Tom Larsen, CEO of Eloro Resources (V.ELO), is waiting, somewhat patiently, for the results of drilling at the company’s Iska Iska project in Southern Bolivia. Eloro signed the Iska Iska deal in January and the drills are turning.
The Iska Iska project has the potential to be big. Very big. Which means that the drilling is designed to define structure. “It will be a couple of weeks before we have the initial results,” said Larsen. “Structurally we are very pleased. But we need to release multiple holes and we need the assays.”
“We want to be able to explain what we are doing,” said Larsen. “These are big systems. There are actually two systems. A deeper porphyry with an epithermal system above.”
“It is a 3500 meter drill program. We’re drilling from three underground drill bays with two drills,” said Larsen. “We’re expecting news flow in a few weeks and we have to educate the market. We’re there for big tonnage.”
Iska Iska has the great advantage of having the land owned by a private family which speeds up permitting and has allowed Eloro to move quickly with its drill program. The property itself was brought to Eloro by Bolivian geologist Osvaldo Arce who had worked on the property prior to Eloro’s involvement. From the outset Eloro was confident that there was considerable silver at Iska Iska but the project also has polymetallic potential.
Because of its involvement with Iska Iska, Eloro has taken a good look at Bolivia as a mining jurisdiction. Until a few years ago Bolivia was generally seen as relatively hostile to mining, but this has changed with the government of Bolivia becoming much more mining-friendly. Larsen expects the new government, elected Monday, to continue with “business as usual.” The project is located in Bolivia’s prolific South Mineral Belt which includes world-class deposits as Chorolque, Tasna, Choroma, Siete Suvyos and San Vicente.
Because of the negative mining environment a few years ago, the region is somewhat under-explored, which Larsen saw as an opportunity for Eloro.
“We wanted to get a regional picture,” said Larsen. “We wanted to look for similar hydrothermal alterations.”
To get that picture, Eloro used ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) technology to find anomalies which were similar to the anomalies which characterize Iska Iska. ASTER is a high resolution, satellite borne, imaging instrument which can provide detailed information about geological features.
Eloro used the ASTER imaging to look at the Potosí area and to search for anomalies which suggested the possibility of mineralization.
“You can’t really see these anomalies on the ground,” said Larsen. “But the ASTER survey did not cost much and gave us nine new target areas.”
Eloro staked these “mining areas” and detailed each of them in a press release dated October 14, 2020. In that release, Larsen stated, “Iska Iska has excellent potential to host a significant silver polymetallic mineral deposit. We are currently carrying out an underground drill program (see press release September 14, 2020) with results pending. Acquisition of these additional properties which appear to have similar hydrothermal alteration signatures to Iska Iska further expands our very prospective land position in the area.”
ASTER imaging is remarkably powerful in that it not only can indicate surface features suggestive of mineralization, it can also provide information as to the composition of the rocks it is imaging.
What this has meant for Eloro is that along with being able to determine where unexplored calderas are located, ASTER has indicated what the hydrothermal alterations are within those calderas. This is important as in most cases there are no outcrops. The ASTER results have given Eloro a road map of where to look for more high-value targets like Iska Iska.
The key element to Iska Iska is size. The initial drill results will give Eloro a sense of the potential grade of the project but they will also begin to define the size of the potential deposit, knowing it will take multiple drill holes to confirm that size.
Finding and staking more prospective land in the region makes sense. If Iska Iska turns out to be worth developing it will be because it is a very large deposit. Having other, similar, ground to explore will give Eloro regional reach in a target-rich, but underexplored, environment.