The 14,000 hectare Tuligtic claim was identified and acquired by Almaden during the company’s 2001 regional Mexican exploration program. Within this area, subsequent field work identified a 5 square hectare area of intensely altered rocks that contains several prospective targets, including the Ixtaca Zone.
In 2010, a drill program was designed to test a small outcrop. Due to the limited surface exposure of the Ixtaca vein system, three holes were fanned out in a small area, each in a different direction. In August , Almaden reported assay results from first hole ever drilled in the Ixtaca zone: TU-10-01 intersected 302.42 metres of 1.01g/t gold and 48g/t silver and multiple high grade intervals including 1.67 metres of 60.7g/t gold and 2122g/t silver.
Following Discovery Hole TU-10-01, extensive drilling has traced mineralization over one kilometer in a northeasterly orientation and showed the Main Ixtaca Zone to be a broad and robust vein system intersected by multiple high grade veinlets in a variety of orientations. Drilling has also identified two additional zones: the Ixtaca North Zone and the Northeast Extension. To date over 400 holes and 136 000 meters have been drilled in the area.
In January 2014, Almaden announced an Updated Resource Estimate from the Maiden Resource. In April 2014, Almaden announced a positive Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Ixtaca deposit, which has been followed by subsequent PEAs filed on SEDAR in November 2015 and April 2016.
The project is located 120 kilometers southeast of the Pachuca Mine, one of the largest gold and silver deposits in Mexico with a historic production of 1.4 billion ounces of silver and 7 million ounces of gold. The deposit is also well-located in the industrial heart of Puebla State. It is easily accessible from Mexico City Ixtaca, and 95 kilometers north of Puebla city. A rail-serviced industrial park is 25 kilometers away, and regional power is provided by the Laguna Verde nuclear power station, located 200 kilometers to the east on a deep sea port.
Almaden has invested in the Tuligtic area since 2001. We have had over 70 local people working with Almaden in our ongoing exploration program. On behalf of our shareholders we invest in ongoing employee training programs and are actively involved in the community's health and social welfare projects.
To date, we have helped with local construction and improvement projects including work on a school, public bathrooms, a community hall, a local church and a hospital. See our Community Projects for more information on local projects +
Almaden is proud to be working in Puebla and to be building long term relationships in the communities near the Ixtaca project.
The Ixtaca zone occurs in deformed carbonate rocks about two kilometres southwest of the Tuligtic's porphyry copper zone (drilled in 2009-2010). Surface manifestation of the Ixtaca zone is very obscure because the region is almost completely covered with volcanic ash. Reports of historic clay mines brought Almaden’s attention to the area.
The epithermal gold-silver target area is characterised by extensively clay altered and silicified volcanic rocks. The alteration is indicative of the upper parts of an epithermal system and includes replacement silicification and sinter, the precipitate or sediment that was deposited from a hot spring. Quartz-calcite veins with textural evidence of boiling have been identified outcropping in limestone roughly 100 meters beneath the exposed sinter.
Initial sampling of these veins and from float boulders of breccia containing quartz vein fragments returned anomalous values in gold and silver as high as 600 g/t silver and 6.1 g/t gold. The sinter and the overlying altered volcanic rocks are highly anomalous in mercury and arsenic. The Ixtaca's kaolinite and replacement silica alteration zones are typical of the surface manifestation of an ancient hotspring environment. Within the feeder faults which channel hot mineral solutions from depth to surface hotsprings, quartz, carbonate, gold and silver can deposit.
This was the model employed by Almaden in testing the Ixtaca Zone where, in an arroyo beneath the kaolinite and silica alteration, some very narrow (0.1 to 3 centimetre) veins with epithermal textures occur in a small (about 2 metres by 5 metres) outcrop. These veins assayed up to 1 g/t gold and 110 g/t silver. Small cobbles of float in the creek returned assays of up to 600 g/t silver and another such cobble assayed 6.0 g/t gold. Work prior to drilling included a single Induced Polarization geophysical line across this area which detected a resistivity anomaly and several short geochemical soil sample lines showed coincident anomalous gold and silver values.