South American Silver Corp.

South American Silver Corp.

November 18, 2010 14:02 ET

South American Silver Third Quarter President's Message and Project Update

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 18, 2010) - South American Silver Corp. (TSX:SAC)(PINK SHEETS:SOHAF) -

President's Message

This past quarter has been a remarkable period for South American Silver. The Company moves into the end of the year in a very strong financial position, having recently announced a proposed financing of up to $32 million, which will provide funding to advance the Malku Khota, silver-indium project into feasibility, while also accelerating the advancement of the Escalones, copper-gold project in Chile.

In addition, our initiatives to broaden market awareness of the tremendous investment value opportunity in the Company have proved fruitful resulting in a significant increase in both trade volumes and share price since the last quarter. Investors looking to gain exposure to rising metal prices have looked to early stage development companies like South American Silver, which offers one of the highest values of silver leverage at $50 of silver value per dollar of investment.

On October 7, 2010, the Company announced new exploration drilling results for the Malku Khota project (PR 10-13). Results were reported on thirteen additional drill holes out of an approximate 11,500 metre on-going drill campaign. The primary objective of this year's current drill program has been confirmatory drilling to demonstrate the predictability of the geologic model especially within the modeled pit boundaries in preparation for the updated Preliminary Economic Assessment in Q1-2011. The drill campaign has primarily focused on in-fill drilling within the pit model with some deeper holes designed to increase the amount of drill information lower in the pit models. These deeper holes have confirmed the broadly mineralized horizon remains open to depth. For the remainder of 2010 an addition drill rig is being added to the project for a total of 3 drills to maximize the number of holes for the resource update targeted for the end of 2010. Additional results will be released as assays become available over coming months.

To date, only about 30% of the known prospective mineralized host stratigraphy at Malku Khota has been drill tested. Beginning in 2011 the Company will look to undertake a significant resource expansion program in addition to infill work designed to convert inferred resources to measured and indicated resources and eventually into reserves. That future program will include drilling to test several additional high-priority, near surface targets based on surface sampling and geophysics, along with greater step out drilling laterally and to depth from the known mineralization.

Highlights of the recent drilling in the central portion of the Limosna deposit at Malku Khota have shown that the higher grade mineralization seen at surface continues deeper and broadens out. This new mineralization is toward the lowest levels modeled for the 2009 Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") completed by Pincock, Allan and Holt. The results from holes LMD048 and LMD050 demonstrate two of the best intercepts to date on the project in terms of width and grade with respective down-hole grade-thickness values of over 21,500 gram-meters (g-m) silver equivalent and >13,500 g-m silver. LMD048 intercepted 286 meters at 62.4 g/t silver with 2.7 g/t indium and 3.2 g/t gallium, with a high-grade zone of 31 meters grading 260 g/t silver. LMD050 intercepted 243 meters grading 43.1 g/t silver with 1.4 g/t indium and 3.6 g/t gallium, with high grade zone of 19 meters grading 258.5 g/t silver.

Additionally, the Company has continued metallurgical and process-related test work to further refine the leach recovery characteristics for silver and indium and associated gold, copper, lead, zinc and gallium mineralization. The test work to date indicates the amenability of heap leaching and/or milling of the mineralized material at Malku Khota.

More detailed engineering studies are underway for the balance of 2010 and 2011 to further refine metallurgical recoveries and define the potential location of mine facilities, infrastructure required to support operations and a plan for project implementation utilizing local resources as much as possible. This information will be the basis for a number of optimization studies that will be applied to a range of operating scenarios combining different production rates and leaching processes to be incorporated in an updated economic assessment study planned for the first quarter of 2011.

On November 8, 2010, the Company announced that it proposes to issue approximately 24 million common shares of the Company, on a committed private placement at a price of Cdn. $1.16 per share, for gross proceeds of approximately Cdn. $27.8 million, with an option to expand the offering up to 27.5 million common shares or approximately Cdn. $32 million. The Company anticipates accepting the fully expanded offering due to very strong investor demand. Completion of the financing is subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and is anticipated to occur on or about December 3, 2010. The largest component of the proposed offering is a strategic investment by Zamin Precious Minerals Limited, which has agreed to purchase a minimum of 18.3 million common shares under this offering which would represent approximately 19.9% of the Company's issued shares following closing of the Company. The Zamin mining group is a key regional player in the South American resource industry with major projects in Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Chile. South American Silver looks forward to working with this key strategic investor to continue to advance the Company's Malku Khota and Escalones assets.

Approach to business

South American Silver Corp.'s growth strategy has been to indentify mineral properties that have significant scale potential to develop large resources in well established mining districts of Bolivia and Chile. Management looks to leverage its exploration and development expertise to bring additional resources and value to shareholders and to reduce development risk and expense through its focus on community relations and corporate social responsibility. The Company will continue to look for additional opportunities that can bring value to South American Silver's shareholders through its approach to business. Responsible mining and community collaboration are a key part of South American Silver's business strategy on its projects, where the Company is committed to upholding high environmental and social standards while focusing on delivering the financial growth its shareholders expect.

As part of the Company's ongoing community relations approach to Malku Khota, community relations personnel are working closely with the surrounding local communities. Signed agreements of cooperation with these communities are in place and the Company will look to facilitate local and regional economic development through the various stages of development of the project.

Current market and economic conditions

As of November 2010, the prices of silver and gold have both moved to new highs for the year at $29.00/oz silver and over $1,400/oz gold, with the strong demand for commodities in general and continued weakening of the US dollar. Silver has continued to outperform gold in 2010 up 60% year to date vs. about 27% for gold. Favourable market conditions for hard assets have provided an excellent backdrop for strength in the silver and gold equities which have tended to outperform the metal prices on a percentage basis. With its excellent fundamentals and attractive valuation level relative to peers, South American Silver has continued to outperform both the metals and the silver and gold equity indexes for the greater part of 2010.

The fundamentals for both silver and gold appear strongly supportive for continued higher prices based on global monetary factors, and especially in terms of investment demand both metals have seen over the past several years in all forms including Exchange Traded Funds (ETF's), bars and coins. For silver specifically, the increased use in industrial applications ranging from biomedical to high technology is notable as it has become an increasingly larger percentage of the total annual demand. Up until the recent global economic crisis, industrial demand for silver had risen consistently on an annual basis over the 6 year period starting from 2002. Total global silver supply peaked in 2005 and has been flat to falling since. With anticipated rebound in industrial demand, coupled with continued strong investment demand, the fundamentals remain positive for higher silver prices. Compellingly, silver is one of the only major metals to have not yet reached its previous all time highs from the early 1980's when it traded in the mid-$30/oz level and briefly to $50/oz in 1980.

Recent developments in the indium market also continue to present compelling supply/demand dynamics for the high technology metal. Over the past 5 years indium prices have ranged between $400/kg to over $1,000/kg, with two of the past 5 years at over $1000/kg. November 2010 indium prices have continued to rise from the lows of 2008-2009 and are currently around $600/kg reflecting the recent improving global economic conditions.

Because of the unique optical and electrical properties of indium and its rapidly growing use in flat panel displays, touch screens, smart phones, high efficiency solar panels and high-efficiency, long life LED lighting, global indium consumption is anticipated to continue to grow significantly. Over the past 5 years, the largest segment of the indium market for LCD panels has grown four times, solar panel growth utilizing either high silver or high indium technology has increased ten times, and the high efficiency, long life LED lighting market has seen compound annual growth rates of over 32%. In total, global indium use has grown approximately ten times since 1990.

Historically indium has been supplied primarily as a by-product of zinc metal refining, with few primary producers. At current growth rates, it is estimated that by-product indium production may soon fall short of demand based on zinc production growth rates of only 1-3% per year and indium growth rates estimated at 15-20% per year. A UN study published earlier this year highlighted indium as a key specialty high-technology metal potentially at risk of shortages due to rapidly increasing growth, low recycling rates and low primary production. A recent study published in New Scientist Magazine by Yale University researchers, supports this conclusion showing that based on total reserves vs. current consumption indium is one of the most scarce of the strategic metals at just 5-10 years total supply without factoring in continued rapid consumption growth.

Like in the case of the rare-earth metals used in high-technology applications that have been in the news recently due to concerns over their availability, China is the largest producer and consumer of indium and has imposed export quotas and restrictive tariffs on indium exports. As a response, both Japan and Korea, as the second and third largest users of the metal, have begun creating strategic stockpiles of indium to ensure security of their supply needs. This past quarter, Chinese interests announced taking a 50% stake in a development stage primary indium project outside of China, committing the funding to bring the project to production.

Investor interest in indium has also been increasing, with SMG Indium recently announcing a new IPO for an indium market tracker. This future US listed investment has been designed to stockpile raw indium metal and track the price of indium, much like the recently introduced silver and gold ETF's, which have significantly expanded investor exposure and demand for both metals in recent years. With one of the largest NI 43-101 qualified resources of primary indium, South American Silver is attracting additional investor interest due to its large exposure to this rapidly growing market for indium.

Copper and zinc have also rebounded significantly from their lows of 2008 at less than $1.50/lb and $0.50/lb respectively to trade recently as high as $4.00/lb for copper and $1.17/lb for zinc. Demand for copper and zinc is being driven largely by growth in Asia and particularly China and India where industrialization remains a long-term supporting factor for basic materials.

Precious metals equities have responded well with the move into the seasonally bullish fall/winter season for precious metals. Equity prices of many exploration and development-stage companies have significantly outperformed the larger producers demonstrating increased demand by investors for growth potential. On a year to date basis, South American Silver Corp. has significantly outperformed the key gold and silver equity indexes such as the broad Toronto Gold Index and the U.S. Amex Gold Miners Index. South American Silver remains at very attractive investment valuations, however, at approximately 0.40/oz on an enterprise value per ounce valuation relative to its silver exploration and development stage peers that average over $1.50/oz and particularly relative to the other greater than 200 million ounce deposits that average over $2.50/oz.

Resource based economies have continued to benefit from the rebound in metal prices over the past year, particularly those in emerging markets like South America. With mining representing one of the largest elements of the Bolivian economy, Bolivia has continued to have one of the fastest growing GDP's in all of the Americas. Bolivia has seen 3 major new silver mines come into production in the past 4 years, including two of the world's largest primary silver producers. This has helped push Bolivia to the 5th largest global silver producing country in the past couple of years. The large amount of trade activity with Brazil has been particularly positive as well.

These improving economic and business conditions have resulted in bond upgrades by Moody's and Fitch rating services earlier this year, and a July, 2010 Mining Journal special edition on Bolivia has highlighted efforts by the current administration to attract new private investment for mining in Bolivia by providing a favourable regulatory framework, improving infrastructure including new road and rail corridors and hydro-electric power generation to facilitate economic development, and inviting industry input into proposed mining law changes.

Malku Khota

South American Silver's most advanced project is the Malku Khota Silver-Indium project located in the world-class silver mining district of central Bolivia, approximately 200 kilometres north of Potosi. Malku Khota is one of the world's large silver and indium resources with an NI 43-101-qualified indicated resource of 144.6 million ozs of silver and 845 tonnes of indium and an additional inferred resource of 177.8 million ozs of silver and 968 tonnes of indium. The PEA prepared by Pincock Allen & Holt Inc. in 2009 showed robust economics for a bulk-mineable heap leach operation with the potential to be one of the largest new silver and indium producing mines in development. The project is road-accessible, with power available within 15 kilometres of site.

The Company continues to have good relations with the surrounding communities. As part of the Company's ongoing community relations approach to Malku Khota, two full-time Community Relations personnel maintain regular contact with each of the surrounding local communities. Signed agreements of cooperation with each of the communities are in place and the Company will look for ways to facilitate economic development through the various stages of project implementation.

Disseminated silver and indium mineralization at Malku Khota begins at the surface and remains open to further expansion laterally and at depth in a regionally extensive sandstone unit which continues for over 15 kilometres on the property.

Drilling this year has primarily focused on confirmation and in-fill drilling within the Limosna, Wara Wara and Sucre zones, with a focus to increase the density of drilling in the areas that fall within the pit model. This drilling will go toward the preparation of an updated resource estimate by the end of this year. Since completion of the PEA in March 2009, South American Silver has continued to refine the metallurgical characteristics of the deposit through ongoing process-related test work to refine the leach recovery characteristics of the silver, indium and associated lead, zinc, copper and gallium mineralization in both heap leach and milling options. The test work to date indicates the amenability of heap leaching and/or milling of the mineralized material at Malku Khota applying the same type of process as used in copper oxide SX-EW heap leach mining or by the indium refineries that process by-product indium from zinc smelting.

More detailed engineering studies are underway for the balance of 2010 and 2011 that will help further refine metallurgical recoveries anticipated by representative mineralized zones throughout the deposit and define the potential location of mine facilities, infrastructure required to support the operation and a plan for project implementation utilizing local resources as much as possible. This information will be the basis for a number of optimization studies that will be applied to a range of operating scenarios combining different production rates and leaching processes to be incorporated in the updated Preliminary Economic Assessment planned for the first quarter of 2011.

During the nine months ended September 30, 2010, expenditures at the Malku Khota project totaled approximately $2.4 million. Work focused on drilling, metallurgical testing, environmental baseline data collection, community meetings and various engineering optimization studies.


The Escalones copper-gold-silver porphyry related project is located approximately 100 kilometres south-east of Santiago by road in central Chile. The property is 35 kilometres east of El Teniente, one of the world's largest underground copper mines, and shows high grades at surface at over 1% copper with significant gold, silver and molybdenum credits. Exploration has focused on a large, 4 square kilometre area of alteration, and shallow drilling has intersected zones of 75 to 100 metres grading over 1% and a single deeper hole intercepted 176 metres of porphyry mineralization grading 0.6% copper. These grades and significant widths of mineralization indicate the presence of a strong mineralizing system at Escalones.

At the Escalones project, the Company has completed initial geological modeling and is developing an exploration plan that would include geophysics and drilling that could lead to the development of an initial copper-gold-silver resource at this large scale, high potential porphyry project in 2011. Based on drill rig availability the Company would look to begin drilling on the project in Q1 2011. A total of $233,105 was incurred at the Escalones project during the nine-month period, for geologic modeling work and a $150,000 option payment.

Looking Forward

The Company is continuing to focus on the work necessary for the completion of an updated resource at the end of 2010 and an updated Preliminary Economic Assessment at the Malku Khota silver-indium project in Q1-2011. This program includes more detailed metallurgical and engineering studies, as well as in-fill confirmatory drilling at the Limosna, Wara Wara and Sucre Zones to confirm the predictability of the geologic model. Beginning in 2011 the Company will look to undertake a significant resource expansion program in addition to infill work designed to convert inferred resources to measured and indicated resources and eventually into reserves.

At the Escalones copper-gold project, the Company has completed initial geological modeling and is developing an exploration plan that based on drill rig availability would include geophysics and drilling in Q1-2011 that could lead to the development of an initial copper-gold-silver resource at this large scale, high potential porphyry project in 2011.

In the months ahead, we are committed to reporting on a number of important project milestones which we believe will broaden shareholder value as we advance each of our South American projects through the next stages of development. I would like to thank all of our shareholders for their continued support, and to also thank our dedicated employees and management team for their hard work, which has helped position South American Silver as a leading development stage precious metals company.

Greg S. Johnson
President & CEO

About South American Silver Corp.

South American Silver Corp. is a growth focused mineral exploration company creating value through the exploration and development of the 100% owned Malku Khota Silver-Indium project in Bolivia, one of the world's largest undeveloped silver and indium deposits, and the 100% owned large-scale Escalones Copper-Gold project in Chile. The Company's approach to business combines the team's track record of discovery and advancement of large projects, key operational and process expertise and effective community relations to increase shareholder value. Management has over 100 years of combined experience in the global exploration and mining industry with much of that focused in Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Argentina. The Company's shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "SAC" and on the US OTC market as "SOHAF". Additional information related to South American Silver Corp. is available at and on SEDAR at

Forward-looking statements

Forward-looking statements look into the future and provide an opinion as to the effect of certain events and trends on the business. Forward-looking statements may include words such as "plans", "intends", "anticipates", "should", "estimates", "expects", "believes", "indicates", "suggests" and similar expressions. This MD&A contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and various estimates, factors and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Information concerning mineral resource estimates and the interpretation of drill results may also be considered as a forward-looking statement; as such information constitutes a prediction of what mineralization might be found to be present if and when a project is actually developed. These forward-looking statements also include statements regarding the proposed financing including the timing and terms thereof.

Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these statements as the Company's actual results, performance or achievements may differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements if known or unknown risks, uncertainties or other factors affect the Company's business, or if the Company's estimates or assumptions prove inaccurate. Therefore, the Company cannot provide any assurance that forward-looking statements will materialize. Factors that could cause results or events to differ materially from current expectations expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, include, but are not limited to, the effect of capital market conditions and the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals in a timely fashion or at all; possible variations in mineral resources, grade or recovery rates, silver or indium prices, operating or capital costs; availability of sufficient financing to fund planned or further required work in a timely manner and on acceptable terms; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; failure of equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; and political, regulatory, environmental and other risks of the mining industry.The material assumptions that were applied in making the forward looking statements in this MD&A or referenced in this MD&A include, but are not limited to: statements regarding estimated mineral resources and the potential for delineation of additional resources through further exploration at the Malku Khota project, as well as statements regarding estimated net present value, internal rate of return, total and annual production, costs, mineral grades, recovery rates, prices and by-product value; the accuracy of current interpretation of drill and other exploration results; and execution of the Company's existing plans or exploration programs for each of its properties, either of which may change due to changes in the views of the Company or if new information arises which makes it prudent to change such plans or programs.

Subject to applicable laws, the Company assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or any other reason. Unless otherwise indicated, forward-looking statements in this release describe the Company's expectations as of November 15, 2010.

Contact Information

  • South American Silver Corp.
    Greg Johnson
    President & CEO
    South American Silver Corp.
    Kristina Knopp
    Investor Relations
    South American Silver Corp.
    Richard Doran
    Vice President & Corporate Secretary