Mining News: News Nuggets: Promising results at Round Top; drilling taps interesting copper
Western Alaska Copper & Gold Oct. 17 reported results from the 2016 drill program at its Round Top copper-molybdenum project in the Illinois Creek Mining District of western Alaska. The goal of this program, which included the first drilling since Anaconda Minerals Co. tested the property in 1981, was to verify historical holes drilled at the east lobe of the Round Top deposit and then step out to test targets identified by recent soil geochemistry and high resolution aeromagnetic surveys. One such hole, DDH RT-11, cut extensive chalcocite copper enrichment from 102 meters to 302 meters. “The significance of chalcocite mineralization as a primary source of copper at Round Top may be the single most important discovery of the 2016 program,” said Western Copper & Gold President Kit Marrs. From a depth of 138 meters, RT-11 cut 39 meters averaging 0.5 percent copper, which was part of a 70-meter intercept averaging 0.31 percent copper. A sample from a depth of 296 meters returned 0.94 percent copper, principally as disseminated chalcocite. This sample from near the bottom of the hole indicates higher grade copper could extend to depth. Additional sampling above and below this sample is pending. “The presence of secondary copper mineralization, primarily in the form of chalcocite, is a critical element of our future value considerations because this form of secondary-enriched copper can be extracted using the SXEW (solution extraction electro-winnowing) method. This method creates copper at the mine site and avoids shipment of a concentrate by barge downriver and then by ship to smelters in Asia,” Marrs explained. DDH RT-13, collared in a previously untested area of induced polarization resistivity anomalies 583 meters north of RT-11, demonstrated the viability of the geophysical anomalies at Round Top. Though RT-13 did not reach the porphyry target, the hole encountered increasingly higher grades of copper towards the bottom of the hole. Western Copper & Gold said the most interesting geophysical anomalies have yet to be tested and are targets for drill programs planned for 2017 and 2018. The total dimensions of the Round Top copper system are still unknown, but mineralization has been traced by drilling for at least 600 meters north-south direction; and copper in the soil geochemistry and the aeromagnetic anomaly suggests the deposit could extend more than 2,000 meters in this direction. At this point, there is no known constraint in the east-west direction. With a budget of US$500,000, Western Copper & Gold completed 1,461 meters of core drilling in six holes at Round Top this summer. The privately held exploration company said its all-in drilling cost – camp, fuel, helicopter, fixed wing support, assays and core logging geologist – averaged US$103.40 per foot. The company attributes much of its cost saving to the use of a track-mounted drill rig leased from and operated by Stewart, British-Columbia-based More Core Drilling. This rig’s ability to traverse between drill sites after initial mobilization greatly reduced the helicopter support required. Given this success, Western Copper & Gold purchased the track mounted drill rig at the end of the season and winterized it on site, which will result in significant savings on mobilization expenses for future drilling seasons.