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By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Assays confirm Alaska lithium discovery

Discovery Alaska focused on building resource from GMC core North of 60 Mining News – October 12, 2022


Last updated 10/20/2022 at 2:38pm

Helicopter and pilot on a ridge at Coal Creek during a summer day in Alaska.

Discovery Alaska Ltd.

A helicopter sits on a lithium-bearing outcrop at the historical Coal Creek tin-silver-zinc deposit in Alaska.

Discovery Alaska Ltd. Oct. 12 reported that assay results have confirmed broad zones of lithium mineralization at the Coal Creek tin-silver-zinc prospect on the Australian exploration company's Chulitna property in Alaska.

Situated roughly midway between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska, and about four miles west of the paved Parks Highway, Chulitna consists of roughly 77 square miles of state mining claims covering the Partin Creek gold-silver-copper prospect and Coal Creek tin-silver-zinc target.

Coal Creek, where the lithium has been found, was discovered by the late Charles Hawley in 1972 and explored by Houston Oil and Minerals in the 1980s.

After drilling 42 holes, Houston estimated the Coal Creek deposit contained roughly 4.8 million metric tons averaging 0.27% tin.

Another four holes were drilled at Coal Creek by Brett Resources in 2006.

Highlights from historical drilling at Coal Creek included 9.4 meters averaging 0.41% tin, 18.21 grams per metric ton silver and 0.81% zinc; and 9.3 meters averaging 0.45% tin, 11.95 g/t silver, and 0.29% zinc.

This Houston drilling was carried out before the advent of the lithium-ion battery and the Brett exploration was carried out before the rise of electric vehicles. As such, there was no economic interest in, or reason to, test for lithium at that time.

With automakers and battery manufacturers now demanding more lithium than global mines can produce, the price for a metric ton of lithium has skyrocketed from around $8,000 at the beginning of 2020 to more than $70,000 today.

Earlier this year, the Discovery Alaska team found evidence of this hot commodity in historical Coal Creek drill core stored at the Alaska Geologic Materials Center in Anchorage.

With a handheld analyzer confirming that the historical drilling had indeed encountered lithium, the company sent samples from 10 holes prospective for lithium that is associated with the historical tin-silver-zinc resource at Coal Creek off to an assay lab for quantitative analysis.

Highlights from the assays from this historical core incldue:

57.55 meters averaging 0.11% lithium oxide from a depth of 141.7 meters in hole DDH-21.

59.5 meters averaging 0.13% lithium oxide from a depth of 168.2 meters in hole DDH-33.

54.86 meters averaging 0.12% lithium oxide from a depth of 42.7 meters in hole DDH-36.

16 meters averaging 0.19% lithium oxide from a depth of 126.5 meters in hole DDH06-43.

27.65 meters averaging 0.16% lithium oxide from a depth of 169.6 meters in hole DDH06-43.

10.97 meters averaging 0.18% lithium oxide from a depth of 84.7 meters in hole DDH06-44.

36.58 meters averaging 0.12% lithium oxide from a depth of 174.3 meters in hole DDH06-45.

Discovery says the lab results indicate broad lithium-rich areas concentrated within the deeper aplitic granite porphyry and separate higher-grade lithium zones potentially localized along structurally controlled zones of east-west striking, near-vertical sheeted greisen veining.

Cross-section map showing Coal Creek drill holes with lithium intercepts.

Discovery Alaska Ltd.

Click on image for larger Coal Creek cross-section.

"The company is excited with the first-stage laboratory analysis results confirming significant broad zones of lithium mineralisation at our Coal Creek prospect, with potential for strike and depth extensions," said Discovery Alaska Director Jerko Zuvela added.

Given the success of this first round of sampling, the company is eager to continue its analysis of the roughly 5,000 meters of drill core from around 46 Coal Creek holes that are stored at the Alaska Geologic Materials Center.

"We look forward to realising the lithium potential and advancing works toward delineating a maiden JORC resource at our Coal Creek prospect, strategically located close to the major Parks Highway and the state-owned Alaska railroad," Zuvela.

In addition to the tin, silver, zinc, and now lithium mineralization, the Coal Creek deposit is prospective for niobium, tantalum, tungsten, and other specialty metals.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

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Over his more than 16 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.


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