North of 60 Mining News - The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

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

By Curt Freeman
For North of 60 Mining News 

Drilling in progress at several locations

Summer season planning proceeding at 'frenetic pace' as demonstrated by short supplies of drill rigs, helicopters and project managers


Last updated 3/14/2004 at Noon

Alaska's exploration season is well under way with drilling in progress at several locations and planning for the summer season proceeding at a frenetic pace not seen in more than five years.

Anyone who has tried to line up a drill rig, a helicopter or a project manager will tell you the same thing: all are in short supply, even at this early point in the year.

Projects under way and planned for the coming year include numerous gold projects, several base metal projects, a number of platinum group element projects and one diamond project.

Active regions for the year look to be Interior Alaska, Alaska Range, Southwestern Alaska, Southeastern Alaska and the Seward Peninsula.

Metal prices remain strong with some metals up over last month's prices.

Platinum in particular recently topped $900 per ounce, a 24 year high.

As a result, interest in Alaska is coming from major, intermediate and junior companies alike.

Western Alaska

Teck Cominco American has reported fourth quarter and year-end 2003 results from its Red Dog mine.

In the fourth quarter the mine produced 142,800 tonnes of zinc in concentrate and for the year the mine produced 579,300 tonnes of zinc in concentrate.

Zinc ore grade and mill recoveries increased to 22.2 percent and 85.5.9 percent respectively from 21.6 percent and 84.5 percent in the year previous quarter.

The mine also produced 34,100 tonnes of lead in concentrate during the fourth quarter and 125,000 tonnes of lead in concentrate for the year.

As a result primarily of higher zinc and lead prices (average 42 cents and 29 cents per pound respectively for the quarter), the mine posted a $51 million operating profit for the quarter and a $50 million operating profit for the year.

Novagold Resources said it will complete additional infill drilling and bulk sampling for metallurgical tests as part of its $5 million 2004 development budget at the Rock Creek gold deposit near Nome. Final feasibility work currently in progress is expected to allow mine permitting to commence in the second half of 2004.

St. Andrew Goldfields announced interim results from its continuing exploration and development program at the Nixon Fork mine near McGrath.

Work completed included an additional 140 meters of exploration drifting that will allowed commencement of a 1,800 meter drilling program to define the limits of the C3000 and C3300 zones.

Once this drilling is completed a 23,500-meter underground drilling program will be conducted to upgrade resources to the reserve status.

The drilling is expected to add an additional 120,000 tonnes to the current indicated and inferred resource of 145,000 tonnes grading 0.94 ounces of gold per tonne.

The company also plans to drive 650 meters of drift to connect the Crystal to the Mystery declines.

Northern Dynasty Minerals said it raised $22 million via a public offering, much of which will be directed toward delineation drilling and detailed engineering and environmental/permitting studies at its Pebble copper-gold project near Iliamna.

Liberty Star Gold Corp. said it completed acquisition of its 237 square mile BC property near Iliamna.

The company indicated that staking was prompted by pattern recognition through a variety of geologic procedures including satellite imagery interpretation, geomorphology, geologic compilation, structural interpretation and relation to known porphyry systems.

This effort suggested that the nearby Pebble deposit alteration zone was part of a much larger volcanic caldera, a favorable location for porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposits.

The company indicated that it would begin geophysical, geochemical and geological studies on its claims in early spring with the goal of conducting initial diamond drilling before the end of the summer field season.

Eastern Interior

Kinross Gold has reported 2003 fourth-quarter and year-end results for its Fort Knox-True North operations in the Fairbanks district.

For the year the company indicated that it had recovered 391,831 ounces of gold at a cash cost of $243 per ounce.

The lower production and higher cash costs compared to year-end 2002 (410,519 at $232 per ounce) were the result primarily of lower recoveries from sulfide-bearing ore from the satellite True North open pit.

In-pit exploration at Fort Knox resulted in a 10 percent increase in proven and probable reserves to 102,939,000 tonnes grading 0.89 grams of gold per tonne (2,945,000 ounces) at a gold price of $325 per ounce.

Increasing the assumed gold price to $400 per ounce adds an additional 419,000 ounces to the proven and probable reserves.

In 2003 the operation milled 13.6 million tons of ore grading 1.07 grams of gold per tonne.

Mill recoveries averaged 83 percent and total production costs were $346 per ounce.

Projected production for 2004, from the combined Fort Knox and True North open pits, is 340,000 ounces of gold.

The reduced production schedule is due in large part to a planned temporary suspension of mining at True North to allow use of the mining fleet on the next phase of the Fort Knox tailings dam lift. Operations at True North will then resume in the second half of 2004 and extend into 2005 before final closure due to exhaustion of reserves.

Freegold Ventures Ltd. and joint venture partner Meridian Gold announced that diamond core drilling would begin in late February at its Golden Summit project in the Fairbanks district. Details of the intended program were not released.

Golden Spirit Minerals announced processing results from a 1,000 cubic yard gravel sample at its Ester Creek property in the Fairbanks district. Analysis of tailings from the jig indicated significant levels of gold, silver and palladium remained in tailings, suggesting methods other than simple jigging will be required to recover precious metals from the property. Additional work is planned.

Teryl Resources announced that ground magnetics surveys over its West Ridge property have indicated mineralized intrusive found in trenching at the Old Glory prospect may extend for at least 700 feet to the south of surface outcrops into an area where anomalous gold in soils was encountered during 2003 auger soil sampling. The company also announced plans to complete reverse circulation drilling on the property in late February. Drilling will consist of up to 15 holes targeted primarily at the intrusive target.

Alaska Range

Golconda Resources announced plans to commence a 3,000-foot diamond-drilling program at its Shulin Lake diamond project near Talkeetna. Two holes drilled on the project in 2003 intersected volcanic ash and tuff indicative of a volcanic center. Indicator minerals derived from this drilling possess a chemistry that is similar to eclogitic minerals derived from lamproites, a geologic setting permissive for diamond deposition. The planned March drilling program will include approximately 10 holes in various parts of the volcanic feature.

Northern Alaska

Little Squaw Mining Co. announced that work has begun on the first-ever technical report on the property designed to bring all previous technical data into a single digital database to allow recommendations for future work on the lode and placer prospects on the property.

Southeast Alaska

Hecla Mining (29.73 percent) and Kennecott Mining (70.27 percent) announced fourth-quarter and year-end production results from its Greens Creek mine near Juneau. For the year the mine produced 11,709,411 ounces of silver, 99,453 ounces of gold, 27,884 tonnes of lead and 76,729 tonnes of zinc. Cash operating costs were $1.10 per ounce while total costs were $3.64 per ounce. Average head grade mined for the year was 27.72 ounces of silver per tonne.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018