The Macara project located in southernmost Ecuador is subject to a strategic alliance between the Company and Newmont Ventures Limited, a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corporation. Force majeure has been in effect since April 2008, and will remain so until an Environmental License is issued by the Ministry of Environment for the 1,452 hectare Bellavista concession. Exploration on the large (2,500 km2) surrounding Area of Interest (AOI) covered by the alliance is suspended until such time as the Ministry of Non-Renewable Natural Resources opens the area for new mineral concession applications.
On May 11th, 2012, the Company announced that it has received authorization to resume activities on the Bella Maria project and provided a summary of results for exploration work carried out prior to the April 2008 Mining Moratorium. Initial results indicate that the property has excellent potential for hosting significant gold and copper mineralization. Stream sediment samples collected across the property are exceptionally anomalous in gold, and a large coincident gold- and copper-in-soil anomaly accompanied by porphyry style mineralization has been identified in the central part of the property. Four mineralized prospects have been identified. The Company is actively seeking a partner to fund an aggressive exploration program on the property.
Prospecting work carried out by the Company during 2012 confirmed results from previous property owners which indicates good potential for significant shallow epithermal gold-silver mineralization and porphyry gold-copper style mineralization at depth. Recent work has provided a much better understanding of the alteration and mineralization processes and their controls. The work also increased the size of the Alumbre prospect and discovered the new Potrerillos HS alteration zone. Three altered and mineralized zones are present on the property. Many anomalous float samples, stream sediment anomalies and soil anomalies (precious and base metals, epithermal pathfinders) still require follow up and offer potential for new discoveries. The Company is seeking a partner to jointly explore this property.
As announced on January 11th, 2013, the Company has returned the La Fortuna copper-silver property to its Chilean owner due to an inability to secure a partner to fund the second year option commitment.
A regional exploration program was completed on the Miocene project during the first half of 2012. Alteration mapping using Aster (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) satellite imagery, combined with historical airborne magnetic survey data and regional geological and structural data, was used to define prospective areas for ground follow up. Reconnaissance geological mapping at a scale of 1:25,000, rock sampling and widely spaced soil sampling (2,000 m by 500 m and 1,000 m by 250 m) were carried out over a large area of 70,000 hectares (70 km2) covering exposed and altered bedrock and adjacent soil and gravel-covered pampas. Soil samples were analyzed utilizing a combination of analytical techniques designed to detect deep and/or buried mineralization. Geological mapping and spectrometry work better defined the alteration zones (type, size and distribution) that were identified by the Aster satellite imagery. Geochemical anomalies were defined for base metals, precious metals and pathfinder elements associated with porphyry gold-copper and epithermal gold-silver styles of mineralization. The Company is continuing to seek a partner to help advance exploration on this exciting early-stage project.
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