Joaquin is a large property located in the Santa Cruz province of southern Argentina consisting of over 70,300 acres (28,400 hectares) of contiguous concessions. Coeur previously held a 51% interest in Joaquin, but in December 2012, Coeur purchased the remaining 49% interest from Mirasol Resources Ltd. and now owns 100% of the project.
Joaquin, accessed by provincial Highway 12, is an advanced, exploration-stage property with mineral estimates of 54.1 million silver ounces in measured and indicated resources and 2.9 million silver ounces in inferred resources. In addition, Joaquin contains 40,000 gold ounces in measured and indicated resources and 2,000 gold ounces in inferred resources.
The geology of the Joaquin property consists predominantly of various volcanic rocks of the Jurassic-aged Chon Aike Formation, the host to most of the precious metal deposits discovered to date in the Santa Cruz province, with lesser amounts of intrusive rocks associated with the Chon Aike Formation. Collectively, the volcanic and intrusive rock units form a prominent geologic domain in the province termed the Deseado Massif. Silver and gold mineralization at Joaquin occurs in epithermal veins, breccia, stockwork veinlets and mantos within the favorable units of the Chon Aike Formation. Mineral resources have been defined in two deposits - La Negra and La Morocha. Occurrences of lead and zinc mineralization have also been discovered. Locally, the rocks of the Deseado Massif are covered by Tertiary-aged basalt and younger unconsolidated sediments, that post-date silver and gold mineralization.
The Company spent $5.8 million at the Joaquin project in 2012 completing 54,809 feet of drilling (16,706 meters) at the two known deposits, La Negra and La Morocha, and conducting preliminary metallurgical work. Joaquin is located about 70 kilometers north of the Company's former Martha mine, which closed in September 2012. The Company has earmarked $3.3 million for exploration drilling in 2013, which is expected to expand the two deposits, allow the Company to test new targets on the property and to conduct further engineering and metallurgical work to advance the feasibility work.
Joaquin's silver and gold ounces of measured and indicated resources increased by over 234% and 74%, respectively, from the pro forma 100% interest year-end 2011 mineral estimates, to 65.2 million ounces of silver and 61,000 ounces of gold.
The average silver grade of the measured and indicated mineral resources increased 52% from 2.48 to 3.78 ounces per ton.