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Atacama Pacific Reports Cerro Maricunga Infill Drilling Results and Provides Water Exploration Update

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TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/17/13 -- Atacama Pacific Gold Corporation (TSX VENTURE: ATM) ("Atacama Pacific") is pleased to report drilling results from the 20,000-metre Phase IV infill drilling program at its 100% owned Cerro Maricunga oxide gold project as well as provide an update on ongoing water exploration activities.

Highlights from the infill drill program, summarized in Table 2 (attached), include:

-- 132 metres grading 0.70 grams per tonne gold ("g/t Au") from the Crux Zone (CMD-228)-- 78 metres grading 1.03 g/t Au from the Crux Zone (CMR-229) including 1.73 g/t Au over 36 metres-- 68 metres grading 0.39 g/t Au followed by 86 metres grading 0.58 g/t Au from a new extension of the Crux Zone (CMR-246)



"With the 20,000-metre Phase IV infill drilling program progressing well, the main focus of Atacama Pacific is the completion of its Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") scheduled for release prior to the end of this month," said Carl Hansen, President and CEO of Atacama Pacific. "The PEA will outline the optimum mining and processing parameters and establish, within limits, the associated capital and operating costs for an open pit mining and heap leach processing operation at Cerro Maricunga."

The core areas of the Lynx, Phoenix and Crux Zones have largely been drilled on 50 metre sections and the current infill drilling program is targeting potential extensions of the known mineralization, the margins of the resource model, and as well as confirming the block model interpretation. Infill drilling is also focused on determining the size and orientation of the Pollux Zone which was discovered towards the end of the Phase III drill program.

Drilling in the Pollux Zone is suggesting the gold mineralization may have an east-west orientation along a northwest striking trend similar to the Crux Zone. Further drilling, targeting the higher grade areas, is planned to confirm the orientation of the Pollux Zone mineralization.

Drill holes CMR-239 and CMR-241, drilled between the Crux and Phoenix zones in an area previously considered barren, returned significant intervals of +0.2 g/t Au mineralization including 62 metres grading 0.33 g/t Au and 44 m grading 0.47 g/t Au. Continued drilling will determine the extent of the mineralization in this area.

Atacama Pacific has completed 2 water exploration wells to depths of 185 and 224 metres in two aquifers within the boundaries of its AMX water exploration concessions. Both exploration wells hit significant water flows. A drill hole testing a third aquifer is presently at 92 metres with a target depth of 200 to 250 metres. A fourth drill hole may be undertaken. Upon completion of the water exploration drilling, a series of wells will be drilled to facilitate pump tests to determine sustainable water flow rate as required for permitting. As part of the pending PEA, Atacama Pacific has received a quote for the construction of the pipeline from the AMX concessions to Cerro Maricunga.

The measured and indicated ("M&I") resources at the Cerro Maricunga Gold Project, summarized in Table 1, presently stand at 2.667 million ounces of gold in 163.9 million tonnes grading 0.51 g/t Au, at a 0.3 g/t Au cut-off, with a further 1.810 million ounces of gold in 120.7 million tonnes grading 0.47 g/t Au in the inferred category. The entire resource is associated with oxidized host rocks.

Table 1 - Cerro Maricunga Resource Estimate---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Measured and Measured Indicated Indicated Inferred----------------------------------------------------------------------------Cut- Ton- Ton- Ton- Ton-off nes Grade nes Grade nes Grade Gold nes Grade Gold(g/t (mill- (g/t (mill- (g/t (mill- (g/t Ounces (mill- (g/t OuncesAu) ions) Au) ions) Au) ions) Au) (OOO's) ions) Au) (OOO'S)----------------------------------------------------------------------------0.2 60.4 0.44 187.5 0.41 247.9 0.42 3,344 226.3 0.36 2,654----------------------------------------------------------------------------0.3 40.7 0.53 123.1 0.50 163.9 0.51 2,667 120.7 0.47 1,810----------------------------------------------------------------------------0.4 24.5 0.64 71.2 0.61 95.8 0.62 1,912 57.8 0.60 1,118----------------------------------------------------------------------------0.5 15.1 0.77 42.8 0.72 57.9 0.74 1,370 32.3 0.73 754----------------------------------------------------------------------------



Corporate Update

As at Jan 19, 2012, Atacama had $20.2 million in cash and 50,937,410 shares outstanding, of which management and insiders owned 15,030,424 shares or approximately 30%. Including 4,877,000 share options, the fully diluted outstanding shares total 55,814,410.

National Instrument 43-101 Compliance

Michael Easdon, a Professional Geologist registered with the State of Oregon, USA, is the independent qualified person, as defined by National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") for the Cerro Maricunga Phase IV exploration program. Mr. Easdon has reviewed and verified the content of this press release. Dr. Eduardo Magri, a mining engineer (University of Witwatersrand) and a Fellow of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, is the independent qualified person for the Cerro Maricunga resource estimate released September 25, 2012. The Cerro Maricunga resource estimate was prepared under Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum ("CIM") Definition Standards (2005). NCL Ingeneiria y Construccion Ltda. undertook to prepare and is responsible for the resource estimate under the supervision of Dr. Eduardo Magri and Antonio Couble (NCL Associate).

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This release contains forward-looking statements, including predictions, projections and forecasts. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to completion of economic assessments, exploration results, the success of exploration activities generally, mine development prospects, and future gold production. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "planning", "expects" or "does not expect", "continues", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "potential", "anticipates", "does not anticipate", or "belief", or describes a "goal", or variation of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved.

Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, future events, conditions, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, prediction, projection, forecast, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the results of due diligence activities, the interpretation and actual results of current exploration activities; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; future prices of gold; possible variations in grade or recovery rates; failure of equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of exploration, as well as those factors disclosed in Atacama Pacific's publicly filed documents. Although Atacama Pacific has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

Table 2 - Summary of Cerro Maricunga Drill Results (greater than or equal to10 m intervals composited at a 0.2 g/t cut-off)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From To Interval GradeHole # Section (metres) (metres) (metres) (g/t Au) Zone Notes--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------CMR-223 750 150 170 20 0.26 Pollux Extension----------------------------------------------------------------------------CMD-224 750 26 50 24 0.27 Crux Extension---------------------------------------------------------------------------- At the SE endCMR-226 300 48 68 20 0.35 Crux of Crux---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 172 196 24 0.32---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 224 234 10 0.34----------------------------------------------------------------------------CMR-227 450 86 102 16 0.34 Crux SW contact---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 114 132 18 0.44---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 160 222 62 0.44---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 236 266 30 0.50---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 286 296 10 0.27---------------------------------------------------------------------------- SW contact of higher gradeCMD-228 600 0 132 132 0.70 Crux material---------------------------------------------------------------------------- including 14 30 16 1.09---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Higher grade surfaceCMR-229 550 0 78 78 1.03 Crux mineralization---------------------------------------------------------------------------- including 12 48 36 1.73 Confirmed---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 148 172 24 0.40---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 228 238 10 0.22---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 254 278 24 0.34----------------------------------------------------------------------------CMR-231 950 212 254 42 0.25 Pollux NE contact----------------------------------------------------------------------------CMD-232 1050 96 106 10 0.29 Pollux----------------------------------------------------------------------------CMR-233 650 166 180 14 0.22---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Possible change in orientation ofCMR-234 1000 0 20 20 0.22 Pollux zone---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 62 164 102 0.28----------------------------------------------------------------------------CMR-235 1050 0 14 14 0.31 Pollux NE contact---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 72 82 10 0.33----------------------------------------------------------------------------CMD-236 850 8 44 36 0.35 Pollux---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 52 62 10 0.35---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 126 164 38 0.29---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 190 288 98 0.31----------------------------------------------------------------------------CMR-237 550 0 88 88 0.47 Crux SW contact---------------------------------------------------------------------------- including 10 54 44 0.64----------------------------------------------------------------------------CMR-238 700 50 114 64 0.40 Crux---------------------------------------------------------------------------- SE extension of zone ofCMR-239 900 6 18 12 0.44 Phoenix Phoenix;---------------------------------------------------------------------------- drilled from 26 88 62 0.33 CMR-241---------------------------------------------------------------------------- SE extension of zone ofCMR-241 900 106 150 44 0.47 Phoenix Phoenix;---------------------------------------------------------------------------- drilled from including 106 124 18 0.75 CMR-239---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Extension ofCMR-243 1050 170 186 16 0.24 Phoenix Phoenix ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- towards CMR- 196 210 14 0.30 239 & -241----------------------------------------------------------------------------CMR-244 2500 0 14 14 0.35---------------------------------------------------------------------------- New extensionCMR-246 350 10 78 68 0.39 Crux of the Crux---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 112 198 86 0.58----------------------------------------------------------------------------NOTES: Unless otherwise noted, reported gold grades are composited at a 0.2g/t Au cut-off. All intervals represent down-hole lengths and not truewidths. Drill holes prefixed "CMD" are diamond drill holes; holes prefixed"CMR" are RC drill holes.



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.



Contacts:
Atacama Pacific Gold Corporation
Carl B. Hansen
President and CEO
416 861 8267
info@atacamapacific.com
www.atacamapacific.com



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