VANCOUVER, Canada, January 5, 2021 – Sonoro Gold Corp. (TSXV: SGO | OTCQB: SMOFF | FRA: 23SP) (“Sonoro” or the “Company”) is pleased to report continuing favourable results from eight reverse circulation (RC) drill holes at the premier Buena Suerte and Japoneses gold mineralized zones located in the central region of the Company’s Cerro Caliche gold project in Sonora State, Mexico.
Buena Suerte: Zone Extended and Widened and Remains Open Along Strike
At Buena Suerte, five drill holes extended the zone 100 meters to the northwest and 50 meters to the southeast, increasing the total length along strike to approximately 600 meters:
• SCR-141 intercepted 3.05 m averaging 1.479 g/t Au, including 1.52 m averaging 2.591 g/t Au
• SCR-142 intercepted 7.62 m averaging 1.322 g/t Au and 12.19 m averaging 0.965 g/t Au
• SCR-143 intercepted 12.19 m averaging 0.687 g/t Au, including 1.52 m averaging 1.741 g/t Au
• SCR-148 intercepted 27.44 m averaging 1.170 g/t Au, including 3.05 m averaging 4.696 g/t Au
• SCR-149 intercepted 12.19 m averaging 0.498 g/t Au from a depth of 4.57 m
In the southeastern extension of the zone, drill holes SCR-141, SCR-142 and SCR-143 demonstrated an increase in the lateral width of the zone to approximately 150 meters with at least four different segments. In the northwestern extension, SCR-148 and SCR-149 have extended the zone approximately 100 meters to the northwest from where, as previously reported on November 24, 2020, SCR-109 intercepted 45.72 meters averaging 0.97 g/t Au and 4.0 g/t Ag. The Buena Suerte mineralized gold zone follows the Cucurpe district’s predominant northwesterly trend and runs in parallel along the western boundary of the larger Japoneses mineralized gold zone.
The geology of the main extent of both the Buena Suerte and Japoneses gold zones consists of strongly fractured Mesozoic clastic sedimentary rocks, quartzite and fine-grained shale units. Parts of the Buena Suerte zone are crosscut by fractured and veined rhyolitic intrusives possibly related to the Oligocene rhyolite flow dome unit that forms the crest of Cerro Caliche peak located approximately two kilometers to the northeast. The crest of Cerro Caliche peak shows strong silicification with moderate argillic alteration and quartz veining with gold anomalous surface outcrops. Rock textures and mineralization sampled on surface show this area to be within the low sulfidation epithermal system’s ideal boiling zone, adding to its potential for future targeting.
Mel Herdrick, Sonoro’s VP Exploration, commented, “The good gold grades and wide intervals returned from the latest drilling results continue to add to the Buena Suerte mineralized zone and show that it has now become a large area with significant resource potential. I look forward to this zone being added to the next resource study which is to be conducted in the coming months.”
Drill collar locations, azimuths and dips for the drill holes included in this release are provided in the table below and have been posted to the Company’s website for all drill holes.
Japoneses Zone: Drill Results Further Define Northwestern Extent of the Gold Mineralization
At Japoneses, three infill RC holes, SCR-145, SCR-146 and SCR-147, located in the northern portion of the zone, were drilled at a 45° angle on a 225° azimuth. All three drill holes, which are outside the Company’s pit constrained NI 43-101 inferred resource estimate reported in 2019¹, represent mineralized intervals that help to define the northwestern part of the Japoneses mineralized zone. The topographic location of these drill holes is on the north facing canyon slope where the inclusion of the new mineralized material may be incorporated into the proposed conceptual plan for a heap leach mine operation (HLMO) for the main body of the Japoneses zone to the southeast.
Additional Assay Results and Recommencement of Drilling
Assay results from six RC holes and nine core holes completed in December 2020 are expected to be announced within two weeks. These include two core holes from Cabeza Blanca, one core hole from the neighbouring Guadalupe zone, and four core holes from Veta de Oro where a newly discovered higher- grade zone announced on December 8, 2020 extends one-kilometer northwest to the El Rincón vein zone. Eight RC holes include four from the Japoneses zone and two from the Buena Vista zone. The two remaining RC hole results investigate shallow gold mineralization at the El Rincón – Veta de Oro gold mineralized zone as it continues for 500 meters to the southeast along a zone of vein stockwork to the Abejas zone.
Drilling is planned to re-start January 5, 2021 with an initial focus on segments of the Veta de Oro vein trend and its extension into El Rincón vein zone.
To date, an Air Track (AT) drilling program has resulted in the completion of 703.5 meters of drilling in 27 drill holes, averaging 26 meters depth per hole. The AT holes are located mainly in the Guadalupe Vein area, parallel to the western boundary of the Cabeza Blanca zone, where it crosses several access-road cuts. The samples obtained from AT drilling are being assayed at an independent laboratory. AT drilling will also be utilized this month for condemnation purposes in areas that have been identified as possible sites for the proposed mine’s heap leach pad and the disposal site for what is predominantly oxide waste rock.
A Strong Case for a Larger HLMO Following an Exceptionally Productive 2nd Half of 2020
The latest drill results and the Company’s plan to increase the conceptual throughput for a proposed mine plan up to 20,000 tonnes per day (tpd) are the culmination of what management considers an exceptionally productive second half of 2020. This achievement was in part the consequence of a comprehensive geological review and planning based on the Cerro Caliche project’s extensive data set. The results of the review followed by the proposed drill campaign and the mine proposal enabled the successful closing of an $8 million financing, supported by Palisades Goldcorp Ltd. a leading Canadian merchant bank specializing in the resource sector.
The financing was immediately followed by the execution of a two-pronged drilling campaign. The first focused on exploring and developing the current shallow oxide gold zones, while the second tested multiple higher risk, potential high-grade gold targets. Details regarding this initial campaign can be viewed on the Cerro Caliche project page of the Company’s website. Based on the subsequent flow of positive drill results, Sonoro is now examining a materially larger mine development proposal with a conceptual throughput of up to 20,000 tpd. The proposed design of a larger operation is a consequence of the work of Sonoro’s technical team in Mexico which has kept the project on time and within budget.
Kenneth MacLeod, Sonoro’s President and CEO, stated, “With regard to these achievements, Sonoro’s Executive would like to specifically commend the efforts of our team in Mexico, most notably VP Exploration, Mel Herdrick, and VP Operations, Jorge Diaz. Mr. Herdrick has been instrumental in the success of Sonoro’s exploration program. Our HLMO proposal is under the direction of Mr. Diaz, a Glamis Gold alumnus, who has directed the development and operation of heap leach mines in the region since the 1980’s, including more recently, Alamos Gold’s highly successful Mulatos, which produced its 2 millionth ounce of gold in 2019. He is the principal overseer of Sonoro’s Mexico-based mine development team and has done an exceptional job working to ensure that a significant gold mining operation at Cerro Caliche can become a reality.”
2021 Outlook: Independent Metallurgical Study, Updated Resource Estimate and PEA Scheduled for Completion in Q2-2021
During 2019, Sonoro conducted internal metallurgical column leach tests on the identified near surface mineralization. In November 2020, the Company engaged McClelland Laboratories to conduct independent metallurgical testing which the Company expects will confirm its preliminary in-house test results, while also testing deeper mineralized material. On December 8, Sonoro announced that Toronto- based Micon International Ltd. (Micon) had been contracted to complete an updated mineral resource estimate and Ontario-based D.E.N.M. Engineering Ltd. (D.E.N.M.) had been contracted to prepare an NI 43-101 compliant Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) based on the anticipated McClelland Laboratories and Micon reports.
The Company’s 2020 drilling campaign was, in part, designed to increase drilling density to support an increase in the existing NI 43-101 compliant 201,000 oz. Au inferred resource estimate (filed on SEDAR on July 26, 2019). Furthermore, positive drilling results have included the discovery and expansion of new and previously identified mineralized zones as well as high-grade intercepts reported in step-out holes. For further information, please refer to Sonoro’s news releases dated November 4 and 24, 2020 and December 8 and 18, 2020.
The resource estimate and the metallurgical tests are expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021 with D.E.N.M. completing the PEA shortly afterwards. These independent consultants will address key material conditions that must be met for the Company to accomplish its goal of commencing gold production as early as December 2021. These conditions include the satisfactory completion of the current metallurgical testing, an updated resource estimate and a favorable PEA. In addition,
advancement of the project is also dependent on the Company obtaining the required environmental permitting and securing project financing.
Drilling Campaigns Continue at Cerro Caliche
Sonoro’s campaign of higher-risk, high-grade core exploration drilling, together with low-risk RC drilling of the 17 shallow gold mineralization zones, are to continue until May 2021. The core drilling of the high- grade targets will average approximately 1,200 meters per month while the planned step out and infill RC drilling of the gold mineralization zones is expected to average slightly less than 3,000 meters per month. The Company’s focus is then expected to shift to the construction of the proposed HLMO. The Company plans to continue RC drilling during and after construction, assuming satisfaction of the above-discussed conditions for the proposed HLMO, to enlarge the estimated project resources with revenues from production funding ongoing drilling activities. For an overview of some of the gold veins and mineralization within the Cerro Caliche concession, see the presentations available under the Investors/Presentations tab on the Company’s website.
High Grade Targets Potentially Within the Lower Boundaries of Future Open Pit Mining
Initial core drilling results at Cerro Caliche have established the probable boundaries of Cerro Caliche’s epithermal, ideal boiling zone, which is roughly defined as the paleo-elevation’s most favourable for the deposition of high-grade gold. These results have established that the boiling zone is higher (shallower) in the system than the elevations of several of the earlier high-grade targets. It has also shown the rock units to have tilted approximately 20 degrees since they were formed. The Company believes this means that the higher-grade potential likely is much closer to and, in some cases, adjacent to the shallow oxide gold mineralization. While the viability of the proposed development at Cerro Caliche has yet to be confirmed, any high-grade gold zones which are found to be within the lower boundaries of future low- cost bulk mining are likely to positively impact on the Cerro Caliche’s economics.
2021 Upcoming Key Corporate Milestones
Company management is confident that the upcoming technical reports will detail substantial increases in both the current inferred resource’s size and grade, while noting that this is being accomplished with less than 20% of the Cerro Caliche’s mapped gold zones having been drilled. In addition to the potential for a high-grade gold discovery or additional substantial increases in the shallow inferred gold resource, the release of both the Cerro Caliche’s metallurgical test results and the updated resource technical report, together with the contemplated PEA, are key milestones for the Company and as such are also significant potential share price catalysts. Considerable work has already been carried out and continues to be done which underpins management’s expectation that the PEA will be positive. As this occurs, the methodical work by Jorge Diaz and the rest of the Sonoro team is advancing the mine development proposal and, in doing so, brings Sonoro closer to its goal of becoming a gold producer by as early as the end of 2021.
John Darch, Sonoro’s Chairman, stated, “2020 was a year where the Sonoro team turned adversity into a year of remarkable achievements. The first half was spent regrouping as we analyzed the Cerro Caliche’s extensive data set and created an alternate Mexico-centric strategy, which in our view became mandatory when the seriousness of the COVID pandemic was apparent. Since then, our team in Mexico has performed superbly, both in terms of exploration and development, and, in doing so, has helped to set the table for an even more productive and exciting 2021 as we continue our effort to transform Sonoro into a gold producer.”
Quality Assurance/Quality Control (“QA/QC”) Measures and Analytical Procedures
Drill samples are collected with an airstream cyclone and passed into a splitter that divides each sample into quarters. The quartered samples are then bagged and sealed with identification. The sample group has blanks, standards and duplicates inserted into the sample stream.
Bureau Veritas (BV) collects the samples and transports them directly to the preparation laboratory in Hermosillo, Sonora. At the laboratory, part of each sample is reduced through crushing, splitting and pulverization. About 200 grams are sent by BV to their Vancouver, Canada laboratory and dissolved in aqua regia for multi-element ICP analysis including silver. Of these samples, 30 grams undergo fire assay in Hermosillo for gold by reducing the fire assay to a concentrated button of material that is dissolved in acids and the gold content determined by atomic absorption.
No QA/QC issues were noted with the results received from the laboratory.
Cerro Caliche is located 45 kilometers east southeast of Magdalena de Kino in the Cucurpe-Sonora Mega- district of Sonora, Mexico. Multiple historic underground mines were developed in the concession including Cabeza Blanca, Los Cuervos, Japoneses, Las Abejas, Boluditos, El Colorado, Veta de Oro and Espanola. Mineralization types of the Cucurpe-Sonora Mega-district include variants of epithermal low sulfidation veins and related mineralized dikes and associated volcanic domes. Local altered felsic dikes cut the mineralized meta-sedimentary rock units and may be associated with mineralization both in the dikes and meta-sedimentary rocks.
Host rocks include Jurassic-Cretaceous meta-sedimentary rock units including argillite, shale, quartzite, limestone, quartz pebble conglomerate and andesite. Younger intrusive rock consisting of medium coarse-grained granodiorite-granite is present in the westerly parts of the concessions near the historic Cabeza Blanca Mine. It is apparent that veining cuts and pervasively alters the intrusive stock. Rhyolite occurs in irregular bodies distributed in higher elevations in the northerly part of the concession, including the Rincon area, where it occurs as flows, sills, dikes and rhyolite domes. Part of the rhyolite is mineralized and appears to be related to epithermal gold mineralization throughout the property.
Qualified Person Statement
Stephen Kenwood, P.Geo., a Director of Sonoro, is a Qualified Person within the context of National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101) and has read and approved this news release. Readers are cautioned that the presence of mineralization on historic mines adjacent to or on Cerro Caliche is not necessarily indicative of gold mineralization in the concessions held by the Company.
1 NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Cerro Caliche Property, July 26, 2019, Strickland, D., Sim, R.C. prepared for Sonoro Metals; comprised of an inferred resource of 201,000 AuEq ounces at a grade of 0.55 AuEq (0.495 g/t Au and 4.3 g/t Ag).
About Sonoro Gold Corp.
Sonoro Gold Corp. is a publicly listed exploration and development company with a portfolio of exploration-stage precious metal properties in Sonora State, Mexico. The Company has highly experienced operational and management teams with proven track records for the discovery and development of natural resource deposits.
On behalf of the Board of SONORO METALS CORP.
Per: “Kenneth MacLeod”
President & CEO
For further information, please contact:
Sonoro Metals Corp. – Tel: (604) 632-1764
Forward-Looking Statement Cautions: This press release contains certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation, relating to, among other things, the Company’s plans for the exploration, development and operations at the above- described Cerro Caliche Concessions, located in the municipality of Cucurpe, Sonora, Mexico, including statements regarding the anticipated release of additional assay results, an anticipated substantial increase in the current resource estimate for Cerro Caliche, the preparation and release of a favourable PEA supporting the Company’s plans for a proposed 20,000 tonne per day HLMO, including a targeted December 2021 production start date and the potential for revenue-positive operations, confirmation of the results of previous in-house column leach test results, the hope for results of continued exploration drilling, including to test high-grade targets, and other material conditions set out above on which the Company’s development plans are dependent. Although the Company believes that such statements are reasonable based on current circumstances, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts; they are generally, but not always, identified by the words “expects”, “plans”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “intends”, “estimates”, “projects”, “aims”, “potential”, “goal”, “objective”, “prospective” and similar expressions, or that events or conditions “will”, “would”, “may”, “can”, “could” or “should” occur, or are those statements, which, by their nature, refer to future events. The Company cautions that forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs, estimates and opinions of the Company’s management on the date the statements are made and they involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including the possibility of unfavourable exploration and leach test results, unfavourable results of the contemplated PEA of the Cerro Caliche project, the lack of sufficient future financing to carry out exploration and development plans and unanticipated changes in the legal, regulatory and permitting requirements for the Company’s exploration programs. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law or the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange. Readers are encouraged to review the Company’s complete public disclosure record on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.