Vancouver – After dabbling in Wyoming uranium, junior explorer Artha Resources (AHC-V) is now squarely targeting precious metals in northern Argentina.
The company has several early-stage properties with untested potential in the country and has been spending the last year exploring those properties with mapping, sampling and surveying.
“It’s an exciting stage for the company right now,” says Charles Straw, CEO of Artha, in a recent meeting with The Miner. “It’s all adding up.”
The company is working towards a drill program to follow up on the recently completed surface programs, though it has not yet released a concrete timeline for drilling.
Last year Artha signed an option agreement on a block of land known as Pirquitas Norte that adjoins Silver Standard’s (SSO-T, SSRI-Q) sizable Pirquitas mine in Argentina’s Jujuy province. The company is earning a 55% interest by spending US$1 million over 4 years, after which it will enter into a joint venture with the property’s owner, Cardero Resource (CDU-T).
The Pirquitas Norte project well complements Artha’s Crosby property, which flanks it to the north.
Artha had earlier secured the Crosby property from Mr. Crosby himself, and by buying out an Australian company out of an option agreement, for a total cost of about US$550,000.
The Crosby and Pirquitas Norte properties fall within the same geological settings as the Pirquitas mine, yet according to Artha have seen little to no previous exploration work. Artha’s early exploration work has identified 5 targets, with showings of up to 2 grams gold per tonne in sampling.
The area is served by good infrastructure including new roads and a gas pipeline thanks to the development of the Pirquitas mine, which is expected to produce between 8 and 10 million oz. silver at full production.
Roughly 32 km east, Artha also controls the Vallecito property. There, Straw says there are “literally sulphides sticking out of the ground,” and that Artha was the first to map the area.
The company has taken 386 samples from the area and about 25-30% showed anomalous metal results. The highest assay results included 6 grams gold, 50 grams silver per tonne, 0.4% copper, 0.4% lead and 11% zinc, while anomalous results can be hundreds of times background levels for those metals. Mineralization has been found to be semi-continuous for almost 4 km and a width of more than 1.5 km.
Early analysis by Artha’s geologists shows a large polymetallic vein system hosted in Ordovician rocks, consisting of six main quartz veins with stock-working of quartz veinlets and sulphide mineralization between them.
Artha also has over 40,000 hectares of licenses in the area on what it considers rare earth potential land. Straw said it is still early days for the rare earth prospects but they provide another avenue to explore while sticking to their northern Argentina focus.
The company still controls some prospective uranium properties in Wyoming, but is focusing on Argentina.
Charles Straw’s father, David Straw, recently passed away after a 50 year career in the mining business that included stints as vp exploration for Inco Australia and director of Inco Indonesia. David Straw was a director of Artha and helped secure the Argentina properties though connections made over his long career.
Artha was recently trading at 15¢ and has a 52-week share price range between 8.5¢ and 25¢. The company recently completed a $500,000 financing at 11¢ and now has 30.1 million shares issued and 45.7 million fully diluted.