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By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Mining Explorers 2009: Full Metal weathers financial storm

Waiting for improved market conditions, junior prepares for smoother sailing in 2010

 

Last updated 11/1/2009 at Noon



Full Metal Mineral Ltd., like many juniors, battened down the hatches in 2009 to ride out the financial storm that sank many explorers and caused others to climb aboard ships better suited to the turbulent weather.

The explorer emerged in January to raise money and test the financial winds with assay results from its 2008 drilling at the Nadaleen silver-lead-zinc project in the Yukon Territory, and again in March with results of from the OG project, another silver-lead-zinc property in the Yukon Territory. The markets did not hear from the explorer again until the end of June when the company announced that it intended to raise C$2.5 million.

Netting nearly C$3 million with that private placement, Full Metal pulled up anchor in August.

Kinross strategic alliance

The first exploration announced by Full Metal in 2009 was the product of a strategic alliance forged in 2008 between the junior and Kinross Gold Corp.

Striking a deal with Calista Corp., an Alaska Native regional corporation, the allies acquired the mineral rights to the Russian and Horn Mountain gold-silver complexes, located in the Kuskokwim Region of Southwest Alaska about 25 miles, or 40 kilometers, southwest of the 29-million-ounce Donlin Creek gold deposit being developed by joint venture partners Barrick Gold Corp. and Novagold Resources Inc.

"Rob (McLeod) has liked these properties for some time. We like dealing with the Native corporations in Alaska. We find it is a partner of choice," Full Metal Minerals President Michael Williams told Mining News. "We thought geologically the properties had a lot of merit, and we wanted to put them in the Kinross strategic alliance."

The strategic partners started a 2,000-meter core drilling program in August The 10- to 15-hole program tested multiple targets, primarily at Russian Mountain.

"This is the first time that these two areas have been drilled, so it's first-pass-reconnaissance-type-drilling, testing multiple targets on wide drilling centers. We'll look for width and strike potential, as well as gold and silver grades of the mineralized prospects," Full Metal Vice President of Exploration McLeod explained.

Surface mapping, soil sampling and ground geophysics were also completed to identify future drill targets.

Two complexes

Mineralization in Russian Mountain consists primarily of several intrusive hosted zones of gold-silver-copper-arsenic. Six prospects are currently recognized on the Russian Mountain project.

There is also evidence for additional mineralized zones along the ridges and talus slopes of Russian Mountain that lack significant exposure. Full Metal said mineralized zones measuring 1.5 meters to 10 meters wide have been traced for 600 meters along strike before disappearing beneath the talus, and float material from the mineralization can be found in the loose rocks for another 2,000 meters, suggesting that the mineralization continues under cover.

Horn Mountain is a volcanic-plutonic complex with mineralization similar to Russian Mountain.

A previous grab sample taken from the Saddle prospect, a 2-kilometer-long zone of gold-silver-copper-arsenic mineralization at Horn Mountain, returned grades of 27.45 g/t, 769 g/t silver and more than one percent copper.

The explorer also has identified a north-south trending zone of anomalous mineralization 2,500 meters south of the Saddle zone. Full Metal said combined, the two zones at Horn Mountain create a 5,500-meter-by-2,000-meter north-south trending prospective area.

Partner at Lucky Shot

According to Mining News sources Full Metal is negotiating a joint venture partnership on its Lucky Shot property located about 145 kilometers, or 90 miles, north of Anchorage. The undisclosed partner will have the opportunity to gain a rumored 60 percent stake in the high-grade gold project by making expenditures toward moving putting the historic mine back into production.

Full Metal spent about C$1.5 million on a 2009 drill program at the advanced gold project. Williams said the 3,000-meter program at Lucky Shot was designed to tighten up the block model in preparation for driving a development ramp to the Coleman Vein.

The drift will run about 120 meters from a historic Lucky Shot Mine decline that Full Metal crews rehabilitated in 2008 to the Coleman Zone.

The highest grade gold intercepts of more than 30,000 meters Full Metal has drilled at Lucky Shot have been at Coleman. These include hole C05-09 that intercepted 3.1 meters grading 62.2 grams per metric ton gold and hole C05-12 that intercepted 4.0 meters grading 219.1 g/t gold.

Once the drift reaches the Coleman Zone Full Metal plans to remove a 5,000 metric ton bulk sample which it will run through a gravity recovery circuit.

Full Metal had three samples lab-tested in 2008 to determine the amount of gold recoverable with a gravity concentrator. The sample grades were 4.7 g/t gold, 4.7 g/t gold and 7.8 g/t gold. Total recoveries were 68.2 percent, 68.5 percent and 78.3 percent, respectively. These tests along with historic mine records suggest that gold recovery should improve with higher grades.

Targeting zinc projects

Encouraged by improving base metal prices Full Metal resumed exploration at three of its zinc-lead-silver projects in Alaska and the Yukon Territory. The junior sent geologists to the Angie-Cat and Nadaleen properties in the Yukon and the 40 Mile property in Alaska to locate drill targets in anticipation of a busy 2010 exploration season.

Geological mapping, soil and rock chip sampling completed by field crews in 2009 sought new zones of carbonate replacement style, copper-gold skarn and gold mineralization across the 40 Mile property in eastern Alaska.

Since 2006, when Full Metal signed a lease agreement with the Alaska Native corp., Doyon Ltd., on the 40 Mile property, the 242,000-acre land package has received more than US$10 million in exploration.

The LWM deposit, a high-grade zinc-lead-silver carbonate replacement style system, has been Full Metal's primary exploration target at 40 mile. The 13,343 meters of drilling completed at LWM has outlined a zone of continuous mineralization extending 700 meters along strike and 300 meters down dip.

In 2007 the junior intersected 44.6 meters with an average grade of 15.7 percent zinc, 5.3 percent lead and 76 grams per metric ton silver in hole LWM07-04. LWM07-09 cut 6.5 meters averaging 31.6 percent zinc, 11.3 percent lead and 464.2 g/t silver.

Multiple other targets have also been identified at 40 Mile; including Fish, Oscar, Eva and Drumstick.

Mapping Yukon zinc properties

Full Metal geologists also identified exploration targets at its Angie-Cat and Nadaleen properties in anticipation of drilling the Yukon Territory silver-lead-zinc prospects in 2010.

Located in the Watson Lake Mining District of southern Yukon, Angie-Cat is hosted within a 90 kilometer-long trend of SEDEX-style zinc-lead-silver mineralization.

Following up on discoveries made in 2008, the 2009 program focused on expanding the known extent of the surface mineralization and identifying drill targets at the Keats and Nebocat prospects. Geologists will also explore additional targets along the 90 kilometer-long trend.

The Nadaleen Project area comprises prospects hosting high-grade CRD style mineralization. The junior reports that these occurrences are located within one of the most extensive regions of CRD mineralization identified worldwide.

Geological mapping and soil sampling conducted at the Nadaleen Project, located in the Mayo Mining District of eastern Yukon, is focused on expanding the known extent of mineralization at the DF prospect in order to refine drill targets to be tested in 2010.

Full Metal did not explore the OG property, another zinc project in the Yukon Territory, in 2009.

"We are not doing any work at OG because we had quite a significant program last year. We had some really good results on the zinc side (and) we intend to be back next year," Williams explained. "As the fortunes of zinc rise, we can then put more efforts into advancing the projects like OG, Nadaleen, Angie-Cat and 40 Mile."

Joint ventured

Full Metal has joint venture agreements with Kinross Gold, Freeport McMoRan, Mosam Capital, Triex Minerals, Altair Ventures, Highbury Projects, and on properties in Alaska and the Yukon Territories.

Williams said the junior is also negotiating a partnership to explore its Alaska Peninsula project. This huge Southwest Alaska property consists of 1.4 million acres of Native-owned lands that is prospective for both epithermal gold, and porphyry copper-gold systems.

Minimal work programs were completed on the Full Metal's JV properties in 2009.

Full Metal is hoping that calmer financial conditions and higher commodities prices will provide for smooth sailing into 2010.

 

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