A pair of gold discoveries led a torrent of exploration news pouring out of Yukon Territory this year as numerous newcomers joined old hands in the hunt for the yellow metal and other lucrative minerals.
“We’ve entered a new phase of exploration. People are using soil sampling as an unbiased targeting method that is resulting in discoveries of new mineral potential,” Yukon geologist Mike Burke, told more than 500 participants in the Yukon Geoscience Forum Nov. 22.
The areas where people are looking are expanding as miners return to old areas to follow up on geochemical results and succeed in finding new zones of mineralization and prospect for discoveries in new areas of the territory.
In the White Gold district of central Yukon, Burke said the staking rush that began in 2008 and continued in 2009 is still occurring and new frenzies of staking have erupted in the eastern part of the territory after the discovery of the Osiris property and in Southeast Yukon after news spread of the 3Ace discovery this summer.
“What got people really going, I think, was the Coffee Property (being explored by Kaminak Gold Corp.),” he said. “After a soil sampling and trenching program, the first drill hole hit Supremo and the second drill hole hit Double Double.”
Kaminak now has nine different areas with gold mineralization on the Coffee property and the setting is very similar to the White Gold Project, except Coffee has structurally hosted zones, he said. “The potential is quite amazing. It’s a gold camp in the making,” Burke said.
Kinross Gold Corp. acquired Underworld Resources Inc. July 1, along with the White Gold Project, its principal asset, in a friendly takeover.
Only 30 kilometers, or 21 miles, separating White Gold and Coffee, and their geology is remarkably similar, Burke said. “It will be interesting to see how big these zones are next year when Kaminak gets into the resource definition phase of the (Coffee) project,” he added.
Archer Cathro & Associates (1981) Ltd., working for Atac Resources Ltd., followed up on mineral potential at the eastern edge of the 1,500-claim Rau Property in 2010 and discovered new mineralization that bears a strong similarity to the Carlin Trend, a prolific gold belt in Nevada.
Burke said the Rau Property, encompassing 1,600 square kilometers, or 618 square miles, is roughly the size of Hong Kong. “The first drill hole hit 9.2 g/t gold over 31 meters in the Osiris zone, and I am looking forward to results from the rest of the drilling,” he said.
Atac named a 185-kilometer, or 115-mile, long mineralization trend on the Rau property the Rackla Gold Belt. After eight days of surface follow-up and four weeks of reconnaissance drilling within a restricted 8-square-kilometer, or 20,000-acre, area dubbed the Nadaleen Trend, geologist found five significant areas of surface gold showings. Four of these targets were drilled, resulting in three confirmed gold discoveries at the Osiris, Conrad and Eaton showings.
Based on the results of Osiris area drilling and new Nadaleen Fault discoveries at the Conrad and Eaton Showings in central Yukon Territory, Atac Nov. 30 said it has increased a proposed 2011 drill program to include a minimum of 40,000 meters of diamond drilling using up to eight drills.
The Nadaleen Trend is defined by a 25-kilometer-long-by-5-kilometer-wide, or 16 mile-long-by-3-mile-wide, east-west trending belt where stream sediment samples are highly anomalous for arsenic and/or thallium and mercury.
At the Tiger Zone on the Rau Property, Atac conducted a drill program this year that expanded the deposit with a northwest extension of the high-grade oxide mineralization it discovered in 2009 with step-out downdip intersections of 35, 40 and 25 meters and infill drilling that cut long intersections of gold mineralization. In the northwest extension, Atac cut up to 30.95 meters of 3.8 g/t gold.
Two other advanced projects, Western Copper Corp.’s giant Casino copper-gold-molybdenum-silver project in west-central Yukon and Overland Resources Ltd.’s the Andrew lead-zinc project in southeastern Yukon, also reported exploration successes, Burke said.
Western Copper Nov. 1 said the results of 26,000 meters of new drilling enabled it to boost the big porphyry deposit’s measured and indicated resource estimate by 119 Mt to 252 Mt ore containing 1.4 billion pounds copper, 2 million ounces gold, 117 million pounds moly and nearly 15 million ounces silver. That new calculation also increased the project’s inferred resource to nearly 1.7 billion metric tons ore containing 5.2 billion pounds copper, 8.7 million ounces gold, 711 million ounces moly and 74.7 million ounces silver.
Overland did more drilling on the Darcy Zone at the Andrew deposit and came up with more significant intersections this year, Burke said. The project has moved into the development phase at the Australian junior completes geotechnical and engineering work. But Overland will also be upgrading its resource estimate in 2011, Burke said.
Other 2010 Yukon mining exploration programs include:60 MILE GOLD PROJECT, where Radius Gold Inc. drilled seven holes totaling 1,600 meters, and came up with assay results that include 40 meters of about 0.5 g/t gold, Burke said the junior has adjacent property where it drilled four holes, of which one hit 0.7 g/t gold over 32 meters.
BOULEVARD PROJECT to the south of the Coffee Project, where Silver Quest Resources Ltd. drilled six holes covering 900.5 meters to test for bedrock mineralization beneath 3 anomalous gold-arsenic-antimony soil geochemical zones and intersected gold mineralization in all six of them up to 23.9 meters of 0.79 g/t gold and including a 1.4-meter interval of 3.52 g/t gold and a 6.26-meter interval of 2.11 g/t gold.
MARIPOSA PROJECT, a 967-claim, 190- square-kilometer, or 73.4-square-mile, property about 12 kilometers, or 7.5 miles, northeast of the northeast border of the Coffee project, near the Sprogge Creek placer gold mining area. This is a burned area with not a rock to be found unless you dig it up,” Burke said. “In fact, (Pacific Ridge Exploration Ltd.) had nearly written off the area when they started getting their soil samples back. They showed a pretty intriguing soil anomaly, so they went back in with a portable backhoe and got 1.25 g/t gold over 30 meters. It will be an exciting program for them when they drill next year.”
TORO PROPERTY, where Dawson Gold Corp. completed eight diamond drill holes totaling 1,516 meters in 2010 and currently awaits assay results.
PROSPECTOR MOUNTAIN, where Silver Quest Resources began drilling up to 1,500 meters in September to test the recently discovered 1,000-meter-long-by-550-meter-wide Bonanza Zone. Select rock samples collected during the 2010 Phase I exploration program within the Bonanza Zone confirmed the highly anomalous assays reported in 2009, which returned values up to 82.8 g/t gold, 1,375 g/t silver and 11.65 percent copper.
FREEGOLD MOUNTAIN, where Northern Freegold Resources Ltd. reported completion of a 60-line-kilometer Titan-24 deep earth imaging induced polarization survey and 2010 drilling that it says points to a large-scale mineralized system encompassing the 1-million-ounce resource at the Nucleus deposit and related mineralization extending east through the Revenue zone. The explorer cut long intersections of gold, copper and silver with small amounts of molybdenum and tungsten at an average grade of about 0.5 g/t gold-equivalent. Burke said Freegold Mountain has about the same grades as Victoria Gold Corp.’s Dublin Gulch Property, but the deep-imaging IP survey opens up new possibilities for exploration.
MT. NANSEN, where Rockhaven Resources Ltd. encountered a series of narrow, discontinuous feldspar porphyry dykes in three of 11 holes covering 1,641 meters drilled this year on the Klaza Property and got 2.3 g/t gold and a bunch of silver over 20 meters, Burke said. Rockhaven, which purchased the Klaza property from Atac Resources Ltd., is awaiting results from the remaining holes along with initial soil geochemical sampling and excavator trenching results from exploration of the Mt. Hinton Property in the eastern part of the Keno Hill Mining Camp, which also hosts the Bellekeno Mine.
CHARLOTTE PROJECT in the old Mt. Nansen area, where Guinness Exploration Ltd. drilled 14 holes in the Flex zone and cut up to 5 g/t gold and 138 g/t silver over 28.9 meters. Drilling to date on the 2,336.14-hectare, or 5,773-acre, property has indicated the presence of significant gold and silver mineralization, over considerable widths, and over at least 450 meters of strike length, which is open both along strike and down dip. On October 12, Ansell Capital Corp. entered into a letter of intent with Eagle Trail and Guinness, wherein Ansell was provided the right to acquire up to an 85 percent undivided interest in the Charlotte Project in staged increments.
GREW CREEK, where Golden Predator found a much more consistent grade of mineralization (0.72 g/t gold) than previous explorers over 146 meters in a zone it renamed the Carlos Zone after Al Carlos who discovered Grew Creek and worked the property for many years. Located just off the highway between Faro and Ross River with Yukon power grid running through the property, the epithermal gold and silver deposit has a historical resource of about 200,000 ounces gold. However, a major question remains about which way the veins run on the property. Golden Predator plans to begin a major 2011 drilling program in February, Burke said.
CLEAR CREEK AND BREWERY CREEK project, where Golden Predatoralso reported encouraging results from 2010 drilling, including a spectacular intercept of 137.50 g/t gold over 1.52 meters from a depth of 3.05 meters in a newly discovered bonanza vein in one of several zones at Clear Creek and a newly discovered high-grade zone at Brewery Creek that returned 56.5 meters of 3.20 g/t gold beginning at a depth of 27 meters. The junior is planning major drill programs on both of these gold properties in 2011.
RED MOUNTAIN (ICE) PROPERTY, where AM Gold Inc. Dec. 2 reported an updated NI 43-101-compliant inferred resource estimate of 79.3Mt grading 0.5 g/t gold for about 1.32 million contained troy ounces gold, more than doubling a June 2010 estimate of a inferred resource total 26.3 Mt grading 0.7 g/t gold for 542,000 troy ounces gold for the central Yukon property. “I like to call this property the Ice Property because there are two Red Mountain properties adjacent to each other and both were drilled this year,” Burke said.
RED MOUNTAIN PROJECT, where Regent Ventures reported a resource of 23Mt, grading 0.7 g/t gold on the Temporal Zone for 500,000 ounces in contained metal earlier this year. “So they went back in and drilled through this structural zone, and in the first hole came up with almost 500 meters of 0.72 g/t gold,” Burke said. “They also put a release this morning that had another 238 meters at 0.7 g/t gold.”
3ACE PROPERTY, where Northern Tiger Resources followed up on old geochemistry discovered high-grade gold on surface that lead to identification of a large geochemical anomaly. “They got so excited about the sampling results that they did a short drilling program at the end of the year on the Main and Sleeping Giant zones,” Burke said. “They got results back from the Main Zone with 30 meters at 4.3 g/t gold, which are significant because it’s not just a narrow high-grade vein. It’s a pretty spectacular high-grade vein and the mineralization extends into the wall rock.”
At SONORA GULCH in central Yukon, Northern Tiger Resources also found new porphyry mineralization. In October, the explorer reported long intercepts of up to 288 meters of copper and molybdenum along with strong gold intercepts in six of 12 diamond drill holes covering 2,875 meters.
HYLAND GOLD PROPERTY, where Argus Metals Corp. optioned the claims from Victoria Gold Corp. Burke said the property has a small oxide resource in its Main zone and Argus drilled four quick holes to test some of its ideas and one hole returned 90 meters averaging 2 g/t gold. Argus reported Nov. 22 that it had staked another 1,782 claims, adding more than 36,000 hectares, or about 89,000 acres, to Argus’ mineral portfolio in Yukon Territory and making Argus the largest mineral claim land package holder in the Hyland Gold District.
KEG PROJECT just outside the mining town of Faro, where Strategic Metals Ltd. discovered of a new style of mineralization this summer through soil sampling and the drilling of four holes into an interesting anomaly, Burke said. Drill hole Keg 10-1 returned 50.09 g/t silver, 1.20 percent zinc, 0.65 percent lead, 0.14 percent copper, 217 parts per million tin and 9.55 ppm indium over 125.7 meters and bottomed in mineralization. “I don’t think anybody has discovered anything like this in Yukon,” Burke observed. On Nov. 4, Strategic said it identified four more large-scale zones of silver-zinc-lead-copper mineralization on the Keg and Rebel properties Prompted by the very encouraging results from initial diamond drilling, prospecting and soil geochemical surveys, Strategic also expanded its land position to 1,758 wholly-owned claims covering 350 square kilometers, or about 135 square miles, and named the land package, the “Silver Range Project.”
WELLGREEN PROPERTY, where Prophecy Resources drilled six holes and came up with interesting results, including 496.06 meters from surface grading 0.596 g/t platinum group elements plus gold, 0.27 percent nickel, 0.18 percent copper, 0.02 percent cobalt (0.45 percent nickel equivalent) as well as shorter intervals with higher grades. Prophecy said it expanded known mineralization at Wellgreen significantly to the east in 2010 and will continue to explore the property in 2011.
WHITE RIVER PROPERTY, where Tarsis Resources Ltd. went farther afield using the government’s old online geochemical database, found interesting “epithermal-looking” mineralization in float with numbers up to 19 g/t gold, plus silver and copper, and completed a soil sampling program that came up with “lots of red dots,” Burke said.