ECU Silver-Success of Geological Model Leads Closer to Reaching Ultimate Exploration Goals
TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Sept. 11, 2008) – ECU Silver Mining (TSX:ECU) –
Dear fellow Shareholders,
Needless to say the past 14 months and particularly the last 2 months have been very turbulent times for the mining sector and the capital markets in general. Due to the most recent, and still ongoing, severe correction we are experiencing in the equity markets, we felt it important to update our shareholders on our key exploration strategy. In particular, the purpose of this letter is to update our shareholders on the Company’s exploration accomplishments since early this year, where we stand today, and where we hope to be in the near future.
We are pleased to report that our Company has continued to advance considerably in our resource development. We have announced highly material exploration results over the past several months. These results and subsequent interpretation are confirming our geological model for the area in a spectacular way in terms of assays, widths and additional potential. Our model has always ascertained that as we continue to drill deeper, we should encounter richer grades and thicker areas of mineralization. Hole 21, our deepest drill hole to date, is just further proof that the model is indeed on the right track to uncovering further deep massive sulphides at depth.
In order for you, our valued shareholders, to better understand our excitement despite the current state of the equity markets, we wish to provide you with a simplified geological explanation from a regional and local perspective. In doing so, we hope to provide clarity in the importance of our current mineral resource. Our efforts over the past months is well on the way to demonstrating the underlying mineral potential, with regard to additional high grade veins and to the significant implications of our recent discovery of the massive sulphide veins.
Regionally, there are several intrusive bodies that are known to be associated with precious and/or base metals. These intrusions are bodies of igneous rock that have crystallized from molten magma below the surface of the Earth, essentially an underground volcano. These intrusives gave rise to a significant amount of veins, as seen at Velardena, and also to deeper massive sulphide replacement bodies at depth.
Five of the largest and best known intrusives in the region are situated within mineral rights owned by ECU and Penoles, the world’s second largest silver Company. Three intrusive bodies each lie under ECU’s main Velardena Property, the Chicago Property and the joint- venture San Diego Property. The other two intrusive bodies are associated with Penoles’ Santa Maria mine and its Reina del Cobre mine.
When these intrusions occurred, the intense heat and fluids that accompanied them caused a recrystallization (a metamorphosis) of the pre-existing and surrounding limestone. The size of these intruded zones varied as a function of the local heat and quantity of hydrothermal solutions. These intruded zones created a “Contact Zone” (or “Alteration Zone”) varying in width from 5 metres to 500 metres and basically forming a type of buffer between the intrusive and the limestone. The rock types contained in the Contact Zones are; i) marble, if the limestone was only affected by heat, ii) skarns, if the limestone was affected by heat and hydrothermal solutions, iii) a multitude of various shaped intrusive bodies and iv) secondary intrusives, that are extensions of the main intrusive. When there is a large quantity of these secondary intrusive bodies, as evidenced within the Velardena District, the Contact Zone is much wider and more often mineralized.
Precious and base metals in the Velardena region are found in veins or replacement bodies. The replacement bodies are found in the Contact Zone, closer to the main intrusive or close to a secondary intrusive body. The size of these replacement bodies are often related to the quantity of hydrothermal solutions that permeated the Contact Zone in that area. Hence the larger replacement bodies are typically due to areas with larger quantity of fluids. These areas are generated from regions with a higher intensity of metamorphism which in turn, are areas where the skarn predominates. A secondary indicator in the Velardena district is that replacement bodies are often associated with skarns containing green garnets which are called “Green Skarn”.
As for our veins, they are basically found everywhere, in limestone, marble, skarn and intrusive. This is because they represent the distal emplacement of hydrothermal fluids that filled existing fractures or fractures created by the emplacement of the intrusive as it pushed up into the limestone. The veins lie spatially above the intrusive and so following them downwards will bring us to the specific intrusive that brought the fluids and, if they exist, to the replacement bodies associated with it.
As a last detail, the large intrusives are not a single event, they are normally a multi-phase geological phenomenon with the latest phase intruding the earlier phases. Most of the mineralization is associated with the latest phase events which means the veins can often be found cutting the earlier phases.
VELARDENA PROPERTY INTRUSIVE
The Velardena Property intrusive (Figure 1 – Plan View), a diorite, is basically shaped like an eggplant pointing to the north- east where the narrow end underlies our Santa Juana vein system. The Santa Juana vein system is oriented in a north-west to south-east direction and as such is orthogonal to the long axis of the intrusive. The vein system lies within a major fracture system that coincides with the Contact Zone at depth. This last point can better be seen in the Orthogonal Plan View (Figure 2 – Orthogonal Plan) which shows the A4 vein in blue. The A4 vein is the most prominent vein in the Santa Juana vein system and it represents the edge of the package containing the veins of the Santa Juana system, bounded on the other edge by the Santa Juana vein. Since the A4 vein is the most consistent vein among the Santa Juana veins, it is the easiest to follow at depth and we can normally cut it with drill holes very close to the projected position. This is why we could interpret the massive sulphide intercepts of drill hole 21 as being part of the A4 vein because core angles and projections from above permitted this interpretation with a very high degree of confidence.
The other major east-west veins such as Terneras, San Juanes, San Mateo, and Hiletas are cutting through all the rock types within the Velardena Property. This is interpreted as fracture filling from the same, or a similar, event that created the Santa Juana vein system. In these cases however, we do not observe such a thick package of veins, and as such the mineralization source may be deeper or the pattern is related to a more competent host rock that was more brittle and consequently created large fractures instead of several smaller ones. So there is a possibility that we shall encounter a smaller intrusive, centered on the nose of the big one, at depth and that most of the mineralization is related to it. On the other hand, because of the distribution of sulphides vs calcite in the veins in the Santa Juana system, there is a strong presumption that we have at least two mineralizing events. The first created the veins containing sulphides that were mined and explored between surface and level 19 while the second would have created the massive quantity of calcite observed at depth starting at about level 19 as well as the sulphides found deeper in hole 21 but not sufficiently defined yet to determine the level at which they would be starting.
SANTA JUANA CURRENT
In order to properly represent what we are looking for and was found recently, the best place to start is the Longitudinal Section showing the A4 vein looking north (Figure 3 – A4 Longitudinal Section). This vein is critical in our interpretations as it represents the western edge of the system while the Santa Juana vein, mined to surface, represents the eastern edge. The Santa Juana vein system is essentially a 100 metre thick sandwich, with the A4 vein and Santa Juana vein representing the bread on both sides. These two major veins are also easier to correlate since they both have strong continuity. Both these veins have been mined above level 18 for hundreds of metres vertically and horizontally.
Focusing first on the A4 vein, we had identified an inferred resource block in the last 43-101 that contributed to a major portion of the total inferred block for Santa Juana. That block was based on drilling below level 18 (elevation 1500) which helped to prove the continuity of the Santa Juana vein system, and specifically of the A4 vein. Not only, was it one of the largest blocks of inferred resources, but it contained considerable information with relatively little additional work required to upgrade it to an indicated classification.
However, we suspected that the A4 vein continued at considerable depth based on the information we had. With that idea in mind, hole 21 was drilled at a very deep depth for two reasons. First, was to confirm continuity at depth. Even though it was a very long step out from the depth limit of the current mineral resource, we had every reason to believe the A4 vein would be there based on the strength of the system and the fact the A4 vein had been shown to be continuous for over 600 metres above the previous deepest drill intercept. The second reason was to verify the geological model suggesting that the increasingly calcite-rich vein would change to massive sulphides at depth. With intercepts of 3.66 g/t Au, 295 g/t Ag, 7.87% Pb and 12.07% Zn over core length of 12.04 metres, hole 21 certainly confirmed both.
The follow-up holes were then logical step outs to prove that the A4 vein was continuous within the block to be evaluated. To do that, three holes were drilled on a first tier close to elevation 1100 (i.e. 1100 metres above sea level), they were holes 22, 23 and 24. The first were aimed at both sides to confirm lateral continuity while the third was aimed at the center, more to evaluate the progression from calcite to sulphides at that level. Both 22 and 23 confirmed the continuity with grades well above average for the deposit while hole 24 was abandoned due to excessive flattening which would have brought it level to previous holes.
Hole 22 also intercepted a gold/copper rich vein at the contact between a green skarn and marble. (Figure 4 – A4 vein Cross Section). Although this vein was never encountered above, we think it is of significant interest as it is located at a major geological contact and could have good continuity as we go deeper. More holes will need to be drilled to confirm this idea.
Now holes 25, in progress, and 26 are aimed at proving the lateral continuity at a much greater depth, near elevation 750. As well, the metal contents and nature of the vein will be extremely useful in planning future holes as it will probably show that hole 21 was not in the center of the axis of the sulphide body. We can then focus on the side which shows the best results. If holes 25 and 26 confirm the continuity of the A4, the initial objective will have been achieved, namely proving that the block being investigated does indeed contain the A4 vein and we can then move to the next stage, which is definition drilling within that block.
CONCLUSION / OUTLOOK
While our current mineral inventory of over 200 million silver equivalent ounces is already substantial, the Company is of the opinion that there is considerable evidence of much more mineralization at depth. This view is based on the numerous amounts of data collected, interpreted and integrated into our MineSight computer program since the beginning of the year. With each successive drill hole, our geological 3D model continues to gather high quality evidence that further confirms the regional model. In essence, the deeper we drill, the wider and more richer the grades should become.
So why all the excitement by the company’s geologists?
The deepest drill intercept to date among all our Velardena Properties, hole 21, returned the best combination of assay results and widths of all the hundreds of holes we have drilled previously. Never before has the company encountered such a thick, four metres, intercept of massive sulphides combined with excellent grades. Although there has been a few intercepts in other holes that yielded better grades, never had we encountered both excellent grades and width together as found in drill hole 21. The thickness is very important as it shows that the system is increasing in strength as we go deeper from the current workings, as predicted by the geological model.
We are currently drilling hole 25 and then hole 26 will immediately follow. Once hole 26 is completed, the Company will commence deeper drilling by pushing holes 21 and 23 up to 200 metres deeper than they were originally drilled. Consequently, if our geological model continues to be correct, the Company fully expects to find more of the same quality mineralization as we discovered in hole 21. That is, a rich high grade and wide mineralized vein/body at depth.
Cautionary Statements and Additional Information:
Readers are cautioned that until a prefeasibility study is completed, there are no assurances these latest mineralized zones will be economically viable. True widths vary between 50% and 65% of core lengths. Samples were assayed at the ERSA laboratory in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico which is currently in the process of being certified. Mr. Michel Roy, P. Geo., a “qualified person” within the meaning of NI 43-101, prepared the technical information disclosed in this news release.
Readers are also cautioned that despite the Company’s belief that our geological model will continue to be correct there are no assurances that further drilling results will yield economic grades and widths.
ECU Silver Mining Inc. is focused on the exploration, development and mining of gold, silver and base metals at its Velardena District Properties in Durango, Mexico. The area is comprised of three properties, the Main Velardena Property, the Chicago Property and the San Diego Property. The properties are located near to each other and include five historical mines – Santa Juana, Terneras, San Mateo, San Juanes, and the San Diego mine. ECU’s goal is to establish a significant polymetallic mineral resource in the heart of Mexico. ECU’s mission is to become a pre-eminent silver and gold producer through the development of existing, and additional potential resources at Velardena.
For further information please visit www.ecu.ca.
To view Figure 1, please visit the following link: http:// media3.marketwire.com/docs/ECUFig1.jpg
To view Figure 2, please visit the following link: http:// media3.marketwire.com/docs/ECUFig2.jpg
To view Figure 3 – A4 Vein Longitudinal Section, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/ECUFig3vls.jpg
To view Figure 3 – A4 Vein Cross Section, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/ECUFig3vcs.jpg
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