Southern Empire Resources Corp. (Southern Empire; TSX-V: SMP; Frankfurt: 5RE; OTCQB: SMPEF) announces that the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) has issued a news release and published other requisite documents related to permitting of Southern Empire’s proposed surface exploration activities at its Oro Cruz Project in Imperial County, California.
Please refer to the BLM’s news release of November 16, 2022, which officially notifies the public that the BLM is now seeking public input and commentary concerning Southern Empire’s proposed surface exploration plans as set forth in a Plan of Operations (the “Plan”) that was deemed, by the BLM, to be administratively and technically complete and consistent with U.S. federal regulations.
The Plan proposes specific surface mineral exploration activities, disturbing only up to 8.3 hectares (20.5 acres) within an approximately 253-hectare (approximately 626 acres) portion of the Oro Cruz property located within the 184,500-acre Picacho Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) in Imperial County. All proposed exploration activities are to be conducted so as to avoid unnecessary and undue degradation of public lands and resources.
Also, pursuant to the United States National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), the BLM and the Imperial County Planning Department (“ICPD”, on behalf of the State of California) have jointly issued a draft Environmental Assessment/Mitigated Negative Declaration (the “draft EA/MND”), the purpose of which is to identify issues, analyze alternatives, and disclose any potential environmental, cultural, and recreational resource impacts associated with the Plan and disclose impact analyses and any required mitigation measures, as appropriate. The BLM has also, based on the information contained in the draft EA/MND, prepared and published an unsigned Finding of No Significant Impact (“FONSI”) that, should it be ratified, states that the proposed actions identified in the draft EA/MND will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment and that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required to be prepared for the Plan. Only after public review and commentary regarding the draft EA/MND and the unsigned FONSI will the BLM make a final decision regarding the authorization of the exploration activities proposed in the Plan.
The above-noted BLM actions have initiated a 30-day public review/comment period (beginning on November 16th and closing on December 16th, 2022) during which substantive comments regarding the Plan and the draft EA/MND will be solicited from the public. To review documentation concerning the Oro Cruz Project (including the Plan, the draft EA/MND, the unsigned FONSI, etc.) or to submit commentary electronically, please visit the BLM National NEPA Register at: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2017983/570. A virtual public information meeting will be held on November 30, 2022, from 4 to 5 p.m. PST and interested parties may register for this event at: https://stantec.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_oL7ApimWRSqNfm9yw8e-mQ.
Dale Wallster, CEO of Southern Empire stated, “The preparation and publication of the BLM’s Environmental Assessment documentation have taken a lot of time and effort and we thank all those involved in helping us reach this major milestone and bringing us closer to receiving authorizations necessary to start our exploration at Oro Cruz. We invite commentary from all stakeholders in the region through the upcoming NEPA and CEQA public commentary processes and look forward to continuing to work closely with the BLM, the ICPD and other stakeholders to ensure that we meet all federal and state permitting requirements.”
Qualified Person (QP)
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 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 northeastern Durango State, México, Southern Empire has an option to acquire a 100-per-cent beneficial interest in the 1,750-hectare Pedro Gold Project. At Pedro, in the spring of 2022, Southern Empire drilled gold mineralization approximately 800 metres from 2014 drilling by a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corporation. Gold mineralization, associated with highly anomalous arsenic (orpiment and realgar common), antimony, mercury and thallium, has been identified hosted in permeable basal conglomerates deposited during Oligocene extensional deformation, the latter forming widespread Basin and Range physiography along the easter part of Sierra Madre Occidental. Gold is present in 12 of the 17 holes drilled at Pedro to date. Please see Southern Empire’s news releases posted on SEDAR for further details.
In the Cargo Muchacho mountains of Imperial County, California, Southern Empire owns 100 percent of the historical gold-producing American Girl mine property and holds options to acquire a 100 percent 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”) 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 a historical inferred resource estimate, reported In 2011 by Lincoln Mining Corp., totaling 341,800 ounces gold based on 4,386,000 tonnes averaging 2.2 grams gold per tonne (g Au /t) at a cut-off grade of 0.68 g Au/t (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 many material factors, many of which are beyond its respective control. Such factors include, among other things: risks and uncertainties relating to Southern Empire’s 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 Oro Cruz Project Historical Resource Estimate
The Oro Cruz Project historical resource estimate 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.
Cautionary Notice Regarding Exploration Work Programs
The timing and the ability to conduct Southern Empire’s exploration programs are, among other things, contingent on: governmental regulations allowing for the issuance of permits; affects of the COVID-19 pandemic; and the availability of exploration personnel, drill contractors, equipment, lodging, etc. Southern Empire will adhere to COVID-19 directives regarding safe working practices putting worker and community health and safety first and will proceed with exploration and development work programs only if potential COVID-19 risks can be effectively managed.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the Exchange) accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.