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By Patricia Liles
Mining News editor 

Work starts at Union Bay property 35 miles northwest of Ketchikan; Lonmin funds $1.2M for platinum exploration


Last updated 6/20/2004 at Noon

Freegold Ventures and Pacific Northwest Capital announced plans June 1 to begin drilling mid-June at the company's Union Bay property about 35 miles northwest of Ketchikan, Alaska, a $1.2 million exploration program being funded by Lonmin Plc.

"Exploration will commence immediately with a detailed geological mapping and sampling program and an airborne magnetic and electromagnetic survey," the company said in its press release. Crews will complete 9,000 feet of drill samples during this summer's season, according to Freegold, initially targeting the Continental and Chevelle zones, where rock samples taken last year returned values ranging from 1 to 14 grams per ton of platinum.

The Continental zone, some five kilometers west of where 2003 drilling took place, is a recently discovered mineralized area.

Freegold President Harry Barr said last year that the Continental "looks very significant, in terms of surface samples." Mineralization at Continental and Chevelle is hosted by similar rock types to the previously reported occurrences at the North and Jaguar Zones, where drills completed 4,490 feet of diamond core drilling in 2003. Lonmin funded that work, also, the platinum producer's first foray in Alaska.

If results look good, more could be spent this year

Lonmin's agreement with Freegold and Pacific Northwest calls for annual spending of a minimum of $1 million in 2004, 2005 and 2006, with a minimum of $750,000 afterward.

"Should the results of the data review prove to be sufficiently positive, Lonmin may elect to incur further expenditures before the end of the 2004 field season," Freegold said in its press release.

Lonmin did bump its exploration spending midway through the 2003 work program, allowing geologists to spend an extra 30 days on the property, Barr said then.

In a Jan. 20 press release, Freegold and Pacific Northwest released some drill results from the 2003 program, calling it "most encouraging." Drilling at Jaguar produced some of the largest, high grade intercepts, including a 3.8 foot section grading 7 grams of platinum per ton of rock. The North Zone produced a 1.7 foot intercept, grading 10.59 grams of platinum per ton of rock.

Another success of that 2003 program was discovery of a separate zone of copper, platinum and palladium bearing sulfides at Cannery Creek on the western side of the Union Bay project, close to the margin of the complex. That zone remains open to the north and east, according to Freegold's June 1 press release.

Results of the Continental, Chevelle and Cannery Creek zones were available only after completion of the field season, Freegold said.


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