averaging 7.12% zinc-equivalent lying at shallow depth and showing expansion potential along strike and down dip. The geology suggests either a Mississippi Valley-type or sedimentary exhalative deposit, Emerita says. A standout among historic intervals assayed 10.39% zinc and 2.13% lead over 13.92 metres.

The acquisition would give Emerita a 75% stake in Salobro and the right to pick up the remaining 25% from IMS Engenharia Mineral Ltda. Vale, meanwhile, has begun the process of withdrawing a civil claim against IMS concerning ownership of the property, Emerita stated. The company expects to close the deal by the end of March.

“Ambitious” might be an understatement for such an optimistic timeline. But the project “has consistently exceeded our expectations during our scoping and analysis phase,” says newly appointed CEO Michael Timmins. The veteran of Agnico Eagle Mines’ (TSX:AEM) expansion from one to nine operations adds, “We are encouraged by the outcome of this early mine study and are very excited to have the opportunity to utilize our award-winning mine-building team in Brazil to fast-track the development of Salobro.”

With that in mind the company foresees a 43-101 technical report filed by the end of March, a 43-101 resource by the end of Q2, 3,500 metres of exploration drilling to begin in early March, a PEA complete by the end of Q3, baseline enviro studies beginning in Q3, a pre-feas finished by Q3 2019 and mine development permits in hand by Q2 2020.

Obviously such an agenda depends on favourable outcomes at every stage. The company has already been resampling historic core for the new resource, which will also include upcoming step-out holes to expand the deposit’s shallow areas. A conceptual mine plan will build on info inherited from Vale.

Emerita credits its Brazilian team with significant involvement in projects including Belo Sun Mining’s (TSX:BSX) Volta Grande gold project and Aguia Resources’ (TSXV:AGRL) Tres Estradas phosphate deposit.

The deal calls for Emerita to pay Vale an initial US$350,000 after IMS turns Salobro over to a subsidiary held 75% by Emerita and 25% by IMS. Once Vale formally withdraws its claim against IMS, Emerita pays Vale legal costs of approximately 760,000 reals, about C$297,000. Further payments to Vale would cost Emerita US$1.65 million by July 14, US$1.5 million in 2020 and another US$3 million in 2024.

Emerita may buy out the IMS 25% for C$2 million and a million shares by 2021.

Emerita Resources fast-tracks high-grade zinc in Brazil and Spain

The Plaza Norte agenda aims for a late-
2019 preliminary economic assessment.

Helping on the financial side will be December’s oversubscribed $4.24-million private placement. But some of that cash will go to another Emerita zinc project—and for that, the focus shifts to northern Spain.

Situated next to the former Reocin mine that produced about 62 million tonnes averaging 11% zinc and 1.4% lead up to 2003, the 3,600-hectare Plaza Norte property sits amid regional infrastructure including rail, road and port facilities, along with a Glencore zinc smelter about 180 road kilometres away. The project is a 50/50 JV with the Aldesa Group, a specialized construction and infrastructure firm operating in Spain and internationally.

Emerita’s Spanish team now has permitting underway for a 5,000-metre campaign anticipated to start in May. The plan is to build a 43-101 resource over an area that’s already seen more than 300 holes totalling about 73,000 metres. Some historic intercepts include 9.72% zinc and 0.09% lead over 18.96 metres, along with 7.05% zinc and 0.3% lead over 8.2 metres. The company anticipates an initial resource in Q1 next year and a PEA by 2019 year-end.

Meanwhile Emerita awaits resolution of disputed ownership concerning two other Spanish zinc properties, Paymogo and Aznalcollar. The latter’s Los Frailes deposit hosts an historic, non-43-101 estimate showing 20 million tonnes averaging 6.65% zinc, 3.87% lead, 0.29% copper and 148 ppm silver. The company considers the project ready for feasibility studies.

Paymogo’s La Infanta deposit has another historic, non-43-101 estimate of 800,000 tonnes averaging 1.77% copper, 6.91% lead, 12.66% zinc and 148 g/t silver. About seven kilometres away, Paymogo’s Romanera deposit holds an historic, non-43-101 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 1.1% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold.