“Cerro Maricunga is Atacama’s flagship property located in the Maricunga Belt. It’s a grassroots discovery made by Atacama about two years ago. We started our big, Phase 2 exploration program of 30,000 metres of drilling in the fall of 2010 and finished up a couple of months ago. Yesterday’s press release finalizes the issuance of the drill results.
“These drill results near the end of the season were hitting the margins of the deposit, just trying to get a feel for the contact area. There were only 22 holes. They were as we’d expected they’d be. Six holes were a step-out to test a parallel IP anomaly, but we didn’t have any joy with that. It’s not surprising. We had to try, but the signature wasn’t the same as the main trend. But it was worth a shot.
“We’ve gone fairly quickly from exploration straight to resource drilling. We drilled off a good portion of the deposit on 50-metre intersections; the core zones and areas just outside the core zones with the 100-metre intersections. We’ve drilled it off in preparation for the resource, which should be out in August this year.
We did 90 holes, and I’d say that 90% of those have returned significant intervals of gold mineralization. – Carl Hansen
“The main focus right now is the resource estimate. But, in addition to that, there’s a fair bit of attention being paid to metallurgical testing. We’re fairly comfortable that we have a significant volume of gold mineralization, but now we have to focus on the metallurgical side of it. We’ve just recently collected three tonnes of material as a bulk sample. That is being sent from Chile to Kappes, Cassidy and Associates in Reno, Nevada. You’ll see a flow of metallurgical news, basically just trying to optimize heap-leach size and recoveries.
“The company itself has the ability, and we have the staff to move it forward to production. That’s our focus, yes, 100%; we’ll be moving this to production. That said, everything is for sale, and we have to look at what’s best for the shareholders. If we are approached with an offer that creates value for all the shareholders, then we have the responsibility of exploring that. We’re open—as every company should be—but really our focus is getting into the engineering as soon as we can.
“Chile’s a great place. To me it’s Canada just turned on its axis and put down in South America. There’s a large middle class, very good rules, very mining friendly, and just a great democratic system. Chile’s where we’re very comfortable. We put our own money in Chile.
“Cerro Maricunga is a large, oxide deposit located in an established mining belt. In that sense, it has a lot of positives going for it. The fact that it is oxide, the fact that it is an area where infrastructure exists, the fact that it is an area where the majors are mining already. And so far we’ve been very successful in our drilling. We did 90 holes, and I’d say that 90% of those have returned significant intervals of gold mineralization. So we look at it as being a very positive, grassroots discovery. Let’s put it this way—typically you’d explore for a couple of years and move into engineering. After only one year of exploration, we’re moving into engineering.
“We have a steady flow of news going out, so we’re anxiously looking forward to getting our resource estimate and getting it out to the public.”
View Press Release Summary
View Company Profile