I have to think back a couple decades, to the Hemlo gold rush, to remember a time when gold exploration was as hot as it is now. A tip of my hat to the strong gold price.
As far as future gold prices are concerned, my crystal ball seems to be rather cloudy. But there are a lot of people who think the price will remain in the US$400-range. These people are putting money into gold exploration across the country and around the globe. Here are just some of the hundreds of gold projects going on.
The latest news from the Meliadine West gold project near Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, continues to be promising. Highlights from the final holes drilled this year in the West Tiriganiaq zone include 188.2 g/t (uncut) over 16.18 metres. The Meliadine West project is a joint venture of Vancouver-based CUMBERLAND RESOURCES and Calgary-based COMAPLEX MINERALS, which is earning a 78% interest by bringing the mine into production. Cumberland is also working on the feasibility study for its 100%-owned Meadowbank gold project near Baker Lake.
PUMA EXPLORATION of Rimouski, Que., has acquired four new gold properties in northeastern Manitoba. The company hopes to uncover rocks similar to those of the Abitibi and Timmins areas and with similar production success. But it is still too early to tell for sure.
Speaking of Timmins, LAKE SHORE GOLD of Vancouver has completed the requirements to earn a 50% interest in the Timmins gold property, 18 km west of the city of the same name. The other 50% belongs to HOLMER GOLD MINES. Where better to find a minable gold deposit than near the dozens that have already been exploited?
KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD of Kirkland Lake, Ont., announced this week that drill core from its underground program has returned 26.21 opt Au over 6.0 ft (uncut). Note that the figure is in ounces, not those tiny, little grams. This may well be the highest grade intersection ever made in the Kirkland Lake camp. The company has put the Macassa gold mine and mill back into production and owns four former producing properties (Kirkland Lake, Teck-Hughes, Lake Shore and Wright Hargreaves).
THUNDERMIN RESOURCES of Toronto and partner CORNERSTONE CAPITAL have begun a 2,500-m drill program on the Cape Ray property in southwest Newfoundland. That corner of Newfoundland had a gold producer from 1987-97, the Hope Brook mine. If Cape Ray doesn’t pan out, Thundermin has interests in gold projects in north-central Newfoundland and near Rouyn-Noranda, Que.
The Val d’Or, Que., area remains a favourite gold exploration region. That city’s NORTHERN STAR MINING reports its deepest drill intersection has returned 0.306 oz/tonne Au over 44.7 ft. That assay came from hole NSM-50, which the company believes may represent a completely new zone.
COMMANDER RESOURCES of Vancouver reports that its Durette showing on Baffin Island yielded rock samples that assayed 46.9 g/t, 41.2 g/t, 16.9 g/t and 16.5 g/t Au. Assays on other samples are in progress. Commander is earning a 100% interest in the project from FALCONBRIDGE.
A new gold discovery has been made on the Noralex property in the Abitibi Belt near the Doyon gold mine. The first hole of the program returned 1.94 g/t Au over 33.0 metres, including 3.19 g/t over 15.0 metres. The property is under option by ALEXIS MINERALS from Vancouver.
EXALL RESOURCES of Toronto and equal-partner SOUTHERN STAR RESOURCES are drilling the Gold Eagle mine property in Red Lake, Ont. They report an intersection of 38.24 g/t Au over 2.07 metres from the Western Discovery zone. Together with earlier assays, this information is enough to compile into an initial mineral resource estimate.
The Ulu gold deposit in WOLFDEN RESOURCE’s 100%-owned High Lake project in Nunavut continues to return high-grade intersections. Drill core from a deep zone assayed 21.18 g/t Au over 2.4 metres. As if that weren’t promising enough, the company says it has also discovered massive sulphide mineralization (7.48% Cu and 6.94% Zn over 1.9 metres) parallel to the main gold zones.
QUEENSTON MINING of Toronto has a fistful of gold projects in Kirkland Lake, Red Lake and Timmins, Ont., as well as near Rouyn-Noranda and the Cadillac-Bousquet camp in Quebec. One of them, the Anoki project about halfway between the Macassa and Kerr-Addison mines, is the subject of a scoping study to determine whether a full feasibility study is warranted. The current estimate includes measured and indicated resources of 522,300 tonnes averaging 5.7 g/t Au plus an inferred resource of 35,800 tonnes averaging 5.7 g/t Au at the Anoki Main deposit, and an inferred resource of 106,000 tonnes grading 6.5 g/t Au at the adjacent Anoki South zone.
Drilling will resume at the Sugar gold zone 40 km west of the Hemlo gold camp early next month. This is a joint venture of Toronto’s CORONA GOLD CORP. and HARTE GOLD CORP. Last winter’s drilling program resulted in an inferred resources estimate containing 283,500 oz of gold.
TOM EXPLORATION of Rouyn-Noranda, Que., thinks there may still be minable reserves in the former Elder gold mine. The company has an agreement with ABCOURT MINES whereby Tom can acquire 100% interest in the Elder mine and Tagami exploration property. The former Elder mine has historical resources of 750,000 tons at 0.198 opt Au.
The foregoing is merely a sample of the gold exploration news that crossed my desk in the last week. There were other announcements from western Canada and Latin America. Foreign exploration companies are equally busy. The mind boggles at the volume work underway to recover the yellow metal.