THOMPSON FALLS, Mont.--()--United States Antimony Corporation (“USAC”, NYSE MKT “UAMY”) reported the start up of the Los Juarez antimony/silver/gold property. Preliminary progress reports have been cautiously delayed due to surface mapping, analytic procedures and protocol, property acquisition, permitting, mining evaluation, trucking negotiations, mill preparations, mill feed grade determinations, mill evaluation and recovery, and smelting considerations. Although these results are preliminary, the Company believes there are no fatal flaws but cautions that many improvements will be made as operations ramp up.
Detailed mapping and surface sampling has delineated jasperoid mineralization over an essentially east-west strike length of 3.5 kilometers with a maximum width of 1 kilometer. All known previous work by Penoles, FIFOMI (a Mexican Government loan agency for miners), Consejo de Recursos Minerales (the Mexican Government Geological survey), and a third party company has been compiled and includes all the USAC mapping and sampling. The jasperoid zones are surrounded by limestone. The predominance of the mineralization is in the jasperoid, but additional mineralization has been sampled in the limestone. With the exception of weathered outcrops, the mineralization is all sulfide and will respond to flotation. The silver and gold is associated with antimony with minor amounts of the silver-gold signature elements. Originally management believed that the amount of silver and gold was related to the antimony content but have found that silver and gold is also with lower amounts of antimony. Surface outcrops have assayed as high as 46.6 ounces per metric ton (opt) silver, 0.4 opt gold, and 17.0% antimony although the average grade is much lower. Preliminary exploration indicates that this could be a deep-seated type of jasperoid and not a “manto” or layered deposit with a thickness of 5 meters as reported in Mexican literature. Two outlier jasperoid outcrops were found, one more than 2 kilometers to the south and one 1 kilometer to the north. USAC claims no proven or probable reserves at Los Juarez.
Mining has been started at six locations where the jasperoid is exposed. The plan is to cut the benches east-west along strike to determine continuity and grade. Initially, some 5,000 tons of dump rock was hauled, and another 3,000 tons was mined from fresh faces. Preliminary estimates indicate that 10 men can produce 100 tons per day using jack-leg drills. After establishing bigger benches, track drills and larger loading and hauling equipment should improve the 10 tons per man day ratio. Although the original plan was to selectively mine the higher grade antimony zones, initial mill samples indicated that even the lower grade antimony zones must also be mined due to their precious metal content.
Initial trucking from Los Juarez to the Puerto Blanco mill cost $25.00 per ton. The estimated cost to haul to an alternate mill site would be $10-$12 per ton, and this would represent a huge savings.
To prepare for the milling of the Los Juarez open-pit mine production, USAC installed a large jaw crusher and feeder, a larger cone crusher, a recycle water system, new water well pump, and a larger primary electric feed. An initial mill trial of 250 tons of dump rock from Los Juarez has been completed. The dump rock was badly diluted with soil from the mine and mud from the mill yard. The trial was conducted over a ten-day period during which the mill was stopped and started numerous times. For this reason we are reporting the range of values rather than weighted averages. The results were as follows:
|Range of head assays||0.47-1.12%||
3.26-6.38 ounces per metric ton
0.006-0.057 ounces per metric ton
|Range of tail assays||0.14-0.51%||
0.47-3.33 ounces per metric ton
0.018-0.077 ounces per metric ton
|Range of concentrate assays||32.5-44.4%||
270.8-306.86 ounces per metric ton
|0.46-0.6 ounces per metric ton|
|Average grade of concentrates||38.6%||288.9 ounces per metric ton||0.548 ounces per metric ton|
Remarks based on initial testing results, management believes the following (although no assurances can be given that such assumptions will be realized):
1. The initial run is preliminary but has revealed some very important items.
2. The antimony, silver, and gold are recoverable by flotation methods.
3. Silver and gold are recoverable even if the antimony is not visible.
4. Lower grades of antimony contain appreciable silver and gold, and this will mandate milling rock with lower grades of antimony.
5. The main diluent in the concentrates is carbonaceous material. In the future, the carbonaceous material will be depressed and this should bring the antimony grade up in the 60% category with corresponding increases in the silver and gold content.
6. The concentrate grade is excellent and should become even better.
7. Gold appears to be uniform in grade in the concentrate, and although head and tail assays are erratic, a predictable gold grade should be available.
8. It was determined that wet chemical analytic procedures for low grade antimony were unreliable due to iron, and the Company is now using ICP and XRF equipment.
9. Recovery will be improved by grinding finer, and will be followed by 2 shifts of milling per day.
10. Milling lower grades would favor a larger mill closer to the deposit. This could save as much as $15 per ton. The existing Puerto Blanco mill will be used for satellite producers.
Preliminary testing of the concentrates for smelting has indicated good recovery and an excellent product grade. Now that we have been licensed to double the capacity of the Madero smelter, no delays are anticipated in the smelting of the concentrate.
John Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Production at the Los Juarez silver, antimony and gold property has begun. With more than 10,000 tons of mill feed inventory, the next issue will be greater mill capacity. This will require the establishment of reserves satisfactory to management by extending the benches in the pit, core drilling, and possible underground development.”
Forward Looking Statements:
This Press Release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that are based upon current expectations or beliefs, as well as a number of assumptions about future events, including matters related to the Company's operations, pending contracts and future revenues. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements and the assumptions upon which they are based are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations and assumptions will prove to have been correct. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, as these statements are subject to numerous factors and uncertainties. In addition, other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are discussed in the Company's most recent filings, including Form 10-KSB with the Securities and Exchange Commission.