Southern Empire Resources Corp. (“Southern Empire”; TSX-V: SMP) is pleased to announce continued progress in exploration permitting for its Oro Cruz Project located in Imperial County, southeastern California.
Southern Empire submitted an Exploration Plan of Operations (EPO) for the Oro Cruz Project to the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on September 28, 2020. The BLM have now completed their procedural review of the EPO and, effective November 16, 2021, determined it to be administratively and technically complete and consistent with U.S. federal regulations.
Southern Empire’s proposed surface exploration at Oro Cruz, as set forth in the EPO, includes:
- The establishment of as many as 65 surface drill pads for Reverse Circulation (RC) and core drilling
- The establishment of surface laydown facilities for underground rehabilitation, exploration and development
- Construction of approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) of new, temporary access roads
- Improvement of approximately 3.2 kilometres (2.0 miles) of existing access roads
The BLM decision regarding the EPO is a key step forward in Southern Empire’s plans to confirm and expand known gold-mineralized zones at Oro Cruz, a brownfields site with a long history of mining dating up to 1996, where historical exploration operations yielded significant drill intercepts* including:
- 7 meters of 20.9 grams gold per tonne (g Au/t) (35 feet (ft) of 0.611 oz gold/ton (opt)
- 4 meters of 10.1 g Au/t (37.5 ft of 0.294 opt)
- 2 meters of 13.4 g Au/t (40 ft of 0.391 opt)
- 9 meters of 23.1 g Au/t (22.5 ft of 0.675 opt)
- 4 meters of 17.9 g Au/t (27.5 ft of 0.523 opt)
- 6 meters of 15.9 g Au/t (25 ft of 0.465 opt)
* Please refer to Southern Empire’s NI 43-101 technical report by Hrdy, dated September 30, 2019, as filed on SEDAR
Dale Wallster, CEO of Southern Empire, commented: “Receiving this crucial BLM decision is an important milestone for us in the exploration and development of Oro Cruz. I thank the BLM, our technical team and our consultants for their diligent archaeological, cultural and environmental permitting efforts to date.”
The BLM decision does not constitute authorization for Southern Empire to implement its exploration plans immediately; rather, it allows for the initiation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review process. Stantec Environmental Consulting has been selected by the BLM to perform an Environmental Assessment (EA) for NEPA. Following preparation and submission of the requisite NEPA documentation to the BLM, these filings and supporting technical documentation will be made available for public comment.
Also important to the Oro Cruz permitting process is the Imperial County Planning Department (ICPD). The ICPD requires an environmental study consistent and parallel with NEPA pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The ICPD is in the process of selecting a third-party environmental consultant for this work. Additionally, SMP has developed and submitted a Reclamation Plan to the ICPD as per the guidelines of California’s Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) and awaits their review.
Del Fortner, Southern Empire’s permitting co-ordinator, commented: “We very much appreciate the BLM’s positive response to date. Southern Empire is committed to transparency, environmental stewardship and community engagement. As can be seen in our Exploration Plan of Operations, we take our commitment to preserving the natural and cultural environment seriously and are working with the BLM, Imperial County and the local Native American communities to address any and all concerns and explain the basis for our future project developments. We look forward to future engagement with all stakeholders and public input in the NEPA process.”
The scientific and technical information contained in this news release has been prepared, reviewed and approved by David Tupper, P.Geo. (British Columbia), Southern Empire’s VP Exploration and a Qualified Person (QP) within the context of Canadian Securities Administrators’ National Instrument 43-101; Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (NI 43-101).
About Southern Empire Resources Corp.
Southern Empire is focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of metals and minerals deposits in North America.
In the Cargo Muchacho mountains of Imperial County, California, Southern Empire owns 100 per cent of the historical gold-producing American Girl mine property and holds options to acquire a 100-per-cent interest in the adjacent 2,160-hectare (5,338-acre) Oro Cruz property located approximately 22.5 kilometres (14 miles) southeast of the operating Mesquite gold mine of Equinox Gold Corp.
At Oro Cruz, extensive historical drilling and large-scale open-pit and underground mining of the American Girl, Padre y Madre, Queen and Cross oxide gold deposits by the American Girl Mining Joint Venture (AGMJV; ultimately owned 53 per cent by MK Gold Company and 47 per cent by Hecla Mining Company) occurred between 1987 and 1996. During that time, gold was recovered by either heap leaching of lower-grade, or milling of higher-grade ores until AGMJV operations ceased in late 1996 because of declining gold prices leaving the Oro Cruz property with many gold exploration targets in addition to the historical inferred resource estimate, reported In 2011 by Lincoln Mining Corp., totalling 341,800 ounces gold based on 4,386,000 tonnes averaging 2.2 grams gold per tonne at a cut-off grade of 0.68 g/t Au (4,835,000 tons at 0.07 ounce gold per ton; Please refer to the Cautionary Notice Regarding the Oro Cruz Property Historical Resource Estimate below).
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Southern Empire Resources Corp.,
Dale Wallster, CEO and Director
Cautionary Notice on Forward-Looking Information
Information provided in this news release may contain forward-looking information or forward-looking statements that are based on assumptions as of the date of this news release. Such information or statements reflect management’s current estimates, beliefs, intentions and expectations and are not guarantees of future performance. Southern Empire cautions that all forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain and that actual performance may be affected by a number of material factors, many of which are beyond its respective control. Such factors include, among other things: risks and uncertainties relating to Southern Empire limited operating history, the need to comply with environmental and governmental regulations, results of exploration programs on its projects and those risks and uncertainties identified in its annual and interim financial statements and management discussion and analysis. Accordingly, actual and future events, conditions and results may differ materially from the estimates, beliefs, intentions and expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking information. Except as required under applicable securities legislation, Southern Empire undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise forward-looking information
Cautionary Notice Regarding Historical Resource Estimate
The historical resource estimate outlined above is disclosed in a technical report dated April 29, 2011, prepared for Lincoln Mining Corp. by Tetra Tech, Inc. and filed on Canadian Securities Administrators’ System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR). It is termed an inferred mineral resource, which is a category set out in NI 43-101. It was based on historical reverse circulation and core drill hole sample, underground channel sample, and blasthole sample assay results and calculated using ordinary kriging to estimate gold grades in 10-foot-by-10-foot-by-five-foot blocks. Accordingly, Southern Empire considers this historical estimate reliable as well as relevant as it represents key targets for future exploration work. However, a QP has not done sufficient work to verify or classify the historical estimate as a current mineral resource and Southern Empire is not treating this historical estimate as current mineral resources.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.