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 22,900 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, Mirasol announced that it signed an option and farm-in agreement with a wholly owned subsidiary of Newcrest Mining Limited. Newcrest has the right to acquire, in multiple stages, up to 80% of the Altazor project by completing a series of exploration and development milestones and making staged option payments totaling US$1.8 million to Mirasol. Newcrest has a minimum commitment to spend US$1.5 million in the first-year exploration program and made a US$100,000 cash payment on signing of the agreement. The first earn in option to 51% requires an additional exploration spend of US$ 8.5 million over four years. Other deal terms include the right for Mirasol to retain a participating 25% interest or to require Newcrest to provide the potential project development financing with Mirasol retaining a 20% interest in the project.
Altazor is situated in an underexplored 860 km long section of the Mio-Pliocene age mineral belt located between Mirasol’s Yamana Gold – Gorbea Joint Venture 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.
Radiometric age-dating on the alteration system at Altazor returned a late-Miocene age of 7.8 Ma which falls within the key mineralization window of 6.4 to 13.1 Ma that “brackets” the formation of the large to giant Mio-Pliocene age HSE gold deposits in Chile and Argentina. It also suggests that the alteration system was formed during this key period for gold deposit formation in this belt.
Altazor is centered within a dacite to andesite composition volcanic complex hosting a very large-scale advanced argillic alteration system (the alteration “cap”) that appears to extend beneath thin post mineral lavas and may cover an area of up to 75 sq-km. These caps are characteristically barren of ore grade precious metal mineralization and can therefore conceal significant gold and silver ore bodies at depth, as is the case at Salares Norte and Alturas.
Aster satellite and in-field pIR-Spec alteration mapping identified the presence of multiple, highly altered breccia bodies at Altazor, individually up to 700 by 350 m. These breccia bodies are interpreted as positive features of the project as they play an important role in large HSE gold systems acting as both channel ways for hydrothermal fluid flow and a rock preparation mechanism to host mineralization.
Mirasol’s first pass reconnaissance sampling has been completed over approximately 50% of the project area during the recent exploration season (2017). Stream sediment, soil and rock chip samples have been collected and returned low-level but significantly anomalous gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc and epithermal path finder element assays, from sampling of the mapped breccia bodies. These results show comparable ppb level anomalous gold assay in soils and rock chips to those recorded at surface at the Salares Norte Project.
The next stage of exploration at the project (to approximately April 2018) is anticipated to include systematic soil sampling, geological mapping and rock chip sampling, as well as magnetic and electrical geophysical surveys. These data sets will be used to drive integrated analysis for drill target selection.