Vancouver, British Columbia – July 9, 2024 – Astra Exploration Inc. (TSX-V: ASTR, OTCQB: ATEPF, FSE: S3I) (“Astra” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has signed a binding letter agreement dated July 8, 2024 (the “Agreement”) granting Astra the option to acquire up to a 90% interest in the Manchuria epithermal gold-silver Project (the “Project”) from Patagonia Gold Corp (“Patagonia”) located in the prolific Deseado Massif of Santa Cruz, Argentina (Figure 1).

The Deseado Massif has extraordinary geological fertility and hosts multiple low-sulphidation epithermal (LSE) precious metals deposits, including AngloGold Ashanti’s Cerro Vanguardia (approximately 10 million gold-equivalent ounces) and Newmont Corp’s Cerro Negro (approximately  7.5 million gold-equivalent ounces) world-class deposits.

Highlights of the Manchuria Project:

  • Near existing mining infrastructure (Figure 1)
  • Large land package of approximately 5,600 hectares (Figure 2)
  • Localized bonanza-grade drill intersections (Table 1)
  • Historical drilling is mostly shallow, averaging 100 to 150 metres below surface
  • Existing 43-101 resource (Table 2) of 53,900 indicated and 92,400 inferred gold equivalent ounces for an optimized open-pit shell using USD $1,300/oz and 95% recovery for gold and USD $18/oz and 60% recovery for silver in 2019¹
  • Opportunity to discover high-grade feeder zones (Figure 3)

Astra’s CEO, Brian Miller commented:

After reviewing many projects over the past several months, Manchuria stands out as an opportunity to make a significant high-grade discovery in a proven, yet underexplored land package. The grades are exceptional, preliminary metallurgy is favorable, and previous drilling was shallow and mostly focused on the current published resource. There is opportunity to expand the existing resource laterally near surface and along strike, but perhaps more important is the opportunity to discover high-grade feeder zones which remain unexplored. Manchuria has multiple characteristics which support multi-million ounce potential. With Pampa Paciencia, and now the addition of Manchuria, Astra continues to position itself as a premier explorer with a growing portfolio of high quality precious metals projects in some of the most important mining jurisdictions in Latin America.

The Manchuria Project is a shallow, high-grade gold-silver LSE system close to provincial roads at 650 to 700 metres altitude (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Manchuria Project location, Deseado Massif region in Santa Cruz Province, Southern Argentina.

Previous exploration consists of surface and trench samples, geophysics (ground mag, IP and CSAMT) and 22,200 metres of drilling (91% DDH) in 133 holes. Exploration activity concentrated at an elevated and altered 600 by 700 metre area exposing a dense group of NW to NNW trending parallel banded quartz-adularia veins with bonanza grades (Table 1)  that can be divided into the Main and the Eastern Zones (Figure 2). This area is interpreted by Astra geologists as a hydrovolcanic centre with evidence of phreatic to phreatomagmatic breccias, and is currently the only area drilled.

Drilling was concentrated at the Main Zone, where in 2019 Patagonia published a 43-101 resource1 (Table 2) which remains open in all directions. The Eastern Zone (900 by 250 metres) consists of a similar group of NW-trending parallel banded quartz-adularia veins with bonanza grades that were not explored in detail (only 8 of the 133 holes drilled at Manchuria) and could likely expand the near-surface resources. Additionally, to the east there are more NW-oriented trends with shallow LSE style mineralization, and to the south more evidence of phreatic breccias and strong silicification is present (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Manchuria Project summarized lithologies and surface Au geochemical anomalies. Project outline in blue, and the modern cover has no color.
Table 1: Select (uncut) drill intersections from the Manchuria Project expressed in AuEq (gold-equivalent) g/t *metres using a gold/silver ratio of 80.

La Manchuria – Mineral Resource Summary
(above a cut-off grade of 0.55 AuEq (g/t)

Table 2: Existing resource1 information from 43-101 report dated September 27, 2019.

After relogging drill holes along select sections, Company geologists interpret that the Main Zone is an extensional basin filled with rhyolitic flow tuffs that develop into a dacitic to andesitic sequence of tuffs and lava flows. The contact between the two units is represented by a layer with important amounts of carbonized wood representing the base of the rhyolitic flow tuffs (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Cross-section showing parallel veins (red) crosscut by drilling (black traces) with coincident high grades at or near faults (blue) and carbon-rich layer (gray).

As seen in Figure 3, LSE mineralization was mainly tested in the rhyolitic tuffs unit with several Au-Ag rich drill intersections that created the bulk disseminated resource published in the 43-101. However, there is strong evidence that there are high-grade precious metal intersections when faults and fluids cross-cut the carbon-rich level (grades listed in blue), and there is also evidence of thicker and more continuous veins in the dacitic-andesitic basal unit.

Agreement Terms

Astra has the option to acquire an initial 80% interest in the Manchuria Project by fulfilling the following project expenditures, subject to Astra’s right to extend the earn-in timeframe:

  • USD $150K in non-discretionary expenditures in the first year;
  • USD $350K expenditures in the second year;
  • USD $1.5M expenditures in the third year;
  • USD $1M expenditures in the fourth year;

Upon earning 80%, Astra may then elect to purchase an additional 10% (for 90% total ownership) by making a cash payment of USD $5M to Patagonia by the end of the sixth year, subject to Astra’s right to extend this period.

Patagonia’s interest (10% or 20% as the case may be) will be carried until the publication of a 43-101 compliant resource totaling at least 1 million ounces of gold-equivalent in the indicated + inferred categories. Upon publication of the resource, each party will contribute their pro-rata amounts of expenditures from that point forward.

If either Party´s ownership is reduced to less than 10%, such ownership will automatically convert to a 1% NSR.

Upon signing of the Agreement, Astra will have a period of 45 days to conduct due diligence, during which time Astra has the exclusive option to proceed with the transaction. Further, the due diligence period will only commence upon both of: (i) approval from the existing royalty holder; and (ii) approval from the Santa Cruz Provincial authorities of the work plan which has been agreed to by Astra and Patagonia. 

About the Company

Astra Exploration Inc. is a precious metals exploration company based out of Vancouver, BC that is actively building a portfolio of high quality projects in some of the most important mining jurisdictions in Latin America.  Its 100% owned Pampa Paciencia low sulphidation epithermal (LSE) gold-silver project is located in the Paleocene mineral province of northern Chile in proximity to such major operating mines as Spence and Sierra Gorda, and shares several important geological similarities to other Paleocene LSE gold-silver deposits incuding Faride and El Peñón.  The Manchuria LSE gold-silver project over which Astra has an option to acquire 90% interest, is located in the prolific Deseado Massif of Santa Cruz, Argentina which hosts multiple world-class LSE precious metals deposits including Cerro Vanguardia and Cerro Negro.

Qualified Person

The technical data and information as disclosed in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Darcy Marud, who is an Independent Director of Astra. Mr. Marud is a Practicing Member of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario and is a qualified person as defined under the terms of National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

For further information please contact:

Brian Miller
Chief Executive Officer
Tel. 604.428.0939
Email: brian.miller@astra-exploration.com

References:

¹Source:Stubens, T. and Gowans, R., September 27, 2019.
Updated Technical Report on the Mineral Resources of the La Manchuria Project Santa Cruz Province, Argentina https://www.sedarplus.ca/csa-party/records/document.html?id=6bc2df299100dda4b4142a8fc3458ea9e378a7ef5b24922fa490ce964833e1b0

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Mineralization hosted on adjacent and/or nearby and/or geologically similar properties is not necessarily indicative of mineralization hosted on the Company’s properties.

This news release may contain certain “Forward-Looking Statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities laws. When or if used in this news release, the words “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect”, “target, “plan”, “forecast”, “may”, “schedule” and similar words or expressions identify forward- looking statements or information. These forward-looking statements or information may relate to the Company’s business activities; exploration on the Company’s properties; completion of the transactions contemplated by the Purchase Agreement; receipt of all required regulatory approvals; and marketing initiatives. Such statements represent the Company’s current views with respect to future events and are necessarily based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that, while considered reasonable by the Company, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, political and social risks, contingencies and uncertainties. Many factors, both known and unknown, could cause results, performance or achievements to be materially different from the results, performance or achievements that are or may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation: development of the industry in which the Company operates; risks associated with the conduct of the Company’s business activities; risks relating to reliance on the Company’s management team and outside contractors; currency fluctuations; risks regarding the failure to generate sufficient cash flow from operations; laws and regulations governing the industry in which the Company operates; the ability of the communities in which the Company operates to manage and cope with the implications of COVID-19; the economic and financial implications of COVID-19 to the Company; operating or technical difficulties; employee relations, labour unrest or unavailability; stock market volatility; conflicts of interest among certain directors and officers; lack of liquidity for shareholders of the Company; litigation risk; and other risk factors disclosed in the Company’s public disclosure documents available on the Company’s profile at www.sedar.com. Readers are cautioned against attributing undue certainty to forward-looking statements or forward-looking information. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be other factors that cause results not to be anticipated, estimated or intended. The Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements or information to reflect changes in assumptions or changes in circumstances or any other events affecting such statements and information other than as required by applicable laws, rules and regulations.