Altazor is a high sulfidation epithermal (HSE) gold project located in the prolifically mineralized Mio-Pliocene age mineral belt of Northern Chile. Altazor comprises approximately 33,230 ha of contiguous exploration claims and was staked by Mirasol as an outcome of the Company’s Atacama-Puna Generative program, which is targeting the discovery of large-scale gold, silver and copper deposits in the Tertiary age mineral belts of this region.
Altazor has favourable logistics, situated just 20 km south of 345 kV powerlines that follow International Highway Route 23, a paved road connecting northern Chile and Argentina. In common with other Mio-Pliocene mines and projects, Altazor is located at high altitudes of between 4000 and 5200 m; however, Altazor has good “drive up access” via an open valley and a network of easily passable gravel tracks.
On November 21, 2017, the Company announced that it signed an Option and Farm-in Agreement with Newcrest International Pty Limited (NCM), a subsidiary of Newcrest Mining Limited for the Altazor gold project in northern Chile. NCM has the right to acquire, in multiple stages, up to 75% of the Mirasol owned Altazor Project by completing US$ 10 million in exploration, and either delivering a positive bankable feasibility study or spending US$ 100 million in feasibility expenditure. Mirasol can then elect to solely fund its share of the residual feasibility and development costs to retain a 25% project equity position, or in exchange for an additional 5% project equity, require NCM to finance all costs through to production, with Mirasol retaining 20% of the project. If NCM elects to remain in the JV until the feasibility stage, it will pay to Mirasol US$ 1.8 million in staged option payments over 7 years.
On November 12, 2018, Mirasol announced the NCM exercised its option to enter the Farm-in stage of the Altazor Agreement, making a US$500,000 payment to Mirasol.
Altazor is situated in an underexplored 860 km long section of the Mio-Pliocene age mineral belt located between Mirasol’s Gorbea Belt Projects and the historic, now idled, Choquelimpie HSE gold mine in far northern Chile. Mirasol believes the Chilean and Argentine section of the Mio-Pliocene age mineral belt is highly prospective for the discovery of new world class gold and silver deposits as exemplified by the recent discoveries of Salares Norte by Gold Fields and Barrick Gold’s Alturas HSE gold deposits.
In November 2018, Mirasol reported the results from the 2017/18 exploration program completed under the exploration agreement with NCM, which included alteration analysis of soils and radiometric age dates as well as results from a 1,035 line-km ground magnetic survey, geological mapping and rock chip sampling over an area of 128 sq. km, a 2,030 sample, low detection limit soil grid covering 85.6 sq. km, and a 66.9 line-km Controlled Source Audio-Magnetotellurics (CSAMT) resistivity geophysical survey. Integrated analysis of the combined data sets shows Altazor to be a district-scale, zoned alteration system, preserved at a level that could conceal HSE gold deposits beneath “barren” steam heated cap rocks and post mineral cover, as has been the case at recent multimillion-ounce discoveries elsewhere in the Mio-Pliocene mineral belt in Chile.
Analysis of the Altazor data sets outlines alteration mineral composition variation and low detection limit soil geochemistry anomalies, highlighting predictive patterns that vector towards a series of covered and predominantly open-ended, very resistive (7,500 to >30,000 Ohm-m) CSAMT geophysical anomalies at the Alunita, Sulfuros and Pirofilita prospects. These anomalies define large-scale targets that have the form, dimensions and intensity of resistivity response that could indicate a series of silicified breccia and or vuggy silica bodies.
During the first half of 2019, NCM reinitiated surface exploration of the large Altazor alteration systems, aimed at exploring extensions of the prospects identified during last season’s program, to undertake first pass exploration of new claims staked at the end of last season, and to cover interpreted extensions of the alteration system. Field work consisted of rock chip and alteration sampling as well as detailed geologic mapping.
Newcrest is now anticipating that it is will complete a 2,225m diamond drilling program and infill CSAMT geophysics during this field season. Newcrest has submitted and received approval for its drilling program and is planning to start drilling this year, subject to further discussions and agreements with the local community.