New Heatherdale explores Niblack VMS
Mining Explorers 2020 - Published January 19, 2021
Last updated 3/16/2021 at 5:28am
Restructured and under new leadership, Heatherdale Resources Ltd. is expanding the high-grade targets at its Niblack copper-gold-silver-zinc project on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska.
Heatherdale, which had advanced Niblack to the brink of considering the feasibility of mining the high-grade volcanogenic massive sulfide mineralization found there, became hampered by debt during the economic hardships endured by the junior mining sector in 2008 and again in 2012.
Rob McLeod, a geologist noted for his work in Alaska and British Columbia, cut a deal last year to breathe new life into this company that had lain dormant for the better part of a decade.
Blackwolf Copper and Gold Inc., an agent for McLeod and others, has agreed to assume roughly C$4 million that Heatherdale owes Hunter Dickinson Services Inc. In turn, Heatherdale issued Blackwolf 35 million shares to settle C$3.4 million of that debt.
This creative deal cleaned Heatherdale's balance sheet and provided McLeod with 11.4% of the company's stock, making him the single largest shareholder.
After completing a share consolidation and raising C$5.8 million in August, the renewed Heatherdale launched the first drill program at Niblack in nearly a decade.
According to a 2011 calculation, the Lookout and Trio deposits at Niblack host 5.64 million metric tons of indicated resource averaging 0.95% (118.1 million pounds) copper, 1.75 grams per metric ton (317,220 ounces) gold, 29.5 g/t (5.35 million oz) silver, and 1.73% (215 million lb) zinc; plus 3.39 million metric tons of inferred resource at 0.81% (60.7 million lb) copper, 1.33 g/t (144,710 oz) gold, 20.1 g/t (2.19 million oz) silver and 1.29% (96.3 million lb) zinc.
This resource does not include step-out drilling completed at the Trio zone in 2012 and Heatherdale's geological reinterpretation has identified multiple resource expansion and exploration targets.
In mid-November, the company launched a late-2020 program that involved 1,774 meters of drilling in 10 holes testing extensions of the historic Niblack Mine, the source of very high-grade ore produced at the onset of the 20th century.
"The new structural interpretation at the historic mine, which direct-shipped high-grade copper ore and the down-dip extension of the Lookout Zone are compelling targets; in both areas, we will be following up on previous, high-grade copper, gold, silver and zinc drill results. Finally, step out drilling at the Lookout Zone will be completed with the objective of expanding mineral resources," said McLeod.
According to Alaska territorial government records, roughly 30,000 tons of ore averaging 3.2% copper, 1.3 g/t gold, and 21 g/t silver was mined from Niblack from 1902 through 1906.
Heatherdale says that previous operators have drilled 22 holes around this historic mine. One such hole, LO-065, cut 4.6 meters averaging 5.8% copper, 2.3 g/t gold, 3.8% zinc, and 63.2 g/t silver; and another, LO-067, cut 4.9 meters averaging 5.1% copper, 13.1 g/t gold, 4% zinc, and 149.1 g/t silver.
Heatherdale's geologic reinterpretation, together with radiometric age-dating, suggests that high-grade VMS-style mineralization outcropping along the shoreline adjacent to the historic Niblack Mine is open for expansion along trend and plunge from the historic stopes and high-grade historic intercepts.
Extensions of the Lookout deposit, which can be accessed through a production-sized underground ramp established a little over a decade ago, will be among the targets tested this year.
The massive sulfide mineralization running through the core of Lookout can be as much as 100 meters thick and averages around 15 meters, making it potentially amenable to bulk underground mining methods.
One of the areas expected to be tested this year will be the potential down-dip continuation of this thick zone.
Toward this goal, drilling at Lookout stepped out from U074, a previous hole that cut 1.5 meters averaging 2% copper, 3.25 g/t gold, 23.3% zinc and 90 g/t silver.
Underground drilling will also test a 100- by 75-meter area gap between the Lookout resource thick zone of high-grade mineralization previously encountered in drilling west of the deposit.
Due to the mineralization encountered during 2020, additional step-out holes will also be completed near the historic Niblack Mine when drilling resumes early this year.