I think it is fair to say that Eloro (V.ELO) CEO Tom Larsen is excited by what the company is finding at its Iska Iska Property in Southern Bolivia. The announcement of a second major mineralized breccia pipe approximately 400m in diameter confirmed Larsen’s belief that Iska Iska may have significant tonnages of commercially viable material.
In the release, Larsen states, “The discovery of a new breccia pipe and outlining of a number of potential targets for breccia pipes is highlighting the potential for Iska Iska to host a significant bulk mineable polymetallic deposit. We are currently preparing access roads to enable additional surface drilling to further evaluate the new pipe as well as drill-test other potential breccia pipe targets.”
Iska Iska was taken on by Eloro as a second project when the company’s La Victoria project in Peru ran into regulatory headwinds. “We have the financing and the drill plan for La Victoria,” said Larsen on the phone. “What we have to get is a land rental agreement from the community. We are making progress on that but it is slow going.”
All of which has meant that Iska Iska has become Eloro’s flagship property. From the start, the property had the advantage of being privately owned and having been operated as a mine previously. The Huayra Kasa underground workings from the previous mine gave Eloro the great advantage of being able to drill from underground drill bays. While those workings are not deep, about 20 meters from surface, they illustrate a potential open pit operation.
“We’re drilling from three underground bays,” said Larsen. “This is on the northern part of the property. We drill holes from each bay in all four directions. Everything we have drilled, so far, has been mineralized. Whether there is commercial mineralization is yet to be determined. We have assay results for five holes with ten holes pending.”
What the drills are finding is a very strong set of indications that Eloro has found a second breccia pipe. “We drilled into the breccia and then we brought in another drill,” said Larsen. “Our hole # 14 drilled from the third underground bay going west intersected almost 180m of silicified and mineralized breccia in the Santa Barbara Breccia Pipe. Hole 14 ended in well-mineralized breccia once the drill reached its depth capacity and only penetrated approximately 50% of the breccia pipe.”
“This Santa Barbara Breccia Pipe is different,” said Larsen. “It’s more circular and about 400 meters in diameter. In the outlying areas of the pipe we’re seeing more lead and zinc. In the center we see tin, copper and bismuth which are less transportable and closer to the heat source. However, the field XRF analyser picking up on these metals is not set up to detect either gold or silver.”
This is the second breccia pipe Eloro has found at Iska Iska. The first was reported November 18, 2020. In that report Quinton Hennigh, P.Geo., Senior Technical Advisor to Eloro, stated, “Breccia pipes such as the one we have discovered are important hosts of bulk tonnage ore bodies in many producing mines in epithermal and porphyry deposits especially in the Andean Cordillera of Central and South America. These pipes tend to occur in clusters, and recent geologic work by our Bolivian geologic team led by Dr. Osvaldo Arce indicates the setting at Iska Iska is conducive for discovery of such a cluster.”
As Eloro awaits assay results from its current drill holes it is completing an access road for a surface drill pad for surface definition drilling of the Santa Barbara breccia pipe.
“We have also located a Central Pipe which is to the south,” said Larsen. “It appears to be elongated and about 400 meters by 700 meters.”
“We have potential breccia pipe targets along the ring structure of the collapsed caldera,” said Larsen. “We are very enthused with the results to date. Our team is working very well. Remember, we really only started drilling in September. We’re able to drill 50 to 90 meters a day at a direct cost of about $110 US a meter.”
The breccia pipes may or may not contain commercially viable material but they are strong indicators that there is a magmatic-hydrothermal source underlying the breccias. Dr. Bill Pearson, P.Geo., Chief Technical Advisor commented, “given the strong association of gold with bismuth in the high-grade zones at Huayra Kasa, gold is likely to be present. It is also very likely that there is a major tin-copper-bismuth porphyry system beneath these breccia pipes; this possibility will be tested in the next round of surface diamond drilling.”
“All the rock is mineralized,” said Larsen. “It really suggests a porphyry intrusive running deeper.”
Larsen describes Iska Iska as a “typical Andean Cordilleran system”. What he does not say is that these sorts of systems produce copper, tin, silver and, perhaps, gold in huge tonnages. It is very early days at Iska Iska, but for investors, the very real possibility of a large mining opportunity becomes more realistic with each hole drilled.