The El Capitan Story
While the El Capitan deposit comes with metallurgical challenges, the near-surface, pervasive nature of this deposit, all of which occurs above the regional water table, provides the potential for both a low mining cost and a long life operation. An investment in ECPN represents an investment in a late-stage exploration / early-stage development company with a gold, silver and platinum group metals discovery that has already seen almost 13,000 feet of successful core and reverse circulation drilling within a 200 acre resource block. In addition to developing a better understanding of the metallurgical issues associated with this deposit, the Company is focused on acquiring federal and state permits to conduct sub-surface exploration on a 2,000 acre claim block extending east, west and south of the current resource area. This prospective portion of the El Capitan land package contains a number of attractive targets identified through surface sampling, as well as gravity, magnetic, and hyperspectral remote sensing. ECPN is executing its strategy for the development of the El Capitan deposit in a manner that is conducive to steady and sustainable share value improvements. ECPN is targeting long-term value investors, and we are specifically avoiding the type of promotional activities that result in unsustainable temporary share price movements that typically attract short-term, trading oriented investors. We believe that our conservative approach to this asset, and to the financial markets, supports our goal of steady and sustainable share value enhancement. ECPN represents an important precious metals investment opportunity that should be part of the portfolio of the risk tolerant, mid-to-long-term investor looking for leveraged exposure to the precious metals market through a late-stage exploration / early-stage development asset.
The El Capitan deposit has been known as a potential iron ore resource for several decades. The U.S. Bureau of Mines drilled approximately 140 shallow holes through the outcropping, shallow-dipping magnetite skarn deposit in 1944 and 1948. The outcropping deposit was mapped at a scale of 1:3,600 in 1952 (Kelley, 1952). Small-scale iron ore production totaled approximately 250,000 tons in the years 1961-1988. El Capitan Precious Metals, Inc. conducted a ground magnetic survey and a drill program of six shallow holes in 2002. Although only low precious metals values had been obtained from the deposit by “standard” fire assay over the years and no significant exploration had been conducted on the property, in May, 2004 El Capitan Precious Metals, Inc. submitted a few samples of magnetite iron skarn to a metallurgical laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah. The lab separated the samples into magnetic and non-magnetic fractions and reported significant gold and platinum results on the non-magnetic fractions using their proprietary caustic fusion assay method. These results prompted a 32-sample surface sampling and assay program conducted in January of 2005. The lab reported potential ore-grade gold and platinum results on all 32 samples; this caused El Capitan Precious Metals, Inc. to undertake three stages of diamond core, open-hole rotary, and reverse circulation drilling to outline the existing 141 million tons of Measured Resource with a gold equivalent grade of 0.044 opt.
The El Capitan Property
The El Capitan property consists of 354 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lode claims and four patented claims. The claim block is located in Lincoln County, New Mexico and occupies a total of approximately 3,000 acres in townships T 7 S, T 8 S and range R 14 E. The BLM lode claims were staked and recorded by consultants employed by El Capitan Precious Metals, Inc. and personnel of the company. The El Capitan property is owned by El Capitan Ltd., an Arizona corporation. El Capitan Precious Metals, Inc. purchased a 40% equity interest in El Capitan Ltd. from Gold and Minerals, Inc. in 2002. In 2011 the merger of Gold and Minerals and ECPN was complete. ECPN now retains a 100% equity interest in the property.
El Capitan Project Regional Geologic Setting
The El Capitan deposit is located at the most prominent structural intersection in New Mexico, within perhaps the greatest exposed concentration of Tertiary intrusions in New Mexico (Cather and others, 1991), and is apparently underlain by a large mafic or ultramafic intrusion. The structural intersection is formed by the north-south-trending axis of the Pedernal uplift-Mescalero arch and the east-west-trending Capitan lineament. In the south, the Pedernal-Mescalero axis closely parallels the Sacramento uplift, an east-tilted fault block with evidence of at least three periods of deformation (Precambrian to late Tertiary), and in the north it closely parallels a series of faults and folds in the Picuris-Pecos trend. The Pedernal-Mescalero structural zone coincides generally with a belt of crustal thickening and alkalic intrusions (Bird, 1984) that marks the boundary between the tectonically active Rio Grande Rift (a branch of the Basin and Range) and Rocky Mountains on the west and the tectonically stable Great Plains on the east. The Pedernal-Mescalero axis appears to be offset approximately 10 miles across the Capitan lineament (Cather and others, 1991). The Capitan lineament is a well- defined basement fracture and magmatic zone that may be traced for over 300 miles from Socorro, NM into western Texas; in the area of the El Capitan deposit the lineament is reflected by the Capitan pluton.
The Tertiary intrusions form the Lincoln County porphyry belt that includes at least 11 stocks and laccoliths. The east-west elongate, 20 mile-long Capitan pluton is a Miocene aplite (granitic) laccolith that plunges westerly and underlies the El Capitan deposit. Thompson (1991) concluded that magmas in the porphyry belt were generated from both lower crustal and upper mantle sources and McLemore (1991) concluded that a diversity of mineral deposit types in the El Capitan region resulted from several different complex magmatic fractionation and differentiation events. Roberts and others (1991), show a coincident steep-gradient aeromagnetic anomaly and a gravity anomaly. These anomalies cover an area of over 270 square miles, show northerly and easterly structural trends, and are interpreted as reflecting a large mafic or ultramafic intrusion that underlies the Lincoln County porphyry belt and the El Capitan deposit. It is possible that precious metals bearing hydrothermal fluids that formed the El Capitan deposit were differentiates from this buried mafic or ultramafic intrusion.