TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/19/13 -- Atacama Pacific Gold Corporation (TSX VENTURE: ATM) ("Atacama Pacific") is pleased to report continued positive results from the ongoing 20,000-metre infill drilling program at its 100% owned Cerro Maricunga oxide gold project located in Chile's Maricunga Mineral Belt, 120 kilometres northeast of the city of Copiapo.
Highlights from the drill program, summarized on the attached table, include:
-- 532 metres grading 0.54 grams per tonne gold ("g/t Au") from the Phoenix (CMD-249) including 50 metres grading 1.44 g/t Au-- 180 metres grading 0.68 g/t Au from the Lynx Zone (CMR-254) including 1.80 g/t Au over 22 metres
Drill hole CMD-249, which returned 532 metres grading 0.54 g/t Au including a 50 metre interval grading 1.44 g/t Au, was drilled through the core of the Phoenix Zone in a southwest direction, opposite to the northeastern orientation of the majority of the Cerro Maricunga drilling. The results from CMD-249 confirm that the drill hole orientation does not create a noticeable bias to the gold grades.
The drill results confirm the continuity of the oxide gold mineralization within the pit constrained resource estimate which formed the basis of the recently released preliminary economic assessment ("PEA"). The PEA demonstrated the potential economic viability of an open pit mine and associated conventional heap leach processing operation at Cerro Maricunga producing 2.7 million ounces of gold over a ten year mine life at cash costs of $652 per ounce gold with an after-tax NPV5% of $531 million and an internal rate of return of 26.6%.
As part of the continuing development of the project, a further 14 column and 34 bottle roll tests are nearing completion at Kappes, Cassidy and Associates' extractive metallurgical laboratory in Reno, Nevada. The test work is being completed on low to average grade mineralization from the three main gold zones typically crushed to 19 millimetres. A series of composite samples were prepared and tested to determine the impact of agglomeration on gold recoveries and two columns were loaded with mineralization crushed with high pressure grinding rolls. It is anticipated that the final results will be available during March 2013.
At the Santa Teresa property, located northwest and adjacent to the Cerro Maricunga property, Atacama Pacific recently completed an induced polarization survey identifying a strong chargeability anomaly, associated with a prominent magnetic high, overlying a series of trenches which have returned anomalous gold grades. Two holes are planned to test the source of the chargeability anomaly during the second quarter.
National Instrument 43-101
Michael Easdon, a professional geologist registered with the State of Oregon, USA, is the independent qualified person for the current exploration program and has reviewed, approved and verified the content of this press release.
Carlos Guzman, a mining engineer, Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and a registered member of the Chilean Mining Commission, is the independent qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") for the Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Cerro Maricunga project. Mr. Guzman is a Principal and Project Director with NCL Ingeneiria y Construccion Ltda., Santiago, Chile.