VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 20, 2009) - Atacama Minerals Corp. (TSX VENTURE:AAM) ("Atacama" or "the Company") is pleased to announce that it has been granted the necessary governmental permits to commence drilling on its Salvador Potash Project located near the city of Salvador, Bahia, on the northeastern coast of Brazil. A rig is currently being mobilized to site for the immediate commencement of the drilling program.
"The Salvador Potash Project is located within a large on-shore sedimentary basin with the potential to host a major new potash deposit in Brazil. The Company is now ready to move forward with the first phase of exploration drilling," says Edward Posey, President and CEO of Atacama Minerals Corp. "In the past months geological mapping along with geophysical surveying and studies of historical drilling have returned very encouraging results and we are eager to begin the first round of drilling."
Atacama Minerals holds exploration permits which have been recently expanded to cover an area of 2,500 square kilometers over the southern on-shore portion of the Reconcavo Sedimentary Basin. Historical drilling records indicate the occurrence of potash beds of various meters in thickness at depths of approximately 1,000 meters, directly overlying the halite salt bed located in the evaporitic section of the lower Alianca Formation of upper Jurassic age.
The first phase drilling is designed to define the depth, thickness and grade of the potash beds within the central portion of the project area, approximately two kilometers from a historic drill hole, MQ-3, which intercepted 9 meters of sylvinite at a depth of 1,100 meters in 1972 (see Company's news release of July 14, 2008).
Brazil imports about 90% of its potash needs and is the world's second largest potash importer. In 2008, Brazil consumed an estimated 7.4 million tonnes of potash of which 6.5 million tonnes was imported. The country is a major exporter of coffee, sugar, soybeans, tobacco, beef and poultry. Brazil plans to continue expanding agricultural production in the coming years, driving further potash demand, expected to reach ten million tonnes by the year 2015 (British Sulphur Consultants).
About Atacama Minerals
Atacama Minerals Corp. is a Canadian company focused on discovery and development of economic industrial minerals projects in South America. The Company currently produces approximately 1,000 tpa iodine from its Aguas Blancas iodine/nitrate mine in northern Chile. Phased development planning to produce specialty nitrate fertilizers as a by-product of the Company's iodine operations is underway. In addition, the Company holds an extensive potash exploration project in northeastern Brazil.
On behalf of the Board,
Edward F. Posey, President
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.