Rackla, Coffee, others promise more gold
Some projects across central area could deliver on encouraging early results even though exploration stampede has slowed to crawl
Last updated 7/29/2012 at Noon
Two of the projects credited with touching off the recent gold rush to Yukon Territory reported results from their 2012 programs in July that suggest they could deliver on all that their early results promised.
While new entrants have slowed to a trickle and other early players retire from the scene, at least until the anemic capital markets regain their vigor, ATAC Resources Ltd. and Kaminak Gold Corp. and a handful of other juniors are quietly churning out impressive assay results in robust multimillion-dollar drill programs this year.
High-grade results at Rackla
Atac July 18 reported the first 10 diamond drill hole results from the Conrad and Isis East zones within the Nadaleen Trend at the eastern end of its 1,600-square-kilometer (618 square miles) Rackla Gold Project in east-central Yukon.
The results included the highest-grade gold intersection to date at the Conrad Zone with 46.06 meters averaging 11.24 grams per metric ton gold in hole OS-12-103. The interval included several high-grade sections - 9.31 meters average 25.93 g/t gold starting at 71.19 meters depth and 15.39 meters average 3.46 g/t gold starting at 147.07 meters depth and including 8.39 meters average 5.12 g/t gold. In hole OS-12-098, Atac encountered 40.30 meters averaging 10.10 g/t gold starting at 90.76 meters depth, including 17.59 meters averaging 21.24 g/t gold starting at 91.86 meters depth; and in hole OS-12-094, 9.15 meters averaging 4.68 g/t gold starting at 285.90 meters depth.
The feedback comes as Atac continues its 2012 exploration program begun May 22 with six drills turning - four on Conrad and two on the Osiris Zone. At July 18, Atac said it had completed 15,000 meters in 58 holes of a planned 30,000-meter program. The company has not reported a budget for 2012 exploration at Rackla, but last year it spent C$29.5 million on exploration, including 26,600 meters of drilling.
"We are very pleased with the developing continuity and the high-grade nature of the first 2012 drill-holes at the Conrad Zone. Holes OS-12-98 and OS-12-103 intersected mineralization near surface with the highest grade intervals that we have encountered to date," said Atac CEO Graham Downs in a statement. "The fact that we also have extended gold mineralization at Isis East by stepping-out from the 2011 discovery holes is also encouraging and drilling continues to test for further down-dip and strike extensions."
Five Carlin-type gold exploration targets were outlined in 2011 by wide-spaced diamond drilling within a 3-kilometer-by-4-kilometer (1.9 miles by 2.5 miles) area. The 2012 drill program is intended to expand and better define these known areas of mineralization, as well as test a number of undrilled geochemical anomalies.
The Conrad zone has a current strike length of some 475 meters and extends 490 meters below surface. The zone remains open in all directions. Some of the best grades and longest intersections from previous drilling are located at a shallow depth in the crest area of an anticlinal fold at or near the contact of relatively impermeable silty shale with an underlying limestone unit. The potential for additional deep high-grade gold mineralization as encountered in hole OS-11-036 (8.06 g/t gold over 21.34 meters starting from 687.32 meters down hole) also will be systematically tested in 2012. True width averages 60-80 percent for all intercepts reported.
Atac also reported extending the Isis East discovery, which lies along the southern edge of the mineralized area, with step-out holes along a 200-meter unfolded strike length to a depth of 225 meters in the crest of an anticlinal fold.
In hole OS-12-097, drilling intersected 24.39 meters averaging 5.58 meters starting at 31.39 meters depth, including 12.19 meters averaging 9.96 g/t gold starting at 42.06 meters depth; in hole OS-12-101, a 21.60-meter interval averaging 5.11 g/t gold starting at 79.00 meters depth; and in hole OS-12-091, a 13.72 interval averaging 5.14 g/t gold starting at 198.73 meters depth. True width averages 50-80 percent for all intercepts reported.
As with Conrad and Osiris, which that lie immediately to the north, gold mineralization is stratabound at Isis East and localized in the crest area of an anticlinal fold - in this case at or near the contact of relatively impermeable dolomite altered limestone with underlying unaltered silty limestone. The mineralized band remains open to expansion to the east and to depth with further drill testing to be completed in 2012.
Connecting the zones
Kaminak July 9 reported drilling results from 18 reverse circulation drill holes and 25 diamond core drill holes that significantly expanded the strike length of its Supremo T3 and T4 gold zones at the Coffee Gold Project in the White Gold district of west-central Yukon to greater than 1,600 meters and 1,400 meters, respectively. The drilling also connected the project's Supremo and Latte gold zones and expanded the Double Double zone to 400 meters in strike length. All gold zones drilled to date at Coffee start at surface and remain open down dip and along strike.
Kaminak also said it has completed more than 30,000 meters of drilling since it commenced a C$17 million exploration program March 19, and is on schedule to complete its 2012 objective of 50,000 meters of drilling.
Last year, the junior spent C$22 million on exploration at Coffee, including 48,000 meters of drilling and significant camp infrastructure investments.
Kaminak said RC drilling began in mid-March with the discovery of gold along the newly defined Supremo T4-5 trends, while diamond drilling started in early April and began testing the Supremo T3 trend for along strike extensions of the near-surface and oxidized gold mineralization previously identified.
New drilling at Supremo intersected multiple high-grade intervals, including 12.53 g/t gold over 13 meters from 158 meters core depth in hole CFD-199; 15.5 g/t gold over 11 meters from 31 meters core depth in hole CFD-210; 10.5 g/t gold over 13 meters from 212 meters core depth in CFD-221; 29.2 g/t gold over 3 meters from 86 meters core depth and 9.2 g/t gold over 1 meter from 1 meters core depth in hole CFD-223; 27.8 g/t gold over 3 meters from 134 meters core depth in hole CFD-226; 25.83 meters g/t gold over 2 meters from 61 meters core depth in hole CFD-213.
The mineralization occurs in brittle fractures and breccia zones within gneissic host rock and felsic-intermediate intrusive rocks, accompanied by silica flooding and pyrite (oxidized to limonite/hematite). Higher‐grade gold is associated with intense silica-sericite alteration and high pyrite/limonite content. The mineralized structures are totally to partially oxidized as deep as 180 meters below surface, with the deepest gold intercept to date in CFD-221 (10.5 g/t gold over 13 meters) comprising heavily oxidized mineralogy (limonite and hematite).
Ongoing drilling continues to focus on expanding the Supremo zones at depth and northwards along trend. Diamond core drilling at Double Double commenced in early May comprising 50 meters step-outs along strike of the drilling completed over the 2010/11 field seasons.
To date, an additional 200 meters strike has been added to the trend this season, for a total strike length of 400 meters. New results include: 35 g/t gold over 4.5 meters (from 64 meters core depth), 39.4 g/t gold over 1.5 meters (from 71 meters) and 6.9 g/t gold over 5.2 meters (from 85.3 meters). Mineralization occurs in discrete east-northeast trending, steeply-dipping to vertical lodes characterized by intense silicification, polyphase breccia and strong clay and sulphides. True width is estimated at about two-thirds down-hole length for all intersections.
Kaminak further said results of eight additional drill holes are pending along trend, and drilling is currently ongoing, testing down-dip extensions of the zone.
Another big gold discovery?
Comstock Metals Ltd. is a newcomer to the Yukon. The junior July 25 reported initial results from a trenching program on the QV Project in the White Gold district, including a significant gold discovery.
The discovery trench, QVTR12-06, assays 3.74 g/t gold over 75 meters (entire length of the trench), with a maximum grade of 7.31 g/t gold over 5 meters and a minimum grade of 1.41 g/t gold over 5 meters. The gold mineralization is open on all sides of QVTR12-06.
The trenches were designed to test a 1.8-kilometer- (1 mile) long gold-in-soil anomaly with values up to 395.6 parts-per-billion gold. A visible gold-bearing vein (VG Vein) that returned 16.28 g/t gold occurs 60 meters west of Trench 6. Current results from Trenches 3 and 6 and the VG Vein indicate a minimum 265-meter strike extent for the gold-bearing structure.
In comparison, the initial trenching on the Golden Saddle zone at Kinross Gold Corp.'s White Gold deposit, some 15 kilometers (9 miles) to the south of QV, returned 1.3 g/t gold over 37.5 meters, with a maximum grade of 4.7 g/t over 5 meters and a minimum grade of 0.1 g/t gold over 0.3 meters (Underworld News Release, June 17, 2008). Initial trench results from the Coffee Project of Kaminak Gold Corp. included 2.3 g/t gold over 21.0 meters and 11.45 g/t gold over 5.0 meters (Kaminak News Release, Oct. 8, 2009).
"We are fortunate to have encountered such a large continuous gold mineralized trench with fairly uniform gold grades," said Comstock President and CEO Rasool Mohammad in announcing the discovery. "This makes Comstock Metals' the third significant discovery in the White Gold District after Kinross' Golden Saddle deposit and Kaminak's Coffee; kudos to our team."
Comstock's 2012 exploration program at the QV project, which got underway June 12, consists of about 1.5 line kilometers of trenching (12 trenches over four zones) and mapping, prospecting, and sampling over soil anomalies that the junior defined in 2011. These soil anomalies returned maximum values of 1,027.1 ppb gold, 8.7 parts-per-million silver, 3,767 ppm arsenic, 66.2 ppm antimony, 4.13 ppm mercury, and 2,597 ppm barium. Additional grid soil geochemical sampling (1,400 samples) also was planned in order to define the limits of the 2011 soil anomalies.
Comstock did not indicate how much it planned to spend on exploration at the QV project this season, but the junior raised nearly C$300,000 in the first tranche of a private placement in early July that it intends to spend on exploration and development, along with general expenses.
Since the White Gold district is unglaciated, very little overburden overlies bedrocks in the district. Overburden can reach up to a maximum thickness of about 60 centimeters or 2 feet in places. Trenching can expose the bedrock relatively easily.
Results for three of six trenches on the QV Grid have been received; the balance is pending. The trenches were excavated by Talus Exploration Inc. of Dawson City, using a Candig mini-excavator.
Similarities to Coffee
Other highlights of 2012 exploration at the QV property include:
Trench 3 results of 0.85g/t gold over 45 meters;
Grab Rocks assaying up to 16.28 g/t gold and 47 g/t silver;
Soil gold assays run up to 1,030 parts-per-billion, or 1.03 g/t gold;
Pathfinder elements indicative of a gold system similar to Kaminak's Coffee project are present on Comstock's QV claims;
Gold and the associated anomalies are of the same strength as at Kaminak's Coffee project;
Atrong geophysical magnetic anomaly present on the Coffee project and on Kinross' ground is also present on the Comstock claims;
Multiple zones of high gold values associated with the pathfinder elements such as high arsenic, mercury, antimony, and barium indicate a large mineral potential; and,
Two anomalous zones measure 2,600 meters and 1,530 meters long, respectively, and are both open.
Mineralization at the QV property consists of quartz veins, stockwork, silicification and weak brecciation, accompanied by minor pyrite. The host rocks are "augen" gneiss (a metamorphosed intrusive rock) and metamorphosed sedimentary rocks.
Comstock said only minor property scale mapping has been undertaken on the QV property, but government mapping indicates that the property has promising geology.
Trench QVTR12-03 is located 205 meters east of Trench QVTR12-06, and Trench QVTR12-04 lies 100 meters to the south of Trench QVTR12-03. QVTR12-04 is situated south of the apparent trend of the main gold-bearing structure. The trenches generally crosscut the 070-075-degree trend of the veins, but due to extensive silicification, the determination of the dip of the veins and the exact controls on mineralization require follow-up work. Consequently, the true width of the mineralized zone (open to the north and south in trench QVTR12-06 and open to the north in trench QVTR12-03) is yet unknown, the junior said.
More gold at Betty property
Ethos Gold Corp. also posted encouraging 2012 results in the Yukon.
The junior, formerly Ethos Capital, planned a C$7.3-million, 16,000-meter exploration program this season for its Betty gold project located next door to the Coffee project in the White Gold district.
Ethos June 26 reported assay results from 22 drill holes, representing the first half of the planned reconnaissance phase 1 drill program at the Betty property. These RC holes tested five sub-areas of the 17-square-kilometer (4,200 acres) Mascot Creek gold-in-soil anomaly that yielded prospecting rock grab samples up to 24.8 g/t gold and intervals in trench pits with the best result averaging 7.3 g/t gold over 50 meters.
Intervals of intense alteration containing gold mineralization have been discovered in all five sub-areas of the Mascot Creek anomaly tested. The best results to date occur in BETR-022 which cut 7.1 g/t gold and 209 g/t silver over 13.7 meters at the Marshall target and in BETR-012 which 29.8 g/t gold over 3.1 meters at the Perrault target. True width is unknown for all intercepts.
"We are excited to have made several new and substantial gold discoveries during the first drill test program on the Betty Property, which is confirmed to have potential to host large gold deposits," said Ethos President and CEO Gary Freeman. "We are looking forward to continued success, as the drill completes the remainder of the reconnaissance program and begins follow-up drilling in July."
At June 26, a total of 30 of 44 planned phase 1 holes had been completed using an RC drill rig contracted from Northspan Explorations Ltd. The RC rig completes an average of one hole per day to an expected target depth of 150 meters.
All holes have been drilled at a 50-degree angle.
True width is unknown for all intercepts.
About 4,000 meters of drilling had been completed, and 3,000 samples weighing some 6 metric tons have been submitted for assay.
The drill program is currently operating on schedule and under budget. The principal objective of phase 1 reconnaissance drilling is to identify gold grades over width in bedrock beneath gold-bearing surface trench pits or anomalous gold soils.
Most RC holes to date have intersected limonite and clay alteration and arsenopyrite mineralization, with or without quartz veining and silicification. There appears to be several phases of progressive or overprinting alteration and mineralization which is a very positive exploration indication. Some holes have intersected mineralized andesite and felsite dykes within alteration zones. A total of 14 of 22 holes so far have gold-bearing intervals. "The sizeable intersections of both higher and lower gold grades, as well as the presence of intense widespread alteration is very encouraging at this early stage of exploration," observed Ethos COO Peter Tallman.