Atalaya Mining (AIM: ATYM, TSX: AYM) of Cyprus has become a prominent player in the Ossa-Morena Metallogenic Belt in the Badajoz province of southwestern Spain, thanks to a €2.5 million transaction with Grupo Sacyr S.A.
The Ossa-Morena Metallogenic Belt is located north of the Iberian Pyrite Belt, where Atalaya operates its flagship Proyecto Riotinto mine, and has great exploration potential for a variety of basic and precious metals, according to the business.
The most recent arrangement featured the signing of a purchase agreement with Sacyr, which included the purchase of a 51 percent interest in Rio Narcea Nickel, S.L., which has 17 exploration permits in the area.
Atalaya also purchased a 100 percent interest in three exploration permits located along the Ossa-Morena Metallogenic Belt.
Because they are scattered throughout promising zones of the Ossa Morena Metallogenic Belt, and in particular, along the southern side of the massive Olivenza-Monesterio Antiform, the collection of 20 licences will be known as the Ossa Morena project.
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The Alconchel copper-gold-iron project contains a total indicated plus inferred resource of 23 Mt at 0.53 percent Cu, 0.15 g/t Au, and 11.2 percent Fe, as defined by NI 43-101.
Guijarro and Vicaria, two advanced-stage Au and Cu-Au exploration projects, are located along the southern side of the Olivenza-Monesterio Antiform, as are multiple drill-ready coincident geochemical and geophysical anomalies.
Atalaya said in a press release that it aims to execute infill and step-out drilling at Alconchel, as well as additional exploration drilling at the Pallares, Vicaria, and Guijarro projects, with a €2-million budget for 2022. The goal of this project is to expand Alconchel’s known resources and get the Pallares, Vicaria, and Guijarro projects closer to resource definition.
“With this purchase, Atalaya has gained a prominent land position in one of Western Europe’s most promising and underexplored metallogenic belts.” Its location, adjacent to the Iberian Pyrite region, where our Riotinto copper mine and other exploration projects are actively progressing, will allow us to conduct aggressive exploration programmes at a cheap cost and in a timely way, according to CEO Alberto Lavandeira.
“The Alconchel copper-gold-iron project will be given priority due of its exceptional exploration potential, which supports our geologists’ conviction that the present known resources can be greatly expanded.”
Environmentalists are concerned
However, the Alconchel and Comarca de Olivenza without Mines Platform, an activist group, is concerned about Atalaya’s ambitions, fearing that the miner’s presence in the region will result in environmental harm.
The Platform’s director, Angel Vicente Piris, told local media that the organisation is concerned that Atalaya will repeat the mistakes it did in Riotinto and Asturias, where the business was fined millions of euros for toxic mine releases and abandoned tailings ponds.