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Vol. 16, No. 4 Week of January 23, 2011
Providing coverage of Alaska and Northwest Canada's mineral industry

Mining News: Junior seeks secrets of greenstone belt

2010 exploration results points to potentially significant new gold district in prolific eastern region of vast northern territory

Rose Ragsdale

For Mining News

Some 180 kilometers, or 112 miles, northeast of Nunavut’s only producing gold mine is a huge swath of land that could become a potentially significant new gold district. That is, if North Country Gold Corp., the junior tasked with unlocking the secrets of this gold-rich region, succeeds in its current exploration campaign.

North Country Gold owns 100 percent of the mineral rights to explore the 225,569 hectares, or 557,323 acres, in the 216 active mineral claims and 14 mineral leases that comprise the land package. Spun out in 2009 from explorer Committee Bay Resources Ltd., the Edmonton, Alberta-based junior is gearing up for another aggressive drilling program four drill rigs turning on multiple target areas, starting in April.

Known as the Committee Bay Greenstone Belt, the junior’s land package rolls across the tundra for about 300 kilometers, or 186 miles, in a northeast to southwesterly direction, narrowing in places to just 5 kilometers, or three miles, wide and gaping wide in other spots to 50-kilometers, or 31 miles. It is one of the largest under-explored greenstone belts in Canada and the only greenstone belt in the world controlled by a junior exploration company.

It is also located about 300 kilometers, or 186 miles, north of Baker Lake, Nunavut, and is geologically comparable to the significant gold-bearing belts that host the Meadowbank and Meliadine deposits currently being explored in eastern Nunavut by Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. At the 3-million-ounce Meadowbank deposit to the southwest, Agnico-Eagle will mark its one-year anniversary of gold production in March.

Impressive 2010 drilling

North Country Gold, meanwhile, has discovered new gold mineralization in the past year and identified numerous additional drill-ready, high-grade gold targets. The junior’s management believes the property has five possible development centers with potential for 2-5 million ounces gold each.

Recent exploration has centered on the Three Bluffs deposit, discovered in 2003. It is currently estimated to contain an indicated resource of 508,000 ounces (2.7 million metric tons at 5.85 grams per metric ton gold) and an additional inferred resource of 244,000 ounces (1.27M at 5.98 g/t gold).

In its 2010 exploration program, North Country Gold drilled 52 holes to a maximum depth of 100 meters below surface, focusing on three key areas – Three Bluffs, Antler, and Hayes – over a 5-kilometer, or 3-mile, segment of the trend.

With intercepts up to 12.5 g/t gold over 19.41 meters, the results upgraded and confirmed the current resource area and extended the Three Bluffs deposit about 650 meters to the west, boosting informal estimates of its resource to 1 million ounces. The deposit remains open at depth and along strike.

The 2010 drilling also outlined another 700 meters of strike length of mineralized structure at the Antler deposit, located about 1.5 kilometers, or nearly 1 mile, from the western extent of the Three Bluffs Resource area and successfully identified high-grade gold mineralization within the same stratigraphic package at the Hayes target.

Nine holes were drilled at the Antler target in 2010, bringing its testing to 21 drill holes along 700 meters of strike primarily by a series of two-hole fences at 60-meter spacing. All holes intersected mineralization within the same stratigraphic horizon that hosts the Three Bluffs deposit. New high-grade intercepts at Antler included 11.14 g/t gold over 14.06 meters and 10.67 g/t over 5.00 meters.

The Hayes target, located another 3.5 kilometers, or 2.2 miles, to the west of Three Bluffs’ resource area, was tested by a pair of two-hole fences spaced 120 meters along strike. Holes 10HA003 and 10HA004 intersected mineralized iron formation and returned 6.30 g/t gold over 2.00 meters and 28.08 g/t gold over 3.70 meters, respectively (16.48 g/t gold over 3.7 meters with individual assays capped at 100 g/t).

About 1,500 meters of strike along the Walker Lake Trend remains to be tested between the Three Bluffs and Antler deposits and between Antler and the Hayes discovery, with the trend remaining open west of Hayes. Ground and airborne magnetics have demonstrated that the Walker Lake Trend continues at least 12 kilometers, or nearly 8 miles, farther west of the Hayes high-grade gold intersection.

“With these final results from North Country Gold’s Three Bluffs project we have identified the opportunity to establish a large viable resource,” said company President and CEO John Williamson, who has explored the Committee Bay Greenstone Belt for the past 18 years.

“North Country Gold has now demonstrated that the target stratigraphy of the Walker Lake Trend is mineralized over at least 5 kilometers, or 3 miles, of strike and remains open to the west. … We believe that the potential for the entire structure to be mineralized is excellent. Results from this year’s drilling indicate the presence of high-grade shoots along the length of the structure, which have now only been tested at very shallow levels,” he said.

Promising IP survey

The junior also said it has developed a strategy to identify additional near-surface open-pittable gold resources along the strike length of the trend, which will incrementally add to the existing high-grade resource inventory at Three Bluffs.

In October, North Country Gold also reported that a Titan-24 deep earth imaging induced polarization survey identified at least five new geophysical anomalies on the property, including three that it considers high priority targets for future exploration. The survey, conducted with 425-meter line spacing on 12 lines totaling 18.9 line kilometers of data acquisition, suggested potential for polymetallic mineralization from near surface to approximately the survey limits of 500 meters depth, the junior said.

“The survey clearly identifies the historic Three Bluffs resource, and new mineralization discovered this year at Antler and the Three Bluffs West also are precisely located by the geophysical tool. “The most exceptional aspect of the survey is the presence of numerous untested anomalies that are identical in character to those corresponding to our strongest known mineralized zones,” Williamson said.

In November, North Country Gold raised about C$6 million in private placements, which it will use to fund future exploration at Committee Bay and for working capital.

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