Atacama Pacific Gold Corporation
TSX VENTURE : ATM

Atacama Pacific Gold Corporation

February 17, 2011 17:35 ET

Atacama Pacific Drills 208 Metres Grading 0.60 g/t Gold at Cerro Maricunga

Reports Further Positive Metallurgical Test Results

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 17, 2011) - Atacama Pacific Gold Corporation (TSX VENTURE:ATM) ("Atacama Pacific") is pleased to report continued positive drill assay results from the Phase II exploration program underway on its 100%-owned Cerro Maricunga Gold Project, located 140 kilometres northeast of Copiapo, Chile. The nine drill holes, reported in Table 1, returned significant intervals of +0.3 gram per tonne gold ("g/t Au") mineralization hosted within oxidized breccias extending to depths in excess of 450 metres. A map is attached which presents the drill hole collar locations.

To view the map "Cerro Maricunga Gold Project – Surface Plan", please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/atacama_map0217.pdf.

Assay highlights, at a 0.3 g/t Au cut-off, from the current drilling program include:

  • CMR-025 (Phoenix Zone) - 254 metres of 0.57 g/t Au and 146 metres of 0.55 g/t Au

  • CMR-028 (Phoenix Zone) - 208 metres of 0.60 g/t Au including 44 metres of 1.00 g/t

  • CMR-022 (Lynx Zone) - 76 metres of 0.77 g/t Au including 30 metres of 1.13 g/t

Phoenix drilling, which targeted the core and the northeast contact of the zone, continued to intersect wide zones of low to moderate grade gold mineralization. Along the northeast contact, significant intervals of lower grade gold mineralization, in the 0.2 to 0.3 g/t Au range, were encountered as halos surrounding higher grade zones. For example, the entire 444 metre length of CMR-025 returned 0.53 g/t Au when composited using a cut-off grade of 0.2 g/t Au. The last four metres of CMR-025 graded 0.96 g/t Au.

Along the Lynx Zone, drill hole CMR-022 returned 76 metres grading 0.77 g/t Au including a higher grade interval of 30 metres grading 1.13 g/t Au. A lower grade interval of 0.42 g/t Au over 30 metres was encountered closer to surface. CMR-022 traced the Lynx Zone a further 100 metres along strike towards the Phoenix Zone and extended the oxide associated mineralization to a depth of 300 metre below surface. The mineralization and zone of oxidization remains open to depth.

"We continue to be very pleased with the drill results from Cerro Maricunga", stated Carl B. Hansen, President and CEO of Atacama Pacific, "as they further establish the continuity of the large oxidized, breccia-hosted gold system extending over a strike of 2.5 kilometres and to depths in excess of 450 metres. Four drill rigs are presently operating on the property with two rigs targeting the 400 metre wide Phoenix Zone and the other two drills tracing the gold mineralization from the Lynx and Crux Zone towards the Phoenix Zones. We look forward to our initial resource estimation on Cerro Maricunga, planned for the third quarter of 2011."

Table 1 - Summary of Cerro Maricunga Drill Assay Results (at a 0.3 g/t Au cut-off grade)
Hole # Section From To Interval Grade Notes
    (metres) (metres) (metres) (g/t Au)  
CMD-016 500 0 40 40 0.79 NW extension of Crux Zone
CMD-019 1000 40 58 18 0.52 NW extension of Crux Zone
    170 188 18 0.30  
CMR-020 1650 0 16 16 0.49 Core of Phoenix Zone
    94 188 94 0.53  
    228 246 18 0.47  
    304 340 36 0.85  
CMR-022 2200 96 126 30 0.42 Lynx Zone traced to 300 m depth
    206 282 76 0.77  
    including   242 272 30 1.13  
CMR-023 850 2 34 32 0.33 NW extension of Crux Zone
    96 116 20 0.43  
CMR-024 1350 2 18 16 0.37 NE contact of Phoenix Zone
    56 134 78 0.56  
    148 178 30 0.62  
CMR-025 1700 0 254 254 0.57 SW into core of Phoenix
    including   0 46 46 0.73  
        and   142 174 32 0.81  
        and   196 216 20 0.93  
    298 444 146 0.55 Ends in mineralization
(~1 g/t Au)
CMR-028 1550 0 208 208 0.60 Core of Phoenix to NE contact
    including   0 84 84 0.74  
    including   28 72 44 1.00  
    including   38 56 18 1.31  
    264 318 54 0.37  
CMR-029 1500 34 88 54 0.44 NE contact of Phoenix Zone
    166 230 64 0.41  
Note: Drill holes prefixed "CMD" are diamond drill holes; holes prefixed "CMR" are RC drill holes. All drill holes were collared at -60 degrees. All intervals represent down-hole lengths and not true widths.

Three drill holes, collared along the north westerly trending extension of the Crux Zone, encountered +0.3 g/t Au mineralization extending over a strike length of 500 metres with true widths of +20 metres. Drill hole CMR-016 was collared into 40 metres grading 0.79 g/t Au and a second hole has been drilled in the opposite direction to determine the width of the gold zone. Significant halos of 0.2 to 0.3 g/t Au mineralization were also encountered.

Metallurgical Results – Preliminary Comminution Tests

Crushing and grinding of ore is a significant capital and operational cost in many mineral processing plants. As such it is important to fully determine the comminution parameters relevant to the crushing of the Cerro Maricunga gold mineralization in order to determine potential cut off grades and to assist in plant design.

Two samples of gold mineralized material were tested to determine: 1) the work index, the amount of energy, measured in kilowatt hours per tonne ("kWhr/t"), required to grind the host rock; and, 2) the bond abrasion index, to determine abrasiveness of the mineralized material. 

Table 2 summarizes the results from the test work. The Work indices were low varying from 10.63 to 11.26 kWhr/t suggesting relatively low power requirements for crushing. The work index was determined from ball mill grindability tests conducted at 100 mesh (150 µm). 

The abrasion tests returned low (0.067) to moderate (0.124) Bond Abrasion indices, averaging 0.095. Material with a Bond Abrasion Index of less than 0.1 has relatively low abrasiveness to processing equipment. Abrasion indices were conducted on a -3/4" + 1/2" fraction of crushed samples.

Table 2 – Comminution Test Results
Sample Work Index Bond Abrasion
  (kWhr/t) Index
45640 10.63 0.067
45643 11.26 0.124
Average 10.95 0.095

The reported test work was completed by metallurgical testing and consulting services firm Phillips Enterprises, LLC of Golden, Colorado. Atacama Pacific's metallurgical testing program is managed by AMTEL (Advanced Mineral Technology Laboratory Ltd), London, Canada.

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.

Quality Control / Quality Assurance Program

RC chips and diamond drill core from Atacama Pacific's drilling campaign were collected at the drill under the direct supervision of Atacama Pacific staff. Both the RC samples and drill core were appropriately tagged, secured and transported to the Atacama Pacific exploration camp and then to Atacama Pacific's secure sample, logging and storage site in Copiapo, Chile. Each RC chip sample was split to obtain a 15 kilogram sample for assay purposes. Representative chips were collected from each sample for logging purposes. Drill core was logged, marked at two metre intervals for sampling and split longitudinally with a diamond drill saw. One half of the core was bagged and sample tags attached and the second half of the core was returned to the core boxes. All samples were appropriately tagged and sent to Asesoria Minera Geoanalitica Ltda.'s ("Geoanalitica") sample preparation facility in Copiapó. Resulting pulps were then returned to Atacama Pacific's storage facility in order to insert QA-QC pulps and re-numbering (bar codes) before being transported by Atacama Pacific personnel to Activation Laboratorios Ltda. ("Actlabs") in Coquimbo, Chile for analysis.

Samples were 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. Approximately 10% of the samples submitted to Actlabs comprise field rejects for RC chip samples, coarse rejects for drill core, pulp duplicates, standard and blank samples to ensure laboratory quality control procedures.

Five metre channel samples, collected by company staff, are prepared by Geoanalitica in Copiapo before being shipped to the Geoanalitica lab in Antofagasta, Chile for assay. Sample security is similar to that in place for the drill samples.

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.

For further information please visit Atacama Pacific's website at www.atacamapacific.com.

The securities referred to in this press release have not been and will not be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "U.S. Securities Act"), or any state securities laws and may not be offered or sold within the United States unless registered under the U.S. Securities Act and applicable state securities laws or an exemption from such registration is available. This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any of these securities within the United States.

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.

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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