Alaska mining news summary: As assay results are coming in from projects around the state, metals prices continue to rise or hold steady triggering expectations of higher budgets for 2003


Last updated 10/6/2002 at Noon

As the first snows of winter begin to fall around the state, more assay results are coming in and plans for next year are being formed. Metals prices continue to rise or hold steady and budgets for next year appear to be growing as a result. Several exploration projects remain in progress and are not likely to be completed before the end of October. By then we will have a good idea of how 2002 stacks up against previous year's exploration, development and production expenditures.

Here is what happened in the last month.

Western Alaska

Novagold Resources reported additional drilling results from its Aurora and Akivik zones at its Donlin Creek deposit in southwestern Alaska. Results included hole DC02-740 with 14 meters grading 9.23 grams gold per tonne, hole DC02-741 with 20 meters of 7.89 grams gold per tonne and hole DC02-855 with 19 meters grading 6.60 grams gold per tonne, 13 meters grading 7.30 grams gold per tonne and 32.7 meters grading 4.62 grams gold per tonne.

Pebble Partnership copper gold molybdenum mine project Alaska Northern Dynasty NAK NDM

This mineralization represents that farthest south drilling to date at Aurora and indicates that the Aurora, 400 and Acma zones may in fact represent a single large zone of near-surface mineralization. Additional follow-up drilling at the Akivik zone continued to intercept high-grade gold mineralization including hole DC02-854 which intersected 4.9 meters grading 17.1 grams gold per tonne.

Step-out drilling to the north of Akivik intersected 16.8 meters grading 4.25 grams gold per tonne in hole DR02-816 and 18.3 meters containing 6.4 grams gold per tonne in DR02-752.

Through early September the company had completed 27,000 meters of drilling in 94 core and 121 rotary holes and expected to complete an additional 9,000 meters of drilling by the end of October. The company expects to announce updated resource figures in October and indicated that mineralization discovered in 2002 should significantly increase the overall resources at Donlin Creek.

Northern Dynasty Minerals said it has completed its phase two drilling at its Pebble copper-gold project near Iliamna and expected to have drill results in October.

The phase two program consisted of 27 diamond core holes totaling 6,000 meters of drilling on previously discovered mineralization as well as new target areas within the project.

A new zone of widespread copper mineralization was discovered during the program. The company indicated that additional drilling in the spring of 2003 is likely.

Novagold Resources and joint venture partner TNR Resources released initial trenching results from their Rock Creek gold property near Nome.

Trench results from the Albion zone included 8 meters grading 2.88 grams gold per tonne in trench 101 and 12 meters grading 5.12 grams gold per tonne in trench 104.

Trench 104 is located more than 130 meters southwest of the currently drilled resource and suggests mineralization is open at depth and to the southwest.

Core drilling designed to upgrade resources to the measured and indicated categories was scheduled to start September 20.

Navigator Exploration and Chapleau Resources released results from their Kougarok tantalum project on the Seward Peninsula.

The company completed 2,438 meters of core drilling in seven holes covering a five square kilometer area of the project.

All holes intercepted anomalous tantalum mineralization but only hole 2002-04 intercepted potentially commercial grade mineralization.

The best intercept from this hole was 105.9 meters grading 169 ppm tantalum (206 ppm tantalum pentoxide) including 56 meters grading 209 ppm tantalum and 31.5 meters grading 233 ppm tantalum.

Although the drilling indicated that the system present at Kougarok was both large and well preserved, given current tantalum prices, the company indicated that the economic potential of the project was limited.

Nuvista, a non-profit subsidiary of Alaska Native corporation Calista Inc. reported preliminary plans to electrify portions of the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta region of southwest Alaska.

The phased program would include options to bring electrical power to the Donlin Creek deposit where electrical power requirements are expected to be significant should the deposit prove economic to bring into production.

The options being considered range in cost from $192 million to $450 million and would bring long-term savings of $440 to $694 million to electrical users in the region.

The state of Alaska contributed $250,000 to allow completion of the recently released regional power needs study.

Eastern Interior

Freegold Ventures Ltd. released preliminary results from trenching conducted on its Golden Summit gold project in the Fairbanks District.

Approximately 1,145 feet of backhoe trenching was completed at six trenches in the Cleary Hill mine area.

Grab samples of quartz vein material in the trenches returned values up to 211 grams gold per tonne while channel samples values ranged up to 3 meters grading 4.29 grams gold per tonne and 8.8 meters grading 1.16 grams gold per tonne.

Gold mineralization is associated with quartz, quartz-carbonate or quartz sulfide bearing veins and with shear zones where quartz volume is relatively low.

Mineralized structures mapped in the trenches range from quartz veins with no apparent wall rock alteration or shearing to iron-oxide stained schist-hosted breccia and shear zones up to 100 feet in width and containing 1-20 percent crushed quartz in pods and veinlets.

Crowley Fuels keeps Soloy Helicopters moving across Alaska

Prior to reclamation activities, the farthest east trench was extended to determine the extent of gold mineralization (1.5 meters at 3.1 grams gold per tonne) near its northern end. This extension exposed additional mineralization included an 18-inch thick quartz vein which contained abundant coarse visible gold. Samples results from this new vein are pending.

17 helicopters, Cessna 206 support plane, mining and oil exploration,  precision long line, core and seismic drills

Confirmation and step-out drilling have been recommended for October and November.

Teryl Resources and LinuxWizardry Systems said the state of Alaska has approved conversion of their Fish Creek claims to a mining lease. The property lies near Teryl and Kinross Gold's Gil claims where resources of 433,000 ounces have been announced.

The companies indicated that they intend to conduct additional drilling at Fish Creek after the ground freezes.

California-based Tri-Valley Corp. and Moscow-based TsNIGRI said they have formed Troika Mining Ventures and plan to list the company on U.S. and possibly foreign stock exchanges.

The partners indicated that they plan to vend one or more lode and/or placer gold properties into Troika from Tri-Valley's Richardson project in the Richardson District.

The newly formed company will look primarily at acquiring and developing high grade gold projects worldwide.

Alaska Range

Shear Minerals and Golconda Resources said additional drilling was completed at its Shulin Lake diamond project and that one additional micro-diamond was recovered from hole 10 where 16 micro-diamonds have been previously reported.

The company completed 3,221 feet of diamond drilling in five new holes. The diamond-bearing volcaniclastic unit was recognized in several of the holes. Diamond and indicator mineral analyses are being conducted on these holes.

The company also indicated that airborne geophysics and satellite imagery has identified a 2 kilometer diameter circular feature believed to be the source of the volcanics in the area. Additional work is planned after freeze-up.

Nevada Star Resources announced that field work was completed in September at its MAN copper - nickel - platinum group metal project in the central Alaska Range. The company completed approximately 250 meters of core drilling on the Canwell prospect plus mapping and geochemical sampling on the northern portion of the Eureka Block. A number of new nickel-PGE showings were reported.

Constantine Metals Palmer copper VMS zinc silver gold Haines Southeast Alaska

Exploration also was conducted on the intrusive hosted Gezzi copper-gold prospect and on the Broxson gold prospect. Analytical results are expected in October.


The Alaska Miners Association will hold its annual convention at the Anchorage Sheraton hotel from Nov. 6 though Nov. 8 with short courses before and after the convention.

For details see the Alaska Miners Association website at

For those that don't believe that investing in precious metals is a wise economic decision, take a look at this: Lipper Inc. reported that for the first nine months of 2002, the three safe-haven investment vehicles generated returns as follows: precious metals funds, 43.51 percent, real estate, 7.17 percent and bonds, 3.46 percent.

Author Bio

Curt is President of Avalon Development Corporation, a mineral exploration consulting firm based in Fairbanks, Alaska. He is a U.S. Certified Professional Geologist with the American Institute of Professional Geologists (CPG #6901) and is a licensed geologist in the State of Alaska (Lic. # AA 159).

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 907-457-5159
Contact Curt Freeman


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