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By Rose Ragsdale
Mining News 

Explorer focuses on timing at 40 Mile

Polymetallic discovery in 2008 did little to boost junior's profile in capital markets, despite especially favorable drill results

 

Last updated 6/28/2009 at Noon



Despite stellar drill results from an aggressive 2008 program at the 40 Mile Project in eastern Alaska, Full Metals Minerals Corp. is slowing the pace of exploration on the 242,000-acre property this year.

40 Mile encompasses numerous lead-zinc-silver targets as well as prospective gold and copper showings.

Full Metal's exploration of the West Little Whiteman, Little Whiteman, and Fish prospects resulted in the discovery of a previously unknown mineral district containing multiple occurrences of massive to semi-massive to disseminated sphalerite and galena mineralization distributed over a 14-kilometer trend.

Due to lack of outcrop and remoteness, the district is under-explored and ripe for potential future discoveries. At Little Whiteman, called "LWM," Full Metal discovered a large area of lead, zinc, silver mineralization that has the potential to become an economic deposit.

Also, multiple other prospective carbonate replacement-style targets have been identified on the property.

Proving the economics

"We probably have an economic ore body at 40 Mile," said Full Metal President Mike Williams in a June 17 interview. "It's getting to the point that we think we need to do what's necessary to show that we have an economic ore body."

Williams said Full Metal gained little traction in the capital markets in 2008 despite news of the significant discovery late in the year.

"We were drilling last year, spending a lot of money and putting out spectacular drill results, but we were not in the market. It was not impacting our stock price," he said.

Full Metal has completed three years of systematic exploration evaluating 40 Mile's mineral potential. The junior also spent more than US$10 million in exploration work on the project, including geologic mapping, surface rock and soil geochemical surveys, geophysical surveys, and diamond core drilling.

Last year, 40 Mile drilled 39 holes at LWM, and intersected massive to semi-massive sphalerite-galena-chalcopyrite mineralization in most of them. Step-out and infill holes were completed on 50-meter centers along strike and down-dip. Infill hole LWM08-57 encountered 1.2 meters true width, averaging 24.8 percent zinc, 10.0 percent lead, 0.68 percent copper and 192.4 grams per metric ton silver.

"We got an average of 22 percent lead-zinc mineralization. The grade is exceedingly high and the metallurgy looks good," Williams said.

The mineralization occurs within dolomitized marble host rock, with the primary zone located adjacent to a fault zone. In the southwestern area of drilling, surface oxidation is locally variable in the upper zone. In some areas, the oxidation extends to over 200 meters below surface; the lower zone is typically less oxidized, with primary sulphide commonly located at surface. In the northeast, surface oxidation is much shallower. The thickness of mineralization can vary dramatically in CRD systems, with this variability common at LWM.

For 2009, Full Metal is focusing initially on further defining drill targets on the 40 Mile property, and will spend $300,000 on phase 1 of its exploration program.

"We're doing sampling and geological mapping right now, and we're contemplating doing some geophysical work later this year and maybe some drilling later this year," Williams said. "We think we will be in great shape to drill next year."

Market conditions are changing, and Full Metal hopes to capitalize on an anticipated shift in supply-demand dynamics.

"We think we're heading into a zinc market," Williams said. "We need some of these zinc mines out there to close, which will tighten up the supply. Full Metal has a good leg up because our zinc assets in Alaska are as good at it gets.

"Mining is a funny business. It's all about timing," he added.

 

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