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

By Curt J. Freeman
For Mining News 

No better place for gold discoveries

Miners are busy across Alaska with mineral projects, from prospecting to feasibility studies as state's resource count soars


Last updated 6/29/2008 at Noon

Everyone who is planning to work on Alaska mineral projects in 2008 is busy doing just that as the longest day of summer quickly approaches.

Programs ranging from grass-roots prospecting to multimillion-dollar feasibility studies are spread over the entire state with the most active areas being Western and Interior Alaska.

With the new resources for Donlin Creek now out, my unofficial records show Alaska's total gold resources at more than 169 million ounces, with gold discovery rates during the past 10 years averaging more than 11 million ounces per year at a cash discovery cost of about $4.25 per ounce.

To steal one of the great marketing concepts of our age, if you can find a better place to discover gold, go there!

Western Alaska

Novagold Resources and partner Barrick Gold U.S. Inc. announced new resource updates, drilling results and a decision to complete a feasibility study at the Donlin Creek project by the first quarter of 2009.

Total gold resources have increased to 35.83 million ounces of gold and incorporate an additional 20,000 meters of drilling from the 2007 drill program.

The new measured and indicated resources stand at 393.8 million metric tons grading 2.50 grams of gold per metric ton for 31.67 million ounces of gold.

Inferred resources added an additional 55.4 million metric tons grading 2.33 grams of gold per metric ton (4.16 million ounces).

The company also released its first batch of drill results from the 2008 drilling campaign, including hole DC08-1686 which intersected 256.9 meters of 3.25 grams of gold per metric ton in 19 mineralized intervals, hole DC08-1689 which intersected 42.1 meters of 6.97 grams of gold per metric ton in 8 mineralized intervals and hole DC08-1695 which intersected 302.6 meters of 3.97 grams of gold per metric ton in 13 mineralized intervals.

The company also announced that it had identified a preferred design for the project and plans to complete and approve a feasibility study by the first quarter of 2009.

The project is expected to have a capacity of 50,000 metric tons per day using onsite diesel and wind cogeneration for it electrical power needs.

The mine would operate for 25 to 30 years and produce 1 million to 1.5 million ounces of gold annually.

Permitting would start in early 2009 with construction targeted for 2012.

Zazu Metals Corp. announced that drilling had commenced at its Lik zinc-lead-silver deposit near the Red Dog mine. The company is employing two drill rigs to complete about 10,000 meters of drilling in 2008. The company also reported metallurgical work that yielded recoveries for zinc of 87 percent in a concentrate grading 52 percent and lead recoveries as high as 81 percent reporting to a concentrate grading 57 percent. Test results indicate that lower lead recoveries of about 70 percent would yield a concentrate grade of 70 percent, which would be more marketable to smelters.

Alix Resources and partner Millrock Resources announced the start of their 2008 exploration program at the Divide gold project near Nome. The total project budget is $1.5 million and will consist of geological mapping, reverse circulation drilling of 3,600 meters in 25 to 30 holes and trenching and channel sampling. The initial target area will be the Stoneman prospect where visible gold is observed at surface in talus and weathered, broken bedrock. In addition, drilling will be completed at the Saddle Zone where previous drilling failed to hit the source of trench samples which returned 16.21 grams of gold per metric ton over 16.76 meters.

Freegold Ventures announced plans to conduct diamond core drilling at its Vinasale gold project south of McGrath. This year's program will include additional sampling, ground geophysics and drilling aimed at confirming and expanding the known gold mineralization within the property. Following the completion of ground-based geophysics, a 2,000-foot drill program will be undertaken.

Pacific North West Capital and joint venture partner Stillwater Mining announced commencement of a $1 million exploration program at their Goodnews Bay project under lease from Calista Corp. The 2008 program will include drilling at the Last Chance and Susie West prospects and additional soil auger sampling in the Suzie Mountain complex.

Drilling at the Last Chance prospect will be conducted within a bedrock platinum anomaly measuring 650 meters north-south by 175 meters east-west.

The prospect returned values up to 2.27 grams of platinum from chromium iron oxides outcropping in dunite.

The target at Suzie Mt. is an area with greater than 50 parts per billion platinum in soils with grades up to 432 ppb platinum.

This basal soil platinum anomaly is open to the west.

Full Metal Minerals and joint venture partner BHP Billiton Mineral Service announced that it has acquired several porphyry copper targets in eastern Interior Alaska from Alaska native corporation Doyon Ltd. Under terms of the agreement, Full Metal will pay Doyon $125,000 over two years, increasing to $100,000 over the following seven years.

Full Metal also will make scholarship donations of $10,000 per year and make exploration expenditures totaling $3.05 million.

At any time following exploration expenditures totaling at least $700,000 on one prospect and having completed at least 10,000 feet of core drilling and completing a positive prefeasibility study, Full Metal may enter into one or more Mining Leases.

A variable scale production royalty payable to Doyon also is included in the agreement.

On the exploration front, the partners recently completed an extensive airborne geophysical survey that identified multiple new target areas with potential to host copper-gold porphyry deposits.

Field crews have commenced a program of surface mapping, sampling and induced polarization geophysics over historic and newly identified prospects, with the purpose of identifying drill targets.

Eastern Interior

Freegold Ventures Ltd. announced 2007 bulk sampling results from its Golden Summit gold project and has resumed seasonal bulk sampling on the project.

Bulk samples tested during late 2007 had a weighted average grade of 2.7 grams of gold per metric ton with individual stockpiles ranging from 0.6 to 7.0 grams of gold per metric ton.

A total of 23,500 tons of material is currently stockpiled and is awaiting testing, along with a further estimated 45,000 tons that will be collected and processed from the Beistline, Fence 1 and Tolovana areas.

The company also announced that it has modified its test plant to allow for finer grinding of bulk sample material.

Test work over the winter indicated that recoveries ranging from 80 to 95 percent were achieved on 17 bulk sample composites that were reduced to a particle size in the laboratory that is reflective of the new crushing and grinding capabilities of the plant.

With composite head grades ranging from 1.9 grams of gold per metric ton to 44.6 grams of gold per metric ton, the high gravity recoveries seen across all sample grades reconfirms the coarse nature of the gold seen in the previous test work and in the initial gravity concentration work.

Alaska Range

Full Metal Minerals announced commencement of underground exploration and bulk sampling at its Lucky Shot gold project near Hatcher Pass.

The purpose of the 2008 program is to complete underground drifting and drilling and to complete a bulk sample to confirm the continuity of high-grade gold mineralization within the Lucky Shot shear.

Permits for mining have been received, and work has commenced on rehabilitation of a historic adit to facilitate approximately 120 meters of underground development to access the shear zone.

Test stoping is planned to extract over 5,000 metric tons of mineralized material, upon receipt of the water extraction and tailings pond permits.

Full Metal recently purchased a used 150-metric-ton-per-day mill, expandable to 200 metric tons per day.

Gravity tests were performed on three previously collected composite samples grading 4.7, 4.7 and 7.8 grams of gold per metric ton.

Total recoveries were 68.2, 68.5 and 78.3 percent, respectively, at a grind of 62-96 micrometers.

Max Resource Corp. announced commencement of drilling at its Gold Hill molybdenum project in the Alaska Range. The goal of this program is to expand on significant molybdenum mineralization encountered in the 2007 drilling program.

Northern Alaska

Goldrich Mining Co. announced publication of an independent technical report on its Little Squaw project. The report recommendations include continued exploration of several lode gold prospects on the project as well as expanded exploration of its recently discovered placer gold deposit. The technical report is available on the company's Web site.

Southeast Alaska

Bravo Venture Group announced commencement of a 1,200-meter core drilling program at its Woewodski Island volcanogenic massive sulfide project near Petersburg.

Up to 400 meters of drilling are planned at the Brushy Creek prospect where historical drill intercepts from 2002 returned 1.8 meters grading 0.58 grams of gold per metric ton, 71 g/t silver and 3.7 percent zinc with a second 3.3 meter interval grading 0.47 g/t gold, 58 g/t silver and 3.9 percent zinc.

Mineralization was hosted in strongly altered sedimentary rock and the drill hole ended in mineralization grading 2.80 percent zinc over 0.3 meters.

About 800 meters of core drilling is planned for the East Lake prospect to test several targets identified along the northern and southern margins of a broad sedimentary basin which occupies the central part of the island.

Previous drilling here returned up to 3.3meters grading 4.2 g/t gold and 4.68 percent zinc.

Niblack Mining announced that it has signed an agreement that will see all of the shares of Niblack acquired by Committee Bay Resources Ltd. The agreement also provides for an additional $10 million in funding for underground exploration currently under way at the namesake Niblack volcanogenic massive sulfide project on southern Prince of Wales Island. Since 1995, over $30 million has been spent exploring the Niblack deposit.


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