In December 2012, as part of the permitting process, the Company submitted an EIA Report on the Kirazli Project. The EIA Report is currently in the final stage of the approval process. While the approval will not be finalized until certain additional signatures are received from Turkish officials, the substantive aspects of the EIA review process have been successfully completed. The Ministry of the Environment, which is the government agency responsible for EIA approval, appointed representatives of government agencies and local authorities to a 17-person EIA Commission that reviewed the Kirazli EIA submission. In late January 2013, a meeting was held by the EIA Commission, which concluded in its minutes: "The (Kirazli) project has been reviewed and evaluated by the Commission and the review and evaluation process has been finalized. The EIA Report has been found sufficient by the Commission and it has been accepted as final." The Company has been informed that a subsequent mandatory 10-day public notice period produced no opposition or comments of any kind.
In the second quarter, Alamos will submit its EIA on Agi Dagi, and anticipates that a decision from the Turkish Government will be received in a similar time frame to the Kirazli process.
First Quarter 2013 Exploration Update
Total exploration expenditures in the first quarter of 2013 were $3.1 million. In Mexico, total exploration spending was $2.2 million. This included $1.5 million of drilling costs at East Estrella and San Carlos, which were capitalized, and $0.7 million of early-stage exploration and administration costs, which were expensed. Total exploration spending in Turkey was $0.9 million; $0.8 million related to development work at Camyurt, Agi Dagi and Kirazli was capitalized, and $0.1 million related to drilling at earlier-stage targets was expensed.
Exploration - Mexico
Exploration expenditures in Mexico in the first quarter of 2013 were $2.2 million. The Company completed 10,742 metres ("m") of reverse circulation ("RC") drilling in 59 holes and 1,515 m of core drilling in eight holes. Exploration activities were primarily focused on completing infill and step-out drilling programs at East Estrella, and continued deep directional drilling at San Carlos. Three drill rigs were active, with two rigs drilling at San Carlos.
Exploration drilling directly east of the Mulatos pit southeast wall continued through the quarter. A new target in the East Estrella area was recently identified by work in the hanging wall of the fault that bounds the mineral resource. This new target is an area of shallow gold mineralization directly to the northeast of the mineral resource. It is characterized by pervasive advanced argillic alteration, as well as a previously unrecognized style of crustiform banded quartz veins. A total of 5,506 m of RC drilling was completed in 38 holes at East Estrella during the quarter.
Drilling continued at San Carlos during the first quarter, targeted at deep high-grade gold mineralization extending to the east of both the open pit and underground mineral resource and reserve areas. High-grade intercepts have been encountered up to 500 m from the existing open pit boundary. This extension of San Carlos provides excellent potential for adding high-grade underground ounces in close proximity to planned infrastructure. In the first quarter of 2013, a total of 3,657 m of drilling was completed in 13 RC holes, and 1,282 m in seven core holes.
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