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Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Avrupa Minerals: Generating prospects in Europe and beyond
Prospect generator Avrupa Minerals (CVE:AVU) has a bright future as the company moves ahead into the second half of its fiscal year.
Incorporated in Canada, Avrupa was forged from the acquisition of 90 per cent of MAEPA (Empreendimentos Mineiros e Participacoes Lda.), a private Portuguese company, and 92.5 per cent of Innomatik Exploration Kosovo LLC, a private Kosovo company.
The company began trading as Avrupa as of July 14, 2010, and in April of this year, acquired the remaining 10 per cent of MAEPA to own 100 per cent interest.
CEO Paul W. Kuhn says Avrupa and its subsidiaries’ principal activities are to locate, explore and develop the mineral resources properties in Europe.
“Avrupa can move quickly into new areas in Europe, a region generally under-explored with modern techniques and thinking, even though there is a long, long mining history within the continent,” notes Kuhn.
“We take our experience, our creative exploratory thinking, and complete the basic early-stage finding and advancing attractive prospects and projects.
“Once we have a prospect in a drill-ready position, then we can go about attracting a larger, mining-capable partner to take the next steps, which are typically far more costly than basic exploration work.”
The company says that allows the partner - through earn-in funding, to continue exploration work, with Avrupa acting as the operator in the first stages of a joint venture (JV).
“So we continue to utilize our expertise to move the projects forward,” says Kuhn.
While Avrupa is being funded in one area, it then can move on to new areas to find more potential projects.
“In the end, if everything works out and the project turns into a mine, then Avrupa is left with a minority portion of the project, or may be diluted out into a royalty situation.”
He adds that the junior exploration and development company focuses on politically stable and prospective regions of Europe, including Portugal, Kosovo, and Germany.
Kuhn explains that Avrupa currently holds 15 exploration licenses through its subsidiaries in Portugal and Kosovo and partner in Germany.
Three of those licenses in the Iberian Pyrite Belt of Portugal are currently part of the Alvalade JV with Antofagasta Minerals SA, the mining division of London-listed Antofagasta plc (LON:ANTO).
Currently, Antofagasta’s activities are primarily concentrated in Chile, where it owns and operates four copper mines: Los Pelambres, Esperanza, El Tesoro and Michilla.
Total production in 2012 is expected to be approximately 700,000 tonnes of copper, 11,000 tonnes of molybdenum and 280,000 ounces of gold.
Last week, the company announced it is preparing for the second phase of exploration at the Alvalade JV, after completing detailed logging and first-pass sampling of phase 1 drill holes.
Avrupa says full geochemical results from all 971 samples from the Phase 1 program are expected by mid-September.
The company says that visual results, supported by core logging, show the widespread presence of "volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS)-style alteration" and stockwork veining in seven of the eight holes drilled in Phase 1. Two of the holes contain visible copper sulfide mineralization, the explorer says.
More importantly, Avrupa said the results from logging continue to support the geo-structural model for targeting potential "massive sulfide mineralization" within the JV work area.
The company is continually using results from ongoing mapping, rock sampling and re-logging of historic drill holes to better prioritize potential drill targets for the next phase of drilling.
"We are very pleased with the results, so far," says Kuhn.
"The new information, coupled with previously assimilated and compiled geophysical and geochemical data, is being used aggressively to enhance the drill targeting process.
"Full review and interpretation of the phase 1 drill results will also lead directly to follow-up drilling, though possibly in a potential Phase 3 of the initial JV program, which could start sometime in early 2013."
Avrupa’s fourth license in northern Portugal is committed to the Covas tungsten-gold JV with Blackheath Resources (CVE:BHR).
In its JV with Blackheath, the company says work started in July on the 2012 exploration program at the project.
The work program anticipated by Blackheath will include compilation of existing data and surface work including detailed mapping and sampling of certain anomalous areas, to be followed by trenching and a diamond drilling program. Previously Avrupa outlined a number of strong tungsten targets, as well as a potential gold target within the Covas project area.
Covas is a past producer of tungsten and historic, non-NI 43-101 compliant indicated and inferred resources on the property have been estimated at 922,900 tonnes of 0.78 per cent tungsten trioxide (WO3), and mineralization is open to expansion.
With its recently acquired Slivovo license in Kosovo, Avrupa says it will continue with its exploration program by acquiring prospective targets at low cost, completing early stage exploration work to validate the geological targets, and then optioning the projects to qualified partners for further work and potential discoveries.
The Slivovo exploration license covers what the company calls "an attractive massive sulfide target" that its geologists discovered last year. The 15-kilometre-squared license is located in the Trepça mineral belt of the Vardar zone, a long-term producing district of silver and base metals.
Avrupa says its geological team also completed first-pass sampling, prospecting, and reconnaissance-style geological mapping on the Koritnik license in southern Kosovo.
Initial sample results indicated the possibility for precious metal mineralization related to parallel northeast-trending structures cutting intrusive rocks of the Sharr-Dragash complex.
Avrupa continues to entertain joint venture possibilities for the Kosovo exploration program. At least four base metal targets are drill-ready on three separate licenses, while the three other licenses cover attractive early-stage base and precious metal possibilities.
In eastern Germany, Avrupa has an interest in the 307-kilometre-squared Oelsnitz exploration license in the historic Erzgebirge mining district, a 1000-year producer of tin, tungsten, silver, base metals, and uranium near Oelsnitz in the free state of Saxony in eastern Germany.
At the beginning of 2012, it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Beak Consultants GmbH of Freiberg, Germany to explore for gold deposits in the Erzgebirge mining district.
Although there was no significant historical production of gold in the Erzgebirge, Avrupa says during the 1970’s and 1980’s, numerous sites of alluvial gold located within the license area were recorded by a regional gold panning and exploration program.
In particular, the location of panning sites strongly correlates with historical stream sediment anomalies of a suite of path-finder elements often associated with intrusion-related gold deposits similar to those found in the Tintina Gold Province of the Yukon and Alaska.
Avrupa says it must spend C$180,000 for exploration purposes to gain 85 per cent of Oelsnitz exploration license, which was issued to Beak on January 12, 2012.
Once the company has earned into the project, the two companies will form a JV to explore for gold on the property. Avrupa says it will look for potential partners to further extend the exploration program from the prospect generation phase.
Kuhn says the company was eager to be moving into the Erzgebirge District and to be working with Beak Consultants, “who are well-known and respected in the exploration business and in the Saxony region”.
“There is strong potential for mineralization in the Erzgebirge, as well as positive mining and permitting regulations, interest in new business possibilities from regional and local governments, good infrastructure, and an able and available workforce.
“The merits of the Erzgebirge have already been exhibited by a long line of applicants for new exploration licenses in the historic mining area.”
Certified Professional Geologist Michael S. “Mickey” Fulp has followed Avrupa closely and says he thinks very highly of Kuhn’s geological ability and widespread experience in southern and Eastern Europe and western Asia.
“I expect a steady stream of projects to be generated, acquired, and made available for joint venture,” he said in a report on the company. Fulp says Avrupa also boasts low overhead costs.
Indeed, Avrupa is a company with a number of successes under its belt, working in a region that is ripe for new ideas and possibilities. With an efficient business model, meant to take “some of the big risks” out of the exploration business, Kuhn says he believes Avrupa makes an attractive investment.
“Most places in Europe are politically stable jurisdictions where resource nationalism has not taken over and destroyed potential projects,” explains Kuhn, adding that Europe has a long mining history, but little modern exploration, and the competition is not as stiff as in other parts of the world.
“We are developing a niche where we can be successful and where we can easily set ourselves apart from anyone else working in the region.
“This should be most attractive to investors in junior exploration companies.”