Atacama Pacific Gold Corporation
TSX VENTURE : ATM

Atacama Pacific Gold Corporation

December 16, 2010 16:45 ET

Atacama Pacific Announces Channel Sampling Results From Cerro Maricunga Including 270 Metres Grading 0.83 g/t Gold

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 16, 2010) -

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Atacama Pacific Gold Corporation (TSX VENTURE:ATM) ("Atacama Pacific") is pleased to report channel sampling assay results from its 100%-owned Cerro Maricunga Gold Project located in northern Chile, 140 kilometres northeast of Copiapo. The channel sampling is a part of the ongoing $7.1 million Phase II exploration program, which includes 19,100 metres of drilling, focused on outlining the extent of the oxide-associated gold mineralization which has been traced over a strike length of 2.5 kilometres, widths of up to 500 metres and to depths of up to 450 metres. Table 1 summarizes the channel sampling results and a map showing the results and extent of the mineralization is attached.

At the Phoenix Zone, channel sampling returned 270 metres grading 0.83 gram per tonne gold ("g/t Au") from trench T-23 including a 45 metre higher grade interval grading 1.94 g/t Au at a 0.3 g/t Au cut-off. At a 0.2 g/t Au cut-off, trench T-23 graded 0.72 g/t Au over 400 metres. Trench T-24, located 200 metres east of T-23, returned 145 metres grading 0.79 g/t Au. T-24 cut across only half the zone due to talus cover. The Phoenix Zone lies at the top of Cerro Maricunga, a talus covered mountain, 20 kilometres south of Kinross Gold's La Copia mine.

To the immediate southeast of the Phoenix Zone, channel sampling in the Crux Zone, returned 0.79 g/t Au over 60 metres from trench T-26 followed by 55 metres grading 0.23 g/t and ending with 10 metres grading 1.24 g/t Au. Trench T-25 returned two intervals of gold mineralization: 0.73 g/t over 40 metres and 0.91 g/t over 35 metres.

Table 1 – Summary of Phase II Channel Sampling Results (0.3 g/t Au cut-off)
 
Trench # From To Distance Gold Grade
  (metres) (metres) (metres) (grams/tonne)
T-23 0 30 30 0.33
  55 90 35 1.15
  130 400 270 0.83
  including 175 400 225 0.93
  including 300 345 45 1.94
T-24 60 205 145 0.79
T-25 0 40 40 0.73
  90 125 35 0.91
T-26 0 60 60 0.79
  115 125 10 1.24

"These impressive first results from our Phase II exploration program demonstrate the widespread continuity of gold mineralization and confirm that the Cerro Maricunga property hosts a major new gold discovery in the established Maricunga mining district," said Carl B. Hansen, President and CEO of Atacama Pacific. "As the Phase II exploration campaign continues, additional channel sampling is being undertaken to confirm the extension of the Phoenix northwest to the Lynx Zone as well as deepen previously cut trenches in the area between the Phoenix and Crux zones where outcrop was not fully exposed and previous sampling was intermittently in talus."

Drilling Update

It is anticipated that fifteen drill holes (8 diamond and 7 reverse circulation holes) will be completed prior to the Christmas break totalling approximately 5,000 metres of drilling. Drilling has largely focused on the Phoenix and Crux zones with one drill hole collared between the Phoenix and Lynx zones to determine continuity between the two areas. Results from the first batch of assays will be available in January 2010. Drilling continues to intersect intervals of oxidized breccias similar to those units, cut in the Phase I drill program, which hosted gold mineralization to depths of 450 metres.

New Discovery

A new gold discovery has been made approximately 800 metres north of the Crux zone. The mineralization is associated with black-banded quartz veins hosted in dacitic porphyry. Preliminary surface sampling has returned gold values of 0.81 g/t, 0.42 g/t and 0.26 g/t. The dimensions of zone are not yet known due to limited outcrop. A bull dozer has been mobilized to the site to cut a series of trenches to expose the mineralization.

Quality Control / Quality Assurance Program

Channel samples were collected along five metre intervals by company staff. A minimum of 10 kilograms of sample material was collected by hammer along continuous five metre channels. Each sample was appropriately tagged, secured and transported to the Atacama Pacific exploration camp and then to a secure sample storage site in Copiapo prior to being shipped to Asesoria Minera Geoanalitica Ltda.'s ("Geoanalitica") laboratory in Antofagasta, Chile for assay.

Samples were processed and analyzed for gold using fire assay techniques using two assay/ton samples (about 50 gram) with an atomic absorption spectrographic finish for a sensitivity of 5 ppb (.005 ppm) gold. Samples which returned gold values greater than 1.00 g/t Au were re-analyzed by Geoanalitica using fire assay techniques with a gravimetric finish. Approximately 10% of the samples submitted to Geoanalitica comprise standard and blank samples to ensure laboratory quality control procedures.

About Atacama Pacific Gold Corporation

Atacama Pacific's principal business is the acquisition, exploration and development of precious metals resource properties in Chile. Atacama Pacific's principal mineral property is the Cerro Maricunga oxide-associated, breccia-hosted gold project, located in Region III, 140 kilometres by road northeast of the city of Copiapo. Atacama Pacific's goal is to become a producer of gold through the exploration and development of the Cerro Maricunga Project. Atacama Pacific also owns four other mineral properties within close proximity to the Cerro Maricunga Project and a fifth property in Chile's Region I.

National Instrument 43-101 Compliance

Under National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the qualified person for the Cerro Maricunga Property is Michael Easdon, a resident of Santiago, Chile and a Professional Geologist registered with the State of Oregon, USA. Mr. Easdon, an independent qualified person as defined by NI 43-101, has reviewed and verified the contents of this press release.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This release contains forward-looking statements, including predictions, projections and forecasts. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to completion of economic assessments, exploration results, the success of exploration activities generally, mine development prospects, and future gold production Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "planning", "expects" or "does not expect", "continues", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "potential", "anticipates", "does not anticipate", or "belief", or describes a "goal", or variation of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved.

Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, future events, conditions, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, prediction, projection, forecast, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the results of due diligence activities, the interpretation and actual results of current exploration activities; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; future prices of gold; possible variations in grade or recovery rates; failure of equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of exploration, as well as those factors disclosed in Atacama Pacific's publicly filed documents. Although Atacama Pacific has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

To view the map associated with this release, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/atm1216fig1.pdf.

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.

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