DENVER, COLORADO -- (Marketwire) -- 03/26/13 -- Bellhaven Copper & Gold Inc. (TSX VENTURE: BHV) ("Bellhaven" or the "Company") reports that it has entered into a head-of-terms option agreement (the "Agreement") with a subsidiary of AngloGold Ashanti Corporation, AngloGold Ashanti Colombia S.A. ("AGAC"), to acquire up to 100% interest in the 1,400-hectare La Garrucha mineral concession (the "Property"). The Property is immediately adjacent to the Company's 1,800-hectare La Mina Project (See Figures 1 and 2). Under the terms of the Agreement, Bellhaven will invest US $8.5 million over a three-year period, including US $1.0 million in the first year, and define a NI 43-101 compliant resource in order to earn its interest.
After the earn-in period, should the newly discovered mineral resource be less than 3.0 million ounces of gold or gold-equivalent, Bellhaven will have earned 100% interest in the Property. In case the new resource exceeds 3.0 million ounces of gold or gold-equivalent, AGAC will have a one-time option to back-in to 51% interest in the La Garrucha concession and form a joint-venture. In order to exercise this option, AGAC must elect to pay Bellhaven US $17 million in cash, which is two times the amount expended by Bellhaven during the earn-in period, within 60 days of receiving confirmation of the earn-in and a compliant mineral resource that meets the size criterion. If AGAC backs in to the La Garrucha Project, it can earn an additional 24% equity (for a total of 75% ownership) by fully funding the preparation of a NI 43-101 compliant pre-feasibility study. If the back-in conditions are not met or AGAC elects not to exercise its one-time back-in right, it will retain no further interest in the Property except for a 2% NSR royalty on future gold production and a 1% NSR royalty on future copper production (Bellhaven has a right to purchase half of these royalties).
The La Garrucha concession adjoins Bellhaven's La Mina Project on the east and north sides (See Figures 1 and 2). Bellhaven has reported numerous significant drill intercepts of porphyry-hosted gold and copper mineralization near the property boundary with AGAC (See Figure 3 and Company news releases dated Feb. 29, 2012 and Feb. 28, 2013). For maps showing the location of the Property, as well as relevant geologic and geophysical maps of the area please follow this link: http://file.marketwire.com/release/bhv326_F1-3.pdf.
Patrick Highsmith, Bellhaven's CEO, commented on the impact of the acquisition:
"We are delighted to acquire the rights to the La Garrucha concession from AngloGold Ashanti. This deal is a game-changer for Bellhaven because it consolidates much of the district, almost doubling our land position, and gives us full control of the most significant new discovery in the area. While we have only tested the western edge of the Garrucha anomaly, we have confirmed the presence of a significant mineralized system, the core of which comes to surface on this new concession. Several of our drill holes bottomed in strong mineralization and were terminated only because we approached the concession boundary.
Along with the Garrucha porphyry, the new property also brings new targets to our pipeline; we shall provide details on some of the new targets as the project moves forward. The cost for this exciting acquisition is only the direct investment in the exploration work required to delineate the new discoveries. It is important to note that the first year's work program under the new Agreement is already fully funded. We expect the first drilling to commence on the new concession by May."
The La Garrucha prospect holds considerable potential for high-value and near-term resource growth for Bellhaven. The Company has previously reported surface samples containing greater than 1.2 g/t Au and greater than 0.2% Cu in the area. The initial drilling on the western side of the target has also returned long intervals of continuous mineralization, including significant intervals with greater than 1.0 g/t Au and numerous samples with greater than 2.0 g/t Au.
Brad Yonaka, Vice President Exploration, remarked further on the technical implications of the Garrucha acquisition: "We have already produced very strong results from the La Garrucha area, and the heart of the target hasn't even been drill tested yet. Clearly the La Garrucha anomaly has the scale and intensity to be a priority for Bellhaven, since it is only 700m from our existing 2.6M oz of gold equivalent resources at La Cantera and Middle Zone. The necessary drill permits for drilling at La Garrucha are already in place. We intend to start drilling as soon as the soil sampling and initial mapping are complete."
Discussion of the La Garrucha Target
Gold and copper were first discovered in significant quantity at La Cantera in 2006. While only 700m away from La Garrucha, the initial drilling by the AngloGold - B2 Gold joint venture did not lead directly to the La Garrucha discovery. Bellhaven began systematically advancing the district in late 2010, arriving at La Garrucha by mid-2011. The southern end of the La Garrucha property lies between the La Mina concession and a pending exploration application made by Bellhaven. It, therefore, made sense for Bellhaven to acquire the AngloGold concession.
The magnetics anomaly at La Garrucha has long been tantalizing for explorers, but surface owners have not previously allowed access to the area for follow-up. After re-interpreting the magnetics data and adding a new layer of information with the ZTEM survey, it became apparent that the scale of the Garrucha anomaly was important. Nearby soil sampling and mapping also highlighted the fact that the core of the La Garrucha porphyry outcrops primarily to the east of the La Mina concession. In testing the geophysical and geochemical anomalies on the La Mina side of the system, Bellhaven drilling discovered strong gold and copper mineralization.
Six drill holes encountered significant mineralization on the fringe of the Garrucha system. These drill holes typically progressed from the weakly mineralized G1 porphyry, which envelops the the western part of the Garrucha system, into the well-mineralized G2 porphyry and breccia. These previously reported results included continuous mineralization over as much as 208m in drill hole LME-1096 (See Company news release dated Feb. 28, 2013). Prior to the La Garrucha drilling, such lengthy intercepts of strong gold and copper mineralization had only been encountered in the high-grade La Cantera deposit.
It is also significant that two of these holes ended in gold assays exceeding 1.0 g/t (LME-1047 and LME-1096). In fact, drill hole LME-1096 ended in nearly 11m of 1.10 g/t Au and 0.20% Cu or 1.40 g/t Au Equivalent. The last interval of that hole (near the concession boundary) assayed 2.2 g/t Au and 0.29% Cu or 2.66 g/t Au Equivalent (See Company news release dated Feb. 28, 2013). As Bellhaven geologists built the geologic model for the La Garrucha porphyry, the higher grades with depth correlated well with increasing alteration intensity. It is now apparent that the higher-grade mineralization is hosted by the G2 porphyry and breccia, which outcrops near the concession boundary and on the newly optioned La Garrucha concession (See Figure 3).
Based on geologic mapping and sampling, the La Garrucha system comes to surface and this peripheral drilling has confirmed its depth potential. The overall scale and depth potential of the Garrucha system is also exciting. Over the last year, new interpretations of the airborne magnetics have increased the importance of these features as they suggest a possible connection at depth between the La Cantera porphyry and the La Garrucha mineral system (See Figure 3 and Company news release dated Nov. 14, 2012).
The Company will begin its work almost immediately with mapping, sampling, and surveying over the core of the Garrucha anomaly. The project team is currently seeking new proposals from drilling contractors, and expects to commence drilling in May of 2013.
Area of Interest under the Agreement
Since the mineralized La Garrucha porphyry is known to exist near the boundary between the two concessions, the parties chose to outline an Area of Interest ("AOI") that includes the majority of the near-surface anomaly (See Figures 2 and 3). The AOI includes a 400m wide strip of Bellhaven's La Mina concession. Bellhaven expenditures on the Property, and anywhere inside the AOI, will apply to the earn-in. Furthermore, if a joint venture is formed in the future, this narrow strip of Bellhaven mineral rights may be vended into the joint venture to facilitate full development of the La Garrucha resource. Neither AGAC nor the possible future joint venture will have any rights to any other portions of the La Mina concession, including the mineral resources at the La Cantera and Middle Zone deposits.
The technical information in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Mr. Thomas J. Drown, P.Geo. Mr. Drown has more than 25 years relevant experience and is a British Columbia Professional Geoscientist. He is a senior project geologist with the Company at the La Mina Project and serves as the qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101.
Bellhaven Copper & Gold Inc. is a Canadian-listed (TSX VENTURE: BHV) exploration company exploring for gold and copper in Panama and Colombia. The Company's objective is to be a leader in responsible gold and copper development in Panama and Colombia. Bellhaven will focus on discovery, acquisition, and development of high-quality resources in a safe and responsible manner for the benefit of all of its stakeholders.
The Company's flagship project is the La Mina porphyry gold-(copper) project in the Middle Cauca belt of Colombia. In July 2012, the Company increased the mineral resource inventory at the La Mina Project by 60% with the announcement of an inferred resource at Middle Zone. The total La Mina resource now includes 1.6 Moz gold and 419 million pounds of copper (or 2.55 Moz gold equivalent) contained in 79.87 million tonnes averaging 0.62 g/t Au, 0.24% Cu, or a gold equivalent grade of 1.0 g/t (based on a 0.30 g/t Au cutoff grade). The Company is currently seeking to grow these resources through ongoing exploration on the La Mina concession. For more information regarding Bellhaven, please visit our website at www.bellhavencg.com.
On behalf of the board of directors,
R. Patrick Highsmith, Chief Executive Officer
BELLHAVEN COPPER & GOLD INC.
Statements in this press release, other than purely historical information, including statements relating to the Company's future plans and objectives or expected results, may include forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions and are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties inherent in resource exploration and development. As a result, actual results may vary materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Bellhaven Copper & Gold Inc.
North America: +1-303-470-8700, ext 24
Contact in Panama:
Bellhaven Copper & Gold Inc.
Int'l No: +507-226-3967
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