New York, NY, March 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aftermath Silver Ltd. (TSXV: AAG) (OTCQX: AAGFF) (FSE: FLM1), a leading Canadian junior mining company, is solidly positioned both corporately and with its mineral rich projects in Latin America to become a leader in the development of silver as well as a player in the emerging “green” metals space. The company has two extremely promising projects in—Peru and Chile—both of which are global leaders in producing the specific metals that Aftermath’s properties host and that the “green” industry is demanding.
Aftermath’s portfolio of exploration properties has demonstrated that it’s rich with an abundance of silver. In fact, its path to becoming one of the leading silver development companies begins with two significant mineral resource estimates that include silver, copper and manganese. These metals are critical “green” or future facing metals that are essential for the technologies to build electric vehicles (EVs), windmills, solar panels and other renewables.
The company’s flagship property, “Berenguela,” is a silver (Ag), copper (Cu), and manganese (Mn) project located in southern Peru on 6,594 hectares or 16,294 acres. Last week, after 15 months of extensive work, Aftermath reached a major milestone with the announcement of a new Mineral Resource estimate for Berenguela that includes 101.2-million ounces of silver plus 2.45-million tons of manganese in the Measured and Indicated category, and an additional 38.8 million ounces of silver and 0.8 million tonnes of manganese in Inferred Resources. When discussing the significance of this milestone, Aftermath’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ralph Rushton, said, “We believe that Berenguela may be one of the most significant undeveloped projects in Latin America offering investors exposure to silver and battery metals.”
The current estimate confirms and expands on the previous historical Mineral Resources, and according to the company, is based on the most extensive geological model of the Berenguela deposit to date, which significantly enhances Aftermath’s understanding of the deposit. Fully understanding the rising value in “green” metals, Aftermath’s CEO, said, “The overall potential value of the resource has been significantly enhanced by the inclusion of manganese.”
Meanwhile, “Challacollo,” Aftermath’s wholly owned 19,000-hectare (46,950 acres) silver and gold (Au) project in northern Chile, hosts a current Mineral Resource, which was published by Aftermath in 2020, of 35.2-million ounces of Measured and Indicated silver with a further 11-million ounces of Inferred silver. The deposit also has 58-thousand ounces of gold in the Measured and Indicated category with a further 15-million ounces of gold in the Inferred category. Challacollo was acquired from Mandalay Resources after Mandalay itself invested $30 million to acquire and develop the project.
The benefit of Berenguela and Challacollo to Aftermath is that neither is a grassroots project. Instead, both properties have “known ounces and tonnes in the ground,” and at Berenguela, it has been established that it hosts significant silver, copper and manganese. These silver projects, both of which have the potential for large open-pit mining, provide a platform for Aftermath to become a major silver exploration and development company. And having significant silver is important because the price of silver offers tremendous leverage. Having additional “green” metals like copper and manganese provides exposure to multiple critical minerals. Silver is not only considered a precious metal but also plays a central role in the production of green technologies.
Globally, countries have been tasked with moving toward a goal of zero carbon emissions and a greater shift toward cleaner-energy alternatives, so, in turn, mining companies will be committed to navigating the increase in the demand for “green” metals. Therefore, metals hosted on Aftermath’s properties are expected to see their demand climb dramatically. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that wind and solar could account for 70% of power generation by 2050, up from 9% in 2020, if the world seeks to become carbon neutral by 2050.
But that also means massive levels of demand for those metals required for green energy which are vital for the technologies to build electric cars and renewables. The IEA predicts about a seven-fold increase of such “green” metals by 2030. The clean energy transition could unleash unprecedented demand for these metals in the coming decades, requiring as much as 3-billion tons, according to the IEA.
A typical electric vehicle battery pack, for example, needs around 8 kilograms (18 pounds) of lithium, 35 kilograms of nickel, 20 kilograms of manganese and 14 kilograms of cobalt, while charging stations require substantial amounts of copper. For green power, solar panels use large quantities of copper, silicon, silver and zinc, and wind turbines require iron ore, copper, and aluminum.
When discussing the rising interest in “green” metals, Brandon Rakszawski, director of exchange-traded-fund product development at VanEck told Barron’s, “We have already seen metals like lithium and cobalt take center stage in the market, but it is estimated that metals such as copper, nickel, and rare earths will see a larger portion of their demand come from clean energy in the years to come.”
Manganese, for instance, is one such metal and its demand globally is likely to grow exponentially, as it is considered a key input in renewable technologies. Aftermath is aware of the need for manganese in a host of industries, including the production of electric vehicles. Manganese is a battery metal, a metal vital to the steel industry, and an agribusiness metal used in fertilizers and feed. It is used in the two most prominent batteries in production, the Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) and Lithium Manganese Oxide (LMO) batteries, so its necessity will grow exponentially well into the future. There has been an industry shift to NMC battery chemistries, which consume battery-grade manganese sulphate (BG MnSO4), due to their cost effectiveness, scalability, relative safety, and range. NMC batteries are vital for long-range vehicles. Aftermath is working toward determining what role manganese will play at Berenguela, but it could be a significant player should the metallurgical testing prove positive.
Additionally, another essential “green” metal that Aftermath has in abundance on its Berenguela property is copper. Copper is an integral part of sustainable energy initiatives because of its reliability, efficiency and performance. Copper’s electrical and thermal conductivity and high resistance to both atmospheric and aqueous corrosion makes it extremely valuable in solar energy systems. Solar power systems can contain approximately 5.5 tons of copper per megawatt (MW). Copper is in the heat exchangers of solar thermal units as well as in the wiring and cabling that transmits the electricity in photovoltaic solar cells. Another key role for copper is its use in electric vehicles. Simply put, there is not enough copper worldwide to meet future demand.
Copper is also necessary in wind energy technologies including in the electrical grounding system for wind turbine farms. A three-megawatt wind turbine can contain up to 4.7 tons of copper with 53% of that demand coming from the cable and wiring, 24% from the turbine/power generation components, 4% from transformers, and 19% from turbine transformers. Additionally, onshore wind farms use approximately 7,766 pounds of copper per MW, whereas offshore wind installation uses 21,068 pounds of copper per MW.
As a junior mining company, it’s vital that Aftermath ensures its investment into both Berenguela and Challacollo is economically beneficial. The price of silver combined with the potential large-scale inventory of the metals found on both projects certainly validates the company’s path forward on all development. Interestingly, while it is the discovery and production of precious metals like silver and gold that entice investors, it’s “green” metals like copper and manganese, which are abundant on Aftermath’s Berenguela project—especially when incorporated with the production of silver—that could give the company its greatest probability for success.
And success begins with the company continuing to understand its properties and the resources that reside below the surface. This necessary work is a costly endeavor for any company, so, Aftermath has set itself up financially by raising around $3-million CAD via a private placement agreement to ensure that it is well capitalized. Also, the company sold another of its properties in Chile so that it could further invest in and advance its two key projects. The decision was made to monetize the “Cachinal” silver-gold project so that the company could invest that capital “in the ground” at Berenguela and Challacollo, which according to Aftermath’s CEO, is “the fastest way to potentially unlock value for our shareholders. With two key projects, we felt that selling Cachinal made sense as it was no longer a core asset.”
During the company’s latest drilling season, Aftermath completed its 63-hole (6,200 meters) diamond drill program at Berenguela that included a combination of resource verification, metallurgical sampling, and confirmation of a selection of historical reverse circulation (RC) holes. The company’s new Mineral Resource estimate is based on a geological model incorporating data from 386 drill holes that include the 63 diamond core holes, and historical drilling data from 32 diamond core and 291 RC holes drilled between 2004 and 2019. All drill holes released from the company’s latest drilling season, so far, have cut Ag + Cu + Mn mineralization. Highest grade intercepts to date include:
AFD 005: 53.3m @ 256 g/t Ag + 1.29% Cu inc. 9m @ 781 g/t Ag + 1.26% Cu
AFD 004: 56.3m @ 195 g/t Ag + 1.74% Cu inc. 5m @ 627 g/t Ag + 0.99% Cu
AFD 034: 65.2m @ 408 g/t Ag + 0.91% Cu inc. 19m @ 1,162 g/t Ag + 1.12% Cu
AFD 029: 99.2m @ 188 g/t Ag + 1.70% Cu inc. 20m @ 268 g/t Ag + 2.95% Cu
AFD 048: 35.9m @ 508 g/t Ag + 1.11% Cu inc. 8.7m @ 1,010 g/t Ag + 1.48% Cu
AFD 020: 56.7m @ 253 g/t Ag + 1.19% Cu inc. 8m @ 804 g/t Ag + 0.45% Cu
Additionally, the company has been engaged in a drilling “twinning” program at Berenguela. Drilling twinned holes is a traditional technique used for verification of intersections of high-grade mineralization, testing of historical data, or confirmation of drill hole data during geological due diligence studies, and for Aftermath, twinned holes are important to the company’s new Mineral Resource estimate on the property. Preliminary results from the company’s drilling twinning program are certainly great news as they show grades equal to or higher than historical data for the property.
And then there is Challacollo, Aftermath’s very attractive low-sulphidation (LS), epithermal deposit where drill permitting will be underway shortly. LS epithermal deposits represent major sources of gold and silver throughout the world. Mining of epithermal gold deposits accounts for about 12% of the world’s total gold production and some deposits achieve “bonanza-grades” (more than 34 grams of gold per tonne or more than one troy ounce of gold per ton).
Fortunately, the company won’t be slowed by having to develop the essential infrastructure required to advance its work. Each property already has the necessary infrastructure in place or nearby for Aftermath to successfully progress the development of Berenguela and Challacollo. So, given the mineral rich properties, the infrastructure in place, the financial resources available, and the industry expertise offered by the company’s team, the opportunity in the “green” metals space on both projects is seemingly unlimited. And given the high demand industrywide of silver, copper, and manganese, Aftermath could set itself up as a potential large producer or the company could simply continue development of its properties and position the projects for acquisition as an exit strategy.
Either way Aftermath Silver offers an excellent ground-floor opportunity for investors looking to take the journey into the “green” revolution as the company uncovers just how valuable its resources can be to a burgeoning industry with what will surely be an insatiable appetite for these necessary metals.
To learn more about Aftermath Silver Ltd., visit https://aftermathsilver.com
About Aftermath Silver Ltd.
Aftermath Silver Ltd. is a leading Canadian junior exploration company focused on silver, and aims to deliver shareholder value through the discovery, acquisition and development of quality silver projects in stable jurisdictions. Aftermath has developed a pipeline of projects at various stages of advancement. The company's projects have been selected based on growth and development potential.
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