VANCOUVER — Midway Gold (TSX: MDW; NYSE-MKT: MDW) is best known for its pair of development-stage assets in Nevada — namely its Pan and Gold Rock projects in White Pine County — but the company also has a joint venture with Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: ABX) in the state at the Spring Valley property, 32 km northeast of the town of Lovelock.
Spring Valley is a porphyry diatreme-hosted gold system situated beneath pediment gravels. Gold occurs along the top of a porphyry intrusion, and in overlying volcanic rocks, at stratigraphic contacts, in fracture zones and in the remains of a diatreme breccia. Gold mineralization is seen in sheeted quartz veins, hydrothermal breccias and open fractures.
Midway and Barrick struck a formal joint-venture agreement in February after the major met its expenditure requirements at Spring Valley more than a year ahead of schedule. Barrick spent US$38 million to earn its 70% interest, though Midway opted to relinquish another 5% interest in order to be carried to production free of any more payments or capital outlays. The junior will then pay back its share of development capital from production cash flow.
By May, Barrick had advanced Spring Valley to the prefeasibility development stage, with Midway president and CEO Ken Brunk stating the project could be “a new stand-alone gold mine.”
Barrick’s 2014 budget at Spring Valley totals US$17 million, with $9 million earmarked for infill drilling and US$8.4 million for an internal prefeasibility study and permit expenditures.
The partners have just updated the resource at Spring Valley based on drilling carried out between 2011 and 2013 totalling 18,000 metres, with measured and indicated resources doubling and grades increasing by 20%.
Spring Valley hosts 246 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 0.55 gram gold per tonne for 4.4 million contained oz., plus inferred resources of 71 million tonnes at 0.47 gram gold for 1.1 million contained oz.
They also tallied pit-optimized resources based on a variety of gold prices. At US$1,300 per oz. gold, the in-pit resource is 118 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 0.86 gram gold for 3.3 million contained oz.
The resource lies within an area 2.3 km in strike length by 700 metres in width, and remains open to the south, to the northwest and at depth. Midway also has drill targets outside of the current resource area, chosen based on soil and rock sampling, geophysical data, geological mapping and historic wide-spaced drilling.
“The accelerated progress on the project continues to give us confidence that Spring Valley has the potential to be a world-class gold mine in the near future,” commented Brunk. “The three drill rigs on site continue to be focused on infill drilling and will likely have an even greater future impact on ounce quality as we move forward to completion of a prefeasibility study in the fall of 2015.”
Junior Terraco Gold (TSXV: TEN; US-OTC: TCEGF) could hold up to a 3% net smelter returns royalty (NSR) on claims covering what it calls “the majority of Spring Valley,” and it controls 35 sq. km of exploration ground at its contiguous Moonlight gold project.
Midway shares rose 6¢ to $1.07 on the Spring Valley news, and have a 52-week trading range of 76¢ to $1.60. Midway has 171 million shares outstanding for a $183-million market capitalization.
The company scored a commitment letter for US$55 million in project financing at Pan in May, and raised US$25 million in a bought-deal offering in early June.