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By Curt Freeman
For Mining News 

Alaskans make pitch at top mining show

Some 22,000 reps of companies, governments and agencies from around the world rolled out projects in Toronto to see and be seen


Last updated 3/28/2010 at Noon

I recently attended the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention in Toronto where a buoyant, project-hungry crowd of 22,000 created enough of its own hot air to start the Greenland Icecap melting. In a clear case of anthropogenic global warming, representatives of companies, governments and agencies rolled out their projects in efforts to see and be seen. Alaska was well represented at the conference and should see some new investment interest coming from contacts made at what is undoubtedly Canada's largest mining conference of the year. Much of the news reported below was timed for release to coincide with the four-day conference.

Western Alaska

Novagold Resources Inc. and partner Barrick Gold Corp. announced updated resources for the Donlin Creek gold deposit.

The new resources amount to a 4.3-million-ounce increase based on results from 62 new drill holes totaling 25,094 meters for a project total of 1,740 drill holes totaling 370,000 meters.

The new proven and probable reserves stand at 467.7 million metric tons grading 2.23 grams per metric ton gold, containing 33.59 million ounces of gold.

Additional measured and indicated resources include 39.8Mt grading 3.36 g/t gold, containing 4.29 million ounces of gold and an additional inferred resource totaling 58.4Mt grading 2.35 g/t gold, containing 4.41 million ounces of gold.

Even though it is verboten to add up the total ounces on the books, I know you are doing it, so let me save you the trouble: total Donlin Creek resources in all categories tally up to 42.29 million ounces.

To my knowledge, that makes Donlin Creek Alaska's first 40-million-plus-ounce primary gold deposit.

Well done!

Northern Dynasty Minerals and partner Anglo American plc announced approval of a US$72.9 million 2010 budget at the Pebble copper-molybdenum-gold project.

The goals for 2009 include finalizing a prefeasibility study and preparing the Pebble Project for permitting in 2011.

The partners also plan to continue environmental and socioeconomic studies, continue baseline data collection in key areas such as hydrology, water quality and fish resources and to complete an environmental baseline document in preparation for project permitting.

The partners indicated that total expenditures on the project include US$180 million spent in 2001 to 2007 prior to formation of the joint venture and an additional US$250 million spent after formation of the joint venture in 2007, bringing total project expenditures to US$430 million since 2001.

Interior Alaska

Kinross Gold reported recently achieving a milestone of 3 million injury-free hours of work at its Fort Knox gold mine near Fairbanks. The impressive safety record represents a full three years without a lost-time injury. Congratulations Fort Knox employees!

Teryl Resources Corp. announced that it has retained Mark Robinson, a longtime Alaska geologist, to complete a feasibility study and a fair-value analysis of the Gil gold deposit near Fort Knox. Work will include field examinations as well as utilizing 3-D computer modeling of the proposed ore body to help gauge its potential value to the company.

Freegold Ventures Ltd. reported the acquisition of 15,360 acres of new mining claims at its Rob gold project in the Goodpaster District near the Pogo gold mine.

The newly acquired lands sit between the Tibbs Creek and Serpentine faults which define the western and eastern limits, respectively, of the northeast trending regional scale Black Mountain tectonic zone.

Virtually all of the known lode gold occurrences in the eastern Goodpaster Mining district are located within the Black Mountain tectonic zone.

Host rocks in the new claims include Paleozoic paragneiss and orthogneiss intruded by mid-Cretaceous intermediate plutonic rocks, the same units which host high-grade mineralization at the Grey Lead, Blue Lead, Michigan and Trench prospects at Rob.

Public-sector geochemical data from the newly acquired claims indicates widespread anomalous gold, arsenic, bismuth and tungsten in rocks, stream sediments and pan concentrate samples.

International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. updated the mineral resource estimate for its Livengood gold project north of Fairbanks.

Data used in this resource update includes the final 64 drill holes completed in late 2009.

Successful infill drilling targeted several previously unestimated mineralized areas of the Northeast and Sunshine Zones of the deposit.

Using a 0.7 g/t gold cut-off, which the company envisions as a possible milling cut-off grade, the indicated resource is 5.8 million ounces of gold and the inferred resource is 1.8 million ounces of gold.

Using a 0.3 g/t gold cut-off grade, which is about the average grade for the heap leach described in the November 2009 heap leach study, the indicated resource is 13.5 million ounces of gold, and the inferred resource is 5 million ounces of gold.

At the lower grade cutoff, total resources have now grown to 18.5 million ounces of gold.

The company also reported initial metallurgical test results for mill processing of the major types of mineralization at the deposit.

On average, 88 percent of the gold reported to the concentrates during initial combined gravity and flotation gold recovery tests.

The initial test results indicate that concentration produces an 80 percent reduction in the material volume requiring further treatment to recover gold.

Initial tests of conventional milling using gravity recovery combined with intensive CIL (Carbon in Leach) treatment of gravity recovered gold concentrate and CIL leaching of the tails produced gold recoveries averaging 86 percent.

The company also announced the results for the first 10 holes of the 20,000-meter 2010 winter drilling campaign.

Initial drilling targeted the gap between the Sunshine and Core zones.

Significant results include hole MK-RC-0312, which returned 73 meters at 1.03 g/t gold and hole MK-RC-0313 that returned 137 meters at 0.88 g/t gold.

The holes have expanded the Sunshine zone to the south and west by 150 meters.

Expansion of the southeast side of the Core zone in the gap area is highlighted by hole MK-RC-308, which returned a 10.7-meter intercept of 5.92 g/t gold.

Alix Resources Corp. announced it had increased its land position at the Money-Rock gold property in the Goodpaster District. The new property increases the project land position to 2,560 acres, or 1,036 hectares, from the 1,920 acres, or 777 hectares, previously held. A geochemical soil-sampling and geological reconnaissance program was completed in the fall of 2009 and results are being reviewed with the goal to identify target areas for drilling in 2010.

Linux Gold Corp. announced the signing of a mining agreement for the Trout claims in the Wolverine Mountain intrusive complex in the Livengood quadrangle. Under terms of the agreement, Linux must make an initial payment of US$1,500 upon signing, conduct a minimum of US$10,000 per year in exploration expenditures and make cash payments ranging from US$5,000 in year one through US$15,000 plus 50,000 shares of Linux in year four. The company can purchase 100 percent interest in the claims in year five for US$500,000 and US$500,000 worth of Linux shares. The company plans to conduct work on the claim in 2010.

Linux Gold Corp. also said it signed of a mining agreement for the Coho claims in the northern Goodpaster District.

On the Coho claims, gold-bismuth-copper anomalies returned maximum values of 1,024 parts per billion gold, 71 parts per million bismuth and 499 parts per million copper in rocks collected near a geochemically reduced, Cretaceous-Tertiary intrusive complex that intrudes phyllite and schist equivalent to the Keevy Peak Formation.

Under terms of the agreement Linux must make an initial payment of US$1,500 upon signing, conduct a minimum of US$10,000 per year in exploration expenditures and make cash payments ranging from US$5,000 in year one through US$15,000 plus 50,000 shares of Linux in year four.

Subject to a 4 percent net smelter return production royalty, the company can purchase 100 percent interest in the claims in year five for US$500,000 and US$500,000 worth of Linux shares.

The company plans to conduct work on the claim in 2010.

Alaska newcomer Contango ORE Co. said it has agreed to invest up to US$3 million to conduct mineral exploration activities on about 580,000 acres, or 234,818 hectares, of Alaska Native and State of Alaska lands located in Interior Alaska.

The company purchased a 50 percent ownership from an unnamed private company for US$1 million, together with a commitment to invest the next US$2 million of exploration funds.

The company and its partner will share expenses on a 50/50 basis thereafter and each will own a 50 percent working interest burdened by an approximate 5 percent overriding royalty interest.

The company indicated that 2009 field work totaled US$1.3 million and included collection of 1,076 rock, soil, pan concentrate and stream silt samples.

Of this total, 567 rock and soil samples were taken over a 40-acre area of exploration interest, with 348 samples showing measurable amounts of gold and 30 samples with measured gold of 0.5 grams of gold per tonne or higher.

The property has not been extensively explored for gold and covers several geologic terranes that are prospective for mineral deposits with gold, base metal and platinum group elements.

The planned 2010 exploration program will be directed toward additional rock sampling, trenching and drilling core holes.

Welcome to Alaska Contango ORE Co.!

Alaska Range

Kiska Metals Corp. announced that drilling is under way at Whistler where a total of 15 holes totaling 5,500 meters of core drilling will be completed in the current program.

Drilling will test at least 10 distinct targets within the Whistler Corridor, a 9- by 18-kilometer, or 5- by 11-mile, largely gravel-covered target area that contains the Whistler resource are as well as the Raintree West, Rainmaker and Island Mountain target areas.

Using the induced polarization geophysical signature associated with the Whistler resource as a guide, the company has defined more than 25 distinct new targets with a similar geophysical signature.

Ten of these targets, all of comparable scale and geophysical response to that associated with the Whistler deposit, will be tested in the current program.

Ocean Park Ventures Corp. said it has completed its change of business transaction in connection with an agreement with International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. to form a joint venture on Tower Hill's Chisna copper-gold project in the Alaska Range. Ocean Park indicated that it intended to deposit the entire US$5 million exploration commitment into a joint venture escrow account to cover the costs of the 2010 exploration program.

International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. said it formed a joint venture on its Terra gold-silver project with American Mining Corp. Tower Hill's initial 49 percent contribution to the venture will be its interest in the Terra project, including all related data and property facilities.

American's initial 51 percent contribution to the venture will be funding of US$6 million over three years with a minimum expenditure of US$1 million in 2010.

A total of US$100,000 will be paid to Tower Hill in each of the first and second years to partially reimburse it for the cost of constructing the existing camp facility.

In addition, American will pay the company US$300,000, and issue 750,000 common shares of American, over the same three-year period.

In addition, the venture has granted Tower Hill a sliding scale net smelter return production royalty of between 0.5 percent and 5 percent on all precious metal production from the property and a 1 percent net smelter return production royalty on all base metal production.

Southeast Alaska

The Beard Co. announced an update on its Tanis Mesa project in the Yakutat area.

The project owner, Geohedral LLC, has been working with an Alaska-based geological consulting company to verify the original assay results received from the lab that initially performed the Tanis Mesa assays.

The consulting firm submitted additional samples to the lab for further testing.

The results of these tests were not consistent with expectations.

Geohedral will initiate its own testing process in concert with the lab that it has been using and another independent laboratory.

The company's goal is to determine the contributing factors that provided the inconsistent test results received from the lab Geohedral has been using versus other laboratories.

The goal of Geohedral is to find a partner in either the exploration or mining industries that can assist in the commercial development of its holdings.

CBR Gold Corp. announced that it intends to change its name to Niblack Mineral Development Inc., which will retain its interests in the Alaska exploration properties located in Southeastern Alaska (Niblack, Ruby Tuesday and Khayyam) as well as an extensive proprietary database focused on this region.

Its Canadian and Australian holdings will be transferred to a new operating firm, North Country Gold Corp. Shortly after this announcement, CBR and partner Heatherdale Resources announced additional underground drilling results from the Niblack project.

Significant results include hole U035 which returned 51.5 feet grading 1.88 percent copper, 2.52 g/t gold, 1.56 percent zinc and 51 g/t silver and an additional 36.5 feet grading 1.24 percent copper, 3.53 g/t gold, 3.18 percent zinc and 43 g/t silver and hole U037A which returned 49.3 feet grading 1.23 percent copper, 1.53 g/t gold, 1.06 percent zinc and 22 g/t silver.

Ucore Uranium Inc. reported mineralogical results from its Bokan-Dotson Ridge rare earth element project on Prince of Wales Island.

The company indicated that a wide variety of rare earth element-bearing minerals have been identified, including apatite, iimoriite, kainosite, gadolinite, allanite, bastnaesite, parisite, brannerite, thalenite, xenotime, fergusonite, synchysite (Y), and monazite.

Significantly, concentrates of iimoriite - (Y, REE)2(SiO4)(CO3) - were made using simple heavy media separation techniques, with grain sizes up to 2 mm.

These results will be used to develop bench-scale metallurgical investigations to determine the potential recovery of the full suite of light and heavy rare earth minerals and elements.

Copper Ridge Explorations Inc. provided an update on plans for its Duke Island copper-nickel-platinum group element project under joint venture from Quaterra Resources.

The target here is "ovoid" style copper and nickel sulfide mineralization, with platinum and palladium, occurring within ultramafic rocks.

Previous drilling has intercepted 90.8 meters grading 0.127 percent copper in hole DK0101 and 57.3 meters grading 0.165 percent copper in hole DK0104, both with anomalous platinum, palladium and nickel values.

Newly acquired geophysical data suggests that previous drilling did not test the highest priority targets which would be expected to occur along the base of the intrusion.

The company is planning deeper drilling scheduled to commence in June 2010.

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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