VANCOUVER — Goldstrike Resources (TSXV: GSR) is in for a busy year at its flagship Plateau gold property, 200 km east of Dawson City, central Yukon. The junior explorer and its new partner on the project, Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM), are launching the most extensive exploration campaign ever carried out on the 571 sq. km property.
The $6-million program will use Newmont’s proprietary technology to expand and identify high-grade gold mineralization zones at Plateau. The property was previously thought to be barren, but is now known for its prolific exposures of visible gold over 50 km.
“It’s a large system — a lot of gold surged through these rocks,” William Chornobay, chief operating officer, tells The Northern Miner during a phone interview from Goldstrike’s office in downtown Vancouver. “There’s a lot of work ahead of us, but thankfully our partner has the technical depth and financial strength required to take on an entire district like this one.”
Newmont’s foray into the Yukon began in March when it struck a $53-million deal to explore and develop the junior’s emerging gold district.
The agreement has two stages. To earn 51% interest in Plateau, Newmont must spend $14.7 million in cash payments, financing and exploration expenses over the first two years, and complete a National Instrument 43-101 compliant resource.
The financing totalled $6 million and comprised 12.7 million Goldstrike units at 47¢ per unit. Each unit consists of a share and a warrant exercisable at 75¢ per share within four years.
To boost its ownership in the project to 75%, Newmont must spend another $21.4 million on exploration and complete a feasibility study before 2028.
“These companies are coming back to projects in Canada and the U.S. because they are geopolitically stable jurisdictions at a time the world isn’t too stable,” Chornobay says. “Plateau has generated a lot of interest from senior miners because it is a brand-new gold district. The project is a long ways from being a mine, but it has all the right ingredients of becoming something significant.”
Goldstrike first ventured into Plateau in 2011 to investigate gold anomalies found in government-sourced regional stream sediment data. After six years of boots-and-leather exploration work and 3,500 metres of drilling, the company has uncovered visible gold in veins, stockworks and breccias across a 50 km distance.
Only two of the seven main prospects at Plateau have ever been drilled. At Goldstack, a 2016 drill hole returned 12.5 grams gold per tonne over 20.7 metres. But at the Gold Dome prospect, drilling in 2013 found 9 metres of 7.6 grams gold within a 600- by 1,200-metre gold-in-soil anomaly.
Prospecting at the Big Bang zone — Goldstrike’s most recent discovery — outlined a 3 by 2 km area containing breccias and vein stockworks. Out of the 50 grab samples collected last year, 14 of the samples returned over 1 gram gold.
“Every time we go into this property we find more and more gold,” Chornobay says. “Wherever you see an outcrop you see quartz flooding … the showings look like they tie together somehow, they just need more work to figure out how.”
As part of this year’s exploration program, Goldstrike and Newmont plan to conduct airborne and ground geophysical surveys, geochemistry, geological mapping and an unspecified amount of drilling at Plateau.
Meanwhile, Goldstrike is also preparing for a maiden drill program at its wholly owned Lucky Strike gold project, 90 km south of Dawson City. The property is next to the 1 million oz. White Gold property, and near the 20 million oz. Klondike placer goldfields.
(The White Gold property is being acquired by Shawn Ryan’s exploration vehicle White Gold [TSXV: WGO] as per a May 18 agreement with owner Kinross Gold [TSX: K; NYSE: KGC] for 17.5 million shares, a $10-million upfront cash payment and $15 million in milestone payments. Agnico Eagle Mines [TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM] will keep its 19.9% interest in White Gold Corp. by buying 4.4 million shares at $2.01 per share.)
The drill program at Lucky Strike will test five gold-in-soil anomalies that Goldstrike has found along a 10 km long northwest-trending strike.
Channel sampling over one of the anomalies, Monte Carlo, returned 0.76 gram gold over 78 metres, including 8 metres of 3 grams gold. The mineralization falls within a 700-metre-long induced polarization anomaly, highlighted by geophysical surveys finished last year.
“Our focus over the past five years has been at Plateau, so Lucky Strike has been our orphaned child,” Chornobay says. “We’ve completed only small programs to date, but the trenching we did last year exceeded our expectations. Every trench we’ve dug has hit gold mineralization, and the results rival the discovery trenches at both Coffee and White Gold, so we’re excited to go back in there.”
He adds that if Lucky Strike delivers good drill holes this year, “it’s an obvious spin-out, and that will benefit all of our shareholders.”
Shares of Goldstrike have traded in a 52-week range of 12¢ to 43¢, and closed at 34¢ at press time. The company has 184 million shares outstanding for a $61.7-million market capitalization.