Atacama Minerals Corp.
TSX VENTURE : AAM

Atacama Minerals Corp.

June 16, 2005 13:09 ET

Atacama Progress Report at Aguas Blancas Mine in Chile

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - June 16, 2005) - Atacama Minerals Corp. ("Atacama" or "the Company") (TSX VENTURE:AAM) is pleased to report that operational improvements, expansion work, infill and step out drilling are all in progress at the Aguas Blancas iodine/sulphate/nitrate mine near Antofagasta, Chile.

In addition the Company welcomes Mr. German Villarroel as the Company's new Operations Manager at the Aguas Blancas mine. Mr. Villarroel is a graduate chemical engineer with over twenty years experience in operating and managing iodine, nitrates and other industrial minerals operations in Chile.

Operational improvements are currently being implemented at the mine to improve current iodine production, including the study of agitated leaching for improved recovery and production levels. These initiatives are being done with the assistance of AMEC International Chile S.A. (AMEC), an independent engineering consulting firm, who are also preparing preliminary design work for the first phase of sodium sulfate production facilities.

AMEC was recently commissioned to prepare an independent resource and reserve estimate and technical report in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 (full report available on Sedar). In AMEC's report dated May, 2005, the estimated reserves and resources for the Aguas Blancas deposit are as follows:



---------------------------------------------------------
Tonnes I2 Na2SO4 NO3
Resources (million) (ppm) (%) (%)
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Indicated Resource 34.5 483 16.68 2.65
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Inferred Resource 35.2 384 5.22 3.24
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Tonnes I2 Na2SO4 NO3
Resources (million) (ppm) (%) (%)
---------------------------------------------------------
Probable Reserve 20.8 603 19.12 2.81
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The technical report recommends additional in-fill drilling to convert known resources into the reserve category as well as outside exploration drilling for expansion of the overall resource base. The Company will initiate a drilling program immediately, implementing refined sampling and quality control protocols as recommended by AMEC.

The resource estimate for the Aguas Blancas deposit was prepared by AMEC personnel, Rodrigo Marinho, Senior Geologist, under the supervision of Harry Parker, Douglas Reddy and Dr. Armando Simon, with the assistance of Steve Blower, all qualified persons pursuant to NI 43-101.

The resource estimate was based on an iodine cut-off grade of 220 ppm. The estimate was made from 3-dimensional block models utilizing commercial mine modelling software. The current resource model for the Aguas Blancas project contains blocks estimated for iodine, water-insoluble residue, potassium nitrate, sodium nitrate and sodium sulfate in two domains: 1) Virgin areas and 2) Repasos areas. The blocks have been classified as Measured, Indicated or Inferred, based on the relative confidence in the supporting data for each block. Grades have been estimated according to different passes, but controlled by a grade shell. The Lersch-Grossman algorithm was used to estimate Probable reserves. The reserve estimation parameters were governed by recoverable iodine only as this is currently the only product generated by the plant and was based on a price of US $16,000/t.

The classified resource is reported according to CIM Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves, Definitions and Guidelines (CIM, 2001), as required by NI 43-101 (CIM, 2000a). Full AMEC sampling and QA/QC support information is available in Appendix F to the technical report which has been filed on Sedar (www.sedar.com).

Mr. Ron F. Hochstein, P.Eng., MBA., Atacama's Qualified Person pursuant to NI 43-101, has reviewed the technical contents of this release. Mr. Hochstein is a Director of the Company.

Atacama Minerals Corp. is an industrial minerals company with producing assets in Chile. The Company holds a 100% interest in the Aguas Blancas iodine/sulphate/nitrate mine located near Antofagasta in northern Chile. Aguas Blancas has been in production since 2001, producing approximately 720 tpa of high grade, high purity iodine. Phased expansion plans are underway to increase iodine production and commence production of sodium sulphate and nitrate.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD

Edward F. Posey, President

The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept 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