This is a unique 1800 has placer type deposit with several million ounces of gold in free form and associated with sulphides (pyrite and arsenopyrite), with more potential for upgrading reserves (not NI 43-101 compliant at present), it is situated in the mining province of Santa Cruz in Argentinian Patagonia, bordering the south Atlantic ocean with excellent logistic to bring the project into production, roads, port and international airport within 40 km of mine at north area of claims. Exploration EIA approved and production EIA issued. No previous industrial mining on site thus giving unique opportunity for a profitable project with very low cost (less u$s 100 the produced ounce possible), depending on chosen technology, field tests gives 1.12 to 5 g/m3 of gold in sand and gravels.
PROPERTY DESCRIPTIONThis gold deposit has it origin in the erosion due to sea action along the Patagonian sediments that host gold particles of different dimension, mainly in the 70 to 350 microns, this appear as almost pure free gold with more than 900 purity as most placer gold around the world, also in the sands gold is associated with pyrite and arsenopyrite and can be extracted with the same equipment as the free gold as it was done on field tests, the deposit has an area of 1800 has and covers more than 50 km along the Patagonian coast protected with nine claims. At present two gravimetric technologies were used to test gold extraction with more than 90% recuperation, several samples were tested at laboratory giving a good idea of the potential of the site for a low cost per ounce project.
The deposit is similar to the “Nome” deposit of Alaska well known in the placer literature but with the difference that “ no” industrial exploitation was performed up to date on site.
LOCATION , ACCESS & INFRASTRUCTUREThe placer deposit is bordering the east continental side of south Patagonia at 35 km east-south of capital city of Río Gallegos (more than 60000 population) in Santa Cruz province, Argentina.
With full infrastructure, roads for permanent supply to the city and providing connection to Punta Arenas city in Chile and Buenos Aires main city of Argentina, has a new port and a commercial airport with regular flights to Buenos Aires with connections to other cities along the country.
The province district has a well developed oil industry with plenty of production sites, also have mining operations for more than 10 years in gold and silver with top ten gold world producers.
The placer deposit can be accessed directly by road on north area and south area and this can be done all the year, the weather is cold but the sea does not freeze in winter.
LOCAL GEOLOGY OF THE PLACER DEPOSITThis placer deposit rich in gold and precious metals sulphides is a continental coast made up of auriferous sands and gravels, the South area is created on the destruction of an active cliff wall that is found along a parallel line to the coast and that it behaves as a contention structure against the permanent erosive action of the sea and the high energy of the predominant winds of the zone. The detritic material that composes this coasts and it shore sector is rich in “black sands” that transport gold particle and other heavy minerals like pyrite, arsenopyrite, garnet, rutyle, ilmenite different iron oxides, traces of PGM and rare earth elements of economical interest.
The origin of this heavy minerals in the coastal sands and gravels can be explained in the sedimentary composition of the sediment strata found in the patagonic plain that surrounds the coast, this are of glacier origin, specifically of Pleistocene age, giving origin to a “ Pleistocene drift” that affected the region during past glaciations, this material was accumulated in layers giving origin to the present sedimentary strata that gives birth to the cliff walls, this composition have little variation along the north direction that ends in the north area of the claims with more than 50 km of extension along the shore line. In fact the sediments in the north area are of Holocene geological age and the shore in this area is wider and with the presence of smooth littoral slopes that borders the coast , here the slope of the beach towards the sea is smoother.
EXPLORATION HISTORYDuring 1880 the area was visited by gold diggers with good results on this south beaches that move from Chilean city of Punta Arenas, that was a prosperous city till Panama channel was build, but due to the lack of technology and logistic soon this initiative was turn over, recently more advanced studies were done with professional geologists with academic interest with several papers, like, Jones 1991 , Codignotto 1988, and Codignotto, Marcomini and Kokot 1992 that did a surface study along the beaches with 1,12 to 5 g/m3 of gold at very shallow samples.
After issuing claims for exploration in 2002 , systematic samples were processed with centrifugal (batch type) field concentrators and jigs confirming similar values for free gold plus gold associated with iron oxides and sulphides, this sample program was done mainly in the south region , later samples of the north region gave similar values on shallow samples.
In february 2009 and exploitation environmental impact was issued to local mining authority for large scale production, and a pilot plant was build to test north area with 80 tons/h processing capability.
INVESTOR CONFIDENCE IN THE COUNTRYArgentina has become an interesting and profitable country in the mining industry, the country received strong investment in world class gold and silver projects in recent years, most of mayor gold operators are working very successful projects and dozens more are close to enter production in short time, most international “juniors” hold very valuable mining properties along several provinces and invest important amount of money to develop them at present, the province where this “world class” placer is located have several precious metal projects working since more than 10 years continuously with government support and special mining laws for direct benefit of investors and projects.