Digging deeper at Unga
Redstar takes fresh approach to exploring historic gold property in Alaska
Last updated 2/5/2018 at 7:42pm
With a new top executive and financial backing from one of the most respected investors in the mining space, Redstar Gold Corp. is taking a fresh look at Unga, a high-grade gold property that is home to Alaska’s first hard-rock mine.
Going into 2016, Redstar appointed Peter Ball as president and CEO of the company, filling a void left by Ken Booth, who served as the company’s interim top executive for about a year.
Ball brings more than 25 years of experience to Redstar, including his most recent role as senior vice-president of business and corporate development for Columbus Gold.
“The Redstar portfolio of projects, including our district-scale Unga gold project, are very encouraging and require the type of leadership that Peter is capable of offering,” said Redstar Executive Chairman Jacques Vaillancourt.
The nearly 60,000-acre (24,282 hectares) Unga property blankets two high-grade gold trends – Apollo-Sitka and Shumagin – that each cut roughly six miles across Unga Island. Apollo-Sitka hosts Apollo, a historic mine that produced roughly 150,000 of gold from 1892 to 1913. Shumagin, a parallel structural trend about 2,000 meters to the northwest, has been the primary focus of recent exploration.
“We believe that Unga, with its dual trends of epithermal low to intermediate sulphidation mineralization and gold showings … is currently amongst the most exciting and prospective gold projects in North America,” Vaillancourt added.
With Ball at the helm, Redstar is looking beyond and below the high-grade surface gold veins that lured miners to Unga 125 years ago.
The company hired Jeffrey Hedenquist, one of the world’s leading experts on epithermal gold system, to investigate the larger potential of Unga.
After two weeks on the island, Hedenquist found the high-grade gold mineralization at Unga shares characteristics with numerous intermediate sulfidation-style deposits around the world, such as the famous Comstock Lode in Nevada.
The epithermal gold expert advised a systematic exploration strategy that looks beyond and below the high-grade surface gold found along the Apollo-Sitka and Shumagin structural trends cutting across the island.
“Ore deposits of epithermal veins do not necessarily outcrop at the surface, certainly not with ore grades, as shown in numerous examples around the world at deposits that are now mines,” Hedenquist penned in his report. “Thus, only assessing outcropping veins with good geochemical anomalies may be like only examining the tip-of-the-iceberg in terms of district potential.”
With Hedenquist’s report as a guide, Redstar launched an exploration program focused on identifying new drill targets at Unga.
Shumagin zone, a 2,000-meter-long subset of the 9,000-meter (5.6 miles) Shumagin structural trend, was one of the primary targets of this newly informed exploration at Unga.
Past trenching and drilling in the Shumagin prospect area has traced high-grade gold-silver veins for more than 1,200 meters along strike and to a depth of 330 meters, including drilling completed by Redstar in 2015. High-grade gold encountered in drilling is often associated with rhodochrosite, a manganese carbonate mineral that typically occurs as red crystals.
A composited continuous chip sample collected this summer from a weathered breccia containing rhodochrosite averaged 37.26 g/t gold and 103.7 g/t silver across 2.3 meters.
“The summer exploration program at Shumagin has refined new exploration targets along known structures hosting high-grade rhodochrosite-bearing breccias within dilation zones localized along the … Shumagin zone,” said Redstar President and CEO Peter Ball. “We see a lot of room for additional discovery potential at the Unga Gold Project, as we continue to advance exploration at Shumagin, and we will apply that knowledge towards defining new exploration targets along the … Shumagin Trend.”
One such area is Orange Mountain, a prospect about 3,800 meters southwest of the Shumagin zone that show the potential to host a deeper epithermal vein system.
“Based on exploration work to-date, Orange Mountain remains an exceptional exploration target, which we will look to further examine in 2017,” explained Ball. “Geological interpretation is that Orange Mountain may host buried intermediate epithermal vein systems rooted at depth.”
While deeper veins at Orange Mountain might take a bit more work to find, this summer’s exploration turned up shallower and more immediate drill targets at Empire Ridge, a prospect along the Apollo-Sitka trend.
Redstar said exposed vein breccias at Empire Ridge are structurally, texturally and geochemically similar to those found at the historic Apollo Mine, which is located about 400 meters northeast.
“The company can now plan new diamond drill targets along the roughly 750-meter-long by 250-meter-deep panel along the Taurus Bench and Empire Ridge zones that collectively, define the continuation of the Apollo vein system to the southwest of historic mine development stopes. This immediately presents a drill-ready target, for a potential shallow, high-grade oxidized vein gold system,” explained Ball.
Redstar’s work at Unga caught the attention of renowned mining investor Eric Sprott, who now owns 30 million shares, or 11.6 percent of the issued and outstanding common shares of the gold exploration company on a non-diluted basis.
All told, Redstar raised C$4.1 million in the financing that closed on Sept. 13. With these funds, the company plans to complete an updated technical report for Unga and dig deeper into the potential of this high-grade gold project in Alaska.
“I would like to welcome Mr. Sprott as one of Redstar’s largest shareholders and newest strategic investor. The company can now make plans to initiate drilling up at our 100 percent-controlled Unga gold project in Alaska,” said Ball.