MINING NEWS: Mining News Summary: ’07 summer exploration results set stage for ‘one heck of a 2008’
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The results from Alaska’s summer field campaigns continue to pour in from all over the state, while field crews wind down their summer work and kick off their winter programs. If the results released this month are any indication of what is yet to come, 2008 is fixing to be one heck of a year!
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Western AlaskaNovaGold Resources announced that initial testing of their crushing circuit had commenced at their commissioning Rock Creek gold mine near Nome. The operation is continuing to develop the open pit and ore stockpile, with waste rock being used for construction of the tailings facility, roads and other facilities. The mill buildings are enclosed and testing of the processing circuits is under way. The Rock Creek mine is being developed as a 7,000 metric ton-per-day year-round conventional open-pit operation producing approximately 100,000 ounces of gold annually with total cash costs estimated at less than US$300 per ounce. Commercial production levels are expected in the first quarter of 2008.
NovaGold Resources also announced that its JV partner Barrick Gold has completed almost 60,000 meters of the planned 70,000 meters of drilling targeted for completion at the Donlin Creek gold project this year. As of August 31, $67 million had been spent of the $87 million budgeted for the project in 2007. The company plans to release an updated resource estimate as soon as 2007 drilling results have been evaluated. Barrick also has been completing additional engineering studies which would be the basis for converting the Measured and Indicated resources to Proven and Probable Reserves. Barrick also plans to complete the work necessary to submit a draft Environmental Impact document next year to start the environmental assessment process.
Gold Crest Mines announced exploration results from its Kelly Creek project northwest of Nome. Approximately 330 rock, soil, and stream sediment samples were collected during a district-scale mapping and sampling program. At the KC prospect a previously known gold-arsenic-antimony-mercury soil anomaly was expanded to 300 feet wide by 3,300 feet in length and remains open along strike. Previous drilling intersected gold mineralization hosted in quartz-carbonate-clay altered, stockwork and brecciated carbonaceous schists and carbonates. At the nearby Ox prospect an open-ended gold-arsenic-antimony-mercury soil anomaly, defined by soils with values ranging from 50- to 300-part-per-billion gold, now measures 750 feet wide by 2,900 feet long. At the newly discovered Wolverine prospect, a 500-foot-wide by 1,500-foot-long soil gold anomaly with values ranging from 15 to 1146 parts per billion gold occurs along a high-angle structural zone that juxtaposes carbonaceous schist against a marble and schist-bearing sequence. Additional work is planned for 2008.
Northern Dynasty Minerals and JV partner Anglo American plc reported drilling results from its Pebble project near Iliamna. So far in 2006 a total of 72,700 feet of core drilling has been completed in 17 holes. Analytical results are pending on an additional six holes (24,400 feet). Drilling is ongoing at the Pebble East portion of the project where seven rigs are working on new holes and where two more drill rigs are expected later this year. Significant drilling results include hole 7357 which intersected 1,680 feet grading 0.61 percent copper, 0.50 grams of gold per metric ton and 0.021 percent molybdenum (1.03 percent copper equivalent); hole 7359 which intersected 2,228 feet grading 0.92 percent copper, 0.49 grams of gold per metric ton and 0.035 percent molybdenum (1.41 percent copper equivalent), including a 451 foot interval grading 0.95 percent copper, 1.11 grams of gold per metric ton, 0.051 percent molybdenum (1.91 percent copper equivalent); hole 7368 which intersected 1,184 feet grading 0.62 percent copper, 0.70 grams of gold per metric ton, and 0.030 percent molybdenum (1.21 percent copper equivalent); and hole 7371 which intersected 2,648 feet grading 0.56 percent copper, 0.37 grams of gold per metric ton, and 0.036 percent molybdenum (1.00 percent copper equivalent). Baseline environmental and engineering studies at the project continue and pre-feasibility-level metallurgical and grinding tests were conducted on Pebble East mineralization. Scoping-level work in 2006 returned excellent copper (95 percent) and molybdenum (75 percent) recoveries and good gold (50 percent) recovery which reported to a high grade (32 percent) copper concentrate. The 2007 tests have either confirmed or improved on these values. In addition, results indicate that a coarser grind may be possible, possibly with an attendant reduction in power consumption requirements.
Geoinformatics Exploration announced initial drilling results from exploration at the Whistler copper-gold project in the western Alaska Range. Hole WH-07-01 intersected approximately 50 meters of mineralization in the Whistler Zone before intersecting the Main Zone and intersecting 47.0 meters grading 1.11 grams of gold per metric ton, 0.40 percent copper, 3.13 grams of silver per metric ton, and 49.2 meters grading 1.06 grams of gold per metric ton, 0.23 percent copper and 3.37 grams of silver per metric ton in hole WH07-1. Hole WH07-2 extended mineralization to depth and to the west and intersected 132.0 meters grading 0.56 grams of gold per metric ton, 0.16 percent copper, 0.71 grams of silver per metric ton, and 47.0 meters grading 1.60 grams of gold per metric ton, 0.40 percent copper, 2.06 grams of silver per metric ton, including a high-grade copper zone of 8.0 meters of 1.20 percent copper and 4.10 grams of gold per metric ton. The Whistler Zone was originally identified in the 1980s in shallow drilling by Teck Cominco Ltd., which was followed by 15 drill holes (7,950 meters) by Kennecott Exploration from 2004 to 2006. Within this broadly mineralized envelope the higher-grade Main Zone extends for 350 meters along strike averaging over 100 meters in width. Mineralization has been confirmed from surface to depths of between 200 and 570 meters. The Main Zone and the Whistler Zone are still open to expansion.
International Tower Hill Mines announced initial field work at its South Estelle project in the Alaska Range. Initial rock sampling has identified outcropping high-grade gold mineralization at the Shoeshine, Train and Portage prospects. The Shoeshine vein system has a currently defined strike length in excess of 700 meters containing numerous high-grade chip samples, including one high-grade sample which returned 238 grams of gold per metric ton and a 0.3-meter-wide channel sample with 126 grams of gold per metric ton. Mineralization at South Estelle is hosted in high-grade quartz-sulfide veins cutting the 65 million-year-old Mount Estelle monzonite batholith. The property borders Geoinformatics/Kennecott Exploration’s Whistler project. The high grade gold veins discovered to date at the Shoeshine prospect are narrow, but have a consistent north-northwest trend over an extensive strike length. Mineralization is accompanied by elevated silver, copper and lead with silver-to-gold ratios generally greater than one.
International Tower Hill Mines also reported drilling results from its Terra gold project located 40 kilometers west of its South Estelle project. Twelve drill holes were completed on the Ben Vein and three on the Ice Vein approximately 3 kilometers to the south. Drilling at the Ben Vein area included intervals spread over a strike length of 400 meters and 250 meters downdip. The veins are associated with the margin of a 67 million-year-old diorite intrusive and have a general north to northwest trend. The Main vein is a consistent and well-mineralized structure but is associated with significant gold bearing veins in the footwall (hole TR07-20 with 0.6 meters grading 43.2 grams of gold per metric ton) and hanging wall (hole TR07-22 with 0.8 meters grading 14.5 grams of gold per metric ton). Significant 2007 drilling results included 1.16 meters grading 12.22 grams of gold per metric ton in hole TR07-21, 0.49 meters grading 61.07 grams of gold per metric ton in hole TR07-22, 1.71 meters grading 20.72 grams of gold per metric ton in hole TR07-26, 2.48 meters grading 28.14 grams of gold per metric ton in hole TR07-27 and 2.16 meters grading 16.74 grams of gold per metric ton in hole TR07-28. An initial resource estimate is planned for this winter.
Gold Crest Mines announced additional drilling results from its Kisaralik Lake project in southwestern Alaska. Drill holes K07-04, K07-05 and K07-06 cut thick intervals of highly silicified, sulfide-impregnated intrusive breccia containing coarse, angular to rounded fragments of intrusive and sedimentary rock. The best intercept was 145 feet grading 1.307 grams of gold per metric ton. Gold grades in the drill core correlate with silica alteration, arsenopyrite content and bleaching of the rock matrix and fragments. Based on mapping and drilling to date, the altered and mineralized breccia body (defined by values > 0.1 grams of gold per metric ton) has a demonstrated strike length of at least 1,500 feet, an estimated true width of at least 275 feet and extends downdip at least 875 feet. Higher grade intervals (+2 grams of gold per metric ton) appear to correlate with late faults or intensely stockwork quartz veined zones within the breccia.
Eastern InteriorFreegold Ventures Ltd. reportedadditional drilling results from 59 additional holes drilled in four separate fences at its Golden Summit project. Highlights from the Cleary Hill mine area include 9 feet averaging 25.31 grams of gold per metric ton in hole 521 and 6 feet averaging 12.86 grams of gold per metric ton in hole 541 while holes drilled in the nearby Tolovana mine prospect included 60 feet averaging 2.23 grams of gold per metric ton in hole 556 and 78 feet averaging 1.03 grams of gold per metric ton in hole 557. The company also reported that bulk sampling is in progress over a 600 foot long area in Fence 1 at the Cleary Hill mine. Exposures in this bulk sample show multiple, narrow, high-grade veins containing visible gold within the 12 foot high sample pit face.
Linux Gold announced acquisition of a land position in the Ester Dome area of the Fairbanks District. The gold-silver mineralization at this prospect has a potential strike length of 6,500 feet, width of 100 feet and minimum depth of 100 feet. High grade gold and silver values were returned from a trenching program completed this year. The area has been re-sampled and results are pending. Drilling is planned on the mineralized zone this year, to confirm gold and silver values on the property
In one of the oddest news releases of the month, Teck Cominco said it will delay making a decision on whether to restructure its gold production until Pogo is operating at 100 percent capacity. Teck Cominco President Don Lindsey said, “When Pogo’s at 100 percent, then we will consider changing the form of ownership, and we won’t look at any opportunities until that time.” As you might expect, the Tundra Telegraph is rife with speculation on what this really means. Stay tuned!
Freegold Ventures Ltd. also announced drilling results from its Rob gold project in the Goodpaster District. A total of 3,514 feet were drilled in the Grey Lead and O’Reely vein prospects. Although drilling within the O’Reely vein did not intersect the multi-ounce gold values sampled at surface, holes within the Grey Lead vein consistently intersected thick intervals of high-grade gold mineralization that exhibit geological and geochemical characteristics similar to those seen at the nearby Pogo gold mine. Hole 6 intersected a 16.5 foot interval averaging 6.7 grams of gold per metric ton including a 2.5 foot section grading 23.1 grams of gold per metric ton. Holes 13 and 14 intersected 13.5 feet averaging 20.1 grams of gold per metric ton and 13 feet averaging 29.0 grams of gold per metric ton, respectively. Hole 17 intersected 6.5 feet averaging 23.2 grams of gold per metric ton. Gold mineralization at Grey Lead is associated with high bismuth and arsenic values. Additional drilling is planned for 2008.
Rubicon Minerals announced results from its New Horizon project in the Goodpaster District. The program included 1,105 meters of drilling in four holes on its Maple Leaf prospect and 1,750 meters in seven holes on claims under option from Rimfire Minerals Corporation. In the Maple Leaf area, a drilled section beneath high grade grab samples found on surface intersected weakly anomalous (up to 0.25 grams of gold per metric ton over 0.8 meters) but did not intersect vein style mineralization similar to that observed on the surface. On the Cal-Surf prospect optioned from Rimfire, a previously reported intercept of 2.24 grams of gold per metric ton over 2.5 meters was followed up with three additional drill holes. One of these intersected a 40-foot section of quartz-arsenopyrite mineralization which was anomalous in gold (maximum 70 parts per billion gold over 1.2 meters). Additional work is planned for 2008.
International Tower Hill Mines announced more drilling results from its Livengood gold project. Significant drilling results include 58 meters grading 1.19 grams of gold per metric ton in hole MK07-20 and 16 meters grading 1.08 grams of gold per metric ton in hole MK07-21. In addition to intersecting the expected lower plate gold mineralization, the latest round of drilling also intersected a new zone of gold mineralization in the overlying upper plate rocks which returned a 6.3 meter interval grading 2.43 grams of gold per metric ton. Initial resource estimates for the project will be calculated this winter and a 50,000 meter resource definition and expansion drilling program is being planned for 2008.
Alaska RangeMAX Resource Corp. announced additional drilling results from its Gold Hill molybdenum project in the Valdez Creek District. Hole DH07-1 returned 965 feet grading 0.048 percent molybdenum disulfide starting at surface, hole DH07-2 returned 1,000 feet grading 0.030 percent molybdenum disulfide starting at surface and hole DH07-3 returned 1,000 feet grading 0.058 percent molybdenum disulfide starting at surface. Assay results from two additional holes are pending.
Northern AlaskaAndover Ventures Inc. announced additional drilling results from its Sun massive sulfide project on the Ambler Mining District. Nineteen of the twenty holes encountered mineralized zones ranging from 1.20 to 24.0 meters thick. The thirty total horizons encountered averaged over 6 meters in thickness of massive and semi-massive sulfide mineralization. Highlights include Sun 07-10 with an upper 10.94 meter intercept of 2.34 percent copper, 0.77 percent lead, 5.98 percent zinc, 68.1 grams of silver per metric ton and 0.266 grams of gold per metric ton and a lower 5.08 meter intercept of 4.34 percent copper, 0.58 percent lead, 2.76 percent zinc, 99.1 grams of silver per metric ton and 0.199 grams of gold per metric ton and hole Sun 07-09 which returned 5.10 meters grading 8.61 percent copper, 0.68 percent lead, 3.85 percent zinc, 206.9 grams of silver per metric ton and 0.929 grams of gold per metric ton. The 2007 drill program tested approximately 1,400 meters along strike including a 300 meter extension of the main Sun deposit to the north towards the Picnic Creek prospect area.
Silverado Gold Mines reported production of 3,726.80 ounces of placer gold from its Nolan Creek mine in the Brooks Range. This production is approximately four times the amount recovered in 2006. Total gold sales included 2,811 ounces of nugget gold while the fine gold concentrates also contained 65.10 ounces of silver.
Southeast AlaskaConstantine Metals Resources announced initial drilling results at its Palmer massive sulfide project near Haines. Hole CMR07-07 intersected 45.90 feet of 3.79 percent copper, 7.24 percent zinc, 0.37 grams of gold per metric ton and 47 grams of silver per metric ton. The intersection can be divided into an upper zinc zone, 14.30 feet grading 13.60 percent zinc, 0.65 percent copper, 0.15 grams of gold per metric ton and 18 grams of silver per metric ton; and a contiguous underlying copper zone which returned 31.60 feet grading 5.22 percent copper, 4.36 percent zinc, 0.47 grams of gold per metric ton and 60 grams of silver per metric ton. The intersection is on the Glacier Creek prospect and is located in the footwall to the RW Zone at base of the RW rhyolite. Additional 2007 drilling results are pending.
Full Metal Minerals reported drilling results at its Mt. Andrew copper-iron project near Ketchikan. A 13-hole, 1,491-meter drilling program tested multiple copper-iron targets on the property by stepping-out from historic workings and from high-grade mineralization encountered during the 2006 drilling program. Multiple zones of high-grade copper hosted within massive magnetite were encountered and include hole KMA07-06 which intersected 22 meters averaging 1.24 percent copper and 30.3 percent iron, hole KMA07-07 which intersected 57 meters averaging 0.48 percent copper and 35.7 percent iron and hole KMA07-11 which intersected 14 meters averaging 1.46 percent copper and 32.8 percent iron. Mineralization at Mount Andrew occurs within a 14 kilometer long trend of historic copper mines, located adjacent to tidewater on the Kasaan Peninsula. Historic production from Mount Andrew and adjacent operations totaled 5,729 metric tons of copper, 1.74 metric tons of silver and 216 kilograms of gold. Drilling completed to date has outlined a minimum area of mineralization measuring 350 meters (north-south) by 300 meters (east-west) with a copper-dominant northern zone and an iron-dominant southern zone. Additional drilling is planned for 2008.
Full Metal Minerals and joint venture partner Altair Ventures reported drilling results at its CJ gold project near Ketchikan. Eight core holes totaling 1,015 meters were completed in 2007, testing three areas along the 3,200 meter mineralized corridor. Three holes were completed at the lower Crackerjack mine area, two at the Hollis prospect area, and three at the Dawson mine area. Assays are currently pending. In addition to drilling, the company conducted geological mapping and sampling of the mineralized corridor which is typified by silicified argillite that commonly hosts sheeted quartz-carbonate veining. A total of 15 channel samples were collected from quartz vein and mafic dike material from underground at the Hollis prospect. These samples averaged 30.9 grams of gold per metric ton and 46.4 grams of silver per metric ton.
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