Altiplano Metals Inc. (OTC:ALTPF)

Altiplano Metals Inc. (OTC:ALTPF)

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Altiplano Metals Inc. is a Canadian mining company focused on developing and acquiring near term cash flowing assets and projects of significant exploration scale. Altiplano’s goal is to grow into a mid-tier mining company through developing a portfolio of near-term production projects, cash flowing assets, and exploration projects focusing on copper, gold and silver. Management has a substantial record of success in capitalizing on opportunity, overcoming challenges and building shareholder value.

The company’s main asset, Farellon, is an Iron Oxide Copper Gold vein system located near the town of La Serena, Chile. The company acquired the project in 2017 and has been recovering copper/gold mineralized material from a series of underground workings at numerous levels. To date, the company has recovered more than 2.5 million pounds of copper at an average grade of ~1.85% and has been cash flow positive at Farellon for numerous consecutive quarters. To support the operations at Farellon, Altiplano is currently constructing a mill and processing facility located 15 km from the mine site capable of processing 250 tonnes/day.

Altiplano recently renegotiated a profit-sharing agreement with Maria Luisa, a past producing Au-Cu asset located near the town of Incahuasi, Chile. Engineering studies are underway to potentially develop a decline system enabling the extraction of mineralized gold-copper material, targeted for Q2 2021. In addition, the company is reviewing a number of exploration and development opportunities, including Rosario, where recent underground sampling returned positive copper/gold results. Our goal is to have three cash flowing assets by Q2 2021.

Altiplano Metals Inc. (APN: TSX?V) is a Canadian mining company focused on developing and acquiring near term cash flowing assets and projects of significant exploration scale. Altiplano’s goal is to grow into a mid-tier mining company through developing a portfolio of near-term production projects, cash flowing assets, and exploration projects focusing on copper, gold and silver. Management has a substantial record of success in capitalizing on opportunity, overcoming challenges and building shareholder value.

The company’s main asset, Farellon, is an Iron Oxide Copper Gold vein system located near the town of La Serena, Chile. The company acquired the project in 2017 and has been recovering copper/gold mineralized material from a series of underground workings at numerous levels. To date, the company has recovered more than 2.5 million pounds of copper at an average grade of ~1.85% and has been cash flow positive at Farellon for numerous consecutive quarters. To support the operations at Farellon, Altiplano is currently constructing a mill and processing facility located 15 km from the mine site capable of processing 250 tonnes/day.

Altiplano recently renegotiated a profit-sharing agreement with Maria Luisa, a past producing Au-Cu asset located near the town of Incahuasi, Chile. Engineering studies are underway to potentially develop a decline system enabling the extraction of mineralized gold-copper material, targeted for Q2 2021. In addition, the company is reviewing a number of exploration and development opportunities, including Rosario, where recent underground sampling returned positive copper/gold results. Our goal is to have three cash flowing assets by Q2 2021.

-Projects:

FARELLON, LA SERENA, CHILE:

Farellon is located near the town of La Serena, Chile, approximately a one-hour flight north from the Chilean capital, Santiago. Acquired in 2017, Farellon is an Iron Oxide Copper Gold mineralized system, currently being developed and explored from an underground decline and drift system.

The underground development program at Farellon has resulted in the extraction of greater than 84,000 tonnes of mineralized Cu/Au material and recovered ~2.5 mm pounds of copper at grades of approximately 1.85% copper. Altiplano is embarking on an expansion plan that includes a decline extension at Farellon and examining the potential expansion of the underground workings at the adjacent Rosario vein system that recently yielded positive copper and gold results from a recent underground sampling program. The expansion will be used to support a fit for purpose 250 tonne/day mill and recovery plant currently under construction 15 kms from the Farellon site. This facility is designed to reduce shipping and processing costs.

Introduction

The Farellon iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) project is located approximately 40 km southeast from the town of La Serena, Chile. The project is situated within the coastal IOCG belt, a 50- to 80-km-wide belt that runs parallel to the coast for over 1,000 km and hosts deposits such as Candelaria (116–110 Ma; 501 Mt at 0.54% Cu, 0.13 g/t Au, and 2.06 g/t Ag) and Mantoverde (121–117 Ma; 440 Mt at 0.56 % Cu and 0.12 g/t Au).

Structural Control:

These deposits, including Farellon, predominantly formed during the mid-Cretaceous in a transtensional tectonic setting during which plutonic complexes were emplaced, controlled by crustal-scale fault zones that evolved into the Atacama fault system. The AFS is the primary structural control on the location of IOCG deposits in Chile. The hydrothermal origin for a significant number of the IOCG deposits including Candaleria, Mantoverde, and Farellon is likely magmatically derived fluids from spatially associated plutonic complexes.

Regional geology of the La Serena region and the Atacama Fault Zone highlighting the relationship between faulting, dioritic intrusive bodies, and IOCG mineralization.

Mineralization:

The Farellon project consists of a series of Fe-Cu-Au-veins that strike northeast and dip ~72° to the southeast. The main veins (Farellon, Laura, and Rosario) have been traced in outcrop and in underground workings for over 1.2 km, they range in width from 1 to 10 m (~2 m average) and are well mineralized over much of their strike lengths. The veins are typically composed of early chlorite, actinolite, and apatite that has been subsequently replaced, at least in part by magnetite, chalcopyrite, bornite, and gold mineralization.

Metallurgy

Metallurgical testing of two, 100 kg samples of lower-grade extracted material from Farellon were processed to provide insight into improving copper recoveries and the feasibility of producing an Fe-concentrate from the magnetite (currently a waste product and a non-payable from toll milling; see April 4, 2019 press release).

Underground Exploration

Diamond drilling up to 40 metres beneath the 395-metre level of the Farellon Vein system confirmed excellent down-dip continuity and grade to the Cu-Au mineralization, with intercepts including 24.0 metres of 2.28 % Cu (see June 11, 2019 news release). These results are in-keeping with other IOCG systems in the area that are deep rooted, well mineralized, and result in long mine life. For example, 3.5 km south of the Farellon project is the Tambillo mine. It has been in production for over 50 years and is currently mining at a depth of 1.2 kilometres.

Bulk Sampling/Production*

The Farellon mine was previously in production dating back to the 1970’s with a reported historical production (to a depth of 70 m) yielding approximately 300,000 tonnes at an average grade of 2.5% copper and 0.5g/t gold. This material was processed locally and sold to ENAMI.

After acquiring the project in 2017 APN advanced a new decline (Hugo), parallel to the vein, approximately 50 m below the existing workings and ~10 m north of the vein. This tunnel is the main access and was initially used to facilitate shallow underground diamond drilling, and channel sampling of the vein. Encouraging initial results from both the drilling and channel sampling warranted the development of new drifts, predominantly the 395 level.

Further expansion to the Hugo Decline was initiated in early 2020 to reach the 389 m and 382 m levels. This expansion created access to an additional four development headings running NE-SW to extract additional mineralized copper-gold material for processing. Presently, Altiplano is further expanding the Hugo Decline to access the 376 m and 370 m levels.

Throughout the ongoing development work, Altiplano has consistently improved grade and stabilized extraction. In 2019 Altiplano has extracted and processed on average 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes per month at a grade of 1.78% Cu. This improved in 2020 where 2,500 to 3,500 tonnes have been extracted with grade improving to 1.85% to date. With the operation of eight NE-SW development headings, Altiplano anticipates expanding production to 5,000 tonnes/month.

As of September 30, 2020, APN has extracted over 2,500,000 pounds of copper and over 84,000 tonnes of Cu-Au material have been processed with an average copper grade of 1.85%. This material is presently processed off site where proceeds generated from the sale of the copper concentrate material have resulted in a cash positive position that has been used to support operations and facilitated further development underground.

Mill Construction

APN is currently in the process of constructing an on-site processing facility to produce a copper/gold concentrate from the output at Farellon (see October 22, 2020 news release). The facility includes crushing and grinding equipment and a flotation plant with sufficient capacity to process up to 5,000 tonnes/month of copper-gold material. The plant includes, primary, secondary, and tertiary crushing, milling, including two 5’ x 10’ ball mills, and a full flotation circuit. The facility will be located on the Company’s leased land only 15 km from the mine site. This will significantly reduce shipping and processing costs and improve on copper recovery. In addition, the company is preparing an iron recovery circuit that will enable the company to capture the value from the Fe by-product, thus increasing revenue.

Development of Adjacent Vein Structures:

APN is also exploring the opportunity to extract further tonnes by extending the historical declines at the Laura and Rosario veins located 225 m and 575 m respectively from Farellon. These veins have exhibited similar structure, mineralization and metallurgy and demonstrate congruous geophysical signatures to Farellon.

MARIA LUISA, INCAHUASI, CHILE:

Summary

The Maria Luisa gold-copper project is located approximately 100 km north of La Serena at Incahuasi, within the Atacama Region of Chile. Gold-copper vein type deposits are part of a well outlined continuum of mineralization related to extensional fault bounded environments. This setting is ideal for the discovery of high-grade gold-copper veins, with many examples occurring throughout northern Chile.

Structural Control

The Atacama fault system is composed of crustal-scale fault zones that formed within a transtensional tectonic setting during the mid-Cretaceous, and is the primary structural control for hydrothermal gold-copper vein deposits found within the La Serena area, including the Maria Luisa project.

Gold-copper mineralization at the Maria Luisa project is hosted by two major strike-slip structural systems belonging to the Atacama fault system that trend to the NW and NS (Figure 1). Strike-slip movement along NS structures has resulted in the coincident formation of NW and EW trending extensional faults, producing multiple vein system orientations. The Maria Luisa vein is located within a major NW-trending system, consisting of sets of anastomosing structures delineated by veining, faults, magmatic-hydrothermal breccias, and tectonic breccias. Numerous structural and vein systems on the Maria Luisa project have not been effectively explored.

Mineralization

The Maria Luisa project consists of NW and EW gold-copper vein systems with dips predominantly ranging from 55° to 75° to the southwest. Several vein structures extend over strike lengths of 0.5 to 1 km with widths ranging from 1 to 3 metres within predominantly chloritic- and propylitically-altered granite and volcanic host rocks. The NW-trending Maria Luisa vein, where historical mining was largely focused, is traceable for ~500 metres with variable widths from 1-5 metres. Mineralized vein systems on the project are typically characterized by gold-copper(+/-iron oxides) with associated pyrite, chalcopyrite and bornite sulphides.

Mineralization is thought to have been emplaced in two different stages:

Au-rich mineralization consists of specular hematite-quartz banded veins with epithermal textures that include open spaces, crustiform quartz, and bladed calcite indicative of boiling. An interval of 1.6 m taken from a vein of massive hematite assayed up to 25 g/t Au, suggesting an association between Au and hematite. The possibility of supergene enrichment also exists due to the presence of jarosite, which is brecciated and cut by a second stage of mineralization.
Cu-rich mineralization consists of magmatic-hydrothermal breccia with abundant angular fragments of stage one mineralization, with andesitic rock either clast supported or cemented by siderite and iron-copper oxides.
Recent Diamond Drilling

A limited four-hole, 495 metre diamond drill program was completed in 2017 intending to test mineralization below the main historic workings of the Maria Luisa fault structure (Figure 2). The drill program intersected both the hematite Au-rich mineralization with hole 17MLD001 (1 m @ 6.95 g/t Au and 0.03% Cu), and Cu-rich mineralization with hole 17MLD003 (0.6m @ 5.90% Cu and 0.22 g/t Au).

Underground workings, vein traces and recent drilling.

Historical Resource and Exploration Target:

The Maria Luisa veins have consistently yielded significant gold grades, with recent selective mining (2013 to 2015) of over 600 tonnes yielding an average grade of approximately 6.85 grams per tonne (g/t) Au and 1.89 percent (%) Cu (M. Dufresne, NI 43-101 Technical Report, February 2017). An exploration target for the Maria Luisa project has been developed based on the historic resource estimate conducted by ENAMI, recent underground sampling and mapping, historic production records, and recent sampling and three-dimensional modelling. The target ranges from 200,000 to 400,000 tonnes with a range in grades of 1.5% Cu and 2 g/t Au to 2.5% Cu and 5 g/t Au.

* This estimation of quantity and grade is conceptual in nature with insufficient work to define a mineral resource. The issuer is not treating the historical estimates as current mineral resources or mineral reserves and further exploration may or may not define a resource at Maria Luisa (M. Dufresne, NI 43-101 Technical Report, February 2017).

Development Plan:

Altiplano is currently developing a fast-tracked exploration and development plan designed to facilitate mine planning and provide the basic mining infrastructure for near-term extraction and leverage the processing options located within 25 kms of the site*.

The plan involves underground exploration activities including a new mine portal and decline. The decline will provide access to the primary veins mapped on surface, mined historically, and intersected by drilling.
The current design under review extends to below the lowest level of historical mining and near hole MLD001 and MLD004 and establishes access to the veins on multiple levels for bulk sampling and drifting along vein for channel sampling.

A decision to commence underground operations at the Maria Luisa site is not based on a feasibility study of mineral reserves demonstrating economic and technical viability and there is increased uncertainty and economic and technical risks of failure associated with this decision.

APN MILL SITE, EL PEÑÓN, CHILE:

Altiplano is constructing a mineral processing plant located approximately 15 kms from the Farellon mine. The facility is designed to recover copper, gold and iron and to reduce the current processing costs by 33% and reducing trucking costs by 75%. The facility has also been designed to minimize the environmental impact by utilizing a de-watering stack which will reduce water usage by 75%. The de-watering process also has the added benefit of producing more environmentally friendly dry tailings. The facility specifications also contain an iron separation process engineered to capture high value iron ore concentrate.

The 9-hectare land package is ideally located approximately 3 km from the major road (D-43) and has access to power, water, and the necessary infrastructure to support the construction of the facility and expansion opportunities.

The facility involves crushing and grinding equipment and a flotation plant which includes primary, secondary, and tertiary crushing, milling, including two 5’ x 10’ ball mills combined with a full flotation circuit. When operational, the facility will have sufficient capacity to process 5,000 tonnes/month of production from the Company’s Farellon mine.

The fully functional plant has been re-located to the site where civil works are currently underway in preparation of final permitting for construction. This work includes site preparation, surveying, leveling of land, installation of electricity, cement footings and the construction of perimeter fencing.


Altoplano Metals Inc. is traded on the OTC under the ticker symbol ALTPF. This is not investment advice. Please view the disclaimer found on this website.
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