DIABLILLOS (Principal Property)
Our principal project is Diablillos which contains a Ag-Au epithermal deposit called the Oculto Deposit for which a mineral resource has been estimated. The current Indicated Resource for the Oculto Deposit, as estimated by RPA of Toronto in November 2016, amounts to 27.7m tonnes at 91.2g/t Ag and 0.85g/t Au containing 81.3m oz Ag and 755k oz Au (ie, 1.9m oz AuEq or 134m oz AgEq). The Oculto Deposit is one of nine mineral occurrences located on the Diablillos Property which covers an area of some 79km2. The Fantasma zone lies 800m to the west of Oculto, and has been identified by a number of trenches and four drill holes. A dacite porphyry at the Cerro Viejo Este occurrence, some 1200m north-northwest of Oculto, hosts Cu-Au mineralization that has been intersected in two drill holes in a dacite porphyry At Pedernales to the north of Oculto, narrower but higher grade epithermal mineralization has been intersected in a number of drill holes. Altogether, some 85,000m of drilling in 448 holes have has been undertaken on the Property, the majority of them, obviously, on Oculto – and I sincerely believe that our ongoing exploration activities will have the potential to outline additional resources on the Diablillos Property.
Diablillos lies in the Argentine “Puna” (Altiplano) at 4000m asl, and is located in a rapidly developing mineral district in northwestern Argentina that includes, TacaTaca (First Quantum), Lindero and Arizaro (Fortuna), Rio Grande (Regulus), and Samenta (AbraPlata). The Project lies in an established mining camp that includes FMC’s Hombre Puerto lithium operations, Borax’s (now Orocobre) Sijes, Ratones, and Tincalayu borate mines and concentrating plants, and Ulex’s Sal de Manana plant, as well as Galaxy’s Sal de Vida and LIX’s Sal de los Angeles advanced lithium project.
As a consequence, the area is accessible by good, all-weather, gravel roads, and FMC maintains a serviceable airstrip at their Hombre Muerto operations. Sufficient subterranean water is available on and near the project, and a natural gas pipeline is located 34 km from project in anticipation of development at Diablillos. There is a railway station at the town of Pocitos on the currently abandoned line between Salta and the Chilean port of Antofagasta. The few local communities that reside in this part of the Puna have a long tradition of working in mining and provide a ready source of labour. Of particular interest, is the fact that Salta has been voted for the second year in a row by the Fraser Institute in Vancouver as the most favored mining investment destination in Argentina. The Salta authorities are supportive of mining and have provided a framework in which permitting applications are expeditiously vetted. Salta has a long tradition of mining particularly with respect to lithium and borax, and has many advanced metalliferous projects (eg, TacaTaca, Lindero, Rio Grande, Samenta, and our own Diablillos – as mentioned above).
With respect to our future efforts at Diablillos, a short drilling campaign will be initiated in May 2017 in order to finalize the resource picture for the Property with respect to the Oculto Deposit and the Fantasma Zone and to fix the parameters for the updating of the Preliminary Economic Assessment. This will rapidly be followed-up with a Pre-Feasibility Study, and –results permitting– full Technical Feasibility and Bankable Document with a view to arrive at a go-no go decision in a time frame of about 24 months.
While Diablillos is the advanced project and will drive the development of the Company in the near future, it is by no means AbraPlata’s only project – and, in addition to Diablillos, the Company has the rights to the Samenta porphyry Cu-Mo project in Salta, The Cerro Amarillo porphyry Cu-Mo-Au project in Mendoza, and the Aguas Perdidas (M-18) epithermal Au-Ag project in the Chubut Province of Argentina.