The 20,827 hectare La Bandera project is a low-sulphidation, epithermal gold-silver system located approximately 120 km north-northwest of Durango City, 2.5 hours driving time by paved highway and all-weather gravel roads.
The property is host to a more than 20 km long, 40 to 150 metre-wide, epithermal gold-silver vein system associated with rhyolitic flow-dome complexes. These flow-dome complexes were intruded in a NNW direction along the margin of a half-graben, normal-fault structure. The La Bandera vein system runs parallel to this margin and is cut by several ENE-trending structures. Mineralization is locally associated with these structural intersections.
Vein textures at La Bandera include extensive quartz-replaced bladed calcite, low-temperature silica flooding and crustiform-colliform banding, consistent with a shallow depth of formation and preservation of upper parts of the system from post-mineral erosion. Moderate to strong argillic alteration is locally associated with the vein system. Surface gold values are variable but locally reach bonanza grades (>30 g/t Au).
La Bandera was discovered in 2005 by prospectors Bud Hillemeyer and Perry Durning while working for Silver Standard but has seen limited exploration since. Silver Standard and partner Newmont briefly explored a 5 km length of the system in the southeastern portion of the property before returning it to the vendors. Their work included mapping, sampling and the drilling of 5 drill-holes to test 3 targets. The best intersection reported was 0.6 g/t Au over 15.5 m, including 2.2 g/t Au over 0.7 m in ddh 5.
Aurion acquired La Bandera in the fall of 2009, and promptly conducted reconnaissance mapping along the length of the vein system, bringing in consultant geologist Jeff Hedenquist to help with initial interpretation. Mapping and prospecting in the northern part of the property resulted in the discovery of a boulder field in an alluvial outwash plain comprising abundant silicified/veined/brecciated boulders containing low-sulphidation style vein material with low-T textures indicative of preservation of upper levels of a mineralizing system. The boulder field was informally referred to as the "field of dreams" and the source appears to be along the northern 1/3 of the La Bandera vein system. Grab samples from this northern part of La Bandera returned assay values up to 74 g/t Au. Aurion subsequently completed an extensive soil survey over the area outlining an anomalous gold-in-soil trend over >2300 m length x 300 m width with Au-in-soil values up to 2.07 g/t. Additionally, two key concessions were acquired in the northern area and the entire property was optioned to AuRico Ltd (formerly Gammon Gold). These concessions were key in consolidating the land position in the north. One of these concessions hosts the east-west trending "Ramona" zone, a quartz stockwork >250 m long by 100 m wide with assays of 34 g/t Au (grab) and 2.2 g/t Au over 9 m, 3.5 g/t Au over 5 m (chip/channel).
Aurion is working towards earning an undivided 100% beneficial interest in the La Bandera Property from La Cuesta International S.A de C.V. The earn-in includes making minimum option payments that started at US$5,000 (or the equivalent of 2% of gross exploration expenditures during the same period, whichever is greater) in October 2009 and continuing bi-annually and increasing to US$20,000 in April 2013 and issuing 67,000 Aurion Shares over the same period. The earn-in can be completed by paying La Cuesta US$5 million at any time less any payments already made. A 1% NSR is retained until buyout.
On March 1, 2011 Aurion finalized a Definitive Agreement with AuRico Gold Inc. whereby AuRico can earn up to a 70% interest in La Bandera. As per the Agreement, AuRico can earn an initial 51% interest by completing $5 million in exploration expenditures over 36 months, including a firm commitment to spend $1 million in the first 12 months. AuRico can earn an additional 19% by completing a minimum $7 million in additional expenditures or by completing a positive feasibility study within 5 years of earning 51% and forming a Joint Venture with Aurion. AuRico will be the operator of the project. In addition, AuRico made a $250,000 private placement in Aurion on March 28, 2011.
On September 21, 2011, Aurion announced its partner's plan for a 5000 m drill program, scheduled to commence in November 2011. Since finalizing the options agreement in March, AuRico has executed and registered surface access agreements with five Ejidos which cover most of the property. The rapid progress made with the Ejidos is a result of both the good relations Aurion had established with the local communities and AuRico's strong community relations program in Mexico.