By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Mining Explorers 2009: Goldrich hopes to live up to name

Little Squaw explorer expects placer gold recovered from test mine to fund company


Last updated 11/1/2009 at Noon

Exploration in 2009 at Goldrich Mining Co.'s Chandalar property in northern Alaska could pay golden dividends. Utilizing a gravity gold recovery plant of its own design and fabrication, the explorer-miner began a 200-cubic-yard-per-hour test mining operation at its 14,993-acre property, located 200 miles north of Fairbanks.

"We have constructed a large and unique double drum trommel and triple sluice system wash plant that we believe will have the capacity to process relatively large volumes of dirt and gravel and be capable of recovering a full range of gold particle sizes.

We see this arctic summer operating season as being the shakedown period for this plant and also expect to get engineering data from the test pit which will be used in planning our future operations.

We are starting on a high grade section of the Little Squaw Creek alluvial deposit where we expect to see grades of a quarter ounce of gold per cubic yard in the pay horizon.

We make no predictions on how much gold this test operation will yield, but we do believe it will be significant and generate a cash flow that can support the company.

We are effectively 'boot strapping' ourselves into production," Goldrich President Richard Walter explained.

30 ounces a day

While the finishing touches were being put on the recovery plant, crews at Chandalar stripped the overburden off the pay gravels to be processed this year. According to an independent study based on 93 drill holes, the average overburden to pay gravel is about 1-to-1.

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Goldrich washed the first gold-bearing gravels on August 21. Processing about 500 to 700 cubic yards per day during the commissioning phase, the Spokane-based explorer reported the test plant was recovering about 4 to 6 ounces of gold per hour and by the first of September 300 ounces of gold had been accumulated.

An independent study commissioned by Goldrich in 2008 estimated that the Little Squaw alluvial deposit contains nearly 8.8 million bank cubic yards of pay dirt with an average grade of .0246 ounces of gold per yard, or about 216,600 ounces of placer gold.

Goldrich said it recovered 522 troy ounces of gold from about 8,900 cubic yards, or about 0.0587 ounces per yard, in 2009.

More potential

The deposit remains open and Goldrich believes, with additional drilling, the resource at Little Squaw has the potential to be expanded to more than 1 million ounces of the shiny metal.

In addition to expanding its placer deposit, Goldrich plans to explore the district-scale property for its lode potential. In the past about 8,000 ounce of hardrock gold was recovered from the Mikado lode deposit, one of thirty known gold-bearing quartz-sulfide veins known on the property.

"The successful completion of the plant marks a major milestone in the growth of the company. We have accomplished this season's main goal of achieving gold production and cash flow for the company. We also can now plan for an early startup next year with a full season to maximize production, in addition to our exploration plans for further drilling to expand the mineralized material at Little Squaw creek and nearby areas," Walters said.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Over his more than 11 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (907) 726-1095


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