Avrupa Minerals Ltd. reports on work progress in Portugal for the past seven months, since its inception in July 2010. Avrupa is advancing its prospects in Portugal towards JV-ready status. The following is a detailed summary of the project highlights. A similar update for the Kosovo exploration program will be released soon.
Avrupa’s exploration program is currently focused in the Portuguese portion of the Iberian Pyrite Belt, a district with over 2000 years of mining history from at least Roman times. Avrupa controls a large land position of approximately 1375 square kilometers in the northern part of the Pyrite Belt where the least amount of systematic exploration for copper- and zinc-bearing massive sulfide deposits has occurred. Avrupa is now drilling in the Serrinha District on its Marateca license.
The Company is also compiling, reviewing, and re-processing a large amount of data generated by previous explorers in the Lousal-Caveira District, which is covered by three contiguous properties: Alvalade, Canal Caveira, and Ferreira do Alentejo.
Avrupa controls a small, but relatively high grade tungsten deposit (Covas) in northern Portugal, and is actively advancing the property with a goal of finding a suitable joint venture partner to bring the project to the next level.
The Company is also actively exploring in other parts of the country, using its experience-amassed database to review old prospects and districts from new angles and to develop wholly new generative ideas.
Marateca (Iberian Pyrite Belt, southern Portugal)
Avrupa initiated a three-hole scout drilling program to test for the possibility of a Neves Corvo-style massive sulfide system in the Serrinha District at the northern end of the Portuguese Pyrite Belt. Two of the holes will target classic massive sulfide mineralization based on interpretation of gravity, reflection seismic, and IP-Resistivity geophysical data. The third target is based more on the surface presence of exhalitive-style mineralization and alteration, anomalous soil geochemistry (Cu, Pb, Zn, Ag, As, Sb, Ba, Mn, Hg), and a broad subsurface IP chargeability anomaly that may indicate the possibility of stockwork or VMS feeder-zone mineralization. The first pass exploratory drilling has been designed to better understand the targets and to add to our total knowledge of the target area, making the project even more attractive to potential joint venture partners. Avrupa plans to drill approximately 1300 meters to test the Serrinha target area.
Avrupa has, with assistance from LNEG, identified nine other areas of interest within the boundaries of the 375 square kilometer Marateca license. One of the targets, located about 6½ kilometers south of Serrinha, is a strong gravity anomaly that is also drill-ready. The other prospect areas, at varying levels of exploration status, are based on gravity anomalies, favorable geology and structure, and in one case, soil geochemistry surrounding veins containing copper and zinc mineralization. Plans for this work will be developed after completion of the Serrinha drilling and review of the results from the three diamond drill holes.
Canal Caveira / Lousal-Alvalde / Ferreira do Alentejo block (Iberian Pyrite Belt, southern Portugal)
Avrupa holds the exploration rights to 1000 square kilometers in three contiguous licenses located between the Marateca license and the operating Aljustrel Zn-Cu-Fe Mine. The properties cover a number of areas of mineralization and formerly working mines, including the Lousal and Caveira Mines. Avrupa is currently working on compilation and re-interpretation of historic geophysical, geological, and geochemical data for the Lousal-Caveira district and has identified several untested targets.
Avrupa has also contracted US-based Gradient Geophysics to re-process old airborne geophysical data purchased from LNEG. The magnetic and gravity data was originally collected in the 1980’s and 1990’s by previous operators in the northern Pyrite Belt. With more recent technology and a better knowledge of the district, we plan to enhance the targeting of potentially anomalous areas in the project area. Gravity surveys have been a key prospecting tool in the Pyrite Belt of both Portugal and Spain. Expected completion of this work is at the end of February.
Avrupa geologists have re-logged and sampled 25 old drill holes from the district. General observations include: a) most of the holes were never sampled; b) some of the holes that contain stockwork sulfide mineralization were not sampled; c) several of the holes contained thin layers of massive iron-copper-zinc sulfide mineralization, and these were not sampled; d) most of the holes bottomed in rock units that typically lie stratigraphically above the potentially mineralized horizons; and e) the bottoms of these holes were not sampled. Complete analytical results from approximately 550 samples, including those for gold, base metals, platinum group metals, REE’s, and standard multi-element packages are in process at the ALS Chemex laboratory in Vancouver, Canada. Whole rock analyses, used for determining alteration trends, are also in process at ALS Chemex. This data will be used to upgrade and expand previous drill targeting work for the district.
The Company has used its regional knowledge and the records of widespread previous drilling in over 100 locations on the properties to construct maps for the depth to basement rocks and the inferred geology of the basement rocks of the Lousal-Caveira District. This work has lead to a better understanding of the regional subsurface structure, the location of potential basins where massive sulfide mineralization is more likely to exist, and emphasis of the fact that there are probably three belts with potential for mineralization passing through the license block, rather than the previously-understood two belts.
The next step will be to review and enhance the surface geological mapping, with the intent to further upgrade and prioritize already-developed drill targets, as well as generate new target areas. Avrupa is actively engaged in the identification of possible Option/JV partnerships which will be most beneficial to moving through drilling phase in the Lousal-Caveira District.
Covas Tungsten (northwest corner of Portugal)
The Covas tungsten deposit is a ring of tungsten-bearing pyrrhotite skarns that surrounds a 3 kilometer by 2 kilometer presumed buried multiple-intrusion complex, called the Covas Dome. Previous operators drilled nearly 27,000 meters in 329 drill holes, and Union Carbide, the last major explorer in the district, developed a non 43-101 compliant historic resource of 1 million metric tonnes @ 0.7% WO3 at Covas1. Despite the large amount of drilling, the skarn ring has only been about 40% explored, and only cursory work has been completed in the Dome area.
The Avrupa field team completed a 300-sample, 25 line-kilometer soil grid over the entire Covas Dome area in late 2010. This work was directed towards assessing the potential of discovery of a larger, bulk-tonnage type of tungsten deposit. Geochemical results have now been received and are currently under comprehensive review by means of a thorough factor analysis and correlation study. Final results are expected before the end of February.
Avrupa commissioned a review and re-processing of a grid magnetometry study completed over the entire deposit area in 2007-09 by MAEPA. This review is being directed towards discovery of further tungsten-bearing pyrrhotite skarn mineralization, and is being performed by Gradient Geophysics. Final results of both the geophysical and the geochemistry work will be compiled together and reported in a subsequent news release by the company.
The European Commission has recently concluded that tungsten is one of 14 critical natural resources needed for the continued economic viability of the European Union. Further work and upgrade of the Covas deposit may potentially provide a new European source of this critical metal. To this end, Avrupa is actively engaged in the identification of a suitable joint venture partner to move the project to the next level of development.
Exploration and prospect generation (Countrywide)
Given Avrupa’s long experience in Portugal through MAEPA, new ideas and prospect generation are also an important part of exploration in the country. Avrupa’s team has identified a district in southern Portugal where previous stream sediment sampling has produced significant clusters of copper and zinc anomalies around the margins of a known intrusive body. Avrupa applied for an exploration license of approximately 2,700 square kilometers, covering the anomalous region. The Company is now waiting for potential issuance of the permit, which may be expected in 3-4 months, according to the Mining Bureau.
Avrupa has also applied for a 28.4-km2 license area covering intrusion-related gold targets in northern Portugal. After the government review, the license may be issued by the 4th quarter of 2011. The Company continues to actively pursue other possibilities around the country.
Avrupa Minerals Ltd. is a growth-oriented junior exploration and development company focused on aggressive exploration, using a prospect generator model, for valuable mineral deposits in politically stable and prospective regions of Europe, including Portugal and Kosovo.
Avrupa has an exciting portfolio of exploration projects consisting of:
- Copper and Zinc in Portugal at Marateca, Alvalade, Canal Caveira, and Ferreira do Alentejo in the Iberian Pyrite Belt, where Europe’s richest active copper mine is located;
- Tungsten in Portugal at the Covas prospect;
- Silver, Lead and Zinc in Kosovo at the Glavej, Kamenica, and Bajgora properties in the Trepça Mineral Belt of the Vardar Zone, historically, Europe’s most productive district for lead and zinc;
- Copper in Kosovo at the Rezhanc property in the Macedonian porphyry belt.