Toronto-based Latin American Minerals (CVE:LAT)(OTCQX:LATNF) says it has started geophysical surveys at its Paso Yobai project in Paraguay – making an early start to the 2013 exploration campaign that will see the drilling of multiple geochemical gold targets.


The ground-based geophysical survey, which is expected to take between 2 to 3 months, will initially focus on the X-Mile Trend, prior to moving on to the Discovery Trend and “multiple outlying target areas”.


To follow up on the results of the deep target identification program, the company will implement a second phase of exploration with diamond drilling – anticipated to start by mid February.


The company said that the CSAMT (controlled source audio frequency magneto-tellurics) geophysical survey is a high resolution variant of the magneto-telluric class of geophysical surveys, designed to provide detailed section views of lithology and structural features.


“We have seen CSAMT surveys employed with excellent results on many gold systems over more than two decades,” said president and CEO of the company, Miles Rideout.


“Applying this imaging technology at Paso Yobai, prior to drill testing many of our surface gold targets, will allow us to employ better structural information in the initial drill targeting, and will extend our targeting ability to more than 300 metres depth.


“The potential benefits to the Paso Yobai gold project include: increased exploration depth, improved drill target identification, reduced reconnaissance drilling cost and improved target prioritization.”


Latin American awarded the contract for the survey to Canadian company Quantec Geoscience.


The Paso Yobai project is a 15,020 hectare property with several large gold showings mapped at surface. The two primary gold bearing structures at the site are the 4,500 metre Discovery Trend and the 14,800 metre X-Mile Trend.


More outlying gold zones were also found by the company’s work programs, producing a gold system footprint approaching 100 square kilometres in area.


The company’s flagship Paso Yobai gold project has recently become home to Paraguay’s first gold mine, and Latin American also has three other active projects in the region – one of which is led by a joint venture partner that provides specialized technical resources and financing.


Latin American operates the Independencia Mine pilot plant on the fully permitted mining concession that is part of its larger Paso Yobai property. Operational trials and training began in January of this year, and the plant was inaugurated in February.


The month of May saw the implementation of a second shift at the mine, and in late August, the company announced that it had delivered its first gold doré bar to the Johnson Matthey gold refinery in Brampton, Ontario.  Refinery assays indicated the bar contained 166 ounces gold and 47 ounces silver, giving it a rough value of $276,000 at then market prices.


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