Poised to replicate the success of last year’s drilling at its flagship Fondaway Canyon gold project in Nevada, Getchell Gold Corp. (CSE: GTCH) (OTCQB: GGLDF) has now kicked off its 2022 drill program, with a specific focus on the high-grade gold discovery at the North Fork zone.
2021 Drilling Recap
During the 2021 program, 10 holes for a total of 3,874 meters were completed at the Fondaway Canyon property, all of which returned significant gold mineralization. These drill holes were sunk into the Central Area, designed to follow up on the Colorado SW, Juniper and North Fork gold zones discovered in 2020, the first year of exploration at Fondaway Canyon.
While multiple high-grade intercepts have already been reported while the 2021 drilling was still in progress, the company saved its best results this year for the last hole, FCG21-16, which targeted the North Fork zone.
Stationed on the canyon floor at the junction of Fondaway Canyon and North Fork, FCG21-16 was drilled steeply to the northeast as a step-out from three previously completed holes (FCG20-04, FCG21-09 and FCG21-10; refer to figure below).
The drill bit intersected a shallow lens grading 2.1 g/t Au over 14.1m, before encountering a gold interval grading 6.3 g/t Au over 50.7m. The latter included a higher-grade section of 10.4 g/t over 25.0m, with 12 samples reporting more than 10 g/t, which, according to Getchell, revealed strong internal high-grade gold consistency.
Marking how truly exceptional this is, the FCG21-16 interval had the greatest “gold grade x thickness” value in the 40+ year history of gold exploration and mining on the property, and likely represents a major conduit for the gold mineralizing system at Fondaway Canyon.
Furthermore, the hole intersected multiple gold intercepts downhole, including 3.1 g/t Au over 33.4m from 265.0 to 298.4m, with two higher-grade intervals grading 9.6 g/t Au over 3.0m and 6.1 g/t Au over 6.1m.
I recently talked to Brad Aelicks, a geologist and manager at Pyfera Growth Capital Corp, about Getchell’s latest drill results. He said: “No matter where you are in the world, that is a spectacular intercept. What’s so exciting here is this mineral system just keeps on delivering more and more positive surprises all the time.”
The drill holes completed prior to FCG21-16 had already returned some very exciting results from various other zones:
One of the compelling aspects of Fondaway Canyon is the open-pit/ grade potential, as demonstrated by the 2021 drill results. Aelicks points to hole FCG21-16 as an example. He notes there are four totally separate mineralized intervals that are all delivering significant, meaningful potential economic values.
“At the top intercept you have the 2.1 grams over 14m, then you have 6.3 grams over 50m, below that there’s 5 grams over 6m, below that, lower in the hole, there’s another 33m intercept better than 3 grams.
“Look, these grades are unheard of in a pit environment. It’s going to be extremely exciting to see how this thing continues to evolve program after program,” he added.
2022 Exploration Plans
Indeed, a lot is expected of the upcoming 2022 drill campaign, which will be bigger than last year’s and will initially focus on the high-grade gold discovery at North Fork.
The first hole of the program, FCG22-17, is collared on the canyon floor on the same drill pad as hole FCG21-16. It is designed to target the North Fork mineralized zone as a 30m step-out to the northwest from the high-grade intercept encountered in FCG21-16. More follow-up drill holes are planned to bracket and expand upon the North Fork mineralization.
“The last drill hole of 2021 far exceeded expectations, reporting our best gold intercept to date and likely represents a newly discovered, highly mineralized structural zone,” Getchell president Mike Sieb stated in the May 2 press release. “I look forward with great anticipation to the first series of drill holes that will be bracketing this zone.”
To date, the North Fork zone drilling has consistently produced impressive grades and thicknesses of gold mineralization. While the near-surface mineralization of the Half Moon shear vein has been the historical focus of interest, the North Fork zone has only recently been discovered, remains underexplored, is open along strike and down dip, and has significant upside potential.
The broader drill plan, though, is to continue expanding on the substantive zones of mineralization discovered during the previous two years of drilling.
In our interview earlier, Pyfera geologist Brad Aelicks mentioned that the plan for 2022 at Fondaway is “basically to follow up the biggest area of interest”, including the world-class intercepts at North Fork, which is wide open for expansion.
The second priority would be expanding the high grade at surface Juniper zone, and there’s still so much opportunity for development of further ounces at Colorado SW, he added.
The goal is to tighten up each of these zones in both of those core areas, such as North Fork and Colorado SW, in order for the technical teams to deliver an upcoming new resource estimate, which Aelicks believes could “surprise a lot of people” once they can see the grade and the magnitude of what’s developing here.
The last resource estimate for Fondaway was from 2017, showing 409,000 oz indicated gold resources grading 6.18 g/t Au and 660,000 oz inferred grading 6.4 g/t Au, for a combined 1.1 million oz. Up to 80% of these ounces are within the Colorado, Paperweight and Halfmoon zones, with the remainder found in parallel veins or splays off the main veins.
Given the 2017 resource was already missing some very significant assay results from previous drilling by Canarc, and considerable drilling has since been completed by Getchell, with all 16 holes drilled between 2020-2021 hitting high-grade mineralization, the next resource estimate has a chance to be substantially higher.
“I think there is an extremely high probability now that when the new resource estimate is completed it’s going to move Getchell’s Fondaway Canyon into the upper realms of the development plays in Nevada, I think this is gonna become one of the top projects, going into development on the whole Nevada scene,” Aelicks predicted.
Drilling at Star Property
Getchell’s 2022 drilling campaign won’t just stop at Fondaway Canyon; the company has secured a second drill rig for an upcoming program at the high-grade Star copper-gold-silver project situated 60 km to the north.
The Star property contains two main mineralized occurrences (Star Point and Star South), with multiple priority drill targets identified. A geophysical survey delineated four additional anomalies exhibiting characteristics of porphyry-style mineralization on the property, which will be tested during this year’s maiden drilling program.
Star Point is the site of a near-surface, high-grade copper oxide (tenorite) mine operated from the late 1940s through the mid-1950s. Previous development focused on a 300 x 300m area at the southern edge of a north-south trending promontory. The surface area is covered with various pits, portals, shafts, open cuts and associated dumps. Underground development consists of several short shafts, winzes and tunnels of varying lengths, leading to a series of stopes and drifts.
The Star South prospect is located 2 km south of the past-producing mine and comprises a series of pits, artisanal adits and associated dumps within a 300 x 150 m area. These adits appear to follow high-grade copper-gold-silver mineralization hosted within quartz veins that are associated with shears trending in several different orientations.
Regarding Star, Brad Aelicks offered: “The intriguing part about what we’re seeing on surface is that there is what I would refer to as leakage from what appears to be a very powerful system.
“The leakage has been mined just in small adits at the Star Point area, what was being mined was pretty high-grade copper with lovely silver credits, and really nice gold credits. So this is a multi-element system that has leakages, every open structure that you walk across on the property has signs of mineralization, and what intrigued me most when I first visited this project was seeing the contact between the upper plate and the lower plate rocks, sedimentary sequences, in Nevada.
“This is a really critical contact that you see in most of the big mines in Nevada,” he concluded.
With the 2022 drill campaign officially underway, Getchell should deliver plenty of excitement in the second half of the year (and beyond), beginning with the anticipated resource update on the Fondaway Canyon property.
As stressed many times before, this resource estimate could well exceed our expectations, and for good reasons too, after seeing the new zones and high grades reported in recent months.
To date, the mineralization at Fondaway Canyon has been traced for 800 meters down dip from surface, and it remains open on strike and at depth.
The 10 holes drilled last year not only extended the three new discovery zones from 2020 (Colorado SW, Juniper and North Fork), but returned exceptional gold intercepts, in particular hole FG21-16 at North Fork, as discussed in this article, and FG21-08 at Colorado SW, with hits of 4.2 g/t over 27.5m, 2.8 g/t over 24.5m, 1.4 g/t over 30.7m and 1.3 g/t Au over 16.8m.
The Juniper Zone was also intersected by FCG21-08, returning 4.7 g/t over 25.9m, including 11.4 g/ over 5.5m, within 100 meters from surface.
These results should provide enough “ammunition” for an explosive jump in Fondaway’s resource base from the 1.1Moz gold that has been described to the market previously.
Bottom line? Getchell Gold has an historic 2017 Canarc resource that does not include a lot of very successful drilling done by both Canarc and (mostly) GTCH. Lowering the cut-off grade is going to, imo, add a lot of ounces as well. Add a lot of juicy drill targets at Star and I’m a buyer (I’m already a shareholder), over the summer in front of the new GETCHELL resource.
Getchell Gold Corp.
Shares Outstanding 95.5m
Market cap Cdn$38.2m
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