Sunday 22nd September 2019

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And the mania continues

August 10th, 2018

How gold rushes helped make the modern world

by Benjamin Wilson Mountford/La Trobe University and Stephen Tuffnell/University of Oxford | posted with permission of The Conversation

How gold rushes helped make the modern world

Detail from an 1871 lithograph by Currier & Ives portraying the Californian goldfields in 1849.


This year is the 170th anniversary of one of the most significant events in world history: the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. On January 24, 1848, while inspecting a mill race for his employer John Sutter, James Marshall glimpsed something glimmering in the cold winter water. “Boys,” he announced, brandishing a nugget to his fellow workers, “I believe I have found a gold mine!”

Marshall had pulled the starting trigger on a global rush that set the world in motion. The impact was sudden—and dramatic. In 1848 California’s non-Indian population was around 14,000; it soared to almost 100,000 by the end of 1849, and to 300,000 by the end of 1853. Some of these people now stare back at us enigmatically through daguerreotypes and tintypes. From Mexico and the Hawaiian Islands; from South and Central America; from Australia and New Zealand; from Southeastern China; from Western and Eastern Europe, arrivals made their way to the golden state.

How gold rushes helped make the modern world

JCF Johnson’s Euchre in the Bush, circa 1867, depicts a card game
in a hut on the Victorian goldfields in the 1860s. (Oil on canvas
mounted on board, courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ballarat)

Looking back later, Mark Twain famously described those who rushed for gold as

a driving, vigorous restless population … an assemblage of two hundred thousand young men—not simpering, dainty, kid-gloved weaklings, but stalwart, muscular, dauntless young braves…

“The only population of the kind that the world has ever seen gathered together,” Twain reflected, it was “not likely that the world will ever see its like again.”

Arriving at Ballarat in 1895, Twain saw first-hand the incredible economic, political and social legacies of the Australian gold rushes, which had begun in 1851 and triggered a second global scramble in pursuit of the precious yellow mineral.

“The smaller discoveries made in the colony of New South Wales three months before,” he observed, “had already started emigrants towards Australia; they had been coming as a stream.” But with the discovery of Victoria’s fabulous gold reserves, which were literally Californian in scale, “they came as a flood.”

Between Sutter’s Mill in January 1848, and the Klondike in the late 1890s, the 19th century was regularly subject to such flooding. Across Australasia, Russia, North America and Southern Africa, 19th century gold discoveries triggered great tidal waves of human, material and financial movement. New goldfields were inundated by fresh arrivals from around the globe: miners and merchants, bankers and builders, engineers and entrepreneurs, farmers and fossickers, priests and prostitutes, saints and sinners.

How gold rushes helped make the modern world

A nugget believed to be the first piece of gold
discovered in 1848 at Sutter’s Mill in California.
(Smithsonian National Museum of American History)

As the force of the initial wave began to recede, many drifted back to more settled lives in the lands from which they hailed. Others found themselves marooned, and so put down roots in the golden states. Others still, having managed to ride the momentum of the gold wave further inland, toiled on new mineral fields, new farm and pastoral lands, and built settlements, towns and cities. Others again, little attracted to the idea of settling, caught the backwash out across the ocean—and simply kept rushing.

From 1851, for instance, as the golden tide swept towards NSW and Victoria, some 10,000 fortune seekers left North America and bobbed around in the wash to be deposited in Britain’s Antipodean colonies alongside fellow diggers from all over the world.

Gold and global history

The discovery of the precious metal at Sutter’s Mill in January 1848 was a turning point in global history. The rush for gold redirected the technologies of communication and transportation, and accelerated and expanded the reach of the American and British Empires.

Telegraph wires, steamships and railroads followed in their wake; minor ports became major international metropolises for goods and migrants (such as Melbourne and San Francisco) and interior towns and camps became instant cities (think Johannesburg, Denver and Boise). This development was accompanied by accelerated mobility—of goods, people, credit—and anxieties over the erosion of middle class mores around respectability and domesticity.

But gold’s new global connections also brought new forms of destruction and exclusion. The human, economic and cultural waves that swept through the gold regions could be profoundly destructive to Indigenous and other settled communities, and to the natural environment upon which their material, cultural and social lives depended. Many of the world’s environments are gold rush landscapes, violently transformed by excavation, piles of tailings and the reconfiguration of rivers.

How gold rushes helped make the modern world

The Earth, at the End of the Diggings.
(Courtesy, Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute)

As early as 1849, Punch magazine depicted the spectacle of the earth being hollowed out by gold mining. In the “jaundice regions of California,” the great London journal satirised: “The crust of the earth is already nearly gone … those who wish to pick up the crumbs must proceed at once to California.” As a result, the world appeared to be tipping off its axis.

In the U.S. and beyond, scholars, museum curators and many family historians have shown us that despite the overwhelmingly male populations of the gold regions, we cannot understand their history as simply “pale and male.” Chinese miners alone constituted more than 25% of the world’s goldseekers, and they now jostle with white miners alongside women, Indigenous and other minority communities in our understanding of the rushes—just as they did on the diggings themselves.

Rushes in the present

The gold rushes are not mere historic footnotes—they continue to influence the world in which we live today. Short-term profits have yielded long-term loss. Gold rush pollution has been just as enduring as the gold rushes’ cultural legacy. Historic pollution has had long-range impacts that environmental agencies and businesses alike continue to grapple with.

At the abandoned Berkley pit mine in Butte, Montana, the water is so saturated with heavy metals that copper can be extracted directly from it. Illegal mining in the Amazon is adding to the pressures on delicate ecosystems and fragile communities struggling to adapt to climate change.

The phenomenon of rushing is hardly alien to the modern world either—shale gas fracking is an industry of rushes. In the U.S., the industry has transformed Williston, North Dakota, a city of high rents, ad hoc urban development and an overwhelmingly young male population—quintessential features of the gold rush city.

In September last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that a new gold rush was underway in Texas: for sand, the vital ingredient in the compound of chemicals and water that is blasted underground to open energy-bearing rock. A rush of community action against fracking’s contamination of groundwater has followed.

The world of the gold rushes, then, is not a distant era of interest only to historians. For better or worse, the rushes are a foundation of many of the patterns of economic, industrial and environmental change central to our modern-day world of movement.

Benjamin Mountford and Stephen Tuffnell’s forthcoming edited collection A Global History of Gold Rushes will be published by University of California Press in October 2018. A sample of their work can also be found in the forthcoming volume Pay Dirt! New Discoveries on the Victorian Goldfields (Ballarat Heritage Services, 2018).

Benjamin Wilson Mountford, David Myers Research Fellow in History, La Trobe University and Stephen Tuffnell, Associate Professor of Modern U.S. History, University of Oxford

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


Bravura Ventures files 43-101 for Idaho gold project

February 15th, 2017

by Greg Klein | February 15, 2017

A fresh 43-101 technical report sets the stage for further advancement at Bravura Ventures’ (CSE:BVQ) Musgrove Creek gold property in Idaho. The report’s author recommends a 2017 program that would include confirmation drilling to update an historic resource.

Bravura Ventures files 43-101 for Idaho gold project

Bravura closed a 100% option on the road-accessible property in October. The company describes it as one of many deposits along the Trans-Challis fault system including the Beartrack mine and other past-producers to the northeast, and the Grouse Creek mine and other past-producers to the southwest.

Originally calculated in 2004 but considered historic and non-43-101 by Bravura, an estimate for the Musgrove Creek Johny’s Point deposit used a 0.8 g/t gold cutoff to show:

  • inferred: 8 million tonnes averaging 1.22 g/t for 313,822 ounces gold

Bravura’s report recommends a two-phase 2017 program including digital data compilation, verification of chip sampling, permitting for road and drill site construction and confirmation drilling for a 43-101 Johny’s Point resource. The suggested budget comes to US$500,000.

In October the company also took on a 90% option on the Grew Creek gold project from Golden Predator Mining TSXV:GPY. Located in southeastern Yukon’s Tintina gold belt, the project has already undergone 290 holes totalling over 57,000 metres, with near-surface intervals up to 5.96 g/t gold and 24.1 g/t silver over 68 metres.

Cobalt: A precarious supply chain

January 14th, 2017

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist

Cobalt: A precarious supply chain


How does your mobile phone last for 12 hours on just one charge? It’s the power of cobalt, along with several other energy metals, that keeps your lithium-ion battery running.

The only problem? Getting the metal from the source to your electronics is not an easy feat, and this makes for an extremely precarious supply chain for manufacturers.

This infographic comes to us from LiCo Energy Metals TSXV:LIC and it focuses on where this important ingredient of green technology originates from, and the supply risks associated with its main sources.

What is cobalt?

Cobalt is a transition metal found between iron and nickel on the periodic table. It has a high melting point (1493° C) and retains its strength to a high temperature.

Similar to iron or nickel, cobalt is ferromagnetic. It can retain its magnetic properties to 1100° C, a higher temperature than any other material. Ferromagnetism is the strongest type of magnetism: it’s the only one that typically creates forces strong enough to be felt and is responsible for the magnets encountered in everyday life.

These unique properties make the metal perfect for two specialized high-tech purposes: superalloys and battery cathodes.


High-performance alloys drive 18% of cobalt demand. The metal’s ability to withstand intense temperatures and conditions makes it perfect for use in:

  • Turbine blades

  • Jet engines

  • Gas turbines

  • Prosthetics

  • Permanent magnets

Lithium-ion batteries

Batteries drive 49% of demand—and most of this comes from cobalt’s use in lithium-ion battery cathodes:

Type of lithium-ion cathode Cobalt in cathode Spec. energy (Wh/kg)
LFP 0% 120
LMO 0% 140
NMC 15% 200
LCO 55% 200
NCA 10% 245

The three most powerful cathode formulations for li-ion batteries all need cobalt. As a result, the metal is indispensable in many of today’s battery-powered devices:

  • Mobile phones (LCO)

  • Tesla Model S (NCA)

  • Tesla Powerwall (NMC)

  • Chevy Volt (NMC/LMO)

The Tesla Powerwall 2 uses approximately seven kilograms and a Tesla Model S (90 kWh) uses approximately 22.5 kilos of the energy metal.

The cobalt supply chain

Cobalt production has gone almost straight up to meet demand, more than doubling since the early 2000s.

But while the metal is desired, getting it is the hard part.

1. No native cobalt has ever been found.

There are four widely distributed ores that exist but almost no cobalt is mined from them as a primary source.

2. Most cobalt production is mined as a byproduct.

Mine source % cobalt production
Nickel (byproduct) 60%
Copper (byproduct) 38%
Cobalt (primary) 2%

This means it is hard to expand production when more is needed.

3. Most production occurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country with elevated supply risks.

Country Tonnes %
Total 122,701 100.0%
United States 524 0.4%
China 1,417 1.2%
DRC 67,975 55.4%
Rest of World 52,785 43.0%

(Source: CRU, estimated production for 2017, tonnes)

The future of cobalt supply

Companies like Tesla and Panasonic need reliable sources of the metal and right now there aren’t many failsafes.

The United States hasn’t mined cobalt in significant volumes since 1971 and the USGS reports that the U.S. only has 301 tonnes of the metal stored in stockpiles.

The reality is that the DRC produces about half of all cobalt and it also holds approximately 47% of all global reserves.

Why is this a concern for end-users?

1. The DRC is one of the poorest, most corrupt and most coercive countries on the planet.

It ranks:

  • 151st out of 159 countries in the Human Freedom Index

  • 176th out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index

  • 178th out of 184 countries in terms of GDP per capita ($455)

  • 148th out of 169 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index

2. The DRC has had more deaths from war since WWII than any other country on the planet.
Recent wars in the DRC:

  • First Congo War (1996-1997)—An invasion by Rwanda that overthrew the Mobutu regime.

  • Second Congo War (1998-2003)—The bloodiest conflict in world history since WWII, with 5.4 million deaths.

3. Human rights in mining

The DRC government estimates that 20% of all cobalt production in the country comes from artisanal miners—independent workers who dig holes and mine ore without sophisticated mines or machinery.

There are at least 100,000 artisanal cobalt miners in the DRC and UNICEF estimates that up to 40,000 children could be in the trade. Children can be as young as seven years old and they can work up to 12 hours with physically demanding work earning $2 per day.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International alleges that Apple, Samsung and Sony fail to do basic checks in making sure the metal in their supply chains did not come from child labour.

Most major companies have vowed that any such practices will not be tolerated in their supply chains.

Other sources

Where will tomorrow’s supply come from and will the role of the DRC eventually diminish? Will Tesla achieve its goal of a North American supply chain for its key metal inputs?

Mining exploration companies are already looking at regions like Ontario, Idaho, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories to find tomorrow’s deposits.

Ontario: Ontario is one of the only places in the world where cobalt-primary mines have existed. This camp is near the aptly named town of Cobalt, which is located halfway between Sudbury, the world’s nickel capital, and Val-d’Or, one of the most famous gold camps in the world.

Idaho: Idaho is known as the Gem State while also being known for its silver camps in Coeur d’Alene—but it has also been a cobalt producer in the past.

B.C.: The mountains of B.C. are known for their rich gold, silver, copper, zinc and met coal deposits. But cobalt often occurs with copper and some mines in B.C. have produced cobalt in the past.

Northwest Territories: Cobalt can also be found up north, as the NWT becomes a more interesting mineral destination for companies. One hundred and sixty kilometres from Yellowknife, a gold-cobalt-bismuth-copper deposit is being developed.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Kyrgyzstan gains B.C. foothold as Centerra hedges jurisdictions

July 5th, 2016

by Greg Klein | July 5, 2016

A “balanced geopolitical risk profile” would counter Centerra Gold’s (TSX:CG) Kyrgyzstan woes with a solid foundation in more favourable countries. But with Kyrgyzstan currently holding nearly a third of Centerra shares, that country retains a sizeable piece of the action. Late July 5 Centerra announced a definitive agreement to pick up Thompson Creek Metals TSX:TCM and its Mount Milligan copper-gold mine in British Columbia. Also included are Thompson Creek’s Endako molybdenum mine in B.C. and its Thompson Creek moly mine in Idaho, both on care and maintenance, as well as two development projects in B.C.

Kyrgyzstan gains B.C. foothold as Centerra hedges jurisdictions

Gold miner Centerra takes on Thompson
Creek’s debt to move into a safer jurisdiction.

Subject to approvals, the share swap values Thompson Creek at C$0.79, a 33% premium to the company’s 20-day volume-weighted average to July 4. The deal would leave Thompson Creek shareholders with about 8% of Centerra. The company also pays off Thompson Creek’s outstanding notes. The companies value the transaction at approximately US$1.1 billion.

Royal Gold’s Mount Milligan gold stream would drop from 52.25% to 35% in exchange for an 18.75% copper stream.

The deal gives Centerra “an operating base in Canada—one of the lowest-risk mining jurisdictions in the world—which will complement our [50%-held] Canadian-based Greenstone project and provide for further flexibility to expand into the Americas,” commented CEO Scott Perry.

In addition to its flagship Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan, Centerra holds Mongolia’s Boroo gold mine, currently on care and maintenance, and two advanced-stage gold projects in Mongolia and Turkey.

At the company’s May AGM the CEO reportedly acknowledged that Kyrgyzstan is “not viewed as a top-tier jurisdiction”—a considerable understatement. Out of 109 countries ranked by the Fraser Institute’s annual mining survey, Kyrgyzstan ranks 19th from last on the Investment Attractiveness Index and eighth from last on the Policy Perception Index. B.C., although no paradise itself for miners, ranks 18th from top on the IAI and 41st on the PPI.

Centerra’s Kyrgyzstan adversities have included a police raid on the company’s office, a US$220-million pollution fine, a US$9-billion claim by the country’s Green Party, criminal investigations against the company’s executives, a ban on executives leaving the country, the arrest of a former CEO in Bulgaria reportedly at Kyrgyzstan’s behest, illegal roadblocks, violent mobs, and the arrest and deportation of a Centerra welder after he posted a Facebook remark comparing a local sausage to “horse penis.”

Centerra holds a 100% interest in Kumtor but Kyrgyzstan holds 32.7% of Centerra. In December the company offered to trade a 50% stake in the mine for the country’s shares. But now Kyrgyzstan faces dilution through the C$170-million bought deal Centerra also announced on July 5.

The company expects to close the offer around July 20 and the acquisition in autumn.

The world’s most popular mints: Key facts and comparisons

June 1st, 2016

Story by Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist | Infographic by JM Bullion

In the precious metals industry, trust is paramount. That’s why if you own gold or silver bullion, there is a good chance it comes from one of the world’s few internationally recognized mints.

This infographic from JM Bullion highlights key facts and comparisons about some of the world’s most popular mints, including the United States Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Perth Mint, PAMP Suisse and Sunshine Minting.

The world’s most popular mints: Key facts and comparisons


Some quick facts on each of the world’s most popular mints:

The United States Mint was founded in 1792 and now has minting operations in Philadelphia, Denver, West Point and San Francisco. The mint produced more than 17 billion coins for circulation in 2015, the fastest annual pace since 19.4 billion coins were struck in 2001. Legend holds that George Washington donated some of his personal silver to the mint for manufacturing early coinage.

The Royal Canadian Mint was founded in 1908 in Ottawa. It produces over one billion coins per year, with the Silver Maple Leaf as its signature bullion offering. In 2007, the Royal Canadian Mint created the largest coin in the world—a 100-kilogram, 99.999% pure, $1-million gold bullion coin.

The Perth Mint was founded in 1899. It was originally built to refine metal from the gold rushes occurring in Western Australia, while also distributing sovereigns and half-sovereigns for the British Empire. In 1970, the mint’s jurisdiction was moved to the state government of Western Australia. The Australian Kookaburra (1990-), Koala (2007-) and Kangaroo (1990-1993, 2016-) are some of the mint’s most popular products among bullion buyers.

PAMP Suisse, a private mint, was founded in Switzerland in 1977. The mint refines an impressive 450 tonnes of gold annually, and much of the gold used for worldwide jewelry production comes from PAMP. The mint also produces the popular Fortuna bar, which is available in gold, silver and platinum, with sizes ranging from one gram to 100 ounces.

Sunshine Minting is another private mint. Founded in Idaho in 1979, Sunshine mints 70 million ounces of bullion each year, including its version of the popular Silver Buffalo Round. Sunshine Minting is also the primary supplier of one-ounce silver planchets (round metal disks, ready to be struck as coins) to the United States Mint.

Story by Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist | Infographic by JM Bullion

Athabasca Basin and beyond

July 13th, 2013

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere for July 6 to 12, 2013

by Greg Klein

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Four companies seal $6-million exploration plan for PLS-area’s largest package

With a formal agreement signed, an airborne survey about finished and a field crew on site, progress continues on the four-company Western Athabasca Syndicate Project, the Patterson Lake South-area’s largest land package. Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Athabasca Nuclear TSXV:ASC, Lucky Strike Resources TSXV:LKY and Noka Resources TSXV:NX announced the formal agreement July 10, saying the strategic alliance shares synergies while mitigating risk and dilution.

Uranium news from Saskatchewan and elsewhere

Four companies plan to spend $6 million over two years exploring the PLS-area’s largest package, the Western Athabasca Syndicate Project.

As previously reported in a memorandum of understanding, Skyharbour contributes seven Athabasca Basin properties to combine with Athabasca Nuclear’s 125,375-hectare Preston Lake, forming a 287,130-hectare package. Apart from the 11,769-hectare Wheeler project on the Basin’s east side, the properties are contiguous to the high-grade, near-surface uranium discovery of Fission Uranium TSXV:FCU and Alpha Minerals TSXV:AMW.

With 25% earn-ins for each company, the syndicate will jointly fund a $6-million program over two years. Noka and Lucky Strike will each put up $1 million a year while Skyharbour and Athabasca Nuclear will each spend $500,000. Cash and shares also change hands.

Data from the VTEM-plus time domain survey will be analysed for conductive trends like those hosting the PLS discovery. Under a joint program with two other companies, the survey also flew properties held by Forum Uranium TSXV:FDC and Aldrin Resource TSXV:ALN. So far the survey has found two parallel basement conductive trends on Aldrin’s Triple M property and a conductive trend extending from the PLS discovery into Forum’s Clearwater project.

Referring to activity surrounding the Alpha/Fission discovery, Dundee Capital Markets senior analyst David Talbot told, “This is an area play because these are area-type deposits. They tend to occur in clusters. The chances that Fission and Alpha are the only ones that have uranium on their property is probably relatively low.”

Following the VTEM, a radiometrics survey will search for boulder trains and in-situ radioactivity. Also on the syndicate’s agenda are radon surveys, geochemical sampling, prospecting and scintillometer surveying. Athabasca Nuclear acts as project operator, in consultation with the other three geological teams. The companies plan to follow Alpha’s 43-101 technical report, which details procedures leading to the PLS discovery.

Skyharbour president/CEO Jordan Trimble told, “I think it’s the lowest-risk way, on a per-company basis, to carry out this kind of large, aggressive exploration program.”

Read more about the Western Athabasca Syndicate Project.

Noka picks up two more properties

One day after sealing the syndicate deal, Noka announced two more Basin acquisitions. For the 151,170-hectare Clearwater project, the company issues two million shares and grants a 5% NSR. The transaction makes one of the vendors, Ryan Kalt, a company insider. For the 50,161-hectare Athabasca North, Noka issues 600,000 shares and grants a 2% NSR. TSXV approval has already come through. Noka also issued 130,000 shares and paid $14,000 as a finder’s fee.

Cameco, Mega mull Kintyre deal Down Under

About 1,250 kilometres north of Perth, at the western edge of Western Australia’s Great Sandy Desert, lies Cameco Corp’s TSX:CCO Oz flagship, the Kintyre deposit. Now the major is negotiating with a junior to co-operate on some additional claims adjacent to the project. Announced July 11 by Mega Uranium TSX:MGA, the two companies have signed a non-binding understanding that could give Cameco an initial 51% interest in the Kintyre Rocks project, held by Mega’s subsidiary Boxcut Mining. The talks imply Cameco’s continued interest in a project that had its feasibility study shelved last year.

Kintyre, held 70% by Cameco and 30% by Mitsubishi, has a 2011 resource showing:

  • an indicated category of 5.26 million tonnes averaging 0.49% for 56.4 million pounds uranium oxide (U3O8)
  • an inferred category of 505,000 tonnes averaging 0.47% for 5.3 million pounds.

The project reached pre-feasibility in 2012, detailing an open pit producing an average six million pounds a year for seven years. But economic survival called for $67-a-pound uranium, a price not seen after the March 2011 Fukushima accident. Full-feas was suspended and Cameco recorded a $168-million write-down. Work continued, however, on an engineering study and environmental permitting. The company also stated its interest in finding satellite deposits.

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They know the drill

February 19th, 2013

Premium Exploration and Amarillo Gold report assays from Idaho and Brazil

by Greg Klein

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Assays from a single infill hole continued Premium Exploration’s TSXV:PEM findings of long mineralized intervals at the Idaho gold project’s Friday zone. Results released February 19 show:

  • 0.57 grams per tonne gold over 304.8 metres
  • (including 1.11 g/t over 111.25 metres).

True width is estimated at 75%. No bottom cutoff or topcut were applied. The interval started at surface.

The assays “appear to be consistent with the resource and previously released core holes drilled in this area,” Premium stated. But this hole was drilled with a reverse circulation rig to determine whether lower-cost RC work could replace diamond drilling. Still pending is a QA/QC analysis to compare results with previous holes. Then the company will decide which equipment to use for the rest of the infill program.

Premium Exploration and Amarillo Gold report assays from Idaho and Brazil

Premium geologists log core from the Friday zone
of the company’s Idaho gold project.

The hole was drilled at a -60 degree dip from the same collar that was previously drilled in the same direction at -70, producing these results released in January 2010:

  • 0.8 g/t gold over 370.9 metres
  • (including 1.5 g/t over 134.3 metres)
  • (including 2.5 g/t over 47.3 metres).

The Friday-Petsite deposit has a May 2012 resource estimate using a 0.4 g/t cutoff to show:

  • an indicated category of 21.5 million tonnes averaging 0.91 g/t gold for 629,000 gold ounces
  • an inferred category of 5.9 million tonnes averaging 0.77 g/t for 146,000 ounces.

The near-surface resource could be amenable to open pit mining and features sulphide mineralization, Premium states. Last winter’s program drilled about 8,000 metres within the one-kilometre resource as well as along strike, with hopes of expanding the pit to 1.7 kilometres.

Two other zones on the 18,000-hectare project have non-compliant resources. Using a 0.4 g/t cutoff, the Buffalo Gulch deposit’s historic, non-43-101 resource shows:

  • an indicated category of 4.8 million tonnes averaging 0.8 g/t for 111,000 ounces.

Also using a 0.4 g/t cutoff, the Deadwood deposit’s historic, non-43-101 resource shows:

  • an indicated category of 1.6 million tonnes averaging 0.75 g/t for 39,000 ounces
  • an inferred category of 700,000 tonnes averaging 0.75 g/t for 18,000 ounces.

Both Buffalo Gulch and Deadwood have expansion potential along strike and at depth, according to Premium.

In December the company announced that a ground-based IP survey had identified a new target at the X zone with characteristics “similar to those associated with the three known deposits.” That marks the project’s 12th target, most of which have yet to be drilled.

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Marathon, New Jersey Mining report Idaho Gold Results up to 4.41 g/t over 20.6m

September 11th, 2012

Resource Clips - essential news on junior gold mining and junior silver miningMarathon Gold Corp TSX:MOZ in joint venture with New Jersey Mining Corp announced assays from their Golden Chest Mine in the Coeur d’Alene Mining District of Idaho.

Infill highlights include
4.41 grams per tonne gold over 20.6 metres
(including 10.8 g/t over 7 metres)
9.65 g/t over 7.7 metres
(including 30.3 g/t over 2.4 metres)
1.53 g/t over 17 metres
(including 10.4 g/t over 1.5 metres)
Infill depths extend to 195 metres.

Step-out highlights include
2.04 g/t over 11.9 metres
(including 6.18 g/t over 3.5 metres)
1.56 g/t over 8.4 metres
2.44 g/t over 4.1 metres
(including 8.8 g/t over 1 metre)
Step-out depths extend to 205 metres.

The property is a 50/50 joint venture with New Jersey Mining acting as project operator. The mine has over 3,900 metres of underground workings and the permits necessary to drill and operate on the deposit. The property includes 24 patented mining claims and 70 unpatented mining claims covering 515 hectares. The patented claims that cover the mine workings have mineral and surface rights.

Marathon President/CEO Phillip Walford stated, “We had great success with this year’s drilling program at the Golden Chest Mine and we are pleased to be concluding this program on such a strong note. These final results reveal the presence of a new high-grade gold shoot and the extension of a longer interval that was discovered in May in the Katie and Dora area. Additionally, these concluding results demonstrate that there is the potential to increase the current open-pit resource. As the company’s focus is to generate value through resource expansion, the current resource estimate is being revised based on this year’s drilling results and is expected to be released in the fourth quarter of this year.”

View Company Profile

Marathon Gold Corp
Jennie Guay
IR Manager

Read an interview with Marathon President/CEO Phillip Walford.

Read a feature story about Marathon Gold Corp.

by Greg Klein

Third Time’s The Charm

January 11th, 2012

Otis Plans a New, January Kilgore Gold Estimate

By Ted Niles

Craig Lindsay couldn’t be happier with Otis Gold’s TSXV:OOO Kilgore project. But the good news has remained in-house. “We’ve been delayed in getting our resource estimate out,” the President and CEO says. Otis missed its July 2011 deadline, then its end-of-3Q 2011 deadline. “That’s had a bit of depressing effect on the stock,” he admits. But the third time’s the charm, as they say. Lindsay is confident an updated January Kilgour resource will lead to an improvement in Otis’ valuation relative to its Idaho peers.

“We’re trading at $15 an ounce, and [they're] trading at $60 an ounce,” Lindsay notes. “Our peers in Nevada are trading at $100 to $125 dollars an ounce in the ground on an adjusted market-cap basis. We’re very much undervalued, and I think one of the triggers to move us up to the next level is a new resource.”

Otis Plans a New, January Kilgore Gold Estimate

Located in southeast Idaho’s Clark County, the Kilgore gold project comprises 162 federal mining claims totalling 1,315 hectares. Kilgore’s Mine Ridge and Dog Bone deposits currently have NI 43-101 resources of 218,000 ounces gold indicated and 269,000 ounces inferred. Kilgore’s previous owners include Placer Dome and Pegasus Gold, and it was developed by Echo Bay Mines (now a subsidiary of Kinross Gold TSX:K) between 1993 and 1996. While Echo Bay eventually abandoned Kilgore due to the then-low gold price, an internal engineering study estimated that the property had potential resources upwards of two million ounces. Testing by Echo Bay and Otis also suggests that the largely-oxide hosted deposit has particularly good metallurgy, with recovery rates running as high as 94%.

Between 2008—the year it acquired the project—and 2010, Otis drilled roughly 10,400 metres focusing mainly on the Mine Ridge deposit. In 2011, the company undertook a 9,320-metre drill program. Mine Ridge assays released December 9, 2011, include

  • 1.05 grams per tonne gold over 48.8 metres
  • 1.39 g/t over 15.2 metres
  • 1.17 g/t over 10.7 metres
  • 0.77 g/t over 21.3 metres
  • 0.68 g/t over 30.5 metres
  • 0.7 g/t over 39.6 metres

October 6, 2011, assays include

    0.89 g/t over 118.8 metres (including 1.01 g/t over 97.5 metres)
  • 0.89 g/t over 114.3 metres (including 1.1 g/t over 80.8 metres)
  • 0.7 g/t over 50.3 metres (including 1.13 g/t over 18.3 metres)
  • 0.88 g/t over 35 metres (including 1.03 g/t over 16.7 metres)

Lindsay comments, “We’re extremely pleased with the results from the Mine Ridge deposit. The results we issued [December 9] demonstrate the continuity of the deposit, that it continues to grow, and the fact that it’s open in every direction.”

With no debt and $1.5 million cash on hand, Otis plans a 10,000-metre drill campaign for 2012. Permitting is also a priority, and Lindsay hopes to begin environmental baseline studies. A preliminary economic assessment is intended, but a date for that has yet to be set.

It clearly is a production-type story. It has excellent metallurgy; it’s got a good solid grade; it’s very near surface and is very amenable to an open-pit heap-leach operation —Craig Lindsay

“We’re building up the project with production in mind,” Lindsay relates, “but the reality is that it is more likely that a third party is going to come in and take the thing over and put it into production. It clearly is a production-type story. It has excellent metallurgy; it’s got a good solid grade; it’s very near surface and is very amenable to an open-pit heap-leach operation.”

The project is located within 50 kilometres of an interstate highway and is accessible by road. “There’s power at the bottom of the hill, and there’s plenty of water on site,” Lindsay reports. He stresses that Idaho is particularly mining friendly, compared to some of its neighbours. “We’ve had a very favourable experience to date. We’ve turned around all of our drill programs in six weeks or less. We know people in Nevada who are taking 18 to 20 months to get drill permits. We’re in a good area from a permitting perspective because we’re not facing the challenges that many other companies do. There are no salmon-bearing streams running around our property; there’s a light population; and there are no First Nations concerns.”

Otis’s other major asset is its Oakley gold project in Idaho’s Cassia County, which has indicated resources of 235,000 ounces gold, and which Otis has indicated it intends to joint venture.

Lindsay concludes, “We’re really pleased with what we have accomplished at Kilgore in the last three and a half years. We’ve hit on something like 62 of 68 drill holes; the deposit is open in every direction; we’ve got two other high-priority targets on the project. We have the capability to clearly move this into a multimillion ounce story.”

At press time, Otis Gold had 42.9 million shares trading $0.205 for a market cap of $8.8 million. The company’s other properties include the Buckhorn, Hai and Goldbug projects, all located in Idaho.

Shear Economy

October 4th, 2011

Atlanta Advances its Idaho Gold-Silver Project

By Greg Klein

“Essentially, what we’re selling is cheap ounces in the ground,” explains Atlanta Gold TSX:ATG Director/VP/CFO Bill Baird. “Our discovery or development cost per ounce—including all overhead, all expenses in the company, everything—is less than $20 a [gold equivalent] ounce. We’ve got a very cost-effective operation.” That helps explain Baird’s ebullience during a time of market turbulence. And frugality notwithstanding, Atlanta’s game plan is ambitious. The company aims for a 250,000-ounce increase in its gold-equivalent resource each year.

With that in mind, the company focuses on the 889-hectare Atlanta Project, 60 miles northeast of Boise, Idaho. The project area, part of the Middle Boise Mining District, hosted 12 historic mines. “Until this year, the exploration was only on the Atlanta shear zone, which is 11,400 feet [3,477 metres] long, between 30 and 120 feet [9.15 and 36.6 metres] wide and goes down to a known vertical depth of 1,000 feet [305 metres],” Baird explains. “We recently announced that we stepped off the Atlanta shear zone, and we’re drilling holes north of the zone. We’re hitting some new gold-bearing zones there. We don’t know yet if they’re part of the zone. The total mineralized structures cover a horizontal distance of 50,000 feet [15,250 metres].”

Atlanta Advances its Idaho Gold-Silver Project

Assays released September 27 include:

  • 7.79 grams per tonne gold over 19.8 metres (including 25.92 g/t over 4.6 metres)
  • 11.58 g/t over 10.7 metres (including 24.32 g/t over 4.6 metres)
  • 8.14 g/t over 6.1 metres (including 11.83 g/t over 3 metres)
  • 4.51 g/t over 13.7 metres

The September 2011 indicated estimate shows 6.83 million tonnes grading 3.45 g/t gold for 686,600 gold ounces and 9.04 g/t silver for 1.8 million silver ounces. The inferred category shows 1.79 million tonnes grading 5.42 g/t gold for 282,400 gold ounces and 8.16 g/t silver for 425,400 silver ounces. The gold-equivalent numbers are 719,000 ounces indicated and 290,000 ounces inferred.

The company keeps three rigs drilling 24/7. “We’ve drilled 46,000 feet [14,030 metres] to date this year. Our objective is to drill 60,000 feet [18,300 metres],” Baird says. “We have a number of assays pending, so there’s going to be news releases coming out probably through November. We’d like to end the year with 1,250,000 [gold-equivalent] ounces.

“We know the shear goes down to a vertical depth of 2,000 feet [610 metres]. We identified a million ounces in the top 1,000 feet [305 metres], but last year we found that at 1,000 feet the shear splits into two individual zones that appear to widen at depth, so that will increase the gold content per vertical foot and the economic potential. And we believe it extends at depth—as our chairman Jim Gray says, ‘Gold didn’t come from the sky, it came from underneath.’ If we confirm the continuity at depth, we can probably count on the Atlanta shear zone for three million ounces.”

An updated resource estimate and a PEA are scheduled for early 2012, with prefeasibility following.

“We’ll probably do another 50,000 or 60,000 feet [15,250 or 18,300 metres] of drilling next year as well,” Baird points out. “People love to see the resource going up, and we’ve always overshot every target we’ve set on the resource. But you get to the point where you have to start mining. We’ll continue to expand the resource, but it doesn’t make sense to spend money on drilling when you could be generating cash flow to cover the cost.”

We’re saying, ‘Let’s keep the mine to a pilot scale; let’s get it permitted and up and operating.’ As the resource grows, we’ll ramp up production accordingly —Bill Baird

For all that, Baird sees the actual mining scaled down from the 2008 plan, which entailed a large open-pit, cyanide heap-leach operation. “We changed it to a smaller open pit combined with an underground operation, a conventional gravity flotation mill on site, with no cyanide circuit. And that was very well received by the permitting agencies,” he says. “We’re saying, ‘Let’s keep the mine to a pilot scale; let’s get it permitted and up and operating.’ As the resource grows, we’ll ramp up production accordingly.”

While Baird doesn’t rule out a takeover, he says Atlanta’s team is ready for production. Baird’s 25 years of exploration and mining experience include a decade with Teck Cominco. Chairman/Director Jim Gray is a 50-year exploration geologist who co-founded Canadian Hunter Exploration.

Interim President/CEO Warren Holmes boasts over 40 years of experience including lengthy stints with Noranda Inc, where he served as VP/General Manager of Pamour Porcupine Mines, and with Falconbridge, where he was Senior VP of Canadian Mining Operations.

Ernie Simmons is Director/COO and VP of Mining. “He started mining underground before he even finished high school,” Baird says. “He ran Noranda’s contract operations in the United States. He started at least six mines in the US that I know of.”

Atlanta’s other claims consist of property in Quebec’s Abitibi region and diamond claims on Baffin Island.

At press time Atlanta had 182.64 million shares outstanding at $0.07 for a market cap of $12.78 million.