ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., March 15, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Santa Fe Gold Corporation (OTC:SFEG), a U.S.-based mining and exploration enterprise with emphasis on Gold, Silver, Copper, Precious, Industrial and Base metals and owner of multiple claims, including the Malone Mines complex incorporating 20 associated mine sites, the Playas Lake Bed area of Hidalgo County, New Mexico and recently optioned silver mine with a potential major Porphyry Silver discovery, is pleased to announce it is preparing to mine and stockpile ore from its newly optioned high grade silver mining property, Malone Mines Complex and several other properties as yet unannounced. Preliminary studies indicate the presence of a significant vein system above a possible major Porphyry Silver Deposit located beneath and adjacent to the upper epithermal vein system as well as economically viable grades at the Malone Mines Complex and other mining properties now under Santa Fe Gold's control.
Santa Fe Gold is currently developing feed stock to begin production efforts utilizing various types’ economically viable ore deposits, as well as some uncommonly high grade ores over the coming months. Production methods contemplated to begin during 2017 include conventional mining and milling, placer production (both wet and dry) and underground mining with direct smelting and leaching.
Mining, Stockpiling and Production Rates
All of the material being acquired, researched, analyzed and assembled during this phase of the restart of operations are located in the South Western US and are easily accessible with excellent transportation links.
Available ore for milling operations will primarily come from the Malone Mines Complex, the Porphyry Silver Mine Deposit and several other recently acquired additional mining properties, as yet unannounced.
The all important near term objective is to have 200 tons per day of mill feed ready for processing for the 2nd half 2017, expected to begin mining operations for startup in Santa Fe's fiscal year 2017 - 2018.
Daily feed needs will increase to 400 tons per day in due course thereafter as higher levels of production and processing allow for increasing maximum efficiency through gradual scaling up to full optimization.
Ore availability at the Malone Mines Complex is currently being evaluated for their suitability for near term production. Management has acquired all of the cores and extensive data from a major drilling program undertaken during 2008 and 2009. Indications and analysis from the drilling results, suggest that economically minable quantities of both gold and silver exist in size at the historic site. Ore grades as high as 0.60 ounces per ton gold and 11.6 ounces per ton silver are indicated in this drilling and study. Larger portions of the ore body range from .08 to .21 ounces per ton Gold and 1 to 4 ounces per ton silver.
Once the geophysical information is completely analyzed and ore body sizes are established, an outside professional mining contractor will be employed to open the property and ensure that maximum production is achieved rapidly and propitiously. Permitting is also expected to be completed within the anticipated time line ahead of operations and preparations for commencement of production.
High Grade Silver Mine and Porphyry Silver Deposit
A second property, located above and adjacent to a potentially sizable Porphyry Silver discovery is currently under evaluation for start up of mining operations. The analysis will include trenching of a vein that is at the surface followed by further drilling once the vein directions and dimensions can be determined. Management is currently evaluating the most efficient use of available new funding to ensure that the drilling program is focused primarily on known and recently identified veins. The geology of the district has historically demonstrated unusually high grade vein structures near the surface as well as underground. Preliminary exploration and excavation work on the property yielded samples with over 400 ounces per ton of Silver within the epithermal vein system. More detailed research and analysis of the property has further indicated the existence of ore samples in excess of 2,000 ounces per ton silver concentrated within the particularly promising exceptionally high grade vein structures, as is common in epithermal systems.
The most favored production methods available for processing such high grade ore would likely be direct smelting of higher grade material (ore in excess of 200 ounce per ton silver). A cost analysis of the direct smelting approach is currently underway. Lower grade ores (< 200 opt ounces per ton) will be available to feed a mill or direct sale to known outsider purchaser(s).
Additional Properties and Revenue Opportunities
Two other properties, as yet unannounced, are also being considered for development of feed stock for milling. As ore types are identified and become available for production, the most applicable and efficient methods of production will be employed. In addition to conventional mining and milling, management is researching leaching methods that fit the ore types along with gravity treatment of the available placer ores, with emphasis on direct smelting as the leading production method for treatment of all higher grade ores.
Later this year, it is anticipated that substantial production will be sourced from all of these properties and additional revenues are contemplated from other sources, including direct sale of high yield tailings that Santa Fe Gold also already has under its control or under acquisition. Additionally, royalties that will potentially accrue to the benefit of Santa Fe Gold and its shareholders will likely become a highly important and substantial additional new revenue source, in return for acting as operators or a significant high grade, high output, unconventional and evolving processing operation currently under evaluation and development.
President and CEO Tom Laws Comments:
Santa Fe Gold has been very active behind the scenes during the first quarter of 2017 and anticipates announcing several highly significant additional mine acquisitions in the very near future. We are delighted with the progress achieved so far, most especially with the exceptional results thus far encountered at our newly optioned high grade silver mine This great new property will likely become the flagship mine for Santa Fe Gold Corporation. As outlined previously, given the dimensions, structures and uniqueness of this property, it is increasingly likely that production can begin later in 2017.
Early results are extremely promising and well beyond expectations regarding the consistency of grade, quality and quantity of material and extent of reserves. While determining and evaluating the full extent of the existence of the significant Porphyry Silver formation will take some time and substantive development work, it would indeed add enormous potential and major additional value to this mine.
Overview of Property
The property (see link below 'Geologic Setting') is located in the South Western US and comprises patented and un-patented claims amounting to some 200 acres. Santa Fe Gold has already completed phase one of its intended drilling program and plans additional drilling that is already ongoing to further determine the entire dimension, magnitude and extent of this unusually high grade deposit's numerous vein structures. The estimated size of the deposit could be in excess of 3.06 million tons of ore, and recently completed assays suggest that some ore vein values could be worth in the thousands of dollars per ton.
Santa Fe Gold is already negotiating with potential buyers ready to purchase ore delivered at the mine site.
Potential to Differentiate from other Mines
President and CEO Tom Laws previously commented: "This is an exceptional property with several untapped veins containing very high grade silver ore and numerous native silver specimens not found anywhere else in the world. The property is located in one of the most highly mineralized areas anywhere on Earth. The geology indicates that an occurrence of exceptionally high grade ore this size is the result of a halo effect caused by being nearby or beneath a large 'Porphyry Silver' deposit formation. This explains the anomalous high grades as already displayed in these rare occurrences and specimens. It is well known that “Porphyry” deposits exist throughout the district. Santa Fe Gold's consulting geologist has identified evidence of an undeveloped “Porphyry” deposit quite close to or beneath this exceptional property."
The mining district lies in the Laramide Arizona-Sonora-New Mexico porphyry copper belt. It is the oldest porphyry copper deposit in the state; although the Piños Altos pluton is ca. 74.4 Ma (McDowell, 1971) and a Georgetown monzonite dike has been dated as ca. 71 Ma (McLemore, 1998), both of which have associated Cu-Au-Ag skarn or Ag carbonate-hosted replacement deposits. The Twin Peaks monzonite porphyry in the Burro Mountains is 72.5 Ma (Hedlund, 1980) and a hornblende andesite in the Hidalgo Formation in the Little Hatchet Mountains is 71.4 Ma (Lawton et al., 1993). Polymetallic veins and alteration suggests that a porphyry may underlie the Lordsburg district (57.4 Ma, McLemore et al., 2000a). Porphyry copper deposits are not known to occur in these areas, but certainly the possibility exists that the deposits may occur undiscovered in the subsurface.
For more information courtesy of geoinfo.nmt.edu, please go to: https://geoinfo.nmt.edu/staff/mclemore/projects/mineralresources/hillsboro.html
In light of this and the discovery indicated and potential existence of a substantial porphyry deposit, Santa Fe Gold’s consulting geologist believes the project has considerable merit and potential in line with the overview detailed above.
Early Production Plans Underway
Mr. Laws further commented: "Plans to begin production as soon as possible are already gathering pace. We now believe substantial revenues can be generated from this mine over multiple years, possibly as much as a seven year mine life, with revenues derived through the dual processing both from the smelting of high grade ore and direct delivery of suitable ore to a refiner or purchaser.
Given the new calculations projecting the ore body's potential seven (7) year mine life and the dimensions and extent of the vein structures, the company is confident and optimistic this mine has the potential to be a significant producer and the flagship property for the company. Santa Fe Gold is confident this property can now be brought into production relatively quickly."
Highly Promising Initial Assay Results
The area in general and its surroundings, (refer to link above) has a history of exceptionally high grades. This was borne out by previous high grade discoveries reported by Santa Fe Gold in 2012.
Assays showed bonanza type high grades of 7.73 ounces of gold per ton and 269.75 ounces per ton of Silver. Such exceptionally high grades are rare and could be considered an anomaly, yet they prove such grades exist. Similar high grade showings have recently been uncovered, as borne out by recent assays. In the past, grades as high as 16 oz. per ton have historically been encountered in the Malone Mines Complex, which Santa Fe Gold now controls and some 80% of all the gold discovered in New Mexico has been found. Also worth noting, these newly acquired properties are located close to properties controlled by both BHP and Rio Tinto. These are two of the world's largest mining companies. The two companies fairly recently staked claim to very substantial territories extending some 20 square miles over a wide area.
Ongoing Acquisitions Update
Santa Fe Gold has a pipeline of ongoing additional acquisitions of other high grade properties. Further announcements can be expected over the coming weeks and months. The company continues to execute on its value accumulation strategy. Santa Fe Gold intends to build on these acquisitions to solidly recapitalize the company as a precursor to resuming mining and production operations from multiple mines, as early as possible in the near to intermediate future.
Mr. Laws went on to emphasize: "Santa Fe Gold's immediate goal is to complete the drilling of this new high grade mine deposit as quickly as possible and publish the drilling results and more detailed assays which can be expected over the coming weeks that will help determine and outline the ongoing production plans for this property."
Ore from this and other properties will be prepared for production in the most efficient way possible to ensure profitably and monetization of this important discovery and all mining operations to the fullest extent.
Other properties will follow, while adhering steadfastly and with the utmost diligence and disciplines to Santa Fe Gold's stated mission:
"Selecting only the very highest grade, highest quality and prospective deposits capable of sustaining ongoing mining operations well into the future." The Company's goal is to produce significant cash flow from precious metals holdings while creating a portfolio of high quality exploration and bankable development projects that will ensure future revenue growth.
Audit Completion and Release of Financials Imminent
In closing, Mr. Laws concluded: "While the financials have been virtually complete for some time, numerous final reviews and revisions have continued to delay the final release. An extraordinary effort is underway to obtain the final sign off on this audit and ensure its release forthwith."
Therefore, the filings can be expected at any time. Once the audited financials are all filed, the company will then be considered up to date and in compliance. This will enable the company to migrate from its current exchange to the higher OTCQB Exchange Marketplace.
About Santa Fe Gold
Santa Fe Gold is a U.S.-based mining and exploration enterprise and owns the following mining assets: The Knight’s Peak region of Grant County, New Mexico comprising the Malone Mines, Patanka, Hillcrest Barranca and Principal Mines altogether incorporating some twenty mine sites and all located at Knight’s Peak together with an extensive expanded area surrounding the Malone Mines in the southern region of Burro Mountains, New Mexico. It also owns multiple claims in the Playas area of Hidalgo County, New Mexico. The company has also acquired considerable additional resources expected to be announced in due course that currently amounts to some 53 Million tons. It also just announced the optioning of a new and exceptionally high grade property and Santa Fe’s Exploration and Development Team has been extremely active in acquiring additional properties over recent months as it continues to analyze a number of attractive, economically viable opportunities and execute on the company's acquisition program that is totally focused on positioning the company to resume mining and production operations expected later this year .
For more information and to register for updates: Please visit www.santafegoldcorp.com.
Forward Looking Statements
Please refer to the Forward Looking Statements link at the bottom left of Santa Fe Gold's website for all relevant disclosures.
Contact Frank Mueller, CFO 505-255-4852 firstname.lastname@example.org