Nighthawk Gold (TSX: NHK; US-OTC: MIMZF) is drilling 25,000 metres this year at its 899 sq. km Indin Lake gold property in the Northwest Territories. The $11-million exploration program began in March and will include prospecting and ground geophysical surveying in June.
“We have this big land position,” Nighthawk president and CEO Michael Byron says in an interview with The Northern Miner, “but it’s not because we want to be Northwest Territories land barons. It’s because the Indin Lake greenstone belt is very much like the Abitibi greenstone belt.
“I see the same age of rocks, the same age of mineralization, the same style of mineralization, and the same grade and widths. The only thing it doesn’t share is the same amount of dollars and years spent.”
The company will split three drills between its Colomac gold project and other regional gold targets, including Leta Arm, Damoti Lake and Treasure Island. All three drills are active at Leta Arm, 15 km southwest of Colomac. Mineralization at Leta Arm runs 10 km long by 500 metres wide. Outcrop samples from last year’s prospecting program graded as high as 95.4 grams gold per tonne.
Nighthawk will then move two drills to Colomac, where it will drop 16,000 metres across several zones. The main sill at Colomac is 9 km long and up to 160 metres wide. It has six mineralization zones numbered Zone 1 to Zone 3.5. The project also has the Goldcrest sill, which runs parallel to the west of Colomac, the Grizzly Bear zone to the west of Goldcrest and the 24/27 zone to the east of Colomac. So far, only Colomac and Goldcrest have been drilled by the company. The zones are open in all directions.
Nighthawk will drill at Colomac on 2 km of untested strike, 2 km south of what Byron calls underexplored strike between zones 1.5 and 2. As of a 2013 resource estimate, Colomac has 39.8 million inferred tonnes grading 1.64 grams gold for 2.1 million oz. gold.
The resource estimate is based on National Instrument 43-101 compliant historical drilling, plus Nighthawk’s 15,000-metre campaign in 2012. The company will look to table an updated resource this May that includes 25,000 metres of drilling from 2013–2016, plus 25,000 metres from its 2017 campaign.
Nighthawk will also keep testing Goldcrest and Grizzly Bear.
Goldcrest is divided into Goldcrest North and Goldcrest South. The former hosts 678,500 inferred tonnes grading 2.23 grams gold for 48,650 oz. gold, and the latter has 434,900 inferred tonnes of 2.14 grams gold for 29,880 oz. gold. Grizzly Bear has 807,000 inferred tonnes of 1.04 grams gold for 27,000 oz. gold.
The third drill will move on to Damoti Lake and Treasure Island. Damoti Lake is 28 km south of Colomac. Nighthawk dropped 69 holes and more than 13,500 metres into Damoti during a 2009–2010 drill campaign. Highlights include 23.5 metres from 43 metres downhole grading 13.91 grams gold and 22.5 metres from 96 metres downhole grading 5.81 grams gold. Byron says no one has ever “drilled deep” at Damoti, and he sees the potential for the surface stratigraphy to repeat itself at depth and host high-grade mineralization.
Treasure Island runs along a 6 km mineralized corridor, 11 km north of Colomac. Nighthawk will look to further explore its Seadog showing, which returned up to 27.8 grams gold in grab samples.
The company’s ground exploration will test the Nice Lake trend, 1.5 km east of Colomac, and the Swamp gold prospect, 7.5 km northwest of Colomac, among other targets. The program will include surface geophysical surveying and induced polarization, as well as structural mapping. He says that crews are being mobilized now because this work is best done “when you can walk on water.”
The Indin Lake gold property is an Archean gold camp within the West Bay-Indin Lake fault zone. It hosts the past-producing Colomac gold mine, which cranked out over 500,000 oz. gold. Neptune Resources operated the Colomac gold mine from 1990–1992. In 1994 Royal Oak Mines took over as operator and ran the mine until 1997, when low gold prices and high mining costs forced Royal Oak into bankruptcy. In 1999 Royal Oak was charged with cyanide dumping by the federal government, with an estimated $70-million cleanup cost. Remediation continued until 2012.
The Northwest Territory’s government builds a winter road each year that leads to the property. Nighthawk is fully permitted to use the road and run extensions to its various projects. The property also has a 5,000-foot airstrip.
Byron says there’s more political will now across all levels of government to continue developing infrastructure in the north.
“They’re really engaged to make a change in their jurisdiction,” Byron says. “And I’m right there, we’re each other’s cheerleaders in that sense. To me that’s a very refreshing place to work.”
Nighthawk shares are trading at 66¢ within a 52-week range of 57¢ to $1.15. The company has a $122-million market capitalization.
“For 3,000 years, our society has had a love affair with gold,” Byron says. “I don’t see that ending. As the population grows and people want to own more, well, how are we going to provide that ownership? We’ve got to mine it, and those easy deposits aren’t around anymore. There’s a disconnect there that we need to fill.”