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

By Curt Freeman
For Mining News 

Opportunities will mushroom for the bold

Largest melt-down since the Great Depression brings uncertainty to U.S. economy; Alaska mining industry sure to feel effects


Last updated 9/28/2008 at Noon

With termination dust settling ever lower throughout Alaska, the bulk of the 2008 exploration season has been completed, but lots of results are still pending from projects around the state.

As the exploration industry winds down, the Rock Creek gold mine started production bringing owner and operator Novagold Resources Inc. its first operating mine and bringing Nome its first modern lode gold mine.

While this was going on in our backyard, the financial markets were starting into the largest melt-down since the Great Depression.

How this will affect Alaska, and make no mistake; it will affect Alaska, only time will tell.

One thing you can count on: there will be opportunities in Alaska's mineral industry for those with the foresight to recognize them and the chutzpah to buy straw hats when it's snowing!

Western Alaska

Teck Cominco Ltd. announced that it has agreed to pay up to $120 million for a wastewater pipeline to settle a lawsuit by Inupiat Eskimo villagers who claimed that Red Dog mine pollution was fouling their drinking water and the fish that are a staple of their diet. The settlement calls for construction of a pipeline from the mine site to the ocean, so that the mine will not be discharging into the Wulik River or its tributaries.

Biggest news of the month: Novagold Resources Inc. announced that it has received regulatory authorizations and has begun production at its Rock Creek gold mine near Nome.

The company has been mining and stockpiling ore as part of the commissioning process and has approximately 450,000 metric tons of ore stockpiled and ready for milling, representing some two months of full scale production.

The Rock Creek mine is expected to produce about 100,000 ounces of gold annually with life-of-mine cash costs estimated at approximately $500 per ounce.

The mine is a year-round, truck and shovel, conventional open-pit mining operation, designed to process 7,000 metric tons per day using a simple gravity, flotation and carbon-in-leach recovery process.

Congratulations NovaGold Resources!

Zazu Metals Corp. announced initial drilling results from its Lik zinc - lead - silver deposit in the western Brooks Range.

Assay results from 13 of 36 holes drilled to date include 7.0 meters grading 2.5 percent lead, 9.83 percent zinc and 1.0 grams of silver per metric ton in hole 148; 9.45 meters grading 2.03 percent lead, 5.57 percent zinc and 69.29 g/t silver in hole 150; 9.14 meters grading 4.36 percent lead, 10.95 percent zinc and 70 g/t silver in hole 153; 8.23 meters grading 4.29 percent lead, 18.18 percent zinc and 159.78 g/t silver in hole 157; and 17.22 meters grading 3.90 percent lead, 11.22 percent zinc and 128.72 g/t silver in hole 159.

In 2009, the company plans to conduct regional and localized IP surveys to identify further exploration targets.

TNR Gold Corp. and Geocom Resources Inc. announced that the companies and BHP Billiton have concluded the transfer of ownership of the Iliamna copper prospect from BHP to TNR. TNR and Geocom now hold 100 percent interest in the project and have agreed to combine each company's respective interest to consolidate ownership and facilitate future exploration and development activities.

TNR Gold Corp. announced the incorporation of Bristol Explorations Co., a wholly owned Alaska subsidiary that has obtained 100 percent of TNR's interest in the Iliamna and Shotgun projects in Alaska. Results are pending on a $75,000 geochemical sampling program on the Iliamna project.

Eastern Interior

Teryl Resources Corp. announced the commencement of an exploration drilling program on the Gil joint venture claims. The work is being managed by joint venture partner Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc., a subsidiary of Kinross Gold Corp. The exploration program consists of auger drilling to better define future drill targets on the Gil East prospect and an eight-hole, 4000-foot reverse circulation drilling program designed to extend the strike length of the Gil mineralization to the east.

Freegold Ventures announces that it has shipped its first gold concentrates from bulk sampling completed in 2008 at its Golden Summit project in the Fairbanks District. The concentrates were shipped to the Sunshine Precious Metals Refinery in Kellogg, Idaho. Additional gold concentrates will continue to be shipped through the balance of the bulk sample processing season this fall.

Freegold Ventures also announced initial results from its Rob gold project in the Goodpaster District.

Hole 18, targeted at the Grey Lead vein, intercepted an approximate true width of 2.4 meters grading 62 g/t gold, including a higher grade 0.5 meters grading 184.0 g/t gold.

The sulfide bearing vein at this location was hosted within a sericite altered granodiorite.

Holes 19 and 20, drilled from the same pad, targeted the zone farther down dip.

Select intervals from two of the veins encountered in hole 19 were submitted on a rush assay basis.

The thicker Grey Lead vein included an interval of 4.5 meters grading 18 g/t gold, while a smaller vein approximately 9 meters above the Grey Lead vein included a 0.4 meter section grading 86.4 g/t gold.

Hole 20, a vertical hole drilled from the same pad as holes 18 and19, returned 0.8 meters grading 18.1 g/t gold.

Assays are pending on the other nine holes of the 12-hole 2008 drilling program.

Tonogold Resources, Inc. announced that it has terminated two separate exploration agreements on the Rainbow property in the Goodpaster District. The company cited the need to concentrate its efforts on its core properties in the Great Basin.

International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. announced additional drilling results from its Livengood gold project.

The drilling has expanded the higher-grade Core Zone of the deposit, which has now been intersected for approximately 1,000 meters along strike, across widths of 300-500 meters and over an average thickness of approximately 100 meters.

Expansion holes to the south included hole MK-RC-0031 which returned 161.6 meters grading 1.02 g/t gold, hole MK-RC-0034 which returned 39.6 meters grading 1.94 g/t gold and hole MK-RC-0033 which returned 38.1 meters grading 1.33 g/t gold.

Western expansion holes include hole MK-RC-0024 which returned 50.3 meters grading 1.38 g/t gold.

Eastern expansion holes include hole MK-RC-0037 which returned 29 meters grading 1.32 g/t gold.

The southern expansion holes indicate that the system is increasing in strength and grade to the south.

The favorable sedimentary and volcanic package as well as the overlying thrust appears to be flattening as the drilling follows the Core Zone to the south, bringing the ore zone closer to the surface.

Additional definition and expansion drilling is continuing.

Alaska Range

Usibelli Coal Mine announced 2008 marks its 65th year in business and that 2008 exports of coal from its Seward facility are expected to top 500,000 metric tons, with over half scheduled during the last four months of the year. In addition to the five ships previously loaded, three shipments of 70,000 to 80,000 metric tons are scheduled to be loaded onto vessels in Seward through the end of 2008. Included in the three remaining ships are two trial shipments to new Pacific Rim customers.

MAX Resource Corp. announced completion of a 10-hole, 7,664 foot diamond drill program at its Gold Hill molybdenum project in the Valdez Creek District. The 2008 drill program follows up on a five-hole drill program conducted in 2007 that intersected significant molybdenum mineralization over long intervals starting at surface and ending in mineralization at depth in four of the holes. Visible mineralization was observed in several 2008 holes. Assays are pending.

Northern Alaska

Novagold Resources Inc. announced that it has optioned its Ambler copper-zinc polymetallic project, along with several other early stage base metal properties in Alaska for $20 million in common shares of Mantra Mining Inc. Under the agreement Mantra will issue 6.25 million common shares having a current market value of $10 million to NovaGold on closing of the transaction, with an additional 6.25 million common shares to be issued to NovaGold on or before 15 months from the date of closing.

Mantra has also agreed to reimburse NovaGold for up to $2 million for all direct expenditures incurred by NovaGold on the Ambler project from June 1, 2008 up to the date the transaction is closed.

Welcome to Alaska Mantra Mining Inc.

Silverado Gold Mines Ltd. announced that it has engaged an independent mining consulting company to prepare a pre-feasibility study to assess the potential commercial development of the gold and antimony lode deposits at Workman's Bench on the company's Nolan Creek property in the Brooks Range. The preliminary feasibility study is expected to be completed within the fourth quarter of 2008. The company also announced that ground geophysical surveys have extended the Solomon's shear zone to the northeast where previous samples taken from quartz carbonate veins have assayed as high as 0.24 ounces of gold per ton on the Fortress Zone and 28.09 percent antimony on the Saddle Zone.

Southeast Alaska

Niblack Mining Corp. announced an updated resource estimate for the Niblack polymetallic project on Prince of Wales Island.

The new resources cover the Lookout and Trio zones and are based on surface drill holes completed up to the end of 2007.

Using a net smelter return cut-off value of $50 per metric ton, the deposit contains a near surface indicated resource of 1,424,000 metric tons grading 2.86 g/t gold, 41.73 g/t silver, 1.04 percent copper and 2.14 percent zinc and a deeper inferred resource of 1,893,000 metric tons grading 2.07 g/t gold, 29.21 g/t silver, 1.65 percent copper, and 2.71 percent zinc.

The company also announced assay results for the first 12 holes of the 2008 underground drill program.

Significant results include drill hole U017 intersecting 7.71 meters grading 4.23 g/t gold, 9 g/t silver, 1.65 percent copper, and 30.55 percent zinc; drill hole U021 which returned 7.32 meters grading 0.52 g/t gold, 7 g/t silver, 3.25 percent copper, and 0.47 percent zinc; hole U010 which returned 2.04 meters grading 4.07 g/t gold, 39 grams g/t silver, 2.28 percent copper, 4.27 percent zinc; and hole U014, which returned 5.12 meters grading 0.95 g/t gold, 11 g/t silver, 0.16 percent copper, and 5.86 percent zinc.

These drill intercepts expand the Lookout Zone 200 meters down dip below the resource base quoted above.

Ucore Uranium Inc. announced additional drill results from the I&L Zone at its Bokan Mountain uranium project. Results include 7.56 meters grading 0.59 percent U3O8 of which 1.83 meters graded 1.5 percent U3O8 in hole LM08-25. Drilling at the I&L zone indicates that higher grade uranium mineralization is contained within at least two highly mineralized shoots comprising a vein-like structure. This structure remains open at depth and along strike to the southeast. Assays are pending on three other zones being tested on the project. Assays also are pending for rare earth elements associated with the mineralization at Bokan Mountain.

Author Bio

Curt is President of Avalon Development Corporation, a mineral exploration consulting firm based in Fairbanks, Alaska. He is a U.S. Certified Professional Geologist with the American Institute of Professional Geologists (CPG #6901) and is a licensed geologist in the State of Alaska (Lic. # AA 159).

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 907-457-5159
Contact Curt Freeman


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