Vancouver, B.C. - Bear Creek Mining (TSX Venture: BCM / BVL: BCM) (“Bear Creek” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on its development and exploration programs in Peru. The Company maintains an aggressive generative exploration program while steadily advancing the development of the Corani silver-lead-zinc mine. A negotiated settlement remains the focus of the Santa Ana silver project and the Company remains hopeful that a resolution will be reached with the government which will place this important investment for Peru back on the development track.
Importantly, the Company has approximately US $75M in cash and expenditures will decrease significantly upon submission of the Corani ESIA in the third quarter, allowing sufficient funding to continue all of Bear Creek’s planned activities well into 2014 without jeopardizing development timelines. Further financing is not envisioned until the decision is made to commence construction of Corani. If necessary, additional measures can be taken to preserve cash beyond 2014.
Corani Silver-Lead-Zinc Deposit - The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (“ESIA”) is on schedule for submission in September 2012. The second formal public hearing will be scheduled in September once the ESIA submission date is confirmed. ESIA approval is anticipated by year-end 2013. The company holds 95% of the required surface titles and the remaining surface rights are being negotiated. Additionally, the first public hearings for the substation and power line right of ways have been successfully completed. Social and community programs are advancing very well with the recent completion of two new schools and three additional schools to be completed in the coming year in the surrounding communities. Community support for the project is strong and the Company is very comfortable with the timing for commencement of the permitting process and maintaining the anticipated production start-up in 2015 with full-scale production of 14M ounces silver per year in 2016.
Mr. Andrew Swarthout, CEO, states, “We are very pleased with the progress at Corani and the favorable conditions for proceeding with permitting. The project design has been optimized to provide for a smaller footprint in order to further reduce the affected area and expedite the ESIA review and approval process. Social programs have been strengthened and the project’s benefits have been successfully communicated to the sparse populations as far as 50 kilometers distant. Community support is very strong for the project. Importantly, water-related issues are minimal and are being mitigated so as to provide better and more consistent access to clean water for the local communities. I am very proud of our engineering, social and environmental teams who have worked hard in establishing these favorable conditions.”
Santa Ana Silver Deposit - Santa Ana remains under the conditions of the Supreme Decree issued in June 2011. The Company remains committed towards a negotiated settlement to resolve the issue and reinitiate the permitting process. While there has been progress in reaching a resolution, particularly with respect to even broader local community support in surrounding, indirectly affected populations, the Company continues to vigorously pursue legal remedies in order to protect its rights under Peruvian law and the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement.
Regarding Bear Creek’s exploration programs Mr. Swarthout stated, “While the widely-spaced drilling at Tassa is insufficient for resource calculations, significant mineralized intercepts over the 1 km by 4 km target area have been encountered. The results are being analyzed prior to planning future drilling. Presently, the Company is focusing its efforts and expenditures on the Corani ESIA and recovery of Santa Ana. Importantly, Bear Creek holds approximately US $75M in cash which more than covers the Corani permitting, Santa Ana legal costs and corporate overhead while still allowing for exploration activity. While aggressive exploration by our talented teams continues, we are focused upon capital preservation pending advancement of our development projects.”
Tassa Silver-Gold Prospect - Tassa (100% BCM) is located approximately 160 kilometers northwest and 230 kilometers south of the Company’s Santa Ana and Corani projects respectively and 16 kilometers from the Goldfield’s Chucapaca/Canahuiri deposit containing reported resources of 132.7 MT averaging 1.4 g/t Au and 10.8 g/t Ag (6M oz Au and 46M oz Ag).
Phase I drilling at Tassa conducted in 2010 encountered numerous mineralized intercepts including 60 meters averaging 224.2 g/t silver from 24 to 84 meters depth and 40 meters averaging 110.7 g/t silver from 2 to 42 meters depth as well as scattered anomalous gold intercepts with up to 1.24 g/t gold over 2 meters (see News Release dated December 6, 2010).
Phase II drilling consisted of 11 (eleven) diamond drill holes totaling 4,255 meters completed between October 2011 and June 2012. Drilling focused on new targets defined within a 4 kilometer by 1 kilometer area where two-meter wide surface sampling had identified anomalous outcrops containing up to 2.51 g/t gold in silicified outcrops and 5.36 g/t gold in structures (assay values range from <5ppb to 5.36 g/t gold) and up to 203 g/t silver in strongly fractured rhyolite, and 8,160 g/t silver in selected structures (assay values range from <0.2 g/t to 8,160 g/t silver). The anomalies occur within the hydrothermal breccia complex and the Mesozoic sedimentary contact zone coincident with strong geophysical (Induced Polarization) anomalies indicating sulfide mineralization at depths between 100 and 400 meters.
The Phase II drilling encountered anomalous gold intercepts in six of the eleven drill holes containing up to 52 meters averaging 0.5 g/t gold. Importantly, drill hole T-22 contained 16 meters averaging 1.5 g/t gold, 152.9 g/t silver, 5.45% Pb, and 1.1% Zn indicating that additional drilling is needed in this large, under-explored diatreme complex. Surface mapping continues to identify additional, untested breccias extending 500 meters to the north of the limits of the current drilling suggesting the continuation of the hydrothermal breccia complex below the Mesozoic sediments.
Phase II drill results are described below. All intercepts are down-hole lengths and true widths have not been calculated.
(grams per tonne)
(grams per tonne)
|T-16||100||-70||269.5||No significant intervals|
|includes||36.3||38||1.7||—||269 / Pb + Zn 6.7%|
|T-22||140||-60||540.8||102||118||16||1.50||152.8 / 1.1% Zn, 5.5% Pb|
Full drill results can be found at http://www.bearcreekmining.com/s/TassaSilverGold.asp.
Sumi (Gold) Prospect - The Company holds a 100% interest comprised of 1,200 hectares located in the gold-silver Tertiary-age belt in central Peru. The prospect exhibits alteration and mineralization typical of the upper part of an epithermal precious metal deposit. To date, one hundred eleven (111) surface rock chip samples have been collected and field work continues. Assay results for the 111 samples have returned precious metal values including 15.65 g/t gold and 156 g/t silver in a vein-breccia structure over widths of 0.3 to 2.0 meters and 12.1 g/t gold and 102 g/t silver over 2 meter widths in silicified volcaniclatic- rocks. Fifty of the 111 assay samples contained anomalous gold > 100 ppb. The prospect was partially tested in 2003 and 2006 by a third party with limited drilling reportedly intersecting multi-gram gold values over intervals ranging from 2 to over 47 meters and beginning at the surface. The limited drill program totaled approximately 4,600 meters; however, drilling did not test altered targets where ongoing sampling continues to identify anomalous gold in outcrop. Currently, field work indicates that an 800 by 400 meters prospective area remains untested. Furthermore, favorable sedimentary formations have been identified indicating potential for underlying gold mineralization at shallow depth. Plans are to complete detailed surface mapping, sampling and geophysics in preparation for Phase I drilling scheduled for the second half of 2012 pending finalization of community agreements.
La Yegua - On October 2010 Bear Creek entered into a joint venture agreement with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (“JOGMEC”) to advance the La Yegua Project to Phase II drilling. The agreement provides for JOGMEC to earn a 51% interest through investing US$3M over a three year period. Previous limited drilling intersected up to 114 meters with 0.24% copper and 0.03 g/t gold, but was restricted to a small portion of the altered intrusive complex. The joint venture completed additional geophysics in early 2011 that identified two high-chargeability anomalies defined by Induced Polarization/ Resistivity (“IP”) surveys. These two targets, measuring 700 x 300 meters and 500 x 300 meters, are located at shallow depths 600 meters east and 1.5 kilometers southwest of previous drilling and strongly suggest the presence of untested porphyry targets.
Three drill holes totaling 759 meters were drilled at La Yegua from September 2011 through December 2011, where intercepts of up to 0.2% to 0.3% copper were encountered over intervals of up to 20 meters. The next phase of drilling is expected to commence in the third quarter of 2012 comprised of 1,000 meters of drilling in three to four holes. This program will continue to test the aforementioned two geophysical and geochemical anomalies. Geological mapping will continue in order to identify additional drilling targets.
Consistent with the Company’s aggressive, targeted, low cost-generative exploration philosophy, several additional prospects in the portfolio are being evaluated for future drilling or acquisition.
The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Regulatory footnotes: NTD: update footnotes
All of Bear Creek’s exploration programs and pertinent disclosure of a technical or scientific nature are prepared by or prepared under the direct supervision of Marc Leduc, P. Eng., President and COO, Christian Rios, P.Geo. Exploration Manager and the CEO, Andrew Swarthout, P.Geo., who serve as the Qualified Persons under the definitions of NI 43-101. All diamond drilling has been performed using HQ diameter core with recoveries averaging greater than 95%. Core is logged and split on site under the supervision of Bear Creek geologists. Sampling is done on two-meter intervals and samples are transported by Company staff to Arequipa, Peru for direct shipping to ALS Chemex, Laboratories in Lima, Peru. ALS Chemex is an ISO 9001:2000-registered laboratory and is preparing for ISO 17025 certification. Silver, lead, and zinc assays utilize a multi-acid digestion with atomic absorption (“ore-grade assay method”). The QC/QA program includes the insertion every 20th sample of known standards prepared by SGS Laboratories, Lima. A section in Bear Creek’s website is dedicated to sampling, assay and quality control procedures.
Certain disclosure in this release, including management’s assessment of Bear Creek’s plans and projects, constitutes forward-looking statements that are subject to numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors relating to Bear Creek’s operation as a mineral exploration company that may cause future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors are disclosed in Bear Creek’s continuous disclosure filings with Canadian securities regulators including its most recent annual information form, available on www.sedar.com. Bear Creek expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.