Old mine holds new prospects
It’s been more than 50 years since artisanal miners trekked through the rugged Andean cordillera of Chile in search of precious metals and judging from what they left behind, they weren’t too successful in their attempts.
Broken tools, abandoned structures, a few make-shift leaching ponds and literally, a couple of holes in the wall, are about all that indicates any presence of mining.
In fact, the site is so rustic at 3,750 m above sea level and lacking in any signs of modern technology that one would think it was operated by a family of miners armed with little more than picks and shovels.
But all of that is about to change as Nexindio Mining Corporation of Toronto picks up where earlier explorationists quit as they now search the old site in earnest for the region’s vast reserves of gold, silver and copper.
How vast is yet to be determined but early indicators tell Nexindio Mining that its 1,850 ha Hediondas property, in proximity to Barrick Gold Corp’s emerging Pascua-Lama high-sulfidation epithermal Au-Ag deposit (containing 27 million ounces of gold (equivalent)), has all of the potential to also be one of great discoveries of the region.
Supporting this optimism is the fact that the Hediondas deposits occur in the same El Indio mineral belt as Barrick’s Pascua-Lama deposit; the third largest deposit of this type in the world. It’s deemed a world-class metallogenic territory where more than 50 million ounces of gold have been delineated to date.
Knowing that porphyry-Cu mineralization is closely connected to epithermal Au-Ag mineralization genetically and that both high grade Cu mineralization as well as strong porphyry-style alteration exists on the property, Nexindio is confident of potential to uncover a significant porphyry-Cu deposit below the shallow old mine workings and low-grade epithermal mineralization previously discovered on the property by Newmont. All Cu targets on the property remain undrilled.
High-grade veins, composed chiefly of auriferous enargite, exist on the Nexindio property where reported average grades include 9.5% Cu, 218 g/t Ag and 1.03 g/t Au.
Based on this information, the company is confident there are two types of mineralization on the property. The first is epithermal Au-Ag mineralization as either a high-grade vein system similar to El Indio and/or as low-grade disseminated mineralization similar to Pascua-Lama.
High-grade veins that have seen limited past production are also known to exist on the Hediondas property.
The second type of mineralization that is thought to exist on the property is porphyry-Cu mineralization. Traditionally, the El Indio belt has not been known for having a high potential to host this type of mineralization.
Roughly 150 km to the south at Peregrine Metals’ Altar project, epithermal mineralization that carries up to 20 g/t Au occurs above significant porphyry-Cu mineralization. This, along with recent drilling about 7 km east of the Hediondas property, in Argentina, resulted in 142 m of 1.11 g/t Au-equivalent beginning 22 m down-hole.
As mentioned earlier, this property high in the Chilean mountains overlooking Argentina, has all the potential of becoming a major discovery and once again serves to show that Canadians know no borders when it comes to making world-class discoveries.