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Batero Completes 2012 Drilling, “Extends Continuity” Of Gold Mineralization At La Cumbre

Batero Gold Corp. (CVE:BAT) Thursday reported results of the final 28 holes drilled from its 2012 program at the La Cumbre deposit on its Batero-Quinchia project in Colombia.

The Vancouver-based company is now working towards an updated resource estimate for the deposit.

The gold explorer said all drill holes ended in mineralization and highlighted hole LC070, which from 6.5 metres to 150 metres graded 1.36 grams per tonne (g/t) gold and 2.58 g/t silver.

Amongst the other featured holes, hole LC057, which from 4.00 metres to 100.00 metres graded 1.20 g/t gold and 2.16 g/t silver, including 1.69 g/t gold and 3.66 g/t silver from 94.00 metres to 100.00 metres; and hole LC061, which graded 1.07 g/t gold and 3.40 g/t silver from 0.00 metres to 82.7 metres, but was terminated due to technical issues.

"We are pleased that the results from our 2012 drill program continue to outline grades of over 1 plus grams per tonne gold in the large continuous zones of mineralization at La Cumbre," said Batero president and CEO Brandon Rook.

"These positive drill results serve as encouraging signs for the future of the Batero-Quinchia project.

"As a result of our alliance with Consorcio Minero Horizonte, we now possess the financial and technical capabilities required to move this project forward."

Batero's total 2012 drill program consisted of 35 holes over 4,947 metres, located within a 600-metre, northwest-southeast strike length zone of "continuous gold mineralization" located from surface.

With the 2012 infill drill plan complete, the company said it is working towards the preparation of an updated resource estimate, focusing only on La Cumbre's "high-grade, oxidized gold mineralization" at surface as the basis of a comprehensive technical report that will encompass all of the work completed to date at La Cumbre.

Given the results from the drill program, Batero said a revision and updating of the mineral resources at La Cumbre "should maintain or better" the categorization of the resources in this deposit.

The initial mineral resource estimate of La Cumbre in January 2012 used a 0.3 g/t gold cut-off grade and a Whittle pit shell. The deposit has indicated resources containing 2.3 million ounces of gold in 131.0 million tonnes averaging 0.56 g/t gold, and inferred resources containing 0.7 million ounces gold in 39.0 million tonnes averaging 0.52 g/t gold.

Additionally, the initial oxide resource estimate of the La Cumbre deposit from the same date, at a 0.16 g/t gold cut-off grade and within a Whittle pit shell, reports indicated resources containing 275,000 ounces gold in 15.4 million tonnes averaging 0.56 g/t gold, and inferred resources containing 81,000 ounces gold in 6.7 million tonnes averaging 0.37 g/t gold.

Batero noted that remodeling of the La Cumbre oxidized deposit and resources are expected to be completed in early 2013.

It expects that La Cumbre's "high-grade" core is will improve both the average grade and ounces in an updated mineral resource estimate.

The company is currently evaluating the most efficient and cost effective mine scenario, including a leach processing circuit and the optimum starter pit production rate from the mineralization at La Cumbre.

Batero said it will also include La Cumbre's transition zone, which was not included in the initial oxide resource estimate, in its evaluation. This mine scenario is anticipated to be the first stage of a potentially larger mine plan.

The company is focused on accelerating the La Cumbre deposit towards a development decision, and said engineering, environmental impact assessment, archaeological studies, and social baseline studies are all "sufficiently advanced to support any development option".

La Cumbre is one of three gold porphyry deposits at the Batero-Quinchia project, with 70 per cent of the project area remaining untested.

Earlier this month, Batero inked a strategic alliance with private Peruvian gold producer Consorcio Minero Horizonte, which will see Horizonte take a 35 per cent in Batero, raising up to $20 million for the development of the Batero-Quinchia project in Colombia.

The agreement includes equity private placement financings, as well as an agreed loan of $2.2 million to Batero from Horizonte, all together raising up to $20 million for Batero.

The deal will also see Batero gain a strategic alliance partner in Horizonte, which is the fifth largest gold producer in Peru, and advance the junior gold explorer's efforts in developing its Batero-Quinchia project toward a production decision.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.