The Maria Jose Prospect is located in the Department of Ancash, 140 km NNW of Lima, Peru. The property hosts a system of mesothermal quartz veins and shear zones that have been observed over a strike length of approximately 4km and range in thickness from 0.20 meters to 1.8 meters with average widths of ~1 meter. Exposed vein intersections reach up to 4.5 meters returning an average of 27.2 g/t gold. During 2015 and 2016, mapping and channel sampling of seven veins yielded values ranging from 1.0 g/t to 233 g/t gold. Based upon preliminary field work to date, the mesothermal veins are consistently gold bearing and are indicated to have vertical continuity for at least 400 meters as evidenced by prospect pits and scattered outcrops separated by thin soil cover.
The Company acquired the Maria Jose Prospect in 2013 by way of an option agreement with a private Peruvian third party to acquire 100% of the 3,500-hectare property. In 2015 the Company signed an option and joint venture agreement with Analytica Mineral Services SAC (“AMS”), to explore and develop the Maria Jose gold-quartz vein system. AMS, a Peruvian tunneling contractor and gold producer, is expected to complete 2,000 meters of tunneling and cross-cuts in the vein systems, at its sole cost, in order to earn a 51% undivided interest in the mineral concessions. Upon AMS earning its 51% interest, the two parties will form a joint venture agreement with standard terms.
In December 2015, Bear Creek and AMS made a negotiated purchase payment of $1.2 million to the underlying owner, thereby acquiring a 100% interest in the company holding the Maria Jose mineral concessions. There are no underlying royalties; however, under the purchase agreement, the Company and AMS are obligated to pay an additional $2.1 million, in proportion to their respective joint venture interests, on commencement of commercial production.
During 2018, AMS secured surface rights agreements with the local community, constructed an access road to the tunnel portal sites and built storage and camp facilities. Additionally, during 2018 AMS received the regional permits required to undertake the planned tunneling program, which consequently commenced in late 2018. The tunneling program is designed to explore for high-grade gold mineralization in the veins and establish resource potential.