Mining News: Exploration season shifts into high gear
Explorers rush to plant boots on the outcrop and drills in the ground in search for base metals, gold, copper and REEs statewide
By Curt Freeman
For Mining News
The last month has seen a massive transition in Alaska from planning to execution, from getting ready to go to the field to boots on the outcrop and drills in the ground. Each year the hustle and bustle of the Alaska summer exploration season subsumes virtually everything else (except the Stanley Cup) as field programs launch around the state. This year has been no different with base metal programs in the Brooks Range, gold programs in Interior Alaska and the Seward Peninsula, nickel-copper-platinum group element programs in the Alaska Range, rare earth element projects in Southeast Alaska and copper porphyry projects in the Alaska Range and on the Alaska Peninsula. People, drills, helicopters and time are all in high demand and short supply. In short, pretty much a normal Alaska summer!
Western AlaskaZazu Metals Corp. announced commencement of its 2011 exploration program at its Lik deposit. The program includes exploration drilling on the Lik North deposit, infill drilling on Lik South, geotechnical investigations to examine rock and soil conditions for improving pit design and mining method, planning for plant design and construction, waste dump and tailing disposal design, access road route to refinement and costing, acquisition of a fresh sample of mineralized material for further metallurgical testing, environmental baseline studies, port site design, and acid rock drainage characterization studies.
Fire River Gold Corp. announced results obtained from additional underground drilling at the Nixon Fork project. Significant new intercepts in the 3300 zone included hole N11U-038 with 17.56 grams per metric ton gold over 4.18 meters, hole N11U-041 with 28.92 g/t gold over 3.14 meters and hole N11U-052 with 107.13 g/t gold and 36.26 g/t silver over 8.42 meters. Drilling continues with two drills.
Freegold Ventures Ltd. announced the commencement of exploration on its Vinasale gold project under option from Doyon Ltd. An induced polarization geophysical survey and a 5,000-meter diamond drilling program are aimed at both upgrading and expanding the current 1.33-million-ounce resource. Drilling is planned for the Central zone, where current resources are concentrated, and the sparsely drilled Northeast zone where mineralization such as 21.5 meters grading 2.85 grams of gold per tonne have been encountered.
Invenio Resources Corp. announced that it plans to investigate bulk-tonnage and high-grade gold targets during is upcoming 2011 exploration program at its Ganes Creek project. This included lower grade bulk tonnage gold mineralization that is composed of quartz-arsenopyrite veinlets and micron-to-millimeter scale disseminations hosted in porphyritic rhyolite sills and dikes (the Pzs Ridge prospect) and high grade gold in quartz-native gold veins, locally with coarse visible gold, found within post-intrusive structures that cut altered and deformed bi-modal sill and dike swarms (Independence mine). A new intrusive sill swarm and high-grade vein system was discovered by trenching along South Potosi Ridge within the Lower Bench Region. Two chip samples from stockwork veins hosted within altered intrusives and shear-veins hosted in late-east-west, clay altered shear zones produced assays of 13.95 grams of gold per tonne and 14.15 grams of gold per tonne. Details of the planned exploration program were not released.
Full Metal Minerals Ltd. announced that JV partner Antofagasta Minerals has commenced its 2011 drill program at the Pyramid copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry located in Southwest Alaska. The property is under option from Aleut Corp. The companies are planning a Phase I drill program totaling 5,000 meters, with additional drilling based on results.
Full Metal Minerals Ltd. announced that it has entered into a Letter Agreement with Redstar Gold Corp. whereby Redstar can earn a 60 percent interest in Full Metal’s Unga and Popov epithermal gold targets near Sand Point. Redstar can earn a 60 percent interest by completing US$5 million in exploration expenditures by Aug. 1, 2015, making cash payments totaling $300,000 by Aug. 1, 2014, and issuing 1,000,000 shares by August 1, 2014. Redstar has the option of earning an additional 25 percent interest by producing a bankable feasibility study and issuing an additional 1 million shares to Full Metal. Redstar will issue an additional 1 million shares on the commencement of commercial production. The project hosts more than eight gold showings including the Aguila vein system. The Aguila system is approximately 6 kilometers (4 miles) along strike from the Shumagin vein and has been traced through trenching and drilling for over two kilometers. The system is comprised of at least of three sub-parallel near vertical veins. Initial drilling in the early 1980s returned grades up to 113 g/t gold over 0.4 meters and 12.0 g/t gold over 2.74 meters. The project also hosts the Centennial deposit, a bulk tonnage target containing an estimated 4.9 million metric tons grading 1.4 g/t gold (200,000 ounces of gold) within 50 meters of surface. Trenching and geophysics indicates the zone remains open to expansion. Details of the planned exploration program were not released.
Advanced Explorations Inc. announced that it has commenced an airborne magnetic survey of its Iron Sands project near Port Heiden. The purpose of the 1,322 line-kilometer airborne magnetic survey is to better define the size, shape and distribution of the magnetite-bearing sands both onshore and in the offshore area. The iron sands project is comprised of a placer deposit that is attractive primarily for its magnetite content. The deposit area is composed of an active beach and offshore area as well as paleobeach and terraces. A composite sands sample taken during an initial site visit returned a value of 8.23 percent ferrous iron.
Interior AlaskaFreegold Ventures Ltd. announced initial drilling results from its 700,000-ounce Dolphin deposit on its Golden Summit project. Significant intervals include hole GSDC1101 which intersected 49.7 meters grading 0.66 g/t gold, hole GSDC1103 which intersected 54.9 meters grading 0.82 g/t gold, hole GSDC1104 which intersected 60.5 meters grading 0.73 g/t gold and hole GSDC1106 which intersected 452 meters grading 0.68 g/t gold including 166.4 meters grading 0.81 g/t gold. Following completion of the current 7,000-meter drilling program, the company will undertake property wide geophysical and geochemical surveys.
In a rare news release, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. announced that it had encountered significant gold, silver and antimony at their jointly held Monte Cristo project in the Richardson District. Gold values ranging from 0.6 to 29.2 g/t gold were reported. Additional drilling is planned.
Freegold Ventures Ltd. announced plans to conduct drilling at its Rob project in the Goodpaster District. The program will involve mapping, sampling, and a diamond drill program to expand upon previously intersected high-grade zones and to test other strong geochemical anomalies over bulk-tonnage targets which have not been evaluated to date. Initial targets include the Michigan Zone where grab samples returned values up to 988 g/t gold. Previous prospecting in the Michigan area identified a large stock-work vein system over a 3,500 x 2,500 foot area. Other target areas include the Blue Lead area where sampling of the vein zone returned values of up to 856 g/t gold. Drilling at the Grey Lead Zone in 2007/2008 returned several high grade intercepts including 17.5 feet grading 15.8 g/t and 18.7 feet grading 19.14 g/t gold and 11 feet grading 43.10 g/t gold. One of the new targets to be tested is the Hilltop Prospect which is located 600 feet southeast of the Grey Lead and where grab sampling returned values of 18.7 g/t gold with elevated levels of bismuth and tellurium similar to that seen in the Grey Lead vein. Historical sampling in this area returned values of up to 101 grams of gold per tonne.
International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. announced final drilling results from its winter program at t their Livengood project. Significant results from the core include hole MK-RC-480CT which intercepted 92.3 meters grading 1.57 g/t gold, hole MK-RC-500CT which intercepted 49.9 meters grading 1.35 g/t gold, hole MK-11-08 which intercepted 29.3 meters grading 1.64 g/t gold, hole MK-11-116 which intercepted 92.9 meters grading 1.62 g/t gold and an additional 65.4 meters grading 1.02 g/t gold, hole MK-RC-518 which intercepted 39.6 meters grading 1.68 g/t gold. This drilling confirmed two higher grade near-vertical structural zones that appear to continue to depth but which appear to be truncated up-dip. Additional exploration is planned fro these two higher grade zones.
Corvus Gold announced that joint venture partner First Star Resources Inc. has received initial exploration drilling results from its LMS gold project in the Goodpaster District. Previously unsampled core from hole LM-10-39 intersected 6.9 meters grading 11.7 g/t gold and 13.8 g/t silver, while new drilling in hole LM-11-40 returned 21.2 meters grading 5.8 g/t gold and 12.6 g/t silver, including 16.9 meters grading 21.4 g/t gold and 33.5 g/t silver. During the coming months First Star intends to drill 5,000 meters of oriented diamond core to assess the existing Camp Zone in an effort to expand the gold-bearing graphitic quartzite breccias and to drill a northeast-striking structural corridor within the lower gneiss zone that is known to contain high-grade gold mineralization.
Tri-Valley Corp.’s subsidiary, Select Resources Corp., announced that it has entered letter of intent with Alaska newcomer US Gold Corp. on the former’s Richardson gold project. Under terms of the deal US Gold can earn a 60 percent interest upon completion of US$5 million in exploration expenditures and 30,000 feet of core drilling during the term of the Definitive Agreement. The parties have agreed that US Gold may terminate its option after completing US$2.2 million in exploration expenditures and performing 15,000 feet of core drilling during the first two years of the agreement. Should US Gold elect to terminate the agreement, Select will retain its 100 percent interest in the project. Select will also receive US$200,000 upon execution and additional US$100,000 payment on each of the next three anniversary dates of the agreement. Welcome to Alaska US Gold Corp.!
Contango ORE Inc. announced that airborne magnetic and electromagnetic geophysical surveys were completed in May on its Tetlin Reservation properties near Tok. Airborne data is being processed and will be used to guide drilling and exploration program which recently began.
Full Metal Minerals Ltd. and Georgetown Capital Corp. announced the commencement of the drilling at the Tanacross copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry project near Chicken. The 2011 field program includes 1,000 meters of core drilling in four holes, regional geological surface mapping, and geological sampling. Tanacross is located within a belt of Cretaceous-age porphyry copper-gold systems spanning eastern Alaska and the Yukon.
Ucore Rare Metals Inc. announced acquisition of its Ray Mountains rare earth element prospect. The Company has conducted initial geochemical analyses of field-concentrated heavy mineral samples from the 11,400 acre property. The initial assay results indicate mineral concentrates containing 5 percent to more than 30 percent combined valuable metals, with a total rare earth element content ranging from 1-8 percent. The samples additionally show high heavy rare earth element content, generally ranging between 20 percent and 30 percent of total rare earth elements, and high content of the strategic metal dysprosium which ranged from 2-5 percent of the total rare-earth-element content. Multiple mineralized stream systems and fluvial basins occur across an 80 kilometer-wide section of the Ray Mountains. Various government surveys during the 1970s and 1980s concluded that significant tin and rare earth element placer deposits are present in the drainages of the Kanuti, Kilolitna and Ray Rivers. The rare metal placers of the Ray Mountains contain REE as monazite and xenotime, tin as cassiterite, tungsten as wolframite, and zirconium as zircon. Minor amounts of niobium and tantalum also have been identified. Additional work is planned for later in 2011.
Alaska RangeCorvus Gold Inc. and Ocean Park Ventures Corp. announced the commencement of their 2011 exploration work program the Chisna gold project in the Chistochina District. Detailed soil sampling, geological mapping and structural analysis on anomalous areas is under way on the Golden Range and Grubstake prospect where drilling is planned later in 2011. The Golden Range target is defined by over 300 rock and soil samples taken across a 9 by 2 kilometer area with a high gold value of 50.4 grams of gold per tonne. The Southwest Grubstake target is defined by a mineralized trend with a mapped strike in excess of 600 meters. A total of 19 rock samples taken from in-place boulder trains and outcrop returned an average of 7.38 g/t gold, 8.82 g/t silver, 0.91 percent lead and 0.16 percent zinc.
Pure Nickel Inc. and partner ITOCHU Corp. announced that drilling commenced on its Man project in early June. The focus of exploration in 2011 is the Alpha Complex where platinum group element mineralization was discovered during the 2010 season. Several targets on the Rainy Complex, in the Northern region of the property have also been identified. The Rainy targets are based on strong geophysical anomalies and geochemistry analysis (rock, stream and sediment analysis). The 2011 budget is approximately US$4.8 million.
Alix Resources Corp. announced the commencement of exploration at its Golden Zone gold-silver-copper property in the Valdez Creek Mining District. The company anticipates drilling 2,500 meters or more on the property this summer with US$1.5 million currently budgeted. A deep (approximately 500 meter) hole is intended to test the area beneath the Breccia Pipe from which the gold-copper deposit is presumably sourced. Several other drill holes will target a number of smaller but potentially higher grade targets that might add exploitable resources to the property and at least two prospectively large tonnage porphyry copper targets. The company will also be conducting geologic mapping and soil and stream sediment sampling programs. A preliminary economic assessment study on the existing resource is planned for the winter of 2011-2012.
Caribou Copper Resources announced the commencement of drilling at its Caribou Dome property in the Valdez Creek District. The 2,000 foot drill program is designed to test the eastern extension of the “East Snow Gulch” zone where 2010 trenching yielded seven meters grading 4.03 percent copper.
Millrock Resources Inc. announced expansion of the Estelle gold property under option to Teck American Inc. The expansion covers ground that hosts historic drill core and surface chip sample values, including a drill intersection of 3.0 g/t gold over 29.6 meters and a chip sample grading 18.0 g/t gold over 9.9 meters. Millrock plans to drill a hole near this location as part of the 2011 exploration program budgeted at US$3.455 million.
Kiska Metals Corp. announced final winter drilling results and commencement of its summer drilling program on its Whistler project. Initial drill holes at Raintree West will step out to the north, west and south of this new porphyry discovery. A second drill rig will contribute to the Raintree West program, as well as other high priority targets including Raintree North. Two additional rigs will be dedicated to expanding the Island Mountain deposit where the discovery of a new porphyry gold-copper system was made in 2009 and expanded in 2010. A fifth rig will continue with the highly successful shallow grid drilling program in the Whistler Orbit. In total, Kiska plans to complete in excess of 31,000 meters of drilling at the Whistler Project in 2011. Final drilling results from its winter program included 80 meters grading 0.14 percent copper, 0.31 g/t gold and 1.1 g/t silver per tonne from the Raintree North prospect. Mineralization was intersected from the bedrock\overburden interface and is associated with moderate to strong high temperature potassic alteration of Whistler-type diorite porphyry.
Northern AlaskaAndover Ventures Inc. announced that exploration has begun at its Sun volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit in the Ambler District. Approximately 2,000 to 2,500 meters of drilling are anticipated during the US$1 million 2011 program. The focus of the program will be to further extend the Main Sun deposit to the northeast towards the Picnic Creek area and also to the southeast and to test the Southwest SUN area.
Goldrich Mining Co. announced completion of a US$2 million private placement that allows commencement of their diamond core drilling program it its Chandalar project in the Brooks Range. Details relating to its 2011 program were not released.