assays received to date from the Company’s ongoing RC drilling program focused on expanding four of the 17 gold mineralization zones at Cerro Caliche. Highlights include key intercepts at the premier Japoneses and Buena Suerte zones.
At Japoneses, SCR-104 intercepted 15.24 meters averaging 1.278 g/t Au and SCR-106 intercepted 16.76 meters averaging 0.853 g/t Au. At Buena Suerte, SCR-096 intercepted 16.76 meters averaging 0.841 g/t Au and SCR-097 intercepted 12.19 meters averaging 0.508 g/t Au. The Company expects that these results will contribute to establishing a significant addition to Cerro Caliche’s existing 201,000 gold equivalent (AuEq) inferred resource estimate1. In total, 34 RC holes have been drilled to date, but assay turn-around times are very slow due to COVID-19 related delays. An additional 25 to 30 RC holes are expected to be completed by this coming mid-December and rock density determinations have also been initiated for incorporation into the resource data.
Core drilling at Cerro Caliche to investigate the higher-grade gold targets remains ongoing. Nine exploratory holes have been completed to date and an additional ten core holes are expected to be completed by mid-December. Furthermore, an air-track drill rig is scheduled to commence shallow percussion drilling to investigate continuity of mineralization between the mineralized zones.
As part of the Company’s strategy to fast-track the development of a Heap Leach Mining Operation at Cerro Caliche, ten 85-mm diameter PQ Core holes were drilled to supply deeper mineralized material for metallurgical testing. Management is expanding its development plans from the previously announced pilot level project to assess the economic viability of a proposed 8,000 ton per day mining operation.
The current exploration work is part of the Company’s conceptual fast-track development schedule for the Cerro Caliche project with the aspirational goal of commencing gold production by the end of 2021. However, a successful realization of that goal remains subject to several material conditions, most notably including the satisfactory completion of metallurgical testing, securing required environmental permitting, a favourable preliminary economic assessment and the availability of project financing.