gee, assay labs are really slow again…

First of all, congratulations are in order for Goldstrike Resources for their grass roots gold discoveries on their Plateau project. Some excellent prospecting has been done, with new zones discovered every year. And what an excellent first intersection at Goldstack:

“September 06, 2016 07:45 ET

Goldstrike Drills 6.05 Grams Per Tonne Gold Over 45.5 Metres, Including 12.5 Grams Per Tonne Gold Over 20.65 Metres

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – Sept. 6, 2016) – Goldstrike Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:GSR)(OTC PINK:APRAF)(FRANKFURT:KCG1) is pleased to report that its first hole PSGS-16-01 at Goldstack intersected 6.05 grams per tonne gold over 45.5 metres…

The Company looks forward to reporting the results for the remaining Goldstack 2016 drill holes when all the assays have been received, compiled and interpreted. “

Note that at the time of this release the other two holes into the zone had been drilled and assays were “pending”.  September 6 until today, October 20! Geez, Bureau Veritas must be really backed up.

Anyone want to take odds on the second and third holes being as good as the first one?




Comstock today released the results of the first half of it’s drill program, 12 of 24 holes. The drilling was RAB type, with holes averaging only 75m depth. This is adequate because the QV deposit is shallow. They hit on 4 of 12 holes, with results similar to the known deposit (4.3 million tonnes at 1.65 g/t Au, which is so far too small & low grade). Wishing them luck on drilling the Shadow and Stewart targets, which could turn the overall project into a winner. Especially I have high hopes for the Shadow zone, named after a dog friend of mine.

The QV project is not too far as the crow flies from the Coffee project of Goldcorp (Kaminak), and also from the White Gold deposit (Kinross), however large rivers lie between the 3 projects.

Note that Comstock’s Preview gold project in Saskatchewan is now their flagship, so the Yukon thing might go to the backburner if better results don’t turn up.

October 13, 2016 10:40 ET

Comstock Drills 18.29 m Averaging 1.81 g/t gold at QV Project, Yukon

VANCOUVER, BC–(Marketwired – October 13, 2016) – Comstock Metals Ltd. (TSX VENTURE: CSL) (“Comstock” or the “Company“) is pleased to provide an update on its ongoing exploration program at its QV gold project, Yukon. A total of 1788.28 m has been completed in 24 holes (see Map 1) since commencing a Rotary Air Blast (RAB) drill program in late August (see Comstock news release August 30, 2016) and results for the first 12 holes are reported herein. The RAB drill program has been designed to inexpensively and rapidly screen numerous prospective targets in the VG deposit area, and at the Shadow and Stewart targets, for subsequent follow-up with a diamond drill program.

Significant RAB drill results received to date are presented below in Table 1; highlights include:

  • 3.05 m averaging 7.79 g/t gold starting at 4.57 m below surface in 16QVRAB001, potentially from a new zone 150-200 m south of the main VG deposit
  • 35.05 m averaging 0.46 g/t gold starting at 59.44 m below surface in 16QVRAB006, potentially representing an extension at depth of the VG deposit; bottomed in mineralization; correlated with top of a strong resistivity low
  • 16.76 m averaging 1.43 g/t gold starting at surface in 16QVRAB011
  • 18.29 m averaging 1.81 g/t gold starting at surface in 16QVRAB012; representing, with hole 11 above, an interpreted extension of the VG deposit 55 m to the east of core hole 13QV-013


OOOh… Archaeology BEFORE drilling? WTF?

OK, this isn’t exactly new news, as the release came in early August. But check out this gem from within Strategic Metals new release:

On July 15, 2016, Strategic received a Class 3 Land Use Approval for the OOO property. Strategic has scheduled heritage resource overview assessment and heritage resource impact assessment surveys for the OOO property in August 2016. These surveys must be complete before drilling can occur.

Note that this is for a helicopter-supported drill program, the environmental impact of which is approximately zero. In fact the drilling itself is not a regulated activity in Yukon, just the associated clearing and water use. This isn’t a bulldozer trails leading to skid pad type drill job that creates actual disturbance of the land.


Who knows what they might find?

In Yukon recent history, a heritage resource study has usually been conducted once an actual economic-looking mineral deposit has been discovered as it was eventually required for mine permitting. Heritage resources in most of the territory tend to be very sparsely distributed. Perhaps a semi-circle of rocks forming a hunting blind with a few stone flakes and if lucky a spearhead. Nomadic stone age hunter-gatherers didn’t leave much of a trace.

My concern is that heritage resource studies are not fast or cheap. This adds another layer of unnecessary cost and delay to an already expensive exploration jurisdiction. And if the delay is too long, you could lose an exploration year – the exploration season tends to be very short up here!

Assuming that the survey was required as a condition of Land Use approval it is an entirely new thing imposed by bureaucrats with no consultation. Sad. Just part of the death-by-a-thousand-cuts strategy to wipe out mineral exploration.

By way, congratulations to Strategic on the new discovery! It sounds like a Prospector Mountain type occurrence. (Maybe.)

Copper North PEA – looks great at $3 copper and $1500 gold!!!

OK, so the IRR at current metal prices is only 3%, a wee bit lean. So let’s take a look at the resource:

11,980,000 tonnes at 1.07% Cu

How does this stack up against another typical copper deposit, Kakula, recently discovered in Congo:

192,000,000 tonnes at 3.45% Cu

Not fair, you say. I agree. Kakula will be an underground mine, and is sulphide not oxide, and has no gold or silver, and is in Congo for god’s sake. And on and on. But it is the competition, and will puke out cheap copper for decades.

Clearly Copper North needs more resources to extend the mine life and spread the capital costs out longer. There are more copper zones and anomalies in the immediate area, but Copper North has a relatively small land base.

My recommendation: buy the adjacent STU property from Bill Harris. He’ll give you a good deal, and you need (a lot) more copper!

GPY has a bridge at 3 Aces!

Normally, starting a drill program in the Yukon in mid October is a bad idea. Each day gets a bit colder, darker and more expensive (hello, Cantex). However, as 3 Aces has road access and a good camp it shouldn’t be too bad. I wish them luck! Also, nice to see that they got a permit for a bridge across the river – good community relations, I suppose, make all the difference.

Golden Predator Commences 3 Aces Drill Program

VANCOUVER, BC–(Marketwired – October 17, 2016) – Golden Predator Mining Corp. (TSX VENTURE: GPY) (OTCQX: NTGSF) (the “Company“) is pleased to announce the start of its drill program at the 3 Aces Project in Canada’s Yukon. The drilling contract was awarded to a unique progressive joint venture between Boart Longyear and the Liard First Nation. The Company has commenced use of the recently completed bridge crossing the Little Hyland River, reducing operational costs and allowing for year-round operations.


Check out the video of the bulk sample program from last winter. Some good shots of time-delay blasting. Is the blast mat supposed to head moonward the way it does at 1:45?




Well, first off I am no Muckpile Mike. My name is Teddy Salad, a Yukon mining investigator disguised as a sled dog. You know what they say, when you aren’t the lead dog, the view never changes. So my slant on northern mining is likely to be more cynical, sarcastic, poorly written and less frequent than the gems regularly produced by Mike. And I have had to dust off my Fortran programming skills to write a blog for the first time. Also, cut me some slack, as typing with paws really sucks…

Sincerely, Teddy


PS All posts older than this one were written by Muckpile Mike, though they now appear to be written by me… not sure how to fix this.


Last Post

Life has taken a funny turn and I must hang up my quill.

I have worked in mineral exploration for decades and know more than a few promoters, CEO’s, geologists, brokers and others who make this industry go round at the executive level.    The best of them have been a solace and inspiration for me.  Others – not so much.

Whether saints or sinners, builders or thieves, they are in the crucible of life, taking the heat.  I offer them in parting salutation Teddy Roosevelt’s Sorbonne address,

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

Debt, space and data expropriation

Debt extinction watch…

We’ll take the cash: Anglo bondholders tender $1.2B. [Bloomberg]  Looks like the buyback is one of the gotta-do-it things that come up when your bonds get downgraded to junk.  A portion was purchased for less than face value.

Vale looking to sell core assets to reduce debt. [Republic of Mining]  The wolf must be getting closer to the door:

Vale is “actively exploring more aggressive actions for this deleveraging, including the sale of core assets,” Mr. Ferreira [CEO] said.

End times: Moody’s threatens to downgrade Exxon. [Bloomberg]

Step back

Meanwhile…  on a planet far far away from reality,  Space mining race heats up. [Reuters]

Space mining, extracting resources from near-earth asteroids, is “not science fiction any more”.  With these words, spoken by Jean-Jacques Dordain, the former director general of the European Space Agency, Luxembourg announced its entry into the space-mining race.

The biggest component of operating in space is that of launching rockets from Earth, around $100,000 per kg of material, according to NASA.  NASA’s Osiris-Rex mission to the Bennu asteroid, scheduled for launch later this year, will cost $800 million and bring back a maximum two kilogrammes of sample.

Private operators such as Planetary Resources Inc. (PRI) and Deep Space Industries are getting in on the action, chasing the promise by U.S. astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson that, “the first trillionaire, in the world, is going to be the person who first mines  asteroids”.

You wouldn’t take investment advice from a geophysicist; why would you trust an astrophysicist?

Zinc flips, now leads lead. [Reuters]  Bottom line: winter’s over and it wasn’t a bad one.  Back off on the battery production.  The zinc bulls of course see it differently…

Diamond miners getting ahead of themselves? [Rappaport]  Only De Beers seems to be holding back production and stockpiling.  Alrosa and Rio need cash and are selling.

diamond produciton

New mindset needed for exploration. [Northern Ontario Business]   Here’s a bright idea from Douglas Morrison, president and CEO, Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation; network director, Ultra-Deep Mining Network in Sudbury:

There is a huge amount of data tied up in large claim holdings around long-closed mines and old mine workings near to operating mines, much of it ignored for many years.  In many cases, the corporation has no interest in the data, or does not even know what it has.  It should be shared with, or transferred to, provincial agencies to manage access for future study and perhaps new ideas and techniques will initiate a new phase of investigation and discovery.

Got it.  Expropriate proprietary data so a government-&-big-boy-funded “centre for excellence” can generate a value-added product for … who?  Actually this sounds like an old idea:

eminent domain


Yukon Chamber of Mines choked about YESAB.  []  A sclerotic bureaucracy obsessed by process and completely unconcerned about outcomes.  Rather than dealing with big contentious projects, they hide under their desks and pass on making decisions.  On small stuff they are slowly strangling small operators with BS concerns about climate change, biodiversity, cumulative impacts, etc. etc.

 Stockwatch’s Will Purcell on the latest at KDI. [Stockwatch]

Patrick Evans’s Kennady Diamonds Inc. (KDI) lost 13 cents to $2.85 on 32,000 shares. The company has been chasing a tonnage target that has grown to between 13 million and 16 million tonnes, most of it in the Kelvin kimberlite. Kennady Diamonds had expected to reveal its maiden resource estimate for the project this week, but the release has apparently been delayed by a month or two. The company has received a draft of the Kelvin report, but Mr. Evans, chief executive officer, says it is apparent that more time is required to complete work needed to capture the northern end of the North lobe of the pipe. Drilling last year produced a series of long drill hits farther north than had been expected, and the company estimates that the area could contain 20 per cent of the overall tonnage. Perhaps the draft document was not as optimistic; in any case Mr. Evans now says the estimate will now be revealed “during the second quarter.”

As well, Kennady Diamonds needs the extra time to better assess the Bx kimberlite zone at Kelvin “to fully understand the volume and grade variances between three distinct subunits that have been identified.” The company completed a 442-tonne mini-bulk test of the South lobe of Kelvin last year, recovering 893 carats, or 2.02 carats per tonne. The grade would have been higher, but the 143 tonnes of Bx kimberlite averaged just 0.82 carat per tonne and the size distribution profile at Bx was arguably weaker as well. The other three phases of kimberlite, A, B and C, averaged 2.6 carats per tonne.

Kennady Diamonds has now begun work on a new mini-bulk sample of Kelvin, this time at the higher-grade North lobe. The company has wrapped up its second of a planned 26 large-diameter holes of what it expects will be a 500-tonne test yielding more than 1,000 carats. So far, grades at the North lobe have regularly topped 2.5 carats per tonne, so the test could produce 1,250 carats or more. (The grades of those smaller tests are in line with those produced at the South lobe other than the Bx material.) If the work goes at the same pace as last year, Kennady will have the diamond results by midsummer and the valuations by mid-fall.

Meanwhile, the 2016 drilling at the Faraday 1 kimberlite has been an enigma. Mr. Evans was “very encouraged” recently with the drill hits produced in the first step-out holes drilled this year, so the company moved its rig another 40 metres to the northwest. That round of holes is now complete and the intersections were unimpressive. Mr. Evans says it appears if those tests hit just the side of the pipe. As a result, the company has stepped back its drills 20 metres in the hope of getting a better handle on the direction of the pipe.

BC Gold cancels some debt and settles some with paper. [Stockwatch]  Capitalism in action.

Group Ten discusses its plans for exploration in the Yukon. [Investing News]  [FD-dealings with]

Want to know what’s going in Alaska?  Curt Freeman’s excellent summary of things afoot in the Great Land. [Petroleum News of Alaska]

TMAC provides an update on Hope Bay. [Marketwired]  Spent $165M, stockpiled some ore, everything on schedule for this year.

Lithium and Eastside

Eureka and Nevada Sunrise results from Lida Valley. [Stockwatch]  Here’s a bright idea: use TDEM to locate / map brines before drilling.  At least you’ll know how much casing to bring.

Ashburton buys more claims adjoining Elon.  [Junior Mining Network]   Six claims for 3.5M shares.  [FD-dealings with (but not this)]

Columbus Gold starts drilling at Eastside. [Marketwired]  Near Tonopah in the Monte Cristo Hills.

The planned program with two rigs, a rotary rig and a core rig, includes 16,000 feet (4,850 m) of core drilling in 16 to 18 core holes, and 32,000 feet (9,700 meters) of reverse circulation, rotary drilling. Core holes will be pre-drilled by rotary drilling to 600 feet and then entered with the core rig to complete the holes. Some exploration holes and several infill holes will be completed by rotary drilling alone.