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By Rose Ragsdale
For Mining News 

Tonogold outlines gold potential at Nyac

Junior seeks joint venture partner to pursue Fort Knox-style mineralization in multiple targets on Southwest Alaska property


Last updated 4/27/2008 at Noon

Tonogold Resources Inc., in hopes of drawing attention to its search for an Alaska partner, released a geology, geochemistry and drilling report April 17 that covers exploration from 2005 to 2007 of its Nyac Porphyry Gold Project in southwestern Alaska.

The Nyac property consists of 57,600 acres and is located at the western end of the Alaska-Yukon Tintina Gold Belt on lands owned by Calista Corp, the Alaska Native regional corporation for the Yukon-Kuskokwim region. Tonogold leases the Nyac property from Calista.

During 2007 the La Jolla, Calif.-based junior focused most of its energies on exploration properties in Nevada.

Tonogold President Jeff Janda told Mining News April 22 that the company has attracted a joint venture partner, Centerra Gold, to help explore its Tonopah Divide gold property in Nevada.

"Centerra is the largest western-based gold producer in central Asia with over 500,000 ounces of gold production, and that's the kind of experienced producer we're looking for, and that's the type of deal we want to do for Tonogold in Alaska," Janda said. "One of the challenges we face is that properties are so big in Alaska that they can suck up a lot of capital real quick."

Janda said a number of exploration and mining companies have contacted Tonogold about Nyac, and he and his staff are currently trying to arrange site visits for them this summer.

Nyac could offer bulk mining opportunity

In the latest report on Nyac, Tonogold incorporated results from two-years of grid surface sampling, an 11-hole core drilling program and several 2005 to 2007 geologic reports.

Total placer production since 1908 from the Nyac Gold District exceeded 500,000 ounces gold, but until 2005, the hard rock source of the placer gold went unrecognized. That year, Tonogold successfully located six large areas with disseminated bedrock gold using a systematic method of district-wide, soil grid exploration sampling. Each of Tonogold's six prospects have multiple contiguous anomalous samples.

Tonogold geologists have theorized that mineralization in the area bears striking similarities to that of highly productive Fort Knox gold deposit near Fairbanks.

In 2005 Nyac crews took 3,149 soil samples at close centers over a six-square-mile and identified six large anomalies. Some 70 samples had gold in concentrations greater than 0.5 parts per million. The maximum soil value retrieved was 4.21 ppm gold, the mean value was 1.1 ppm gold, and the median was 0.8 ppm

In 2006, Tonogold took 3,594 more soil samples and drilled 11 core holes. The miner intercepted thin, gold-bearing stock-work veinlets in a Cretaceous pluton in the first four holes, and encountered 1 ppm gold intercepts up to 1 meter long in three additional holes in wall rocks.

Promising areas identified

Tonogold said it recognized three main exploration targets - Bonanza Ridge, West Fork, and Saddle Mountain - in either mineralized granitics or altered volcanic rocks. All are either cut by gold-bearing veins, veinlets, shears, faults and/or dikes, or are large geophysical targets projecting along strike beneath shallow cover.

The three targets are each capable of large, multimillion-ounce, bulk-mineable gold discoveries, Tonogold said. Host rocks in the Nyac Gold District are Tintina-style Cretaceous granodiorite-monzonite intrusives and Jurassic volcanic wall rocks.

Tonogold said its geologic mapping, soil and rock chip geochemistry, and initial drilling results mandate a 2008 geophysical mapping program leading to renewed drilling in 2009. A total field magnetics aerial survey at 50-meter line spacing is recommended for 2008, backed up by more local gravity, IP, and possibly CSAMT, the report said.

Janda said no work is planned for Nyac in 2008, and the company's goal for the next stage of exploration is to drill a discovery hole in one of the target areas. He also said Bonanza Ridge appears to be the most promising prospect.

Donald G. Strachan, Tonogold's vice president of exploration, prepared the report. He recommended a three-year exploration program with a budget that includes 25 percent contingencies. It calls for geophysics and surface work in the first year, with an estimated cost of $2.7 million; initial exploration drilling with at least one and possibly two discovery holes in the second year to cost $6.5 million; and exploration and initial development drilling in the third year to cost $9.7 million.

The full report can be downloaded at


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