Early results from the inaugural drill program at Getchell Gold’s (CSE: GTCH; US-OTC: GGLDF) flagship Fondaway Canyon gold project in Nevada “exceeded expectations” says President Mike Sieb.
“We were thrilled with the initial drill results as the mineralisation was exactly where we had projected it to be,” Sieb said in an interview. “Not only did the drilling encounter a broad zone of mineralisation approximately 100 metres thick, but the grades came back higher than we had anticipated, so it was a huge success.”
The six-hole 1,995-metre drill program was designed to examine the mineralisation and structural setting and test the geological model of the Colorado zone, which sits below the historic Colorado pit.
Highlights included drillhole FCG20-02, which returned 21.9 metres grading 6.2 grams gold per tonne starting from 106.1 metres downhole, including 12 metres of 9.6 grams gold per tonne.
The drillhole intersected a new structural zone of mineralization not accounted for in the geological model, Sieb said. The hole was drilled along a plane connecting the historic Colorado pit to the Pack Rat zone, 650 metres to the southwest, and intersected a wide mineralised structural zone between a depth of 150 metres and 300 metres.
A step-out hole (FCG20-03) drilled 120 metres to the southeast, cut 21.1 metres grading 4.3 grams gold from 148.7 metres, including 9.4 metres grading 8.7 grams gold, and a deeper interval of 49 metres grading 2 grams gold starting from 188.3 metres.
Both drill holes were collared from the Colorado pit and drilled in the central area to test the down-dip extensions of the Colorado zone mineralisation and extended the known gold mineralisation towards the southwest.
Getchell optioned the property from Canagold Resources (TSX: CCM; US-OTC: CRCUF), then called Canarc Resources, in late 2019. Under the option agreement, Getchell will earn a 100% interest in Fondaway over four years. It must pay Canagold US$2 million in cash, US$2 million in Getchell shares, and spend US$1.45 million on exploration. If Getchell earns its 100% stake in the project, Canagold will retain a 2% net smelter return (NSR) royalty.
Sieb says Fondaway met all of his criteria for what makes a project look interesting.
“There are always three factors you look for in a project,” Sieb said. “Does it have a solid foundation of existing or known mineralisation, is there an avenue for value accretion through the next drill program and the one after that, and how easy is it to take the project from exploration through to permitting and to the operation of a mine? All three have to align to make a successful project, and the more I got pulled into Fondaway, the better it became. It has the full package.”
The project is located in one of the world’s top five mining jurisdictions, has excellent road access, and is less than a two-hour drive from Reno, 125 km to the west. It also benefits from its proximity to the town of Fallon, 69 km to the southwest. The city is home to the Fallon Naval Air Station, which is a source of labour and industrial services such as mechanical and light fabrication services.
Sieb joined Getchell in 2018 as technical director, and was appointed president in mid-2020. The geologist has spent 30 years exploring for gold, base metals, potash, and battery metals.
“I have a breadth of experience of multi-commodity, multi-jurisdictional, and multi-stage projects and have been involved with many successful companies over my career so I know what it takes to develop a successful project.”
During his tenure as president of Brilliant Mining Corp. from 2006 to 2009, the company acquired a 25% ownership of the Lanfranchi nickel mine in Western Australia, with the remaining 75% interest held by Panoramic Resources (ASX: PAN). Brilliant acquired its 25% stake in the project for $18.5 million and grew the junior from a market capitalization of $20 million to $200 million in just under two years. Brilliant was named one of the top ten junior exploration companies on the TSX Venture50 for two years in a row in 2007 and 2008.
Fondaway was first staked in 1956 by Fisk Mining, which first discovered tungsten on the property. The family-run business mined approximately 9,072 tonnes of mineralized material recovering 200,000 lb. of tungsten trioxide. (The Fisk family still own the claims for the property.)
In 1977, gold was discovered on the property. Between 1980 and 1983, the Fisk family operating under Fisk & Robertson Mining used a vat leaching process to recover 2,500 oz. of gold from 22,670 tonnes of mineralized material.
Privately held Tenneco Minerals leased the property from 1986 to 1996 and drilled 573 holes totalling 40,011 metres. From 1989 until 1990 the company extracted 170,642 tonnes of mineralized material and produced 5,402 oz. of gold from an open-pit heap-leach mine.
Various operators explored Fondaway between 1996 and 2017, when Canarc Resource acquired the property.
That same year, a resource estimate by Canarc outlined 2.01 million indicated tonnes grading 6.18 grams gold per tonne for 409,000 oz. contained gold and inferred resources of 3.2 million tonnes grading 6.4 grams gold for 660,000 oz. of gold.
When Getchell acquired Fondaway in 2019, 735 holes (56,682 metres) had been drilled on the property.
Last year the company spent about six months compiling, digitising, and interpreting the “voluminous amount of data” left by the project’s previous owners.
Guided by the results from its 2020 drill program, Getchell plans to undertake a step-out drill program this year to extend the known mineralisation and follow-up on the newly discovered zone. It also plans to update the resource estimate by the middle of 2021.
Getchell Gold plans to drill 4,000 metres this year and currently has around $2 million in the treasury, which is enough to fund the work, Sieb says, but the company “will likely have to go back to the market at some stage this year to raise more funds.” The company, he added, also has over $3 million of ‘In-the-Money’ warrants that will provide a supplemental funding stream.
Elsewhere in Nevada Getchell Golds is advancing its Star project (the formerly producing Star Point Copper mine and the Star South copper-gold-silver), 60 km north of Fondaway; the Dixie Comstock gold project, 17 km northeast of Fondaway; and the Hot Springs Peak project, 180 km north of Fondaway.