GOLDEN, CO, Sep. 14, 2009 (Marketwire) -- Golden Minerals Company (TSX: AUM) (PINKSHEETS: GDMN) ("Golden Minerals" or "the Company") is pleased to provide an updated resource estimate for the Yaxtche central zone of the El Quevar project in the Salta Province of northwestern Argentina. The resource estimate in the Yaxtche central zone has increased by nearly 50% to 14.4 million ounces. The new resource estimate is based on a Canadian National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101") compliant technical report prepared by Chlumsky, Armbrust and Meyer, LLC ("CAM") dated August 15, 2009.
The CAM NI 43-101 compliant report demonstrates a resource estimate of 1.1 million tonnes of inferred resource at an average grade of 415.5 grams per tonne of silver, resulting in 14.4 million total contained ounces of silver, at a cutoff of 100 grams per tonne silver. At the same cut off grade, the initial El Quevar project NI 43-101 compliant technical report issued by SRK Consulting ("SRK") in January 2009 had a resource estimate of 1.4 million tonnes of indicated resource at an average grade of 195.0 grams per tonne of silver and 0.10 million tonnes of inferred resource at an average grade of 258.0 grams per tonne of silver, resulting in a total of 8.8 million contained ounces of silver in the indicated resource and 0.9 million contained ounces of silver in the inferred resource.
An 81 diamond drill hole data base was used in the CAM resource estimate which includes three additional drill holes to the data base used by SRK in its January 2009 report. The CAM resource estimate assumes selective underground mining with continuity along strike and down dip supported by geologic interpretation of all holes logged to date in the mineralized zone as compared to the earlier SRK estimate which assumed open pit mining. The Company is proceeding with feasibility work including permitting, metallurgical work, preliminary mine and plant design and planning for underground access to the mineralized zone.
To date, the Company has completed a total of 147 diamond drill holes, totaling about 26,000 meters at the El Quevar project, where the Company controls mineral and surface rights to approximately 64,000 hectares. A further update of the resource estimate is now being prepared that will include 141 drill holes for which assays have been received, resulting in an additional 60 drill holes not considered in the current CAM NI 43-101 compliant report. The additional drill holes include in-fill drilling in the Yaxtche central zone and holes in the west extension of the Yaxtche central zone. It is expected that this latest NI 43-101 compliant report with the inclusion of the additional drill holes will be available by early October.
"The Company will continue to advance this exciting greenfield project aggressively. We currently have two drills working at the project and two more are scheduled to be on site in a couple of weeks while our feasibility work continues," commented Jeffrey Clevenger, Chairman, President and CEO. "We look forward to the next resource update as the El Quevar project continues to improve in both size and grade."
Based on the results from recent drill holes the Company has increased its budget for additional spending at El Quevar by $3.5 million through the end of 2009. The increased spending will be for additional drilling to better define the resource in the west extension of the Yaxtche central zone and to obtain further information on the continuity of mineralization. Additional drilling will also be conducted on selected targets in the project area, including Viejo Campo. All of the drilling is designed to support feasibility work for the El Quevar project. Funding for the increased work will be provided by recently reported asset sales which were non strategic to the Company's future plans.
Silver mineralization at El Quevar is hosted within a broad, generally east-west-trending structural zone and occurs as a series of north-dipping parallel-sheeted vein zones, breccias and mineralized faults situated within an envelope of pervasively silicified brecciated volcanic rocks and intrusive breccias. The silver mineralization at the Yaxtche zone is of epithermal origin. The cross-cutting nature of the mineralization, the assemblage of sulfide and alteration minerals, and the presence of open spaces with euhedral minerals, all point to an origin at shallow to moderate depths (a few hundred meters below surface) from hydrothermal solutions.
Golden Minerals' exploration activities at the El Quevar project and the majority of drilling to date have been concentrated on the Yaxtche zone. The Yaxtche zone is located on mining concessions that are part of a joint venture with Hochschild Mining. Golden Minerals has earned a 65% interest in the venture and can increase this interest to 80% by completing a feasibility study by year-end 2010 and commencing production by year-end 2012.
The El Quevar project includes a total of 13 mineralized zones or target areas within the approximately 64,000 hectare concession area controlled by Golden Minerals. Drilling is now underway at the Viejo Campo target area where two hydrothermal breccia structures, the Jenna and the Pamela, have been identified. The Viejo Campo target is approximately six kilometers northwest of the main Yaxtche zone. Out of 45 surface samples taken at the Jenna structure, 26 returned an average of 164 grams per tonne of silver with one seven meter interval reporting 846 grams per tonne. The Jenna structure is approximately 600 meters in strike length. At the Pamela structure, which has an exposed strike length of approximately 150 meters, surface samples assayed up to 406 grams/tonne of silver and 1.27% lead. Preliminary results from four diamond drill holes completed as part of a first-stage drill program at the Viejo Campo target have returned up to 7.8 meters averaging 200 grams per tonne silver.
Two drills are currently operating at the El Quevar project, with two additional drills scheduled to arrive during September. The drill program is focused on infill drilling in the central and west areas of the Yaxtche zone to establish continuity, confirm structure, and to provide information for future updates of the resource estimate. The drilling information will also be used for engineering in support of a feasibility study. Drilling will also continue on other target areas within the El Quevar project, including Viejo Campo.
A drill hole location map and listing of all drill intercepts for the holes at El Quevar for which the Company has received and verified results are available at http://www.goldenminerals.com/.
Review by Qualified Person, Quality Control and Reports
The resource estimation was performed by Robert Sandefur, P. E. of Chlumsky, Armbrust and Meyer, LLC, a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101, who is independent of Golden Minerals. The mineral Resources and Reserves in this estimate were calculated using the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves, Definitions and Guidelines prepared by the CIM Standing Committee on Reserve Definitions and adopted by CIM Council on Dec 11, 2005.
Results of the Company's drilling program have been reviewed, verified, and compiled under the direction of the Company's Senior Vice President of Exploration, Robert Blakestad, M.Sc., P.Geo, L.P.G.; a Qualified Person for the purpose of Canada National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Blakestad has over 35 years of mineral exploration experience, is a Professional Geoscientist registered in Nova Scotia and a Licensed Professional Geologist in the state of Washington.
To ensure reliable sample results, Golden Minerals uses a QA/QC program that monitors the chain-of-custody of samples and includes the insertion of blanks, duplicates, and certified reference standards in each batch of samples. Core is photographed and sawn in half with one half retained in a secured facility for verification purposes. Sample preparation (crushing and pulverizing) is performed at an independent ISO 9001:2001 certified laboratory in Mendoza, Argentina. Prepared samples are direct-shipped to ISO 9001:2001 certified laboratories in Santiago, Chile or Vancouver, B.C. Pulp splits of mineralized intervals are re-assayed at certified independent referee laboratories in Chile and Canada.
The independent NI 43-101 technical reports are available on the Company's website.
About Golden Minerals
Golden Minerals is a Delaware corporation based in Golden, Colorado, primarily engaged in the advancement of its exploration projects and in providing mine management services. The Company has a robust portfolio of exploration projects, primarily located in Argentina, Peru and Mexico. The Company's experienced management team has proven in house ability to explore, develop and operate mining projects. Golden Minerals operates the San Cristobal mine in Bolivia for Sumitomo Corporation under a Management Services Agreement. The Company also plans to actively pursue growth through strategic opportunities, including acquisitions, joint ventures and asset consolidations, and by utilizing its experienced management team to provide mine services for fees and equity interests. The Company has no debt and receives revenue from the San Cristobal Management Services Agreement, royalties, and investments.
Cautionary Note regarding Estimates of Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resources: The United States Securities and Exchange Commission permits mining companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose only those mineral deposits that a company can economically and legally extract or produce. We use certain terms in this presentation, such as "indicated" and "inferred resources" that the SEC guidelines strictly prohibit us from including in our filings with the SEC. US investors are cautioned not to assume that any or all of measured, indicated or inferred resources are economically or legally mineable or that these resources will ever be converted into reserves. US investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our Form 10-K and other SEC filings. You can review and obtain copies of these filings from the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml.
Mineral resources which are not mineral reserves have not demonstrated economic viability. The estimate of mineral resources may be materially affected by environmental, permitting, legal, title, taxation, socio-political, marketing, or other relevant issues. The quantity and grade of reported inferred resources in this estimation are conceptual in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to define an indicated mineral resource on the property and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in discovery of an indicated or measured mineral resource on the property.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act, including statements regarding the exploration results and programs at the El Quevar Project, results of exploration activities, planned preparation and timing of a further update of the El Quevar resource estimate, planned exploration activities, and increased spending, funding of exploration spending, planned feasibility work and the possibility of earning an additional interest in El Quevar. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including results of exploration and whether the results support engineering and other feasibility work on El Quevar, changes in geological interpretations, whether surface sampling results are indicative of further exploration results, whether the additional drills arrive when anticipated, unexpected variations in ore grade, types and metallurgy, whether the resources reported will be converted to reserves and whether the resources reported, including information regarding contained ounces, will be reduced as additional exploration and feasibility work is completed, including feasibility work on processing alternatives and projected recovery rates, results of feasibility work and uncertainties regarding whether project feasibility will be supported, financial market conditions, failure to earn an additional interest in El Quevar, unexpected increases in costs of materials and supplies used in exploration activities, fluctuations in silver and other metal prices, technical and permitting issues, and the ability and success of the Company in raising adequate capital and implementing its plans. Golden Minerals Company assumes no obligation to update this information. Additional risks relating to Golden Minerals Company may be found in the periodic and current reports filed with the Securities Exchange Commission by Golden Minerals Company, including the Annual Report on Form 10-K of its predecessor for reporting purposes, Apex Silver Mines Limited, for the year ended December 31, 2008.