By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Western Alaska mineral explorer now public

Kit Marrs-led company lists on TSX.V; explores Illinois Creek North of 60 Mining News - November 16, 2021

 

Last updated 12/2/2021 at 2:11pm

After more than a decade of advancing multiple precious and base metals deposits and targets across its more than 49,000-acre Illinois Creek Mining District property as a private company, Western Alaska Copper & Gold is now a public junior explorer listed on the TSX Venture Exchange.

Western Alaska Minerals Corp., the new name for the mineral exploration company, became listed on the TSX.V on Nov. 15 through a reverse takeover merger with the already listed 1246779 B.C. Ltd.

Prior to the combination, 1246779 B.C. raised C$5.2 million through the issuance of 6.12 million shares at C85 cents each.

"Completion of the RTO transaction and subsequent listing of Western Alaska Minerals Corp. on the TSX.V marks a major milestone for our company," said Western Alaska Minerals President and CEO Kit Marrs.

Marrs is joined by award-winning geologist Joe Piekenbrock, who serves as Western Alaska Minerals chief exploration officer. Alex Tong, who held senior finance roles at Energy Metals and Novagold Resources, and attorney Greg Anderson round out the newly listed company's executive team.


"Access to the public capital markets will allow us to fully utilize our three company-owned drill rigs in a greatly expanded program so that we can unlock the potential of the Illinois Creek District," Marrs said.

As an Anaconda Copper Company project geologist involved with the original discovery at Illinois Creek in 1980, the Western Alaska Minerals CEO is very familiar with the potential this district-scale property has to offer.

Over the ensuing four decades, multiple mineral deposits enriched with both precious and base metals have been discovered:

Illinois Creek, a past-producing gold-silver mine.

Honker, a high-grade gold target.

Water Pump Creek, a carbonate replacement zinc-lead-silver deposit.

Round Top, a porphyry copper-molybdenum-silver deposit.

The Illinois Creek Mine was an open pit and heap leach operation that produced roughly 150,000 ounces of gold and 500,000 oz of silver during three years of mining that ended in 2002. The shuttering of this operation had more to do with financial difficulties related to low gold and silver prices of the day than a lack of ore grade.


According to a calculation completed earlier this year, Illinois Creek hosts 8.7 million metric tons of indicated resource averaging 0.9 grams per metric ton (253,000 oz) gold, 34.4 g/t (9.6 million oz) silver, and 0.21% (40 million pounds) copper; and 3.3 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 0.99 g/t (104,000 oz) gold, 36.2 g/t (3.8 million oz) silver, and 0.21% (15 million lb) copper.


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This includes 7.4 million metric tons of unmined indicated resource averaging 0.98 g/t (234,000 oz) gold, 32.7 g/t (7.8 million oz) silver, and 0.17% (28 million lb) copper; and 3.1 million metric tons of unmined inferred resource averaging 1.02 g/t (102,000 oz) gold, 35.9 g/t (3.6 million oz) silver, and 0.2% (14 million lb) copper.


The heap leach pad from historical mining hosts another 1.3 million metric tons of indicated resource averaging 0.44 g/t (18,600 oz) gold, 44.3 g/t (1.9 million oz) silver, and 0.42% (12 million lb) copper.

While making the transition to a public listing, Western Alaska continued to advance exploration with a 25-hole drill program during the 2021 exploration season designed to make initial tests on a variety of high-quality targets in anticipation of introducing the property and district to the public market.

Much of this drilling targeted Waterpump Creek, which is about four miles northeast of the past-producing Illinois Creek open pit.

Based on 58 holes historically drilled by Anaconda Minerals Company and Novagold Resources Inc., 166,000 tons of historical resource averaging 9.5 oz/t (295 g/t) silver, 16.1% lead, and 5.5% zinc was calculated for Waterpump.


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Looking to establish an expanded resource that is compliant with modern reporting standards, Western Alaska completed nine holes at Waterpump this year.

The best hole, WPC21-09, cut 9.3 meters of 540 g/t silver, 23.5% zinc, and 16.1% lead.

Western Alaska's 2021 program also included two holes at Last Hurrah; a similar silver enriched carbonate replacement prospect about 2,000 meters southwest of Waterpump.

A 2,000-meter geophysical anomaly extending south of Waterpump and along the east side of Last Hurrah indicates a connection between these two silver-rich targets.

A connection that will likely be further tested with 2022 drilling at this potentially large carbonate replacement deposit.

"The mineralization is open to expansion at depth and will be a major focus of future exploration," Marrs said. "The CRD environment at Illinois Creek has the hallmarks of a large-scale system, and we look forward to systematically exploring and advancing the project."


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Another six holes were drilled at Honker, a high-grade gold target about six miles north of the historically mined Illinois Creek deposit.

A gold-rich quartz vein that is one to five meters thick has been traced for 800 meters at Honker. Historical bulk samples collected from Honker averaged 26.5 g/t gold and 26.8 g/t silver.

Metallurgical testing shows this mineralization is amenable to heap leach recovery, indicating Honker could be a good source of satellite ore for Illinois Creek.

The Illinois Creek District property also hosts Round Top, a large porphyry copper deposit about 10 miles northeast of the past-producing mine, and TG North, a potentially larger but lower-grade zinc-lead-silver carbonate replacement target associated with Round Top.


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As a private company, Western Alaska has completed 9,933 meters of drilling in 40 holes at Round Top.

Highlights from this drilling include 64.7 meters of 0.65% copper-equivalent; 166 meters of 0.51% copper-equivalent; 209.7 meters of 0.28% copper-equivalent; and 64 meters of 0.74% copper-equivalent.

Western Alaska plans to compile the results from drilling at Round Top into a maiden resource for the copper-gold deposit.

Looking ahead at 2022, the company plans to explore some of the higher-grade targets the Illinois Creek property has to offer.

"We have pursued exploration of our properties as a private company since 2008, but now as a public company we can accelerate our drilling programs at Waterpump Creek and Last Hurrah carbonate replacement deposits and our advanced high-grade Honker Gold prospect," said Marrs.


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CORRECTION: The size of the Illinois Creek Mining District property was expanded to more than 49,000 acres during 2021. This article has been corrected to reflect the larger land package.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Over his more than 13 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (907) 726-1095
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