Mariana Resources Ltd.
TSX : MRY
AIM : MARL
PLUS : MARL

Mariana Resources Ltd.

July 19, 2011 02:00 ET

Mariana Resources Limited: Option to Acquire 100% of the Gold-Silver Jiguata Project, Northern Chile

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 19, 2011) - Mariana Resources Limited (TSX:MRY)(AIM:MARL)(PLUS:MARL) ('Mariana' or 'the Company') the AIM and TSX quoted exploration and development company focused in Argentina and Chile, announces that Mariana's 100% owned Chilean subsidiary has entered into an Option-to-Purchase Agreement with Catalina Resources PLC ('Catalina'), a UK-registered mineral exploration company which operates in Chile, to acquire a 100% interest in the 5,600 ha Jiguata property located in Region I in northern Chile (the "Jiguata Project"). This purchase agreement is in line with the Company's previously announced project generation initiative to acquire prospective gold, silver and copper properties. Mariana's exploration team based in Santiago will focus on assessing the prospective nature of this target.

Overview

  • 20 square kilometre volcanic–hosted "steam-heated" alteration zone indicated from satellite mapping and reconnaissance
  • Native sulphur, opaline/chalcedonic silica, quartz-alunite alteration, barite veining exposed in erosional windows
  • Strongly anomalous mercury, sulphur and molybdenum rock chip geochemistry over an extensive area
  • Alteration and geochemistry indicate a possible concealed high sulphidation epithermal system
  • Geological mapping and geochemical sampling planned followed by Induced Polarisation (IP) geophysics to identify potential resistive horizons at depth, prior to a diamond or reverse circulation ('RC') drilling programme

Mariana Chairman, John Horsburgh said, "We are pleased with the option to earn 100% of Jiguata as part of the new project generation initiative announced last year. Early work indicates potential for a concealed high sulphidation gold-silver epithermal system with mapping and IP to define drill targets. This property will be one of the key focus areas of our Chilean exploration team whilst our Argentinean team remains committed to progressing and expanding our flagship Las Calandrias gold-silver discovery in Argentina for which Mariana has just released a maiden resource statement."

Catalina, through its wholly-owned, Chilean-registered subsidiary Minera Catalina S.A owns a 100% interest in the Jiguata Project which is located 150 km east-northeast of Iquique in northern Chile (see Figure 1). The property comprises 19 exploration concessions (pedimentos mineros) covering a total area of 5,600 ha. The area largely consists of andesites and volcanic breccias of probable Miocene-Pliocene age showing alteration characteristics of high-sulphidation epithermal gold deposits. Potential host rocks are mostly covered by younger volcanics. The older, altered rocks are exposed in erosional windows in the younger volcanic cover in the base of valleys (see Figure 2).

Previous Exploration

Work to date by Catalina comprises reconnaissance mapping, outcrop sampling and spectral analysis. In the topographically higher areas, particularly towards the East, alteration is dominated by pervasive opaline quartz-alunite-kaolinite assemblages, which may correspond to the "steam-heated zone" typically developed above a high-sulphidation epithermal system. In the northern part of the block there are numerous showings of native sulphur. Some of this steam-heated alteration, with its chalcedony replacement, may be due to lateral flow of ground water and chalcedony silicification.

Where the valleys cut through the steam-heated blanket, deeper structurally controlled alteration is present, with a core of residual quartz, grading outward to quartz-alunite and silicic-clay. Outcrop geochemical sampling indicates low precious metals values together with high mercury, sulphur and molybdenum over an extensive area. This has identified three target areas of which Area A is highest priority (Figure 2). Prior to Catalina's work, exploration appears to have been limited to two vertical RC holes, the results of which are not known.

High Sulphidation Gold Silver Potential

The alteration styles evident from satellite mapping and field reconnaissance and the presence of high values for mercury and sulphur, combined with highly anomalous molybdenum values over an extensive area are encouraging indicators of the uppermost part of a high-sulphidation epithermal system. The deeper alteration, where examined, is largely controlled by structures and if a permeable lithology is present at depth, there would be potential for a broad silicic target zone.

Exploration Planned

Mariana plans detailed geological mapping, geochemical sampling, and IP geophysics to identify any prospective resistive horizons at depth, followed by a diamond or RC drilling programme.

Option Terms

The Company has been granted an option to earn a 100% interest in the Jiguata Project exercisable by 1 December 2014, with payments scheduled as follows;

Option Payment 1: US$20,000, payable on signature of Option-to-Purchase Agreement;

Option Payment 2: US$40,000, payable on 1st December 2011;

Option Payment 3: US$40,000, payable on 1st December 2012;

Option Payment 4: US$50,000, payable on 1st June 2013; and

Option Payment 5: US$150,000, payable on 1st December 2013.

The final option payment of US$1,200,000, due 1st December 2014, is payable at any time and if paid before 1 December 2013 subsequent scheduled payments are extinguished. Catalina will retain a 2% royalty on net smelter returns.

Additional Information

Exploration information in this announcement has been compiled by John Horsburgh, Chairman of Mariana, who is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Mr. Horsburgh has sufficient experience relevant to the style of mineralization and types of gold deposit under consideration and to the activity that he is undertaking to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the JORC Code. Mr. Hosburgh is a qualified person within the meaning of national Instrument 43-101.

For further information including figures 1 and 2 please visit website at www.marianaresources.com.

About Mariana Resources

Mariana Resources Ltd. is an AIM quoted exploration and development company with an extensive portfolio of gold, silver and copper projects in Argentina and Chile. In southern Argentina, in addition to the Las Calandrias gold-silver discovery, the Company has the Sierra Blanca silver-gold prospect (70%); the Los Amigos joint venture (49%) with Hochschild Mining and a 160,000 ha land package (100%) in the country. All of these projects are located in the Deseado Massif epithermal gold-silver district in mining-friendly Santa Cruz province of southern Argentina, which hosts four mines and several advanced projects.

In Chile, Mariana has a joint venture with US based international mining and natural resources company Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., to explore for iron oxide-copper-gold deposits ('IOCG') in a 92,000 km² area ("SCM Mariana Area") in north-central Chile along the highly prospective Atacama Fault Zone.

The SCM Mariana Area includes the 44 km² Buenaventura and 46 km² Perro Chico IOCG projects. Mariana is also evaluating a number of gold-silver and copper-gold opportunities away from the Cliffs JV area, as part of a new initiative.

Safe Harbour

This press release presents "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation that involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to the future price of gold and other minerals and metals, the estimation of mineral resources, the capital expenditures, costs and timing of the resources, the realization of mineral reserve estimates, the capital expenditures, costs and timing of the development of new deposits, success of exploration activities, permitting time lines, currency exchange rate fluctuations, requirements for additional capital, government regulation of mining operations, environmental risks, unanticipated reclamation expenses, title disputes or claims and limitations on insurance coverage. Generally, these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations 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 are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of Mariana to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward looking statements, including but not limited to: risks related to international operations, actual results of current exploration activities; actual results of current or future reclamation activities; conclusions of economic evaluations; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; future prices of gold and other minerals and metals; possible variations in ore reserves, grade or recovery rates; failure of equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; and delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of development or construction activities. Although the management of Mariana believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions and have attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such 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. Mariana Resources does not undertake to update any forward- looking statements that are incorporated by reference herein, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

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

Contact Information

  • Mariana Resources Ltd.
    John Horsburgh
    Chairman
    +61 2 9437 4588

    Mariana Resources Ltd.
    Glen Parsons
    CFO
    +61 2 9437 4588

    Mariana Resources Ltd. (Vancouver Office)
    Kathryn Witter
    +1 604 669 9336
    www.marianaresources.com

    RFC Corporate Finance Limited (Nomad)
    Rob Adamson
    +61 2 9250 0041

    RFC Corporate Finance Limited (Nomad)
    Will Souter
    +61 2 9250 0050

    FinnCap (Broker)
    Matthew Robinson
    +44 20 7600 1658

    St Brides Media and Finance Ltd (PR)
    Felicity Edwards
    +44 20 7236 1177

    St Brides Media and Finance Ltd (PR)
    Hugo de Salis
    +44 20 7236 1177