White Rock, Sandfire team up in Alaska
Mining Explorers 2019 – Published Nov. 1, 2019
Last updated 8/14/2020 at 9:20am
With a major investment by fellow Australian company, Sandfire Resources NL, White Rock Minerals Ltd. focused its 2019 exploration on discovering the next high-grade zinc and precious metals deposits on the Red Mountain volcanogenic massive sulfide property in Interior Alaska.
Sandfire, a mid-tier mining company with a growing portfolio of assets in the United States, first became involved in Red Mountain when it invested A$2.5 million in White Rock shares during 2018.
This initial investment provided Sandfire an exclusive option to enter into a joint venture on Red Mountain, a strategic partnership the expanding Aussie miner has decided to pursue.
Under an option agreement signed early in 2019, Sandfire has the opportunity to earn up to a 70 percent JV interest in Red Mountain by investing US$21.6 million into exploring the 183-square-mile (475 square kilometers) property and completing a pre-feasibility study for developing a mine there over the next six years.
Red Mountain already hosts two zinc-lead-copper-silver-gold deposits – Dry Creek and West Tundra Flats (WTF) – with 16.7 million metric tons of Australian Joint Ore Reserves Committee- (JORC) compliant inferred resources averaging 4.1 percent (1.49 billion pounds) zinc; 1.7 percent (630 million lb) lead; 0.2 percent (57.3 million lb) copper; 99 grams per metric ton (53.5 million ounces) silver; and 0.7 g/t (352,000 oz) gold.
With dozens of underexplored prospects across the Red Mountain property, White Rock and Sandfire's strategy for 2019 is to investigate the district-scale potential of this highly prospective land package.
"The agreed exploration strategy with our JV partner Sandfire is to test away from the known high-grade deposits in pursuit of the next big deposit," said White Rock Minerals Managing Director Matthew Gill.
Toward this goal, the more than A$8 million (US$5.4 million) exploration program at Red Mountain included surface reconnaissance mapping; soil and rock chip sampling; ground-based geophysics; roughly 4,000 meters of core drilling; and downhole electromagnetic surveys.
This work was carried out across two main trends – Glacier, a newly identified alteration zone running 10 kilometers (six miles) across the northern part of the property, and Dry Creek, a trend extending west from Dry Creek that includes Hunter and other prospects identified last year.
By the end of July, White Rock and Sandfire had drilled seven outlying prospects but had not encountered significant mineralization. The partners, however, had not yet tested the most compelling target turned up by the reconnaissance work.
This prospect, Arete, was identified with geophysical anomalies associated with massive sulfide outcrops along the Glacier Trend.
In addition to Arete, White Rock Minerals and Sandfire are refining drilling targets at several other new targets along the Glacier Trend.