Mining Explorers 2017: Atac Resources Ltd.
Atac Resources Ltd. partnered with the world’s largest gold-producing company to further the exploration on a portion of its massive Rackla Gold project in the Yukon. Under an agreement signed in April, Barrick Gold Corp. has the option to earn up to a 70 percent stake in the Orion project, which blankets a 780-square-kilometer (301 square miles) section in the middle of Atac’s roughly 185-kilometer- (115 miles) long Rackla land package. This deal consists of a potential total investment by Barrick of roughly C$63.3 million, including a C$8.3 million private placement and a two-staged C$55 million exploration earn-in option on Orion. Prior to finalizing the deal with Barrick, Atac divided the Rackla property into three projects – Rau, which encompasses 660 square kilometers (255 square miles) at the western end of Rackla; Osiris, a 302-square-kilometer (117 square miles) property at the eastern end of Rackla that hosts the Osiris, Conrad, Ibis, and Sunrise discoveries; and Orion, a 780-square-kilometer (301 square miles) section in the middle that hosts the Orion, Anubis, and eight early stage Carlin-type gold prospects. It is this central project on which Barrick has the option to earn up to 70 percent. To earn an initial 60 percent interest, the major must spend C$35 million on exploration at Orion over the next five years. Upon spending this initial earn-in, the companies will form a joint venture and Barrick can earn another 10 percent interest in Orion by investing an additional C$20 million before the end of 2026. “Atac’s generative exploration skills and Barrick’s knowledge and experience in Carlin-style systems will be a great combination to unlock the full potential of this district,” said Rob Krcmarov, executive vice president, exploration and growth, Barrick. The gold major budgeted C$4.9 million for an initial phase of 2017 exploration at Orion focused on grassroots target delineation.
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As part of the agreement, Barrick bought 16.68 million Atac shares at C50 cents each, giving the major a roughly 19.9 percent interest in the Yukon-focused gold explorer. Atac applied this investment towards a C$10 million exploration program at the Osiris and Rau projects in 2017. In June, Atac kicked off a roughly 15,000-meters drill campaign targeting high-grade gold at the Osiris and Rau projects. This work began with drills targeting new areas of mineralization and crosscutting faults associated with high-grade gold mineralization in the vicinity of the 350 Faults on the western side of the Conrad zone. One of the first 2017 holes tapped 67.06 meters of 3.35 g/t gold, including 15.14 meters of 7.25 g/t gold within and adjacent to the 350 Fault zone, confirming that faults “play an important role in the localization of high-grade Carlin-type gold mineralization at Conrad.” Hole OS-17-238, targeting another fault zone at Conrad, cut 12.5 meters of 20.78 g/t gold.
ATAC is a member of the Strategic Exploration Group, a collection of junior resource companies focused on exploring northwestern Canada. Members of the group enjoy a close working relationship with Archer, Cathro & Associates (1981) Ltd., a geological consulting firm with extensive knowledge and exploration expertise in Yukon Territory and northern British Columbia.
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