In July 2002, Meridian Gold Inc. completed its acquisition of Brancote Holdings Plc, 100% owner of the Esquel gold deposit. Esquel is a high-grade , low sulfidation, epithermal vein gold deposit located in the Cordon de Esquel in the northern Province of Chubut (Patagonia), Argentina. Mining properties cover an area of at least 1,400 square kilometers and are located near an established infrastructure, which facilitates positive logistics for the development of the mine. As of year-end 2002, existing mineral resources are estimated above 3 million ounces of gold at an average grade of 8.5g/tonne. The project is currently paused and there are no current timelines for permitting or construction.
Host rocks on the Esquel property consist mainly of sub-horizontal andesitic rocks of Jurassic age with minor intercalations of marine and shallow lagoonal, carbonaceous sediments. Tuff units overlie the carbonaceous horizons. Sub-volcanic intrusions of syn- and post-Jurassic age are common as dikes and plugs in the volcanic units.
Quartz deposition in veins are classic epithermal, open-space deposition. Veins contain quartz and chalcedony with adularia, and show a wide variety of textures. Two types of quartz-chalcedony veins occur on the property: one type is cream-colored, massive to banded veins; the other is dark-gray to black veins containing carbonaceous material. Some intervals of dark veins contain high gold grades. Both types contain ore-grade gold mineralization.
Meridian Gold is not currently doing any exploration work at Esquel, and remains paused with respect to this project due to the community's concerns. In 2003, the Company hired Business For Social Responsibility ("BSR") to assist in its community relations efforts in Esquel. The BSR report was issued to the community of Esquel in August and Meridian Gold is analyzing the report and the concerns of the local citizens. Meridian Gold continues to evaluate all options related to this project to best protect shareholders' interests.
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Monday, November 5, 2007