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Geology

The Valeriano Project is located within the roughly north-south trending Miocene to early Pliocene metallogenic belt that stretches along the eastern Chilean and western Argentinian border, continuing north into Peru (Sillitoe and Perelló, 2005). The Project is located within this metallogenic belt in an area situated between the northern limit of the El Indio Belt (Siddeley, G., and Araneda, R., 1990) and the southern margin of the Maricunga Belt. ATEX refers to this emerging trend between these belts as the “Link Belt” (Figure 1). Both the El Indio and Maricunga Belts host numerous significant copper and gold deposits and have seen extensive exploration since the 1900’s. The Link Belt has seen increased exploration since the early 2000’s leading to the discovery of several significant copper and gold deposits.

Figure 1. Regional Geology and Mineralization

Figure 1. Regional Geology and Mineralization

The Valeriano Project (and adjacent El Encierro Project) occur within a north-south trending graben formed approximately 20 Ma ago during a period of major tectonism along the western edge of the continent. This resulted in the significant uplift of a Permo-Triassic aged package of rhyolitic to dacitic volcanic rocks which are underlain by a granitic Paleozoic batholith (Figure 2). This package was later intruded by a suite of granodioritic to dacitic porphyries during an extensive period of plutonism and volcanism occurring through the late Oligocene to late Miocene epochs. Finally, the upper portion of the package has been eroded resulting in the present-day landscape. The most prominent feature of the current Project landscape is a north-south trending ridge measuring roughly 18 kilometres in length and reaching an elevation of over 500 metres above the valley floors running along the east and the west of the ridge. Both the Valeriano and El Encierro Projects are located along the 18km north-south trending ridge.

Figure 2. Project Geology

Figure 2. Project Geology

A large alteration zone can be seen along the 18km north-south trending ridge measuring in excess of 10 kilometres long, from the south of the Valeriano Project boundary to the northern extreme of the El Encierro Project boundary. 

Three major phases of intrusion have been defined by ATEX geologists using data collected from drill core that details the temporal relationships between the various porphyry units. As each phase of porphyry is emplaced its attendant fluids are introduced into the host rocks causing them to be mineralized. As the system evolves, later phases of these fluids then remobilize and overprint pre existing mineralization as they advance. Collectively the porphyry units and the surrounding mineralized wall rock contain the most significant concentration of copper-gold mineralization within the project. Examples of these units are presented in Figure 3 and described in more detail below.

Figure 3. Mineralized Units

Figure 3. Mineralized Units

For further information, please see ATEX’s NI 43-101 compliant technical report titled “Independent Technical Report for the Valeriano Copper-Gold Project, Atacama Region, Chile” with an effective date of September 1, 2023, prepared for ATEX by SRK Consulting (Chile) SpA. A copy of the foregoing technical report is available on ATEX’s website and also under ATEX’s SEDAR+ profile at www.sedarplus.com.  

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