VANCOUVER — Shares of Nevada-focused explorer Columbus Gold (TSXV: CGT) were on the rise following the release of promising near-surface drill assays from its Eastside gold asset located 40 km due west of Tonopah, Nevada. The company's results stem from a 2,400 metre drill program aimed at following up on a discovery made in 2011, and seem to indicate open-pit potential at the project.
Roughly two years ago Columbus uncovered a new gold zone at Eastside — during a maiden, 12-hole drill program — when discovery hole 4 cut 13.6 metres of 2.42 grams gold per tonne from 157 metres depth. Gold mineralization at the project is localized in quartz veins and stockworks associated with a group of four separate rhyolite flow-dome complexes, each ranging from 400 metres to 700 metres in diameter.
Columbus' follow-up program consists of 12 reverse-circulation drill holes collared around its discovery, and successfully cut gold mineralization close to surface. The company's results were highlighted by hole 14, which intersected 27 metres grading 1.82 grams gold from 100 metres depth, including a 12 metre interval of 54 grams silver per tonne associated with gold mineralization, also starting at around 100 metres down hole.
"The discovery of significant near-surface gold mineralization amenable to open-pit mining is a major milestone [at Eastside]. Further, if there is such a thing as an ideal location to find a gold mine, this may be it — infrastructure for mining and processing is outstanding and in the very friendly mining jurisdiction of Nevada," commented CEO Robert Giustra, citing the project's proximity to Tonopah and nearby road access via US highway 95.
Three additional drill assays demonstrate similar, near-surface gold-silver mineralization across the zone, including: 6.1 metres grading 1.17 grams gold from 38 metres depth in hole 13; 2 metres averaging 1.47 grams gold from 169 metres in hole 19; and 16.8 metres of 0.75 gram gold from 139 metres in hole 21.
Columbus' drilling to date indicates the gold zone is continuous over at least 330 metres of strike, and remains open to depth and to surface, and in all directions except to the north. The company also notes silver mineralization associated with the gold, highlighted by: 12.2 metres grading 48 grams silver from 139 metres depth in hole 20; and 6.1 metres of 52 grams silver from 174 metres depth in hole 21.
It should be noted that Columbus suspects hole 20 intersected a separate gold zone when it cut 29 metres grading 1.2 grams gold from 105 metres vertical depth. The target is blind to surface, and contains identified as silicified, volcaniclastic tuff.
The company will require further drilling to nail down a model for Eastside's systems, though it has identified a deeper gold-silver zone, which is overlain by a low-grade "cloud" of gold mineralization within the rhyolite dome that exceeds 0.1 gram gold from surface. Drilling to date seems to indicate that better grade zones — over significant widths — occur within the "cloud" structure.
Columbus Gold is currently mapping and sampling five undrilled rhyolite flow-dome complexes at Eastside, and the company intends to kick start a third drill program at the project by early 2014.
Columbus has traded within a 52-week window of 16¢ and 45¢, and jumped 17% following its Eastside news release en route to a 31¢ per share close at the time of writing. The company reported $1.2 million in cash at the end of August, and maintains 102 million shares outstanding for a $32 million press-time market capitalization.
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