Avrupa Minerals announced that Phase 4 drilling at the Alvalade project, located in the Pyrite Belt of southern Portugal, commenced last week.

The Alvalade project is operated by Avrupa and funded by a wholly owned subsidiary of Antofagasta plc (Antofagasta). As previously reported, Antofagasta has earned-in to 51% of the project with total funding of $4.3m. The partners have now drilled 24 holes and nearly 11,000m in three previous phases of drilling.

The new phase of drilling is designed for 3,500m in ten holes. During Phase 4a, one hole will be drilled at the Monte da Bela Vista West target (MBVW), located approximately 400 meters to the west of the Monte da Bela Vista mineralization drilled during 2012-2013.

A further six holes will be drilled in Phase 4a around two new target areas that have never been drilled before. These six holes will be collared in young cover sediments, which completely obscure visual sighting of the target rocks and may be as thick as 200 meters.

The holes will be drilled through the sediments and then 30-40 meters into the target basement rocks.

The information collected from the short forays into the basement rocks will then be used to help target vectoring towards true deep massive sulfide targets. Phase 4b will include three follow-up deep tests from locations indicated by the blind vectoring drilling.

All of the drill targets are located on the Neves Corvo Trend of target rocks in the Pyrite Belt. The giant Neves Corvo copper-zinc mineral deposit complex is located only 60-70 kilometers southeast of the area of the present drilling program. Seven of the world’s 25 largest volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits are located in the Pyrite Belt of Portugal and Spain. There are presently four active mines in the 200 kilometer-long belt, including Neves and Aljustrel in Portugal, and Aguas Tenidas and Las Cruces in Spain. The largest of all the Pyrite Belt deposits, Rio Tinto in Spain, is currently in the permitting process for re-opening.

Paul Kuhn, President and CEO of Avrupa commented, "We are quite pleased to start this new phase of drilling. It has taken us much of the past two years to get to this point where our understanding of the presumed subsurface geology actually allows us to drill through the thick cover and anticipate intercepting rocks that may be altered and even mineralized. The information we get from the basement rocks at the bottom of each of these six holes will lead us further into the right direction for targeting massive sulfide mineralization. This is an exciting, yet risky, step forward in the evolution of the project. Meanwhile, the other half of the story is that the MBVW hole is the continuation of our work at Monte da Bela Vista where we discovered stockwork copper mineralization in 2012-2013. All previous work at Monte da Bela Vista was located in the eastern limb of a large fold feature, and the new hole will begin a test of the western limb of the structure."