With the mercury frozen at 40 degrees below zero, Freegold Ventures Ltd. lit a fire at Golden Summit, launching an aggressive 15,000-meter drill campaign at the Interior Alaska gold project in January.
Despite being located some 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Fairbanks, a place that vies for the coldest spot in the United States, Golden Summit has the distinct advantage of being connected to a paved highway, grid power and cell phone service.
“Winter drilling is possible because of the excellent infrastructure in place,” said Freegold Ventures President and CEO Kristina Walcott.
Freegold’s early start on 2012 exploration follows 15,000 meters of drilling that the Vancouver-based junior carried out on its three Alaska gold properties in 2011 – an effort that culminated in updated resource estimates on its two most advanced projects, Golden Summit and Vinasale, and the first drilling completed on its Rob property in four years.
Dolphin-Cleary Hill depositLocated a short 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Kinross Gold Corp.’s Fort Knox gold mine, Golden Summit blankets 80 known gold occurrences, including three high-grade, past-producing gold operations. Combined these historical mines – Cleary Hill, Hi Yu and American Eagle – turned out more than 450,000 ounces of gold from ore that averaged about 1.6 ounces per short ton gold.
Although remnants of these high-grade vein systems remain, Freegold is focused on outlining large bulk tonnage targets more akin to the ore at Fort Knox or Kinross’ True North Mine about 3.5 kilometers (two miles) to the west.
According to a late 2011 calculation, the Dolphin zone contains an NI 43-101-compliant indicated resource of 14.84 million metric tons averaging 0.66 g/t (316,000 oz) gold; and an inferred resource of 50.46 million metric tons averaging 0.61 g/t (991,000 oz) gold.
While the Dolphin zone resource was being calculated, Freegold completed 3,856 meters of drilling at the nearby Cleary Hill area at the end of 2011.
Past exploration at Cleary Hill – including trenching, extensive rotary air blast drilling and some 6,400 meters of reverse circulation and core drilling – has outlined a zone similar in size and grade to Dolphin.
Results from previous drilling at Cleary Hill include:
•CHD9704 cut 55.2 meters averaging 1.95 g/t gold;
•CHD0301 cut 124.5 meters averaging 1.02 g/t gold; and
•CHD001 cut 61 meters averaging 1.87 g/t gold, including 14.3 meters averaging 6.4 g/t gold.
The 2012 drilling at Golden Summit focused largely on merging the Dolphin zone with the Cleary Hill Mine area to the northeast.
By drilling the 400-meter gap between the resource area and the expansion target, the company hopes the upcoming Golden Summit resource reflects a Dolphin-Cleary Hill deposit with a strike length of some 2,000 meters.
GSCL-1201 – drilled in the heart of the Cleary Hill Mine area – cut 6.24 meters near the surface that averages 2.93 g/t gold and a deeper intercept of 102.7 meters averaging 1.12 g/t gold.
GSDL12-01 – drilled in the gap between Dolphin and Cleary Hill – returned 314.1 meters averaging 0.69 g/t gold, including 132.7 meters of 1.19 g/t gold.
GSDL1204 – drilled about midway between Dolphin and Cleary Hill – cut 115.06 meters grading 1.08 g/t gold.
GSDL1207 – drilled about 100 meters north of 1204 – cut 39.6 meters averaging 1.88 g/t gold, further demonstrating the tenor of mineralization between Dolphin and Cleary Hill.
GSDL1210 – drilled closer to the Dolphin resource area – cut 20.9 meters grading 34.69 g/t gold.
GSDL1213 – drilled in the Dolphin-Cleary gap about 100 miles east of 1204 – cut 136.7 meters averaging 1.57 g/t gold.
GSDL1218 – testing the depth potential of the Dolphin resource – cut 531.3 meters averaging 0.59 g/t gold, including 90.5 meters averaging 1.1 g/t gold.
GSDL 1224 – drilled some 100 meters northeast of hole 1218 – cut 606.2 meters averaging 0.57 g/t gold.
All told, some 35,000 meters has been drilled in the combined Dolphin-Cleary Hill area of which only 11,802 meters are part of the 2011 Dolphin resource.
All drilling will be incorporated into the updated resource which is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
Growing VinasaleFreegold’s Vinasale gold project — found on the northern end of the Kuskokwim Gold Belt of Southwest Alaska about 26 kilometers (16 miles) south of century old gold mining community of McGrath — is also expected to get a boost to its resource based on 2012 drilling.
An inferred resource updated for Vinasale in March outlines 49.3 million metric tons averaging 1.09 g/t gold at a cut-off of 0.5 g/t.
With its sights set on upgrading this 1.74-million-ounce gold resource hosted in the property’s Central zone, Freegold completed 3,425 meters of drilling at Vinasale in 2012.
Highlights of drilling in the Central zone include:
•VM1208 cut 33.7 meters averaging 1.09 g/t gold:
•VM1210 cut 29.3 meters averaging 1.63 g/t gold;
•VM1212 cut 29.3 meters averaging 1.19 g/t gold; and
•VM1213 cut 85.3 meters averaging 1.49 g/t gold.
Two holes testing a large geophysical anomaly about 1,200 meters northeast of the Central zone cut zones of lower grade gold mineralization. Freegold said the results of these wide-spaced holes indicate that additional drilling is warranted in this area as a possible resource expansion target.
Freegold’s Rob gold project, located 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd.’s Pogo gold mine, did not see drilling in 2012.