No quantitative data are available with regard to cumulative production for the Property. In his report, San Roman estimated approximately 800,000 tonnes of 12% plus mineral had been extracted by the 1890s, with close to the same amount of material in the waste dumps, grading between 3% and 4. At this time, it is estimated that approximately 200,000 tonnes of "low grade" dump material remains.
From the 1920's until 1997, sporadic manual production on a limited basis was undertaken by local miners (pirquineros) on extensions of the veins previously mined. Most of the workings evident on the Algarrobo Property, and immediately adjacent ground, have been excavated and operated using hand tools, with limited mechanization and are, therefore, generally restricted to surface and/or shallow sub-surface workings, at depths ranging between 5 meters to 40 meters. Local pirquineros claim that until 1973 they sold ore grading 6% Cu and above to ENAMI as direct smelting ore. In 1973 ENAMI raised the cut-off grade for direct smelting ore to 12% Cu. All of the ore mined by the pirquineros has been hand sorted to meet the ENAMI requirements.
In 1997, American Canyon Mining initiated processing of mine waste dumps for recovery of low grade copper, with assayed grades between 1.5% and 2.5% copper, on a preliminary test basis in leach pads on site. Approximately 9,000 tonnes of mineralized, low grade ore was crushed, screened and piled after laboratory leach tests showed satisfactory results. The project was shut down in 1998 due to the decline in copper prices" Stromberger (2012).
In 2000, the property vendor, Gunter Stromberger, undertook a sampling program of some of the workings and waste dumps on the Property and immediately adjacent ground. A total of 160 samples were taken from surface, near surface and underground workings. The results of this program will be reported in a separate Press Release.
In 2009, the property vendor undertook a rotary drill program in an attempt to assess vein continuity and grade in the near sub-surface. A total of 10 holes were drilled, with four (#11 - 14) abandoned due depth of overburden ( > 25 m - the amount of casing available). Generally, the holes that encountered bedrock documented anomalous background levels of copper, ranging from 0.10% to a maximum of 1.05%. Six of the holes intersected copper mineralized veins. The results of the drill program will be reported in a separate Press Release.
Between 2010 and early 2012, the property vendor exposed several high grade copper mineralized veins at surface and developed an approximately 3 m wide x 4 m high drift, the "Veta Gruesa Centre" Drift on the Veta Gruesa. A second drift, the "Exploration" Drift, is located approximately 350 west of the Veta Gruesa Centre drift and had just encountered the footwall of the Veta Gruesa at the time of the Company's Due Diligence property evaluation in February, 2012.
Since the Due Diligence property evaluation in February, 2012, the property vendor has opened up two additional drifts on behalf of the Company, comprised of a third drift on the Veta Gruesa (Veta Gruesa East), the False Estaca Drift and initial development on the Descubridora Vein. Heavy equipment has exposed high grade copper mineralization immediately below a thin veneer of eolian sand, believed to correlate to the workings defining the Descubridora Vein. This exposure is actively being developed into a drift at this time. In addition, heavy equipment is currently working to remove sand in order to expose the Descubridora Vein approximately 40 m farther west and at slightly lower elevation so as to provide a second drift on this high grade copper vein. Finally, ore is currently being stockpiled at surface in anticipation of receipt of the license required to sell the ore from the Property to the government-owned ENAMI facility at Copiapo, located approximately 43 km to the south.
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