Recent activity covers entire spectrum
Events include first offshore mineral lease sale in 10 years, vote on anti-mining ballot initiative and another major enters state
Last updated 10/30/2011 at Noon
As termination dust settles over Alaska, the diversity of mineral exploration, development and production news this month covers the entire spectrum of mining industry activities. The last of the seasonal early-stage exploration projects are reporting in, a major producing company has entered the state for the first time, Alaska finished its first off-shore mineral lease process in more than a decade, several projects reported on resource definition and feasibility studies, a gold deposit was sold, a ballot initiative aimed at mining went before voters and an Alaska mine began its closure process. Other than that, not much happening
Novagold Resources Inc. announced that it has decided to close and reclaim the Rock Creek project. The company expects to spend $3.9 million in the fourth quarter and expects to incur a total retirement obligation of $27.9 million. The company is working closely with the state regulatory authorities and the local community on obtaining agreement for an approved closure plan.
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources announced that the high bids for 84 mineral lease tracts covering 23,793 acres of offshore placer gold prospects near Nome totaled US$9.3 million.
A total of 53 smaller, near-shore tracts were offered for outcry bidding, and 31 larger tracts in deeper water were auctioned by sealed bid.
There were 70 registered bidders participating in the outcry portion of the sale, and 111 sealed bids were submitted.
Winning bids for the outcry lease tracts totaled US$1.6 million and ranged from US$10,000 to US$90,000.
The total from the sealed bid tracts was US$7.7 million with the highest single lease tract bid coming in at US$1.6 million.
DNR said interest in offshore mining for gold at Nome has increased dramatically in recent years, largely driven by the price of gold.
Prior exploration attempted to trace Lik North on a northeasterly trend and historic drilling provided enough successful holes to define an inferred resource.
However, mineralization became sporadic the further northeast the drilling went.
Zazu reinterpreted the trend as more northerly - similar to Lik South - and based drill holes 211 to 214 on that hypothesis.
The new hole, 214, drilled in Lik North outside the resource boundary hit mineralization, showing 7 meters at over 11 percent combined lead + zinc.
Significant results included hole DDH211 which intercepted 35.2 meters grading 1.78 percent lead, 5.51 percent zinc and 34.28 grams per metric ton silver, hole DDH212 which intercepted 25.3 meters grading 1.74 percent lead, 4.97 percent zinc and 37.05 g/t silver, and hole DDH214 which intercepted 10.4 meters grading 2.46 percent lead, 5.8 percent zinc and 10.1 g/t silver.
In addition to exploration drilling on Lik North, the company continued with previously announced geotechnical and environmental studies, metallurgical work, bridge and haul road studies and infill drilling on the Lik South deposit.
Cedar Mountain Exploration Inc. announced initial drill results from 18 diamond drill holes (1,820.5 meters) at its Kelly Creek gold project on the Seward Peninsula.
Drill results have confirmed the presence of broad intervals of gold mineralization in sheared and brecciated carbonaceous schist.
Significant results include hole 11-KC-03 which returned 7.20 meters grading 1.08 g/t gold and an additional 6.00 meters grading 1.08 g/t gold, hole 11-KC-05 which returned 26.80 meters 1.04 g/t gold, including 10.10 meters grading 2.07 g/t gold and hole 11-KC-14 which returned 6.10 meters grading 1.31 g/t gold.
Results for all the drill holes at the Wolf (four holes totaling 469.6 meters), Wolverine (seven holes totaling 755.4 meters), South Fox Zone 1 (seven holes totaling 864.6 meters), South Fox Zone 2 (three holes totaling 237.2 meters), and North Fox (six holes totaling 668.5 meters) prospects are pending.
In one of the most watched elections in the atate, voter in the Lake and Peninsula Borough passed a ballot initiative designed to block development Anglo American - Northern Dynasty's Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum deposit. By a vote of 280 to 246, voters approved the ballot initiative, which the State of Alaska has already indicated is unenforceable as a matter of law since it seeks to restrict development of state resources on state lands using a municipal ordinance. A legal challenge will come before Alaska Superior Court next month to rule on this ballot initiative.
Invenio Resources Corp. announced that field work has been completed on its Ganes Creek and Candle Hills gold projects in Alaska. At Ganes Creek, the company completed 42 line kilometers of induced polarization geophysical survey over the ground between the Pzs zone and Katz zone. Due to unfavorable market conditions and the lack of suitable drilling equipment, the company did not drill the project in 2011. At the Candle Hills property the company completed line cutting, geological mapping and rock and soil sampling. Assay results are pending.
Fire River Gold Corp. announced the discovery of the new 3550 Zone at the Nixon Fork mine project.
This new zone is actually the down dip extension of previously mined ore body called the Hi Grade Recreation Zone, which was mined to a depth of 50 meters in the 1920s.
The zone was found to bottom out in the original mining program and previous diamond drilling could not establish the existence of a down-dip extension.
Following reinterpretation of the geology at the mine site, three holes were drilled and each yielded very positive initial results in the form of mineralized zones with visible gold.
The adjacent 3000 and 3300 zones were mined over vertical distances of 300 meters.
If the 3550 zone demonstrates the same vertical continuity as the two other zones, its location is ideal for minimizing the capital cost and time requirement to establish access for mining, as the entire vertical extent will be close to existing development.
Assays are pending and additional drilling is planned.
Novagold Resources Inc. and partner Barrick Gold Corp. announced that they have budgeted US$8.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2011 at their Donlin Creek project for community engagement, environmental studies and feasibility revision activities. The feasibility revision is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2011, at which point the partners may, subject to approval by their respective boards, proceed to prepare and file permit applications for the project in the first half of 2012.
Full Metal Minerals Ltd. and JV partner Antofagasta Minerals announced initial drilling results from their Pyramid copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry located in Southwest Alaska.
The property is under option from the Aleut Corp. Significant results include hole PY11-016 which intersected 155.94 meters averaging 0.71 percent copper, 0.179 g/t gold and 0.018 percent molybdenum, or 0.97 percent copper-equivalent underneath a 94.0-meter thick leach cap.
The intercept includes several higher grade zones, including 20.0 meters averaging 0.99 percent copper, 0.151 g/t gold and 0.012 percent molybdenum, or 1.19 percent copper-equivalent.
This hole was shut down in strong mineralization, with the final 7.94 meters averaging 0.78 percent copper, 0.124 g/t gold and 0.03 percent molybdenum.
Drill hole PY11-017 intersected 117.54 meters averaging 0.60 percent copper, 0.081 g/t gold and 0.024 percent molybdenum, or 0.81 percent copper-equivalent.
Multiple hydrothermal centers have been identified at Pyramid, within an oval-shaped 2,300-meter-by-1,400-meter mapped extent of phyllic and potassic alteration zones.
Mineralization is typically comprised of chalcocite, covellite, chalcopyrite and molybdenite with supergene enrichment at depths, ranging from 120 to more than 250 meters below surface.
Surface work completed during the 2011 program included a ground magnetic survey and additional mapping.
Survey results identified regions of strong magnetic highs and lows coincident with magnetite bearing potassic alteration and phyllic alteration respectively.
Peripheral magnetic highs respond to early potassic (biotite-magnetite) alteration in hornfelsed sediments.
Teryl Resources Corp. announced the signing of a letter of intent to sell its 20 percent interest in the Gil gold deposit to 80 percent partner Kinross Gold Corp. The purchase price consists of a US$2.5 million advance royalty payment upon the closing of the definitive agreement; a US$1.5 million advance royalty payment upon commencement of commercial production from the property; 1 percent royalty of net smelter returns until US$15 million is received and thereafter a 0.5 percent royalty of net smelter returns for the remainder of the life of the mine.
Freegold Ventures Ltd. announced drill results from 13 holes of drilling from the Phase One drill program on the Dolphin Zone at its Golden Summit project.
Significant results include hole GSDC 11-38 which returned 207.4 meters grading 1.00 g/t gold, including 74.1 meters grading 2.3 g/t gold, hole GSDC 11-41 which returned 187 meters grading 0.65 g/t gold and GSDC 11-51 which returned 56.1 meters grading 0.68 g/t gold.
Significant silver intercepts were also encountered in some holes including hole GSDC 11-37 which returned 97.5 meters grading 8.00 g/t silver and hole GSDC 11-48 returned 24.8 meters grading 34.7 g/t silver.
A total of 27 holes were completed totaling 6,500 meters during the phase 1 program.
Drilling in this phase was designed both to upgrade the resource category as well as expand the known resource.
An updated mineral resource estimate is expected to be completed on the Dolphin Zone by the end of 2011.
A phase 2, 10,000-meter drilling program was initiated in mid-August and is expected to continue until March 2012.
Drilling has commenced at the Cleary Hill mine prospect where the company hopes to develop the first industry-standard resource in that area.
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. and Sumitomo Corp., owners and operators of the Pogo gold mine, have jointly decided to make a donation in the amount of US$1,059,000 to the Mining Engineering Research Endowment Fund of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The University of Alaska Fairbanks has established an endowment fund to attract monetary assistance to be directed into experimental research and the cultivation of the human resources needed for mineral resource development initiatives.
Pure Nickel Inc. released its operating highlights for it MAN copper nickel platinum group element project in the Alaska Range. During 2011 the company completed 11 holes (2,580 meters). Assays from the program are pending. In addition to the drill program, ground-based mapping and sampling was completed in the northern portion of the property.
Millrock Resources Inc. announced that it has entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Vale Exploration Canada Inc. The objective of the alliance is to discover large-scale copper-gold porphyry deposits in target zones of Alaska identified by Millrock.
Under terms of the agreement Vale will provide funding for further research and early-stage exploration work to identify targets that may be nominated for designated project status.
The work is to be focused in specific, defined areas of interest in the Alaska Range and Alaska Peninsula porphyry belts.
Strategic alliance funding will consist of a minimum US$1.0 million in the first year, and a further US$1.0 million at Vale's option in the second year.
Funding for the Strategic Alliance may continue in subsequent years at funding levels to be determined between the parties.
Once Millrock nominates a designated project, Vale will have 180 days in which to accept or decline the project.
If accepted, the mineral rights will be held in Millrock's name, but the designated project will become subject to an earn-in style option to joint venture agreement and Vale will have the right to earn a 65 percent interest in a designated project by expending US$3.5 million in exploration expenditures on the project over a three-year period and paying Millrock US$200,000.
Vale may earn 75 percent total interest by carrying the full cost of further exploration and development until a positive feasibility study has been completed.
Alix Resources Corp. announced results drilling results from the Riverside and Breccia Pipe prospects on the Golden Zone gold-silver-copper property.
Significant results from the two holes drilled at the Riverside prospect include hole GZRS11-001 which intersected 2.37 meters grading 14.33, 36.50 g/t silver and 0.57 percent copper and hole GZRS11-002 which intersected 4.10 meters grading 4.84 g/t gold, 7.92 g/t silver and 0.08 percent copper.
Both holes encountered the Wells vein, a quartz-sulfide replacement vein in Triassic limestone associated with the monzodiorite porphyry.
At the Breccia Pipe prospect, hole GZBX11-003 intercepted 256 meters, starting at surface, grading 1.50 g/t gold, 12.15 g/t silver and 0.11 percent copper while hole GZBX11-004 encountered 92.9 meters grading 1.39 g/t gold, 6.15 g/t silver and 0.06 percent copper.
The 2011 holes in the breccia pipe extended the mineralization downward approximately 110 meters.
The holes encountered brecciated porphyritic monzodiorite, brecciated monzodiorite, porphyritic monzodiorite, monzodiorite, gabbro and hornfelsed country rock.
Mineralization was associated with strongly to moderately silicified and argillic-altered with carbonate alteration in some zones.
Pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite, pyrite, chalcopyrite and minor sphalerite were the primary sulfide minerals.
Caribou Copper Co. announced results of its 2011 drill program on its Caribou Dome prospect in the Valdez Creek District. Six of nine core drill holes in the 2011 program intersected copper sulfide mineralization, with the best intercept returning 3.4 meters grading 3.36 percent copper and 5.54 g/t silver in hole CD-11-06. The 2001 drilling was conducted about 425 meters from historic resources estimated at 499,315 metric tons grading 5.84 percent copper.
Corvus Gold Inc. and joint venture partner WestMountain Index Advisor, Inc. announced an update of its activities the Terra project in the western Alaska Range.
The partners have completed four holes, totaling 544 meters and have confirmed the extension of the high-grade Ben Vein system 200 meters to the north.
The vein is still open at depth and along strike.
In addition, the new drilling has identified a parallel quartz-carbonate vein structure with a strike length of at least 100 meters in the hangingwall of the Ben Vein.
Assay results from the completed 2011 drill program are pending.
WestMountain has indicated that that it will continue drilling to further expand the known extent of the vein while undertaking the first bulk sampling of the vein using a pilot mill that was moved onto the site in 2011.
Kiska Metals Corp. reported additional drilling results from its Island Mountain and Raintree North prospect on its Whistler project.
At Island Mountain, significant results include hole IM11-020 in the Breccia Zone, which averaged 1.28 grams of gold per tonne gold-equivalent over 161 meters.
Hole IM11-026, 100 meters north of IM11-020, returned an interval of 127.0 meters of 0.76 g/t gold-equivalent, suggesting a potential transition to gold-dominant mineralization to the north in the breccia zones.
Drilling has been expanded beyond the 23 holes completed thus far with plans to continue with two drill rigs at Island Mountain as long as weather conditions allow.
A total of 9,700 meters of drilling have been completed at Island Mountain in 2011.
At the Raintree North prospect, a total of eight drill holes were completed in 2011, defining a steeply northeast dipping body of near-surface porphyry mineralization that remains open to depth.
Newly released drilling results include hole WH11-037 which averaged 0.56 g/t gold-equivalent over 110.2 meters.
Mineralization is largely confined to a body of Whistler-type diorite porphyry associated with potassic alteration and stockwork chalcopyrite-bearing quartz and magnetite veining.
Mineralization is coincident with magnetic high and a halo of strong chargeability.
Novagold Resources Inc. and NANA Regional Corp. Inc. announced the signing of an exploration and lease-option agreement that consolidated their respective lands in the Ambler Mining District into an 180,000-hectare (699 square-mile) package.
The agreement sets out options for joint venture or net-smelter return interests for NANA as well as local hire and training goals, workforce development, subsistence use guidelines and sustainability guidelines.
Among other prospects, NovaGold is contributing its Arctic volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit, while NANA is contributing its Bornite copper-cobalt deposit.
NovaGold completed 5,900 meters of exploration drilling on Bornite this summer and anticipates completing a mineral resource estimate for Bornite in the first half of 2012.
The company also completed 1,200 meters of geotechnical and infill drilling at Arctic this summer as part of its US$10 million 2011 budget.
Goldrich Mining Co. reported expansion of its land holding at its Chandalar gold project and staking of a new gold property of similar size, geology and discovery potential at nearby Thazzik Mountain, 30 miles southeast of Chandalar.
The new acquisitions more than doubled the company's Alaska land holdings to 48,440 acres.
U.S. Geological Survey reconnaissance sampling identified geochemically anomalous gold, arsenic and antimony associated with a large positive aeromagnetic anomaly similar to that associated with the Chandalar district.
Fieldwork has identified a number of quartz-bearing structures, including sheeted quartz veinlets.
Assays are pending on new sampling conducted on these veins.
Significant results include hole 11I-4 which encountered 0.95 meters grading 2.16 ounces of gold per ton and 2.72 ounces of silver per ton, hole 11I-4 which intercepted 1.73 meters grading 0.1 ounces per ton gold and 38.8 oz/t silver along with greater than 3 percent each of lead and zinc and strongly anomalous antimony and copper.
Drilling and mapping show that the gold veins exist within a WNW package of tonalitic rocks sandwiched between metasedimentary rocks to the southwest and higher grade gneiss to the northeast with stresses creating strong E-W shear veins (as the Main and Deep Trench) and minor northeast tensional vein-faults.
The contact zone between metasedimentary and tonalitic rocks has now become a target for high-grade mineralization, possibly with more silver and base-metal rich zones as indicated in hole 11I-4.
During 2011 the partners completed 30 holes (5,181 meters) of drilling.
Ucore Rare Metals Inc. announced an update on metallurgical and beneficiation studies of rare earth samples from its Bokan Mountain project.
Chemical extraction studies were conducted on a composite of 79 samples of split core from the project which contained an average light rare earth element grade of 0.71 percent, an average heavy rare earth element grade of 0.48 percent and an average total rare earth element grade of 1.19 percent.
Total recovery grades ranged from 85-90 percent using a recovery method involving sulfuric acid-baking and water leaching of the baked sample.
These average recoveries were improvements over previously conducted tests.
Additional metallurgical work is under way on whole core without pre-concentration of the rare earth elements.
Pure Nickel Inc. announced that the permitting process was completed at its Salt Chuck copper-palladium project on Prince of Wales Island. The company is planning the next logical exploration step in order to advance the property.