VANCOUVER, Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - Focus Ventures Ltd. (TSXV: FCV.V) is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement to acquire an 80% interest in the Santa Cruz Project located in the State of Durango, Mexico. The agreement covers 13,350 hectares of mining claims over a system of robust and high-grade epithermal silver veins and breccias that occur within a corridor 9km long and 2km wide. The historic Santa Cruz Mine, which exploited similar veins and breccias, dates back to the late 1700's, although the region remains relatively unexplored with very limited modern exploration and drilling.
Recent discoveries of high grade silver veins in the eastern part of the Project have highlighted major potential for additional discoveries, where vein zones such as the San Pablo - La Fragua - Orozco trend can be traced for over 3km along strike, including widths of individual zones up to 30m on surface. Underground sampling by Focus at the newly discovered El Padre vein located some 2.2km further east returned grades from trace to 1,440 g/t Ag and 1 g/t Au over 0.9m within broad zones of epithermal breccias up to 8m wide.
The Santa Cruz project lies within the Silver Lake Trend, a polymetallic belt that hosts several operating and past producing gold and silver mines. Goldcorp's San Dimas epithermal gold-silver mine is one of the most significant precious metal deposits in Mexico. District-wide historical production is estimated at 655 million ounces (Moz) of silver and 9.33Moz of gold, confirming it as a world-class epithermal mining province. Fresnillo Plc's Ciénega mine, which produced an estimated 1.2Moz of silver in 2010*, is approximately 50km northwest of Santa Cruz. The Metates deposit (Chesapeake Gold Corp, TSX:CKG) is located 25km northwest of Santa Cruz and is one of the world's largest undeveloped gold-silver resources with 24.5Moz of gold equivalent ounces in the measured and indicated resources, and 3.6Moz in the inferred category.**
David Cass, President of Focus Ventures, comments: "This is a significant new acquisition for Focus which gives the Company access to an unusually large and strongly mineralized land position in the heart of one of Mexico's principal mining regions. The deal will broaden the Company's geographical focus into another of the world's most fertile gold and silver geological belts, and our presence in Mexico will provide the Company an additional platform to grow and diversify its portfolio of quality mining properties."
Under the terms of the Agreement with a local Mexican mining company, Focus has the option to acquire 80% of the Santa Cruz Project by defining 15Moz of Silver Equivalent resources in the Inferred Category within 4 years, and by paying the owner a total of $20,000,000 cash, of which $40,000 is payable on signing of the agreement (paid), and $20,000 is payable every 6 months while the option is outstanding. Upon exercise of the option, Focus must pay the owner the remaining cash balance owing and grant the owner a 3% NSR on future production. The Agreement also grants Focus right of first preference to the historic Santa Cruz and Zambraneña mines (201 hectares) located in the west and central parts of the Santa Cruz Project.
Santa Cruz - New Discoveries
The Santa Cruz Project is located in the western flank of the Sierra Madre Occidental Volcanic Province. Mineralization consists of veins and breccias (intermediate and low sulphidation) extending over a strike length of at least 9km, historically termed the West, Central and Eastern Districts. Precious metal mineralization is typically hosted in banded and smoky quartz veins and breccias associated with mainly argentite, electrum and sulphosalts.
Recently discovered high grade silver veins have highlighted the potential in the Eastern District to discover new veins by surface exploration and drilling. This part of the Santa Cruz Project will be the main focus of the initial work program by Focus.
The El Padre, Don Blas and Renata veins were discovered within the last year in the Eastern District, along trend from the San Pablo - La Fragua - Orozco structure. The El Padre vein has been traced for 500m on surface and is now undergoing small scale, artisanal production by the claim owners, a local Mexican mining company. Underground sampling by Focus at El Padre returned high grade assays from trace to 1,460 g/t Ag and trace to 2.2 g/t Au within broader zones of low grade quartz breccias and stockworks up to 8m wide.
Highlights of this sampling include 775 g/t Ag + 0.2 g/t Au over 1.1m, 733 g/t Ag + 0.7 g/t Au over 1.8m, and 591 g/t Ag + 1.1 g/t Au over 2.3m. The El Padre structure is open along strike and at depth.
The San Pablo - La Fragua - Orozco trend consists of 8 known veins and splays located along a major silicified shear associated with at least two parallel fault zones. Past production at La Fragua of direct-shipping high grade silver, gold and copper ore saw grades of 3,200 g/t Ag, 27 g/t Au and 33% Cu, similar to those mined historically in the Santa Cruz Mine located in the Western District. Through surface exploration and drilling, there is excellent potential to define resources along the La Fragua - Orozco structure and also through the discovery of new parallel veins similar to El Padre.
Limited previous drilling in 2005 along the La Fragua - Orozco structure appears to have tested for disseminated mineralization. Four holes were drilled at wide spacings over a strike distance of 1.7km. All holes intersected mineralization, including narrow, high grade and wider, low grade disseminated intervals. e.g. 464 g/t Ag + 0.12 g/t Au + 2.71% Zn over 3.0m in Hole SC-2, (112m-115m), and 76 g/t Ag + 1.07% Zn over 19m in Hole SC-5 (101m - 120m).
The near surface mineralization at Santa Cruz is typically silver rich and hosted by breccias, indicating a high level in the epithermal system. Evident in the historic Santa Cruz Mine and other nearby epithermal districts such as Ciénega, high silver grades in the upper part of the system often give way to high gold grades at depth along with sulphide content and improved vein continuity.
The planned work program at Santa Cruz will commence immediately and comprise systematic soil and rock chip sampling, trenching and alteration studies. This Stage 1 program is designed to identify new mineralized veins and better define the extensions of the known mineralized structures, controls on grade distribution, and the location of high-grade bonanza shoots. This information will be used to design a 10,000m drill program planned for Stage 2 in 2012.
A PowerPoint presentation will be available shortly on Focus' website at www.focusventuresltd.com
A finder's fee is payable consisting of US$15,000 cash and the issuance of up to 3.0 million warrants exercisable at a price of CAD$0.30 for a period of 5 years. The majority of the warrants may not be exercised until Focus has exercised its option to acquire the property. Shares acquired on exercise of the warrants may be sold only on the basis of a maximum of 25% every 6 months following the date of exercise. The finder's fee is subject to TSX Venture Exchange approval.
Sampling Quality Analysis and Quality Control
Gold was assayed by Atomic Adsorption Spectrometry with fire assay gravimetric finish. Silver was determined by multi-acid digestion and ICP-AES, with fire assay gravimetric finish. ALS Chemex's quality control system complies with International Standards ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 17025:2005. Analytical accuracy and precision are monitored by the analysis of reagent blanks, reference material and replicate samples. Quality control is further assured by Focus's own QA/QC program which involves the insertion by Focus personnel of blind certified standards and blanks into the sample stream at regular intervals in order to independently assess analytical precision and accuracy of each batch of samples as they are received from the laboratory. Finally, representative sample pulps are forwarded to an ISO-compliant third party laboratory for additional quality control.
The scientific and technical information in this release was prepared under the supervision of Mr. David Cass, Focus's President, who is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, and a "Qualified Person" in accordance with NI 43-101.
About Focus Ventures
Focus Ventures is acquiring drill-ready projects in Peru & Mexico. Backed by an experienced technical team of geologists and consultants, Focus's strategy is to identify and acquire former producing mines or un-tested gold and silver properties that show potential to become new mines.
** Refer to Sedar: June 4, 2010 Technical Report NI 43-101, compliant resource estimate prepared by Independent Mining Consultants of Tucson, Arizona). Equivalent Gold= Gold+Silver/65 Measured Resource: 216, 199 ktonnes @0.923 g/t Eq Au; Indicated Resource: 719,938 ktonnes @ 0.775 g/t Eq Au; Inferred Resource: 135,315 ktonnes @ 0.821 g/t Eq Au.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
David Cass, President
Contact: Erin Ostrom / Ralph Rushton
Shares Issued: 29.3-million
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Some of the statements in this news release contain forward-looking information that involves inherent risk and uncertainty affecting the business of Focus Ventures Ltd. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statement.
SOURCE Focus Ventures Ltd.