TerraX takes conservative approach to a forgotten greenstone belt

TerraX Minerals president Joseph Campbell (left) and vice-president of exploration Tom Setterfield at the Yellowknife City gold project in the Northwest Territories. Credit: TerraX Minerals TerraX Minerals president Joseph Campbell (left) and vice-president of exploration Tom Setterfield at the Yellowknife City gold project in the Northwest Territories. Credit: TerraX Minerals

VANCOUVER — TerraX Minerals (TSXV: TXR; US-OTC: TRXXF) has been making slow but steady improvements to its Yellowknife City gold project, which is located along trend of the multi-million ounce Giant-Con gold deposits in the Northwest Territories.

TerraX’s drilling in 2014 largely confirmed historical drill hole results and gently stepped out along known mineralization. However, the company has made some encouraging advances towards extending known gold mineralization in the highly prospective — yet somehow forgotten — Archean greenstone belt just outside the city of Yellowknife.

The property consists of the Crestaurum and Barney targets, which are mesothermal, lode-gold style showings that have been historically explored since 1945 but abandoned in the late 1990s, due to weak gold markets.

TerraX picked up the property in 2014 almost on a hunch after perusing its historical database that consisted of a list of claims, a map showing where they were and a half-page blurb explaining the project’s merits.

“It was bit of a mystery, but we could tell that the claims were along the extension of the Giant-Con, so we knew it was a good play,” Joseph Campbell, president of TerraX, said during a presentation at the Mineral Exploration Roundup in Vancouver in late January.

Within two months of the acquisition, TerraX had dug up data on 450 drill holes, gathered core from 200 drill holes and located and surveyed the collars during a site visit in the second quarter of 2014.

“In a short time we were able to identify many high-grade targets to shoot for and saved the company millions of dollars in exploration expenditures,” Campbell commented.

TerraX’s main targets lie along two major northeasterly trending shear zones named Crestaurum and Barney that anastomose across the length of the 13 km long property. The shears are extensions of the major gold-endowed structures known to host the 7.6 million oz. Giant and 5.5 million oz. Con gold deposits.

Crestaurum received most of the historical exploration, with over 187 shallow drill holes. During that time, three main ore shoots were defined over a 1.4 km strike and 100 metres deep, accounting for a non-National Instrument 43-101 “reserve” of 145,150 tonnes grading 7.54 grams gold per tonne.

The mineralized zone is quite narrow and varies between 2 to 6 metres wide, with grades up to 62.9 grams gold over 5 metres (hole 85-105). The moderately southeast dipping, highly deformed veins are low in sulphides and known to contain visible gold.

Drilling at Crestaurum in 2014 was used to verify previous intersections so that TerraX could incorporate the historical drill holes into a NI 43-101 compliant resource. No large discrepancies were found, and drilling returned intercepts including 2.9 metres of 33.6 grams gold from 49 metres deep (hole 14-019), and 3.1 metres of 13.8 grams gold from 70.4 metres deep (hole 14-015). The potential resource remains open to the north and south at depth. 

“Con was mined to a depth of 2,000 metres, so we certainly have a dip length to go for,” Campbell added. 

Meanwhile, drilling at the Barney North Extension was exploratory, and hopes were to intersect the northern strike, and updip extension of mineralization found in historical drill hole 95-16, which returned 20.9 metres at 3.79 grams gold at a vertical depth of 240 metres.

But the shallower intercepts came back weakly mineralized, so TerraX turned the drill back down-dip and brought 12.5 metres at 1.40 grams gold from 113 metres (hole 14-10) to the core rack. The intercept was the most encouraging of the program, as it extends mineralization at Barney some 250 metres to the north and a similar distance updip from historical drilling.

The company then moved its drill back south and wedged off hole 95-16 to test the zone updip. Its step-outs were modest, with announced intercepts of 22.4 metres at 6.35 grams gold (hole 95-16W1), and 45.7 metres at 1.56 grams gold (hole 95-16W3) occurring within 10 metres of the original mineralized intersection.

The Barney Shear looks to be a larger beast than Crestaurum. It’s over 200 metres wide, dips steeply, is highly complex and contains significant sulphides. Historical drilling has only tested over 600 metres of its 4.5 km trend, and as suggested from its recent drilling, mineralization appears to strengthen with depth.

“We don’t have any information above or below the high-grade intercepts at Barney and there’s little to no information along its strike length, so we don’t understand the system quite yet,” Campbell said. 

The company is drilling 5,000 metres at the Gold Core Area — a name used to describe the project’s 5 by 3 km footprint of gold occurrences and prospective shears found at surface.

“There are plenty of gold and polymetallic targets on the property, but we’ve narrowed our focus down to the core gold area because it’s difficult to get money,” Campbell conceded. “So we are being conservative, but we believe there is a large mineralizing system here.”

TerraX is testing the strike and dip extensions of the high-grade ore shoots at Crestaurum, and will try to determine what role off-angle mineralized veins and shear intersections have on its orientations.

Meanwhile, at the Barney shear zone, TerraX will continue following up on previous drill results and provide updates about the program over the next few months.

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