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

By Curt Freeman
Mining News Columnist 

Exploration efforts continue at record pace

Late summer programs competing with early winter programs; companies already tying up people and equipment for 2005


Last updated 10/31/2004 at Noon

Despite the fact that winter has arrived over much of Alaska, exploration efforts continued at record pace throughout the state in October.

Late summer programs are now competing for people and drills with early winter programs in a number of areas, a problem not normally encountered in Alaska.

In a further sign of the strength of the rebound in the metals markets, a number of companies are already tying up people, drills, camp equipment, analytical services and helicopter services for 2005.

Looking over it all are national and state level elections where, for the first time in decades, Alaska's outcome can affect the entire national political scene.

The winner of the closely fought senatorial election between Lisa Murkowski and Tony Knowles could have major consequences for the winner of the closely fought presidential election.

In this critical year for Alaska's mining industry, make sure your voice is heard - go and vote!

Western Alaska

Teck Cominco announced third quarter profits of $59 million at its Red Dog mine.

For the quarter, the mine generated 152,800 tonnes of zinc in concentrate and 32,800 tonnes of lead in concentrate, both figures up slightly over 2003 third quarter figures.

Production figures returned to normal after excess scaling problems in the second quarter were corrected.

The mine also sold 176,500 tonnes of zinc in concentrate and 61,600 tonnes of lead in concentrate, both up significantly from third quarter 2003 volumes.

The increased net revenue was due largely to higher zinc and lead prices which averaged 45 cents and 43 cents per pound respectively versus 37 cents and 23 cents per pound in the third quarter of 2003.

The company indicated that shipping of concentrates this season closed on Oct. 12 and totaled 1,026,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 216,000 tonnes of lead concentrate.

Liberty Star Gold Corp. announced its intent to begin diamond core drilling on its Big Chunk copper-gold prospect near Iliamna.

The company indicated that to date field crews had collected approximately 9,303 samples of various types including soil, vegetation, stream sediments and water.

Induced polarization ground geophysics identified a three by one mile open-ended anomaly in the northern part of the property at what has been named the White Sox prospect.

Subsequent ground follow-up revealed copper oxide alteration in rock fragments in soil within the White Sox anomaly.

For those of you who remember, the adjacent Pebble deposit was discovered in a similar way.

The company intends to drill 2,000 feet of diamond core on one or more of eleven drill sites within the White Sox prospect.

Eastern Interior

Teryl Resources Corp. announced results from the first half of the 2004 exploration program on its Gil joint venture with Kinross Gold. Exploration efforts included approximately 40,000 feet of soil line and collection of approximately 488 soil samples using auger drills. This work generated several new exploration targets in the Main Gil area and at the Sourdough Ridge prospect. Current fieldwork is focused on testing these targets through the use of trenching and reverse circulation drilling. Nine reverse circulation drill holes totaling 2,075 feet and three trenches totaling 1,500 feet have been completed on these targets. Drilling is expected to continue into November.

Teryl Resources Corp. also announced results from limited sampling on its Fox Creek gold prospect in the Fairbanks District.

Two grab samples collected from an intrusive contact zone at the prospect returned 1,360 and 197 parts per billion gold.

Previous drilling at Fox Creek returned 30 feet grading 0.03 ounces of gold per ton from a hole located near the recent surface sampling.

Associated anomalous metals in drilling and surface samples include arsenic and molybdenum.

Two reverse circulation drill holes will be completed at Fox Creek to evaluate the surface samples and their relationship to recently announced gold discoveries on Teryl's adjacent West Ridge property where auger soil sampling has recently been completed.

Freegold Ventures and joint venture partner Meridian Gold announced additional results from trenching conducted on its Tolovana gold prospect in the Fairbanks District.

Trenching results include grab samples that ranged from 15 parts per billion to 95.8 grams of gold per tonne and channel samples that returned 130 feet grading 1.377 grams gold per tonne in the Zeba trench, 60 feet grading 1.066 grams gold per tonne in the East trench and 30 feet grading 1.624 grams gold per tonne in the 7E trench.

Gold mineralization at Tolovana is hosted in shears and quartz veins hosted in lower plate rocks of the Fairbanks Schist, upper plate rocks of the Chatanika Terrane and Cretaceous age intrusive rocks which host the nearby Dolphin gold deposit.

Gold is associated with elevated arsenic, antimony and lead with lesser anomalous tungsten and zinc.

Additional funding has been approved for a 3,900 foot core drilling program to evaluate the results of trench sampling at Tolovana and a high-grade zone intercepted in 1996 in the Dolphin intrusive deposit which returned 10 feet grading 50.7 grams gold per tonne.

Golden Spirit Minerals announced additional results from it Ester Dome gold project in the Fairbanks district. The anomaly containing previously announced high-grade gold in quartz veins (2.11 ounces of gold per ton over 10.5 feet) has been expanded to an area covering 2 miles by 0.6 miles in size. Additional sub-parallel gold-bearing structures are suspected southeast of previous channel sampling. Additional sampling and land acquisitions have been recommended.

Alaska Range

Nevada Star Resource Corp. announced drilling results from its phase I Canwell prospect drill program on its MAN copper-nickel-gold-platinum group element project in the Delta River district.

The drilling efforts were focused on testing shallow (less than 200 feet) targets where previous soil sampling, 23 line-kilometers of Max-Min geophysics and 11 line-kilometers of ground magnetics revealed a plus-8 kilometer long Max-Min conductor along the eastern margin of the Canwell mafic-ultramafic complex.

The geophysical conductor also coincides with anomalous talus-fine soil values including copper (high of 498 parts per million, average of 182 parts per million), nickel (high of 4,357 parts per million, average of 2,230 parts per million), platinum (high of 850 parts per billion, average of 142 parts per billion) and palladium (high of 303 parts per billion, average of 917 parts per billion).

On the strength of this data, a six-hole (2,275 feet) reverse circulation drilling program was completed in September to test the combined soil with Max-Min targets.

Drilling intercepted variably serpentinized gabbro, pyroxenite and dunite in the Canwell complex and younger intermediate intrusives on the eastern margin of the Canwell complex.

Platinum and palladium values ranged from less than detection limits (less than 5 and less than 1 parts per billion, respectively) to highs of 174 and 128 parts per billion, respectively.

Copper values ranged from 8 to 1,795 parts per million while nickel values ranged from 9 to 6,220 parts per million.

Elevated platinum and palladium values are preferentially hosted in dunite-rich rock units while more differentiated gabbroic rock units contain only background levels of platinum and palladium.

Deeper geophysical targets (approximately 1,000 feet) have been identified using three-dimensional magnetic inversion modeling.

This modeling suggests a possible sulfide enrichment zone near the base of the Canwell complex (approximately 1,000 feet below surface).

The company is evaluating other geophysical methods to help refine these targets for a phase II diamond core drilling program in 2005.

Golconda Resources Ltd. announced that additional diamonds have been discovered in drill holes on its Shulin Lake project west of Talkeetna. Five holes were drilled to test a series of circular features identified by airborne geophysics and air photo analysis. Drill hole DSL22 returned three micro-diamonds with the largest being 0.66 millimeters in largest dimension. Drilling efforts were successful in identifying the center of a volcanic system. Previous diamond-bearing drill holes were 3 kilometers from the most recent discovery hole. Additional drilling is planned for the western and northern portions of the circular feature.

Northern Alaska

Novagold Resources announced initial drilling results from its Ambler polymetallic project in the southern Brooks Range.

Drill results confirmed the high-grade nature and polymetallic character of the Ambler deposit.

Initial results include 12 meters grading 0.93 grams of gold per tonne, 60.2 grams of silver per tonne, 3.58 percent copper, 6.05 percent zinc and 1.27 percent lead and an additional 8.2 meters grading 2.12 grams of gold per tonne, 96.6 grams of silver per tonne, 4.77 percent copper, 8.90 percent zinc and 1.37 percent lead in hole AR04-78, 27.6 meters grading 2.38 grams of gold per tonne, 79.1 grams of silver per tonne, 5.49 percent copper, 7.92 percent zinc and 1.28 percent lead in hole AR04-79, and 12.0 meters grading 1.45 grams of gold per tonne, 121.2 grams of silver per tonne, 3.49 percent copper, 7.85 percent zinc and 1.12 percent lead in hole AR04-83.

In addition to the 2,978 meter drilling program, the company also conducted detailed structural mapping, core re-logging and core re-sampling which suggest the deposit consists of at least two extensive horizons on both sides of a flat-lying fold.

Mineralization has been intercepted in drilling over a 1 kilometer by 1 kilometer area and remains open to the south and east.

Additional drilling is planned for 2005.

Southeast Alaska

Bravo Venture Group Inc. announced the start-up of Phase II drilling at its Woewodski Island project in southwest Alaska. The six-hole diamond drill program will consist of four holes at the Mad Dog prospect and an unspecified number of holes at the Brushy Creek prospect to follow up IP and gravity anomalies outlined earlier in the year. Previous drilling at Mad Dog returned a 3.8 meter intercept grading 16.4 ounces of silver per ton, 2.8 percent lead and 22.4 percent zinc within a 17 meter interval that returned 6.5 ounces of silver per ton and 11.27 percent zinc.


Freegold Ventures announced that it had expanded it original drilling plans at its Grew Creek project near Ross River, Yukon, from 780 to 1,530 meters of core drilling. Drilling is designed to test a new interpretation which suggests high grade gold in epithermal quartz-adularia veins is controlled by more northerly trending structures as opposed to east-west trending structures. Initial examination of 2004 core indicates the new interpretation is correct and suggests past drilling may have significantly under-estimated the potential of the Grew Creek deposit. Drilling is slated to continue through Dec. 15.


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