Kaminak 2.0 explores Alaska gold potential
Former execs form Tectonic Metals nab Interior gold projects
Last updated 11/23/2018 at 6:47am
Members of the Kaminak Gold Corp. executive team have reunited to form Tectonic Metals Corp., a private exploration company that has acquired three overlooked gold exploration properties in Alaska's Eastern Interior.
While with Kaminak, this team advanced the Coffee project in the Yukon from a grassroots discovery to a roughly 5-million-ounce gold mine project that Goldcorp Inc. acquired in 2017 for C$520 million.
Cashing in on Coffee, several of the Kaminak executives moved over to Tectonic Metals, a private company that is currently focused on seeking out large, high-grade gold deposits in Alaska.
This team – Eira Thomas and Rob Carpenter, both former Kaminak Gold president and CEOs; Tony Reda, former vice president of corporate development; and Zara Boldt, who served as CFO for the Yukon explorer – united with Curt Freeman, owner of the Alaska-based Avalon Development Corp. and founder of Tectonic Metals.
"We have the financial acumen, the business acumen and the exploration and mining acumen to deal with anything from exploration right through to development," Tectonic Metals President and CEO Tony Reda said during a Nov. 6 presentation at the Alaska Miners Association convention in Anchorage.
They also have three properties in eastern Alaska – Tibbs, Seventymile and Northway – that they believe could host multi-million-ounce gold deposits.
On familiar ground
While Tectonic Metals is exploring a new country, the projects they have acquired in Alaska are only about 80 to 175 miles northeast of the Coffee Gold project in the Yukon.
Located in the Tintina Gold Belt – a 125- by 750-mile gold-rich province that arcs from northern British Columbia, through the southwest corner of Yukon, and across Alaska – Tectonic's Alaska portfolio is familiar ground.
"We targeted the Tintina Gold Belt, it is our backyard," Reda said, referencing Kaminak's eight years advancing Coffee in the White Gold District.
Bounded by the Tintina Fault to the north and the Denali Fault to the south, Tintina Gold Belt hosts many multi-million-ounce gold projects and mines such as Donlin Gold, Livengood, Fort Knox and Pogo in Alaska, as well as the Coffee and Golden Saddle deposits in Yukon's prolific White Gold District.
Having already contributed one multi-million-ounce gold project to the Tintina portfolio, the Tectonic team has set out to find more.
Reda said Yukon's section of the Tintina Belt has become crowded in the years since Kaminak first moved into the White Gold District, which is why the privately held Tectonic decided to focus much of its attention on the relatively underexplored region of eastern Alaska.
"It's getting pretty packed in the Yukon, but that political border is not a geological border," Reda said.
With the philosophy that it takes essentially the same amount of time and effort to discover and outline 500,000 ounces of gold as it does five million ounces, the Tectonic Metals team was looking for projects with the potential for large gold deposits when they peered across the border into Alaska.
"We like to play big," Reda said.
This search for large underexplored gold projects led the exploration company to Tibbs, a gold prospect a few miles east of Pogo; and Northway and Fortymile, properties the company optioned from Doyon Ltd., an Alaska Regional Native corporation with a vast land position in Eastern Interior Alaska.
New Pogo analogue
Located about 20 miles east of Northern Star Resources Pogo gold mine, the Tibbs property, previously known as Rob, has historically turned up some high-grade gold showings at surface, just the kind of project Tectonic Metals is looking for.
"I will take high-grade gold at surface to drill any day of the week," Reda said.
While Tibbs had shown high-grade gold potential at surface, intermittent exploration since the discovery of Pogo has not turned up a cohesive deposit there.
Tectonic believes that the reason for this lack of discovery is past exploration was seeking the type of flat lying veins that has provided the bulk of the gold at Pogo, not the higher grade vertical feeder veins more recently found at the mine.
"This property still has not been tested from that perspective," Reda said, referring to the search for the vertical veins
Tectonic said the geochemical signature and age of mineralization at Tibbs is very similar to Pogo but a Pogo analogue is not driving its interest in the property.
"If you put this project somewhere else in the world and forgot about Pogo, at the end of the day you have a high-angle vein here that carries extremely high-grade material," Reda said.
Since acquiring the property in 2017, Tectonic Metals has invested roughly C$750,000 on advancing Tibbs to the drill-ready stage. This work includes mapping; the collection of 459 rock samples and 106 auger soil samples; 1,400 meters of trenching; and a property-wide geophysical survey.
These results have provided the company with a better understanding of the know mineralization and led to the discovery of a new gold zone known as Connector.
Connector appears to be a continuation of Grey Lead, a previously known target at Tibbs.
Drilling completed at Grey Lead in 2007 and 2008 cut four meters of 29 g/t, 4.1 meters of 20.1 g/t, 5.7 meters of 19 g/t and 2.4 meters of 62 g/t gold.
Trenching completed by Tectonic encountered similar widths and grades, including five meters of 38 g/t gold and eight meters of 14.8 g/t gold.
Previous shallow drilling has traced Grey Lead for about 250 meters along strike.
When combined with Connector zone and potential extensions identified this year, the Grey Lead zone could extend for some 1,000 meters along strike.
Reda said this is a very exciting prospect that Tectonic wants to drill in 2019.
Johnson Saddle is another Tibbs target the company plans to drill next year.
Located on a plateau in an area previously not well known, Johnson Saddle is a bit of an enigma.
Trenching at Johnson Saddle encountered eight meters of 1.7 g/t gold in a new style of mineralization that does not fit the Pogo analogue.
"This is not vein-style mineralization – it is intensely altered and is sitting on top of a plateau. It definitely warrants more work," sad Reda.
Tectonic's two other Alaska properties, Northway and Seventymile, are being explored under a partnership with Doyon, an Alaska Native Regional corporation that owns more than 12.5 million acres of land in Interior Alaska.
While historical exploration demonstrated the prospectivity of both of these Doyon gold properties, tough market conditions cut short past programs before this potential could be fully realized.
With the financial wherewithal to fund robust exploration and new geological ideas, Tectonic Metals believes it can capitalize on the past exploration carried out on both properties.
Situated between Yukon's Klondike District to the east and Alaska's Circle Mining District to the west, Seventymile blankets a 25-mile-long gold trend that has not been explored for two decades.
While some 83 historical holes tested seven prospects across Seventymile, Tectonic Metals believes these holes targeted the wrong style of mineralization.
"The previous explorers applied a Motherlode, California model to this property. We are looking at it from a structural, high-grade shear zone lens," Reda said.
With power auger sampling across the interpreted shear zone returning highly anomalous gold, the company has taken a step towards validating this theory.
The next step will be to test the bedrock. The company is contemplating using a GT Probe, a track mounted rig designed by Dawson City-based GroundTruth Exploration to test the soil-bedrock interface, or a rotary air blast drill, to further test the shear zone in 2019.
Spanning a 30-mile-long district centered at Northway Junction on the Alaska Highway, Northway is the largest property in Tectonic's portfolio.
This property is prospective for the intrusive related and porphyry style gold systems that the Tintina Gold Belt in known for.
An initial phase of exploration completed by Tectonic this year included prospecting, mapping and sampling.
The company said the stream sediment, soil and rock sampling validated previously identified structurally hosted gold occurrences on the property.
The Tectonic Metals team is particularly excited about Target 7, a large gold-in-soil anomaly that has never been drilled.
Sampling this year returned assays with as much as 2 g/t gold, exceptionally high for soil sampling and expanded this anomaly to 1,000 meters.
"This is one of the best undrilled gold targets I have come across in quite some time," Reda said.
Being located about 2.5 miles off the highway makes this target even more appealing to the private Tintina Gold Belt explorer.