Atacama Minerals Corp.
TSX VENTURE : AAM

Atacama Minerals Corp.

February 10, 2010 11:25 ET

Atacama Reports Record Production at Aguas Blancas; Drilling Progress at Salvador Project

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 10, 2010) - Atacama Minerals Corp. ("Atacama" or "the Company") (TSX VENTURE:AAM) is pleased to report that iodine production reached record levels at the end of 2009 from the Company's Aguas Blancas mine located near Antofagasta, Chile, producing over 117 tonnes of iodine in December through heap leaching. Total production for the year was also a record at approximately 1,100 tonnes. Improved leaching practices and plant optimization were responsible for the increased production.

The Company also reports that the re-design of the grinding/crushing circuit on the agitated leach plant is progressing. The Company and its consultants are developing a circuit that will accommodate the various ore types at Aguas Blancas. When commissioned, currently anticipated by the 4th quarter of 2010 the agitated leach plant is expected to substantially increase iodine production levels to approximately 1500 tonnes per year and reduce costs.

In addition, Atacama is evaluating re-commencing the nitrate fertilizer project at Aguas Blancas. The Aguas Blancas deposit hosts extensive nitrate resources. A positive feasibility study on development of these large nitrate resources had previously been completed and would involve the construction of a nitrate fertilizer plant designed to initially produce approximately 70,000 tonnes of nitrate fertilizer per year. The nitrate fertilizer plant would process the nitrate salt-bearing brine solution produced from the current iodine operations.

In Brazil, drilling is well underway at the Salvador potash project. Penetration is past the 600 meter level and going well. Indicative geology shows that the upper formations over the soluble salt zone are according to prognosis. Initial results from the drill hole are anticipated in April 2010.

About Atacama Minerals

Atacama Minerals Corp. is a Canadian company focused on the discovery and development of economic industrial minerals projects in South America. The Company produces iodine from its Aguas Blancas mine in northern Chile. In addition, the Company holds a potash exploration project in northeastern Brazil.

This news release contains forward-looking statements concerning the Company's plans for its properties. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, risks and uncertainties relating to political risks involving the Company's exploration and development of its properties, the inherent uncertainty of cost estimates and the potential for unexpected costs and expenses, commodity price fluctuations, the inability or failure to obtain adequate financing on a timely basis and other risks and uncertainties, including those described in the Company's periodic filings with the British Columbia Securities Commission. Such information contained herein represents management's best judgment as of the date hereof based on information currently available. The Company does not intend to update this information and disclaims any legal liability to the contrary.

On behalf of the Board,

Tim Miller, President and CEO

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information

  • Atacama Minerals Corp.
    Sophia Shane
    Corporate Development
    (604) 689-7842
    (604) 689-4250 (FAX)
    www.atacama.com