Juniors find gold despite staking ban
Moratorium on new mineral claims extends to 2020, but Golden Predator, Banyan Gold and Stratabound report exploration advances
Last updated 12/14/2018 at 5:25am
Gold explorers are rushing to several regions of Yukon Territory, particularly areas where significant discoveries of the precious metal have been reported in recent years.
But only a few lucky companies could advance gold projects in Southeast Yukon during the 2018 field season.
The reason: A large swath of the mineral-rich Tintina Gold Belt – favorable geological terrain that sweeps northward through Yukon in a boomerang-shaped arc to Alaska from British Columbia – is off-limits to new mineral claim-staking in the region. The ban on new mining claims stems from a court order in 2013 directing the Yukon government to first consult with local First Nations who consider the area to be their traditional territory, on whether to grant mineral rights on Crown land.
The moratorium on staking covers roughly 13 percent of the Yukon. It has been repeatedly extended by the Yukon government and currently is in place in the Ross River Area until July 31, 2019, while a similar ban in the southern portion of Kaska-asserted traditional territory in Yukon is in place until April 30, 2020.
The staking prohibitions are on different timelines because they stem from different court cases with the Ross River Dena Council and Kaska Dena Council, a Government of Yukon spokeswoman told Mining News.
"The Government of Yukon is committed to fulfilling its consultation obligations and is working with First Nations to ensure the court declarations regarding mineral staking and exploration are met," said Shari-Lynn MacLellan, strategic communications advisor for aboriginal relations at Yukon's Executive Council Office.
"These discussions with the Kaska groups are ongoing. We are working with Kaska to identify solutions that respect both First Nations' and Yukon government's interests in land and resource management and provide certainty to industry," she added.
New gold discoveries in the region this season include a new style of disseminated gold mineralization uncovered in the Sprogge Area of Golden Predator Mining Corp.'s 3 Aces Project located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Watson Lake, extension of the known strike length at Banyan Gold Corp.'s Hyland Gold Project located 70 kilometers (43 miles) northeast of Watson Lake, and finding high- and low-grade gold on Stratabound Minerals Corp.'s Golden Culvert and Little Hyland properties situated about 20 kilometers northeast of and parallel to the 3 Aces project.
Different gold at 3 Aces
In reporting its discovery, Golden Predator said it represents a potentially large gold-bearing intrusive system not previously encountered at 3 Aces.
Follow-up exploration of this new gold discovery is planned for 2019 starting with geophysical surveys designed to target blind intrusive-related gold mineralization at depth.
Of 27 HQ diamond drill holes totaling 2,169 meters that tested six separate zones within 1,400 meters by 1,000 meters of the Sprogge Area at 3 Aces, 11 holes cut gold mineralization.
The shallow drill holes targeted the near-surface gold mineralization previously identified at the lithologic contacts.
Hole 3A18-335 intercepted 16.86 meters averaging 1.35 grams-per-metric-ton gold from a depth of 16.2 meters, including 1.38 meters of 8.34 g/t and 0.8 meters of 7.29 g/t gold. Hole 3A18-346 confirmed the intrusive-hosted mineralization, intercepting several intervals of mineralization, including 0.57 meters averaging 9.05 g/t gold from a depth of 90.43 meters and one meter averaging 1.28 g/t from a depth of 116.4 meters.
The 3 Aces project covers 357 square kilometers (138 square miles), in southeast Yukon. Golden Predator has focused exploration on 13.5 square kilometers in the Central Core Area, a broad gold-in-soil anomaly, where numerous orogenic gold-bearing quartz veins have been discovered. Exploration over the past two years has systematically advanced the project.
The junior now believes the recently discovered intrusive-hosted gold mineralization explains a broad gold-in-soil anomaly on the southern half of the Sprogge Area. The newly discovered mineralization differs from the previously defined, structurally-controlled orogenic style, high-grade veins encountered in the Central Core Area of the 3 Aces project.
Nine other holes intercepted gold in quartz veins or veinlets occupying structures at a stratigraphic break. These narrow intersections and their stratigraphic interpretation place the Sprogge Area target test up-section from the Central Core Area. With gold confirmed in many of the targeted structures, it is believed that the best orogenic gold targets may lie at depth where more favorable stratigraphy is projected.
Golden Predator also completed an eight-hole, 2,603-meter diamond drill program in the Central Core Area of 3 Aces this season, targeting the down-dip projection of the Hearts Zone. Drill holes were widely spaced along roughly 250 meters of strike with the deepest intercept some 500 meters down dip from the outcrop of the discovery vein. Results of this program are expected in early January.
Expanding gold-silver discovery
Banyan Gold reported drill results that extended the strike length 1,250 meters north of the Main zone of its Hyland gold project.
The $1 million, 11-hole HQTW-sized diamond drill program covered 1,360 meters completed from 10 drill pads. The junior also completed surface trenching that targeted the projected near-surface extension of the shallowly dipping upper limb of the Main Zone resource, with the objective of delineating the hinge location for planning resource expansion in future drilling programs.
Drilling highlights include: 27.5 meters of 0.45 g/t gold and 1.98 g/t silver from surface in HY18-076 and 85.0 meters of 0.73 g/t gold and 5.61 g/t silver from surface in HY18-077 with 1.52 meters of 14.5 g/t gold and 51.8 g/t silver from 61 meters.
"The 2018 Hyland Gold exploration program successfully demonstrated continuity of gold-silver mineralization between the existing Main Zone Resource and Banyan's Camp Zone discovery," Banyan Gold President and CEO Tara Christie said in a recent statement. "The program resulted in the highest-grade gold intersection discovered to date from the property (14.5 g/t over 1.52 meters, only 50 meters from the limit of the 2017 Main Zone Resource), and the results demonstrate the Quartz Lake Corridor is consistently mineralized and validate the near-surface strike extent model the program was designed to test."
The Hyland project encompasses a large regional land package covering 186 square kilometers (71.8 square miles), of which less than 10 percent has been explored.
The month-long 2018 drill program at Hyland, which ended in mid-July, focused on establishing mineralization continuity between the project's current NI 43-101 resource of 236,000 ounces indicated gold-equivalent resource and 288,000 inferred gold-equivalent resource at the Main zone and the recently discovered Camp zone.
The 2018 exploration also identified significant gold mineralization within the Camp zone, an area that previously lacked detailed diamond drilling. On the strength of this season's exploration program, the Camp zone has now been elevated to a top-priority target on the property and gold-silver mineralization identified there is interpreted to represent an extension to the Hyland Main Zone. Management believes that a systematic drill program with a suite of drill fences will confirm that the Main and Camp zones are connected. Banyan's technical team believes the largely untested area would have the potential to more than double the size of the current Main Zone footprint at Hyland.
VG at Golden Culvert
Stratabound completed a $750,000, eight-hole inaugural diamond drill program totaling 1,350 meters at its Golden Culvert project in 2018 that confirmed the discovery outcrop on the property and revealed consistent, significant high- and low-grade gold mineralization, which can be traced both on surface and at depth.
The objective of Stratabound's 2018 exploration program was to investigate a large and robust gold-in-soil anomaly that remains open at both ends.
The junior reported finding mineralization occurring in at least two parallel gold veins and mineralized wall rock structures that extend for at least 430 meters of strike and remain open at depth and at both ends.
Among the drilling highlights: Hole GC1806 cut two parallel gold-bearing vein and breccia structures. The deeper of the two veins assayed 6.02 g/t gold over 4.5 meters, including 12.98 g/t gold within a two-meter quartz vein between 69.5-71.5 meters down the hole. The intersection had visible gold in the vein.
"The presence of visible gold is particularly significant as it is the first reported bedrock occurrence on the project," said Stratabound President and CEO R. Kim Tyler in a recent statement.
Soil geochemical anomalies on the 83.8-square-kilometer (32.4 square miles) property continue for at least 2,500 meters to the north and 500 meters to the south and remain untested.
Stratabound said soil survey coverage, prospecting and grab sampling in the property's 24-kilometer (15 miles) length is 20 percent complete along the key prospective strike direction.