December 19, 2012

Kootenay Silver’s Latest Drill Campaign Aims To Deliver A 100 Million Ounce Silver Resource At The Promontorio Project In Mexico

By Ryan Jackson in Vancouver

Back in August, having wrapped up a 37,000 metre drill program at its flagship Promontorio silver project in Sonora Mexico, the Kootenay team was able to deliver a good-looking resource update which showed three times the silver contained in the previous estimate. 

Drilling work at Promontorio

Drilling work at Promontorio

The Promontorio project now holds just over 36 million tonnes grading an average of 51.35 grams per tonne silver equivalent for nearly 62 million measured and indicated ounces. 


Now Ken Berry, chairman of Kootenay Silver, is planning to do it all again and the drills are turning on another 30,000 metre drill program at Promontorio.


“We are getting really close and we think we will achieve our goal of reaching a higher level with a resource that really stands out in the market”, says Ken. 


Having shattered his last goal which was in the, “40 million to 50 million-plus range,” Ken has his eye on 100 million ounces-plus of silver with an equivalent lead-zinc component for the next update, and so far he’s not been one to disappoint.


The aggressive new exploration program for Promontorio was announced immediately following the successful raise of just over C$8 million by private placement in November. 


While the markets are tough for explorers, it seems the Kootenay story has stayed fresh for investors with the memory of the summer resource upgrade still strong in their minds.  


“We’ve been very fortunate, we have a loyal group of shareholders and they’ve backed Jim McDonald, myself, and our whole team since about 2008”, says Ken. 


“It’s been over C$50 million raised on that project now since 2008, so in difficult market conditions we’ve been able to successfully continue to advance the project.”


Kootenay has hit the ground running in Mexico this winter with two drill rigs already turning and a third set to join the party shortly. The resource expansion program has been ramping up and the company expects to provide investors with a steady stream of results from the expedited resource definition program over the coming months.


As far as targets are concerned, the focus is on continuing to expand the known silver resource to the northeast and southwest of the main deposit and on five adjacent, high-priority, mineralized stockwork breccia targets that offer significant potential for further resource definition. 


Much of the success in recent exploration at Promontorio stems from a fundamental shift in understanding regarding the nature of the mineralization that took place back in March of last year. 


It was then that the Kootenay team re-classified the mineralized zones at Promontorio as a diatreme system similar to many large scale projects within a mineralized belt stretching right the way through Mexico and into the United States.


Most notable among them is Goldcorp’s Peñasquito mine which achieved commercial production in 2010 and will be Mexico's largest open pit mine with a production guidance of up to 390,000 ounces of gold in 2012. 


With that re-classification Ken says came the realisation that Promontorio, “holds a lot more upside than we’ve seen in just the Pit Area and the Northeast Zone.” 


Particularly interesting is the Dorotea region, located to the north of the pit, where gold content has been found to be higher than in the resource area. “We formerly thought it was a structurally controlled system”, says Ken, “but now we see it as a diatreme hosted one. It’s another one of these areas that we’ll focus on in the upcoming program.” 


At Dorotea, only 1,000 metres from the Pit Area resource, drilling encountered a 34.5 metre intersection grading over 74 grams per tonne silver as well as a considerable amount of lead and zinc.  


In fact, Dorotea is shaping up to be a very interesting zone for Kootenay and metallurgical testing is currently focusing on it to determine what sort of recoveries can be expected from the material. If a good resource with favourable metallurgy can be proven up here it will make a significant contribution as the company constructs a preliminary economic model and moves towards pre-feasibility.


Kootenay will also conduct infill drilling to upgrade the considerable inferred resource at Promontorio to the measured and indicated categories. At present Promontorio has a NI 43-101 inferred resource of 9.7 million tonnes of material at an average grade of 46.36 grams per tonne silver equivalent, for 14.5 million silver equivalent ounces.  


Once again the Kootenay team has been able successfully to complete a large financing despite difficult market conditions, and the funds are already being put to good use with the intention of repeating the dramatic resource upgrade delivered in August.  


With money in the bank and no shortage of targets to drill, Kootenay Silver is on good footing to deliver another boost to the resource at Promontorio in 2013. Meanwhile, metallurgical testing, baseline studies, hydrologic testing, and oriented core holes to aid in preliminary pit design are all underway. Next year should open with some strong newsflow.