Heatherdale President Patrick Smith on Alaska assays of 19.51 g/t gold, 263 g/t silver, 1.67% copper and over 2.4m
Heatherdale Resources Ltd TSXV:HTR in joint venture with Niblack Mineral Development Inc TSXV:NIB announced results from their Niblack Project near Ketchikan, Alaska. Highlights include 19.51 g/t gold, 263 g/t silver, 1.67% copper and 3.32% zinc over 2.4 metres, 1.66 g/t gold, 31 g/t silver, 1.06% copper and 1.85% zinc over 13.7 metres (including 3.12 g/t gold, 57 g/t silver, 1.9% copper and 1.6% zinc over 5.8 metres), 2.23 g/t gold, 40 g/t silver, 0.99% copper and 1.68% zinc over 2.4 metres and 1.73 g/t gold, 23 g/t silver, 0.67% copper and 0.93% zinc over 2.4 metres.
Heatherdale President/CEO Patrick Smith tells ResourceClips.com, “Heatherdale got involved with Niblack in 2009, through a joint venture with Niblack Mining Development Corp. So we’re in an earn-in/joint-venture situation. We’ve earned our initial 51%, and we manage and operate the Niblack project. We have the ability to earn 60% by spending another $10 million on the initial $15 million, and we’re just reaching that threshold. That’ll be coming around the corner in August, and we’ll have the option to increase that to 70% by bringing this project to feasibility.
“Since late 2009 when we got involved, we really have been focused on increasing the resource—we announced an increased resource in March of this year. We’ve got two rigs underground going full time. One is focused on incrementally increasing the resource at Lookout and at Trio. The other drill rig is branching out and doing more exploration from underground. So, this release has a lot to do with that exploration work we’ve been doing. We’ve come up with a nice zone around the Mammoth area, which is new to us and to the resource. The other area that really kind of surprised us (but this play is always surprising us) is the area between Lookout and Trio, which we didn’t connect before. We’re seeing a ballooning out, if you will, of the existing resource and a little bit of a different zone further into the hanging wall. That produced this intercept, U123, of very high-grade gold and silver. That was a shocker, but it’s typical replacement-style mineralization that we see elsewhere, so it’s nothing strange from that point of view. This system—this district—continues to surprise us with some very nice, high, precious metal values. So we’ll see if that zone continues to grow.
We will move toward the PEA this year. All things positive of course, we’ll take that into prefeasibility in 2012, and we can move into feasibility late 2012 or early 2013.—Patrick Smith
“We’ve been drilling basically non-stop since Heatherdale got involved in 2009 with two drills underground. They operate 24/7. Then we’ve included one additional rig for surface exploration targets during this field season. We’ve just begun drilling up at our Delta project, and when we’re finished there, we’ll bring that rig back down to Niblack for surface drilling. So two underground rigs, and one surface rig part time.
“We’ve done fairly detailed internal work,” continues Smith, “but what we’ll do is evolve into a preliminary economic assessment toward the end of this year. We’ll have the current resource in the inferred and indicated categories, and we’ll build on that over the course of this year. I’m not sure when we’ll come out with a new resource estimate, but it’ll be part of that PEA which we’ll initiate in the fall of 2011, finishing it up probably in early 2012.
“We’ve reached what we consider to be a threshold amount of mineralization at this point. It allows us to advance the engineering and economic evaluation at the deposit. We will move toward the PEA this year. All things positive of course, we’ll take that into prefeasibility in 2012, and (all things positive again) we can move into feasibility late 2012 or early 2013. That’s our objective. It’s an underground mine; we’re looking at production rates in the order of 1,500 to 2,000 tonnes per day. It would be very similar to our neighbour up north near Juneau—Hecla Mining‘s Greens Creek. The permitting end of it is the unknown in terms of a time frame, but we would anticipate 18 months to two years for that. So, optimistically, 2015 or so for production.
“Niblack Mineral Development have been very good partners. They put a lot of sweat and a lot of effort into this. And I think they’re happy to see Heatherdale take it on aggressively as we have over the last 18 months. They just had a visit out there recently, and I think they’re very impressed with the work we’ve been doing.
“I’ve spent probably 17 years of my 30-some years in Alaska with Rio Tinto, Kennecott Exploration and so forth. I have a lot of time for Alaska; I enjoy working there. In the last two weeks I’ve been around southeast Alaska, and I’ve talked to the Alaska delegation, to the regulators, to Sealaska Native Corp and various other stakeholder groups. Everyone is extremely supportive of this project. It’s just unbelievable. The jobs in southeast Alaska’s timber industry have just been devastated over the last 10 years or so, so they understand the year-round jobs that come with mining at Greens Creek, [Coeur Alaska's] new mine at Kensington up near Juneau, and we would have a large impact in the Ketchikan area and on Prince of Wales Island.
“Niblack has been one of those projects that you like to be on. It’s continuing to get better; the resource gets larger as we drill. You just keep your head down, and do the work that’s required. I’m pretty confident this thing will come into production.”
Smith concludes, “We’re very encouraged with our results, and we’ll have many more coming out between now and the fall. So stay tuned.”
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Heatherdale Resources Ltd
Niblack Mineral Development Inc
Director of Corporate Development
by Greg Klein and Ted Niles