Almaden Minerals Ltd. ("Almaden" or "the Company") is pleased to report on the on-going exploration activities at the Company's 100% owned Tuligtic project and Ixtaca Zone. A Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") is currently being prepared by the independent engineering consultant groups Knight Piesold Ltd. and Moose Mountain Technical Services.
On the project, the Company has commenced drilling operations. Currently one drill is working on a geo-mechanical data gathering program required for potential future studies. Geotechnical holes are also planned as part of this engineering focussed drill program. A second drill has been working on a small infill drilling program which is about to finish. For the remainder of 2014, Almaden plans to focus drilling on high-priority gold-silver exploration targets located near the Ixtaca deposit. These targets, defined by epithermal alteration, surface anomalous geochemistry and geophysics, are considered by the Company to represent unique opportunities for discovery adjacent to the Ixtaca deposit, a blind drilling discovery made by Almaden in 2010. Other work currently underway includes environmental baseline studies and more advanced metallurgical test work.
J. Duane Poliquin, chairman of Almaden commented: "Our recently reported updated mineral resource estimate is the basis of a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) which is well underway. While engineering studies will be the emphasis of this year's work program, we are excited to start testing high priority exploration targets on the property."
About the Ixtaca Drilling Program and the Ixtaca Project
The 100% owned Ixtaca Zone is a blind discovery made by the Company in 2010 on claims staked by the Company. The deposit is an epithermal gold-silver deposit, mostly hosted by veins in carbonate units and crosscutting dykes ("basement rocks") with a minor component of disseminated mineralisation hosted in overlying volcanic rocks. In January, 2014 (For complete details see Almaden news release of January 22, 2014) the Company announced an updated resource for the Ixtaca Zone. The Company has selected Moose Mountain Technical Services to lead a PEA on the Ixtaca deposit. Knight Piesold Ltd. will provide certain engineering and environmental design inputs for the PEA and have been retained to help the Company with long lead item studies concerning environmental monitoring, assessment and permitting matters. Apart from drilling planned for 2014, work underway currently includes additional metallurgical studies, environmental baseline monitoring such as flora and fauna studies, climate monitoring, water quality sampling and surface water hydrology monitoring, a geochemistry program, and scoping level engineering studies. The updated resource will form the basis of a PEA to be completed in the coming months. In 2014 the Company anticipates redirecting drilling efforts to the exploration of high priority epithermal targets outside of the Ixtaca Zone but within the project's claim boundaries.
The Ixtaca deposit and any potential mining operation would be located in an area previously logged or cleared with negligible to no current land usage. The Company currently employs roughly 70 people in its exploration program who live local to the Ixtaca deposit. Local employees make up virtually all the drilling staff, who have been trained on the job to operate the Company's wholly owned drills. The Company has implemented a comprehensive science based and objective community relations and education program for employees and all local stakeholders to transparently explain the exploration program underway as well as the potential impacts and benefits of any possible future mining operation at Ixtaca. The Company regards the local inhabitants to be major stakeholders in the Ixtaca deposit's future along with the Company's shareholders. Every effort is being made to create an open and clear dialogue with our stakeholders to ensure that any possible development scenarios that could evolve from the anticipated PEA are properly understood and communicated throughout the course of the Company's exploration and development program. The Company invites all interested parties to visit www.almadenminerals.com to find out more about our community development, education and outreach programs.
QAQC and Reporting
On February 28th, 2014 Almaden filed an updated NI 43-101 Tuligtic Project Mineral Resource Update Technical Report on SEDAR, which contains details of the mineral resource estimate. The report was authored by Kris Raffle, P.Geo. of APEX Geoscience Ltd., and Gary Giroux, M.A.Sc., P.Eng. of Giroux Consultants Ltd., both of whom act as independent consultants to the Company and are Qualified Persons as defined by National Instrument 43-101 ("NI 43-101"). The analyses used in the preparation of the resource statement were carried out at ALS Chemex Laboratories of North Vancouver using industry standard analytical techniques. For gold, samples are first analysed by fire assay and atomic absorption spectroscopy ("AAS"). Samples that return values greater than 10 g/t gold using this technique are then re-analysed by fire assay but with a gravimetric finish. Silver is first analysed by Inductively Coupled Plasma - Atomic Emission Spectroscopy ("ICP-AES"). Samples that return values greater than 100 g/t silver by ICP-AES are then re analysed by HF-HNO3-HCLO4 digestion with HCL leach and ICP-AES finish. Of these samples those that return silver values greater than 1,500 g/t are further analysed by fire assay with a gravimetric finish. Blanks, field duplicates and certified standards were inserted into the sample stream as part of Almaden's quality assurance and control program which complies with National Instrument 43-101 requirements. In addition to in-house QAQC measures employed by Almaden, Kris Raffle, P.Geo. completed an independent review of Almaden's drill hole and QAQC databases. The review included an audit of approximately 10% of drill core analyses used in the mineral resource estimate. A total of 10,885 database gold and silver analyses were verified against original analytical certificates. Similarly, 10% of the original drill collar coordinates and downhole orientation survey files were checked against those recorded in the database; and select drill sites were verified in the field by Kris Raffle, P.Geo. The QAQC audit included independent review of blank, field duplicate and certified standard analyses. All QAQC values falling outside the limits of expected variability were flagged and followed through to ensure completion of appropriate reanalyses. No discrepancies were noted within the drill hole database, and all QAQC failures were dealt with and handled with appropriate reanalyses. The mineral resource estimate referenced in this press release was prepared by Gary Giroux, P.Eng., an independent Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101. Morgan Poliquin, Ph.D., P.Eng., a qualified person under the meaning of 43-101 and the President and CEO of the Company, reviewed the technical information in this news release.
Almaden is a well-financed mineral exploration company working in North America. The company has assembled mineral exploration projects, including the Ixtaca Zone and the Tuligtic Project, through its grass roots exploration efforts. While the properties are largely at early stages of development they represent exciting opportunities for the discovery of significant gold, silver and copper deposits as evidenced at Ixtaca. Almaden's business model is to find and acquire mineral properties and develop them by seeking option agreements with others who can acquire an interest in a project by making payments and exploration expenditures. Through this means the company has been able to expose its shareholders to discovery and capital gain without the funding and consequent share dilution that would be required if the company were to have developed these projects without a partner. The company intends to expand this business model, described by some as prospect generation, by more aggressively exploring and developing several of its projects including the Ixtaca Zone.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors
Morgan J. Poliquin, Ph.D., P.Eng.
President, CEO and Director