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Is Aftermath Silver sitting on a major manganese deposit in Peru?

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Canadian-listed miner Aftermath Silver [TSXV:AAG] is currently in the process of delineating what it calls a carbonate replacement deposit in Peru. While the Berenguela deposit holds out the prospect for considerable silver and copper mineralisation, there is also evidence here for manganese as well, which is arguably the most exciting component.

Berenguela is located at altitude and not far from Peru’s famed Lake Titicaca. It has road, power and rail links within 6km and the rail line runs down to Matarani Port, some 350km away.

Executive Chairman Michael Williams reckons Berenguela is one of Latin America’s best undeveloped projects. Between 2004 and 2022, 291 RC and 32 diamond drill holes of more than 36,000m were drilled on the property prior to Aftermath taking it over.

Could this be a major manganese deposit?

A further 63 diamond core holes were drilled by Aftermath Silver up to May 2022. The Resource Estimate is 101 g/t Ag measured, and 74 g/t indicated. On the Mn side, which is more interesting for me, we have 8.89% Mn measured and 5.6% indicated. Inferred Mn sits at 3.57%.

In February the company confirmed it had successfully produced 99.98% pure manganese sulphate crystals via the Kappes Cassidy & Assoc facility in Reno. The crystals assayed 31.9% Mn.

“With the unprecedented projected growth in electric vehicle production, battery grade manganese sulphate is playing a significant role,” said Ralph Rushton, the President of Aftermath Silver. “Coupled with the changing battery chemistries that are now substituting manganese for cobalt, the market and pricing for battery grade manganese sulphate has increased to the point where manganese – along with silver and copper – could play a significant role in the Berenguela economics as we advance the project toward a preliminary economic assessment.”

Although test work has not been completed, KCA has indicated that recovery of high percentages of copper and silver are potentially achievable using a simple flowsheet compatible with that used for the recovery of the manganese sulphate. Silver is a critical mineral in the manufacture of solar panels, and copper is a critical “green energy” metal.

Rushton said the company now plans to perform the same test work on different composite samples from Berenguela, and to scale up the tests and advance toward the PEA.

Sixteen composite samples weighing over 6 tonnes in total were selected from Aftermath’s metallurgical drilling program and delivered to KCA’s laboratory. The composites represent the key geometallurgical domains which cover all mineralization types encountered and form the basis of the current metallurgical processing campaign.

Further manganese detected outside of core project

Aftermath Silver says its mineral resources estimates are constrained by the assumptions of an optimised pit shell. It has also detected high grade Ag-Cu-Mn in old workings elsewhere on the site.

The company delivered its NI43-101 in March 2023. It produced its first samples of battery grade manganese in February 2024. It says is currently working on the development of a full process route for the manganese.

Outside of the current site, Aftermath reckons there is potential here for bulk tonnage porphyry and/or skarn-hosted copper mineralisation around 4km southwest of the existing Berenguela resource. A follow-up on the historic hole BED 006, which is on the northeast corner of the resource, returned 123m of 1.17% copper mineralisation, some of it associated with brecciated dorite.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Make sure you do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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