Recent rock chip sampling of outcropping thermal veins at the high-priority Veta Blanca prospect within E2 Metals’ (ASX: E2M) Conserrat project in Argentina has yielded assay results of up to 7.46 grams per tonne gold and 7,510g/t silver.
A total 74 samples of vein outcrop and representative float samples were collected across the project, including 31 samples from Veta Blanca, to infill previous sampling along three mineralised veins which outcrop over a strike length of approximately 325m.
Surface grades achieved were a significant improvement on previous sampling activities at the prospect, reported in December at 1.99g/t gold and 663g/t silver.
E2 has engaged a geophysical contractor and will commence a gradient array and induced polarisation survey at Veta Blanca later this month.
Veta Blanca is located on the faulted contact between sediments of the Roca Blanca Formation and the Bajo Pobre Andesite, where recent mapping by E2 identified multiple zones of high-level epithermal veins with anomalous (>500 parts per billion) gold and silver.
The contact forms part of a regional structural trend hosting significant gold and silver mineralisation for AngloGold Ashanti’s giant Cerro Vanguardia mine located just 20km from Conserrat.
Vanguardia started production in 1998 and boasts historic and current reserves of 8.9 million ounces gold and 137Moz silver.
E2 managing director Todd Williams said Veta Blanca’s improved assays confirm the prospectivity of the Conserrat project.
“These results are highly encouraging especially considering [Conserrat] is along trend from the largest gold and silver mine in the Santa Cruz province,” he said.
“[We now have] the foundation of what will be a busy quarter as we prepare this project for drilling in the second half of the year.”
E2 Metals made moves in December to acquire an 80% interest in a portfolio of epithermal gold and silver projects across Argentina’s prolific Santa Cruz province from private explorer Circum Pacific.
The portfolio includes the advanced Conserrat, Sierra Morena, Corona and Angostura projects as well as earlier stage projects in the nearby Rio Negro province which consist of exposed epithermal gold and silver veins but no prior drilling.
The mature mining region is also home to significant developments including Cerro Negro (owned by Goldcorp), Cerro Moro (Yamana Gold) and the COSE and Joaquin (Pan American Silver).
The 90,000ha portfolio which E2 will acquire following shareholder approval this month is held by private Australian explorer Circum Pacific Pty Ltd.
It is considered to be prospective for multi-million-ounce epithermal gold deposits similar to Vanguardia and Cerro Negro.
E2 appointed Mr Williams as managing director around the same time as the Santa Cruz acquisition was made public.
Mr Williams is the founder and principal of Circum Pacific and will lead E2 through its renewed focus of making world-class gold discoveries in the Conserrat region.
New gold province
Santa Cruz is a relatively new province which recorded its first gold production in 1998 from Cerro Vanguardia.
The province saw an exploration boom two years later, linked to the discovery of the multi-million-ounce San Jose, Cerro Negro and Cerro Moro gold and silver deposits.
Most of the discoveries were by junior explorers such as Andean Resources and Extorre Resources which were subsequently acquired by Goldcorp for $4.7 billion and Yamana for $439 million respectively.
Santa Cruz has been considered one of South America’s most favourable mining destinations, with the government having permitted seven new mines in the province during the past 15 years.
At mid-afternoon, shares in E2 Metals were 30% higher at $0.130.