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By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Mining Explorers 2009: Merged juniors explore Whistler

Rimfire, Geoinformatics join forces to explore enormous gold-copper prospect in Alaska

 

November 1, 2009



Kiska Metals Corp. emerged on the Alaska exploration scene as the result of a merger between Geoinformatics Exploration Inc. and Rimfire Minerals Corp. The amalgamated company has a portfolio of ten precious metal properties including its flagship Whistler gold-copper project located 150 kilometers, or 92 miles, northwest of Anchorage, Alaska.

Kiska will be led by the current Rimfire management team, including President and CEO Jason Weber and Mark Baknes, vice president, exploration. Kiska's seven-member board will consist of five directors from Rimfire and two from Geoinformatics and be co-chaired by David Caulfield and John Kanellitsas, previous chairmen from Rimfire and Geoinformatics respectively.

Former Geoinformatics CEO Rosie Moore said, "Rimfire's management team has earned a stellar reputation for technical strength, integrity and preservation of capital through skillful negotiation and management of joint ventures with major partners. The addition of several wholly owned Geoinformatics projects, along with new board and management input, will provide the opportunity to expand Rimfire's successful business model to include other strategic growth initiatives. We are very excited about the dynamic potential of the new combined company."

Flagship property

The Whistler gold-copper-silver project - located in the Rainy Pass region of the Alaska Range - is the merged company's flagship property, and the focus of 2009 exploration.

Geoinformatics, which brought Whistler to the merger, had an NI 43-101 resource calculated on the project in 2008. According to the estimate, the Whistler Zone contains an inferred resource of 30 million metric tons grading 0.87 grams per metric ton gold, 2.46 g/t silver and 0.24 percent copper, or 1.31 million gold equivalent ounces. The Whistler Zone has an inferred resource of 134 million tons grading 0.64 g/t gold, 2.18 g/t silver and 0.20 percent copper, or 4.44 million gold equivalent ounces.

"Geoinformatics has built an excellent portfolio of projects based on sound geological principles. We are excited by the immense exploration upside of Geoinformatics' Whistler Project, which includes a high-grade gold-copper porphyry system anchored by a substantial resource. In addition, the project area contains numerous drill-ready targets defined by previous work and we believe the combined company will be extremely well-positioned to extract value for its shareholders," Weber said.

Exploring Kennecott back-in

A drill program started by Kiska in September did not investigate the Whistler Zone, but instead looked at five regional targets across the 173-square mile, or 448 square-kilometer, property.

"The deposit is not going anywhere. We know what we have there, and we have a good idea what the expansion potential is there," Kiska spokesman Patrick Moodie told Mining News. "We think there are more of these deposits on this property of similar or greater size (than Whistler.)"

Rio Tinto Ltd.'s Kennecott Exploration, which has a back-in right to earn up to a 60 percent interest in the Whistler project, agrees.

The targets for the drill program were selected of a technical committee made up of two geoscientists from each Kennecott and Kiska.

In addition to past geophysical and geochemical surveys of the property, the technical committee used data collected from a 341-line-kilometer induced polarization geophysical survey completed by Kiska in August.

"Seeing as this is a 450-square-kilometer property with a lot of different anomalies of all types - whether it be magnetic anomalies, IP or soil and rock samples - through this entire property," Moodie said, "the idea, from both companies, is to go in and drill off deposit targets and see what we have there."

The 2009 program includes evaluating regional targets on the property, and the launch of a 7,000-meter, 20-hole drill program in September due for completion in mid-2010.

The IP and drill program constitute the entire work program required to trigger Kennecott's decision regarding its back-in rights on the project. If Kennecott exercises its back-in rights, it must refund two times the aggregate of Geoinformatics, and Kiska's exploration expenditures on the property and fund Whistler exploration through a positive pre-feasibility study to achieve a 51 percent interest. Kennecott can elect to fund the project through to a positive development decision to earn a 60 percent interest.

Kennecott, which optioned Whistler to Geoinformatics in 2007, will retain a 2 percent royalty if it chooses not to exercise its back-in right for the gold-copper project.

Regional targets

The fall 2009 drill program investigated five regional targets at Whistler:

• Lightning - outcropping quartz veins hosted by diorite porphyry rocks with grab samples including 1.97g/t gold, 184g/t silver, 0.11 percent copper located about 900 meters southwest of the Whistler Zone.

• Raintree West - follow-up on the 2008 discovery where the only hole to-date returned 160 meters averaging 0.59g/t gold, 6.02g/t silver, 0.10 percent copper including 24 meters averaging 1.37g/t gold, 6.32g/t silver and 0.13 percent copper located 1,500 meters east of the Whistler Zone.

• Digger - a magnetic anomaly approximately 500 meters in diameter with no outcrop exposure and located approximately 3.5 kilometers, or 2.1 miles, southeast of the Whistler Deposit. Soil sampling results at Digger returned anomalous results including 198 parts per million copper - a result comparable to soil sampling over the Whistler Zone.

• Island Mountain Breccia - a 150-meter-diameter intrusive breccia body with grab samples including 1.19g/t gold, 5.2g/t silver and 0.2 percent copper hosted by diorite porphyry located approximately 23.5 kilometers, or 14.5 miles, southwest of the Whistler Zone.

• Island Mountain Cirque - an extensive outcrop of gossanous monzonite porphyry with grab samples including 4.86g/t gold, 48g/t silver, 2.4 percent copper, and 0.233 percent molybdenum located approximately 22 kilometers, or 13.5 miles, southwest of the Whistler Zone.

An additional 15 holes are expected to be drilled into regional targets as part of a spring 2010 program and will be targeted on the basis of the 2009 IP survey as well as geological mapping, geochemistry and previously collected airborne magnetic data.

More projects

As a result of the merger Kiska has a portfolio of 10 properties located in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia.

In Alaska, Kiska's exploration portfolio also includes the Goodpaster Project, which consists of more than 700 square kilometers of claims surrounding and on trend with Pogo. Rubicon Minerals Corp. has an option to earn an initial 60 percent interest in the project.

In British Columbia, Kiska owns interests in nine properties, including 100 percent of the Williams Project in the north-central region, which has a gold vein and porphyry copper-gold prospects. Fourteen holes drilled at the T-Bill vein prospect within a 300-by-300-meter area have intersected 11 separate intercepts averaging more than 12 grams per metric ton gold. Drilling is targeting a set of parallel vein corridors underlying a 2-by-3-kilometer gold-arsenic soil geochemical anomaly.

In Yukon Territory, Kiska owns the Boulevard Property, a gold target located 35 kilometers, or 23 miles, south of Underworld Resources' recent Golden Saddle gold discovery. Silver Quest Resources Ltd. has optioned Boulevard to earn 100 percent interest of the project. Kiska also holds a 20 percent interest in a joint venture with Fronteer Development Group Inc. in a 374-square-kilometer, or 144.4-square-mile land, package prospective for iron oxide copper-gold deposits in Yukon's Wernecke Mountains.

Many of the projects in Kiska's portfolio are part of joint ventures with majors and other juniors, which will enable the junior to participate in upside potential while limiting exploration spending, the merged company said.

 

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