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Vol. 12, No. 43 Week of October 28, 2007
Providing coverage of Alaska and Northwest Canada's mineral industry

MINING NEWS: Kisa prospect shows promise

Spokane junior works with locals in Kuskokwim Mineral Belt to overcome concerns, envision future exploration in three areas of Alaska

Rose Ragsdale

For Mining News

Gold Crest Mines Inc., a Spokane, Wash.-based junior gold exploration company, reported promising results Oct. 8 from its 2007 exploration drilling campaign at the Kisa Project in the Kuskokwim Mineral Belt of southwest Alaska.

Organized a little over a year ago by a group of mining industry veterans, Gold Crest has a wholly owned Alaska subsidiary, Kisa Gold Mining Inc. It is KGMI that began exploring about 93,500 acres in three different and distinct areas of Alaska in late 2006.

KGMI has established 14 claim groups in two broad areas within the prolific Kuskokwim Mineral Belt, which hosts the 20 million-ounce-plus Donlin Creek gold deposit, the producing Fort Knox Mine and other significant prospects.

The Kisa Breccia Project is located about 120 miles south of Donlin Creek, which is under development by Barrick Gold and NovaGold Resources, and about 40 miles west of the Shotgun gold deposit under evaluation by TNR and NovaGold Resources.

At Kisa, Gold Crest staked 199 mining claims covering about 30,500 acres in seven claim groups near Kisaralik Lake.

The junior further staked 319 state mining claims in the Buckstock Project Block, covering about 51,000 acres in seven claim groups. These claims are situated in an area about 50 miles southwest of Donlin Creek.

KGMI also acquired a database of 1,250 stream sediment, heavy mineral concentrate and rock samples in the nearby Aniak Project Block and a large property block covering more than 12,000 acres centered on a promising gold showing at Kelly Creek in northwest Alaska.

Focus on under-explored region

“This area has been neglected by the mining industry for 20 years. We went out there to look, and we found the streams, rocks and soils associated with (known gold mineralization),” Chris Dail, Gold Crest’s vice president of exploration told Mining News Oct. 16.

In late 2006 and the spring of 2007, the company completed about 3,500-line miles of airborne geophysical surveys over the Kisaralik and Aniak blocks. Follow-up and fill-in sampling work in 2007 included collection of more than 600 stream sediments, soils and rocks and outlines several district-scale anomalies that require prospecting and additional sampling.

KGMI recently reported completion of six holes totaling 3,107 feet of drilling that targeted an outcropping on the Kisa claims.

“We also had considerable discovery activity this season with really encouraging results, which we will probably be announcing in the next few weeks,” Dail told Mining News.

A total of 619 drill core samples from Kisa were submitted for analyses by fire assay to be reported in grams per metric ton. The analyses were conducted by Alaska Assay Laboratories LLC of Fairbanks.

Samples were ‘encouraging’

Dail, who trained as a geologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and other institutions before working for various organizations including Cominco American and the U.S. Forest Service, said the core sample results weren’t “bad” or “spectacular but encouraging.”

“It’s a big system, and we drilled only one of three targets,” he said. “We hope to go back next year and do some more drilling.”

Core recovery for the season’s drilling averaged 73 percent.

Assay results for the first three holes (K07-1 through K07-3) and the upper portion of hole K07-4 were reported Sept. 14.

Final assays for the last three drill holes, K07-04, K07-05 and K07-0, were all drilled into the main breccia body exposed on steep cliffs and talus-covered slopes, where previous KGMI’s outcrop sampling outlined a several-hundred-square-meter target area, averaging more than 1 gram per metric ton gold.

Holes K07-04 and K07-05 were angled off the same drill platform, while hole K07-06 was drilled from a platform about 300 feet to the southwest and 150 feet higher up the slope.

The sample results indicate the presence of a very large disseminated gold-bearing intrusive system on the property, according to Gold Crest. Assay intervals containing up to 8.6 grams per metric ton suggest the possibility of higher-grade zones within the intrusive breccia complex.

Company addresses public’s misgivings

Despite concerns expressed by residents in nearby villages when drilling commenced last spring, Dail said Gold Crest had a good drilling season. The company hired 15 workers, of which six or seven came from local villages.

“We had to build some drilling platforms on a really steep slope. I was really impressed by the local guys,” he said. “In fact, I am encouraging them to start their own small company because they are really good at what they do.”

Gold Crest also held a public meeting in Bethel in the spring and tried to answer concerns voiced by local residents.

“We moved our camp away from the lake and worked to minimize the impact of the helicopter on the area by restricting its use when residents were hunting,” he said. “And we actually had to pluck some locals — a pilot and his guests — out of 32-degree (Fahrenheit), water with the helicopter when their small aircraft crashed into the lake,” Dail said. “We think that changed some minds about us.”

Also, the decision to use a helicopter instead of building an airstrip was an initial effort to minimize the impact of the exploration, he added.

Other targets in Alaska

Gold Crest will continue to analyze drilling results, do geophysical work and obtain assays from other samples, when they are received. Compilation of results from ground geophysical surveys, additional rock chip sampling and geologic mapping completed during the summer are in progress and results will be reported when completed.

Preliminary planning has begun for the 2008 exploration season at Kisa “as the results received to date clearly justify additional drilling,” Gold Crest said.

Five drill targets have been identified for the 2008 program. A drill and 15-person camp was left on site and a drill crew is under contract for 2008, the company said.

Gold Crest also has started planning for 2008 exploration work on other properties in Alaska.

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