Mining News: News Nuggets: Winter drilling seeks added oxide gold at Golden Summit
Freegold Ventures Ltd. Dec. 12 provided an update on Golden Summit, a bulk tonnage gold project located along the Steese Highway about 25 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska. A preliminary economic assessment completed for Golden Summit earlier this year proposed the development of an initial stand-alone valley heap leach operation focused on the existing oxide portion of the resource, taking into account the potential for oxide resource growth, with a staged approach to a larger milling scenario. The PEA evaluates a 20,000 metric-ton-per-day operation – 10,000 tpd heap leach facility to process the oxide material and 10,000 tpd bio-oxidation plant for the sulfide material – that averages around 96,000 oz. of gold annually over a 24-year mine life. Initial capital costs for this mine are forecast to total only US$88 million and another US$348 million for life-of-mine sustaining costs. Additional metallurgical work to further refine the treatment method to the sulfide material is being developed in order to further enhance the overall project economics. In particular, further oxidation treatment on all identifiable sulfide materials as well as ultra-fine grind testing will be undertaken in an effort to explore grind size vs recovery relationships. In addition to the metallurgical work, Freegold said it plans to complete a limited winter drill program to delineate additional oxide resources at Golden Summit. The company said recent soil sampling has identified a gold-in-soil geochemical anomaly west of the current Dolphin deposit and previous shallow rotary air blast drilling results indicates that better grade oxide material may be present to the north. Initial drilling will be focused to the north of the current mineral resource in an effort to incorporate material now classified as waste material in the conceptual pit into mineralized material. Exploration drilling will also focus on areas where geophysical data suggests the presence of shallow intrusive rocks to the southwest of the deposit. Further infill drilling to upgrade the resource into the indicated category will also need to be undertaken as the project moves toward the pre-feasibility level as well as baseline environmental and cultural resource studies.