Southern Empire Reports Gold Results from Oro Cruz Historical Heap Leach Pads

Southern Empire Resources Corp. (“Southern Empire”; TSX-V: SMP; Frankfurt: 5RE) is pleased to report gold assay results for selective grab samples collected from the surface of two historical heap leach pads located on its 2,160 hectare (5,338 acre) Oro Cruz Gold Project in Imperial County, California.

Assessment of Historical Leach Pads – Background, Objectives and Highlights

Historical mining of the American Girl, Padre y Madre, Queen and Oro Cruz oxide gold deposits by the American Girl Mining Joint Venture (“AGMJV”; MK Gold Company and Hecla Mining Company) occurred between 1987 and 1996. At that time, processing was either by heap leaching of lower-grade, or milling of higher-grade, gold-mineralized materials. Operations ceased in late 1996, due to declining gold prices, leaving both the American Girl and Padre y Madre historical leach pads, covering approximately 61 and 22 acres respectively.

Southern Empire believes that the gold-bearing material in the two historical leach pads may contain significant residual gold and, as a first phase of assessment, twenty-six (26) samples were collected; 12 from the historical Padre y Madre and 14 from the American Girl leach pads. Gold assay results are presented in Table 1 and sample locations are presented in Figures 1 and 2.  

David Tupper, P.Geo. and Southern Empire’s VP of Exploration stated: “We are pleased to report that our preliminary surface sampling has confirmed gold is present in historical heap leach pads that remain from the former American Girl Mining Joint Venture operations.”

Southern Empire’s President and CEO, Dale Wallster stated: “Having now unequivocally demonstrated that gold still exists in the historical leach pads, we will use sonic drilling to quickly target the establishment of a resource and provide us with samples for extractive metallurgical test work. The potential for Southern Empire to ultimately reprocess this already mined material represents additional upside to any high-grade, underground results we get at Oro Cruz.”

American Girl - Historical Leach Pad Surface Samples

Padre y Madre Historical Leach Pad Surface Samples

Steps Forward on the Historical Heap Leach Pads at the Oro Cruz Gold Project 

To establish a NI 43-101 resource for the historical heap leach pads, Southern Empire has:

  • Initiated permitting for sonic drilling of both the Padre y Madre and American Girl heap leach pads with both the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) and Imperial County, 
  • Initiated a review of historical AGMJV metallurgy in order to determine the best methods for gold extraction from the existing heap leach pad material, and 
  • Engaged Mr. Garth Kirkham, the principal of Kirkham Geosystems Ltd., of Vancouver, Canada, to oversee the resource establishment procedures at Oro Cruz. Kirkham Geosystems is a full-service provider of geoscience consulting services to the mining, environmental, oil & gas and geotechnical industries focusing on offering 3D computer modeling expertise using a variety of leading volumetric modeling systems. Mr. Kirkham is the Past-President of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) and is the co-Chair of the CIM Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves Committee and the Chair of the Geoscientists Canada, Securities Committee. He is also currently a representative for Canada on CRIRSCO – Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards.

Data Verification, Sampling Procedures and Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) 

Surface grab samples of rock chips from larger boulders combined with gravel and fines, all  considered representative of the materials of the historical American Girl and Padre y Madre heap leach pads at Oro Cruz were collected from 20 centimetre deep, hand-dug pits. Samples were described and photographed, and their location surveyed with handheld GPS, accurate to within 3 metres. 

Each sample was then in control of the geologist until it was shipped from Yuma, AZ and Brawley, CA to either Bureau Veritas Mineral Laboratories USA (“BVM”) in Sparks, NV (samples OCR-11 to OCR-27) or ALS USA Inc. (“ALS”) in Reno, NV (samples OCR-27 to OCR-49), respectively. The samples were collected in two events, as noted in Table 1. The averages of analytical results from the two sampling events are comparable.

Samples were crushed, split and pulverized (250 grams to 75 microns (“µ”); 200 mesh) using BVM process PRP70-250 or ALS processes CRU012 and PUL31, then a 30 gram homogenized sample  was analyzed using fire assay techniques with an atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) finish (procedures FA430 at BVM and Au-AA23 at ALS). Four acid digestion of each sample was followed by multielement Inductively Coupled Plasma (“ICP”) mass spectrometry analysis using MA3000 procedure at BVM and ME-ICP61 procedure at ALS. The results were reported in grams gold/tonne (“g Au/t”; also parts per million, or “ppm”) and then converted to ounces gold per ton (“oz Au/ton”; also “opt”) using a ratio of 34.28.

One pulp field standard and one trip blank were inserted with samples OCR-11 to OCR-27 that were analyzed at BVM. One pulp field standard and one trip blank was submitted with samples OCR-27 to OCR-49. which were analyzed at ALS. All lab standard and blank assay results reported in the BVM and ALS analytical certificates and all field standards and blank samples assayed within accepted QA/QC value ranges. 

Standards and blanks submitted to BVM included the gold standard MEG-Au-09.03 and blank MEG-BLANK.10.14 purchased from Shea Clark Smith/MEG, Inc. ( The submitted standards returned accepted values of 2.091 Au ppm and <0.005 ppm Au respectively. 

Standards and blanks including WCM Mineral Standard CU160 and WCM Mineral Standard CU172 were submitted to ALS Geochemistry with samples OCR-27 to OCR-49. These QA/QC standard material were purchased from WCM Minerals, a division of WCM Sales Ltd., located in Burnaby, BC, Canada ( The values returned for the submitted standards were 2.93 Au ppm and 0.266 Au ppm respectively, which are within accepted QA/QC ranges. 

Qualified Person (QP)

The scientific and technical information contained in this news release has been prepared, reviewed, verified 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

Work Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the health and safety of our employees, contractors and associated communities is a top priority, Southern Empire will continue to monitor COVID-19 regulatory recommendations and restrictions and, together with our consultants and subcontractors, will follow governmental health and safety regulations and protocol regarding personnel management, lodging, travel, etc., in our current and future work related to both the Eastgate and Oro Cruz Gold Projects. 

Te timing of Southern Empire’s on-going exploration and development programs will be contingent on governmental regulations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

About Southern Empire Resources Corp.

Southern Empire is focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of gold deposits in North America, currently having two projects in the American southwest. 

In the Cargo Muchacho mountains of Imperial County, southeast California, Southern Empire holds options to acquire a 100% interest in the 2,160 hectare (5,338 acre) Oro Cruz Property located approximately 22.5 kilometres (14 miles) southeast of the Mesquite gold mine of Equinox Gold Corp.  

With a history that includes extensive drilling and large-scale open pit and underground mining that was suspended during the gold market downturn in 1996, the Oro Cruz Gold Project hosts numerous exploration targets in addition to a high-grade oxide gold zone that, based on the historical mine records, is amenable to conventional heap leach extractive methods.

Southern Empire also owns an 85% interest in the 817 hectare (2,020 acre) Eastgate Gold Project, located 81 kilometres (50 miles) southeast of the city of Fallon in Churchill County, Nevada.  Southern Empire has just completed six HQ-size core drill holes at Eastgate, in a first-pass drill program targeting high-grade gold/silver epithermal vein systems. Selective core samples have been submitted to ALS USA Inc.’s laboratories in Reno, Nevada and assay results will be released after they become available. Permitting for the next phase of drilling has been initiated.

On behalf of the Board of Directors,

Dale Wallster, CEO and Director

Southern Empire Resources Corp.

For further information please visit and review our SEDAR filings or contact: 

Lubica Keighery at (778) 889-5476, 

Cautionary Notice on Forward-Looking Information

Information set forth in this news release may contain forward-looking statements that are based on assumptions as of the date of this news release. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, that address activities, events or developments that Southern Empire expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements that reflect management’s current estimates, beliefs, intentions and expectations. They 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 Southern Empire’s control.  Such factors include, among other things: risks and uncertainties relating to Southern Empire’s limited operating history and the need to comply with environmental and governmental regulations. 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 statements or information.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its regulation services provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

FIGURE 1: American Girl Area – Gold Assays From Historical Heap Leach Pads

American Girl - Gold Assays From Historical Heap Leach


FIGURE 2: Padre y Madre Area – Gold Assays From Historical Heap Leach Pad

Padre y Madre - Gold Assays From Historical Heap Leach Pad

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