El Capitan Precious Metals, Inc. reports that initial test work using fine grinding and chemical leaching has provided encouraging results for both assay and extraction efforts. The four one-kilogram tests were comprised of material from two composite samples of the El Capitan deposit. The average grade reported from the four tests was over 0.023 troy ounces of gold per ton (opt).
Each sample was exposed to standard and elevated levels of sodium cyanide, a chemical leaching agent commonly employed in gold production. In addition, the samples were subjected to extended leaching times in ceramic vessels containing ceramic grinding media, resulting in enhanced surface exposure of the rock sample to the leaching chemicals. The solutions were clarified and then subjected to zinc precipitation and/or electro-winning for gold recovery. The recovered material was then fire assayed, and the resulting precious metal doré beads were delivered to a major Canadian commercial laboratory for analysis. Two of the four tests were unsuccessful at producing gold grades above 0.01 opt. However, the other two tests, representing one-kilogram samples of each of the two drilling interval composites used for the Company’s metallurgical R&D work, showed an average gold grade of over 0.045 opt.
Mr. Ken Pavlich, ECPN’s C.E.O., stated, “We are very encouraged by these results for the following reasons:
1. The results represent recoverable values using standard extraction techniques. Recoverable grades typically represent 90% or less of in-place grades, indicating an upside potential for in-place resource grades.
2. The samples used were each one kilogram in size, or more than 30 times the sample size of a standard assay sample, significantly reducing any “nugget effect” potential while providing greater statistical confidence in the results.
3. The commercial lab determined the grade of the doré beads produced in the tests using standard analytical techniques.
4. The reported grades are for gold only, and as such they do not represent a gold equivalent grade.
These initial tests did not endeavor to recover and report silver or platinum group metals. These efforts will follow in subsequent test work.”
This important milestone brings the Company’s metallurgical focus onto a standard gold industry assay and extraction procedure. Unlike other techniques that have been investigated, such as tin collection, this procedure does not include the inherent risk of precious metal contamination from the reagents introduced as part of the process.
Further work over the coming months will focus on grind size, leaching time and temperature, and recovery of additional precious metals as funding becomes available.
The Company believes that these results provide an important incentive for investors and prospective partners to reassess the intrinsic value of the El Capitan deposit, as well as the exploration potential of the Company’s surrounding 7,000-acre land package, and its in-process, 2,000-acre drilling permit application.