Mr. Tony Reda reports
TECTONIC METALS INAUGURAL 2023 DRILLING INTERSECTS GOLD MINERALIZATION IN EVERY DRILL OLE EXTENDING MINERALIZATION 1.8 KM ALONG STRIKE AND TO A VERTICAL DEPTH OF 300 M AT FLAT GOLD PROJECT
Tectonic Metals Inc. has released the results of the company's inaugural drill program conducted in 2023 at Chicken Mountain, the Flat gold project's bulk-tonnage reduced intrusion target. All 19 holes drilled in 2023 intersected gold mineralization, and 12 drill holes ended in mineralization.
"Our 2023 drilling, combined with the historical drilling, has delineated 1.8 kilometres of mineralized strike to a vertical depth of 300 metres with mineralization remaining open in all directions and strengthening the case for a potential open-pit, multimillion-ounce opportunity at Flat's Chicken Mountain target," stated Tony Reda, president and chief executive officer of Tectonic. "A total of 74 holes have been drilled at the Chicken Mountain intrusion target, with each drill hole intersecting gold mineralization, which is remarkable and reinforces the notion that we are dealing with a very robust gold system. To further support this finding, it is important to note that Chicken Mountain has been identified as the primary bedrock source for over 1.4 million ounces of recorded placer production in the surrounding area. The 1.8 km of drilled strike at Chicken Mountain represents only half of the 4.0-kilometre-by-approximately 1.0-kilometre Chicken Mountain gold-in-soil anomaly, only a third of the 6.0-kilometre-by-5.6-kilometre Chicken Mountain geophysical anomaly and only one intrusion target out of six distinct district-scale intrusion targets along a 20-kilometre trend at the 99,840-acre Flat gold project in Alaska. Our journey has only begun, and more drill testing is warranted across all intrusion targets to fully uncover the Tier 1 potential of the Flat gold system."
2023 drill results webcast with 3L Capital's analyst Steven Therrien on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6 a.m. Pacific Time (9 a.m. Eastern Time)
On Thursday, Feb. 8, please join Tony Reda, president and chief executive officer of Tectonic, and Steven Therrien, 3L Capital's mining analyst, on a webcast to discuss the results of Tectonic's 2023 exploration and drilling program. Participants of the live event will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
The webcast will take place at 9 a.m. Eastern Time, 8 a.m. Central Time, 7 a.m. Mountain Time and 6 a.m. Pacific Time.
Participants are encouraged to register early for the webcast.
Following the webcast, a recording of the event will be available.
2023 drill highlights and key findings:
- All drill holes intersected gold mineralization:
- 19 holes drilled across 1.6 km of strike down to a maximum vertical depth of 300 m or 428.55-metre drill hole length for a total of 2,633 m at Chicken Mountain;
- 12 drill holes ended in mineralization;
- Mineralization remains open in all directions;
- Oxidation as deep as 350 m downhole;
- Low sulphur in all drill holes;
- Drilling has identified a potentially higher-grade (greater than 1.0 g/t Au) lode that is open for expansion and warrants drill follow-up;
- Drilling strengthens the case that Chicken Mountain appears to be a Fort Knox/reduced intrusion-related gold system characterized by gold hosted within sheeted veining and shear zones, strong correlation of gold with bismuth and tellurium, and multiple phases of intrusion, with notable structural/fault/shear zones exhibiting domains of intense hydrothermal alteration and higher-grade mineralization;
- Diamond drilling confirms continuous mineralization to 300-metre vertical depth (three times deeper than average historical drilling and still open in all directions);
- 37.32 metres at 1.02 grams per tonne gold within a broader mineralized interval of 146.90 m at 0.61 g/t Au, and the entire drill hole (CMD23-001) being completely mineralized, ending in mineralization and yielding 423.15 m at 0.41 g/t Au;
- 36.40 m of 1.22 g/t Au within a broader mineralized interval of 170.00 m at 0.53 g/t Au and the entire drill hole (CMD23-002), a 450-metre stepout from CMD23-001, being completely mineralized, ending in mineralization and yielding 344.61 m of 0.36 g/t Au;
- Reverse circulation drilling confirms mineralization beyond the periphery of historical drilling:
- 16 drill holes testing 1,000 m of strike along eastern and western margins of the four-kilometre-by-approximately one-kilometre gold-in-soil anomaly;
- 22.86 m of 1.12 g/t Au within a broader mineralized interval of 89.92 m at 0.60 g/t Au and ending in mineralization (CMR23-001) and representing a 62.00-metre stepout from the closest historical collar;
- 24.39 m of 1.09 g/t Au within a broader mineralized interval of 76.20 m at 0.55 g/t Au and ending in mineralization (CMR23-008) and representing a 102.00-metre stepout from the closest historical collar;
- 24.38 m of 1.00 g/t Au within a broader mineralized interval of 50.29 m at 0.74 g/t Au and ending in mineralization (CMR23-012) and representing a 134.00-metre stepout from the closest historical collar.
Chicken Mountain -- a reduced intrusion-related gold system akin to the mineralization observed at Kinross Gold Corp.'s Fort Knox mine, Alaska
The Fort Knox mine is a large open-pit gold mine in the Fairbanks mining district of Alaska, United States, discovered in 1980, and began production in 1996. Since then, Fort Knox has become one of the largest gold-producing mines in Alaska, yielding over 200,000 ounces of gold annually and recently pouring its nine-millionth ounce. Based on the Dec. 31, 2022, annual mineral and resource statement published by Kinross, the average grade of its proven and probable mineral reserves is 0.30 and 0.40 g/t Au, respectively.
At Fort Knox, the grades of individual veins are five to 50 g/t Au, but most ore blocks have an average of three to five veins per metre within otherwise barren host rocks, thus yielding approximately one g/t ores. Gold grade is, therefore, mainly controlled by vein density. Fort Knox's lower-grade ores are enriched by higher-grade and overprinting later-stage quartz shear veins.
Fairbanks Gold, a company founded and financed by Robert Friedland, a Canadian Mining Hall of Fame inductee, is credited with the discovery and sale of the Fort Knox mine to Kinross. The initial drilling and gold discovery (late 1980s) at Chicken Mountain were completed by Fairbanks Gold in tandem with early drilling at Fort Knox.
Similar to Fort Knox, Chicken Mountain is demonstrating the exact same characteristics with gold hosted in sheeted quartz veinlets, fractures and shears within a multiphase granitoid body, a gold-bismuth-tellurium plus or minus arsenic plus tungsten plus antimony geochemical association and very low sulphur mineralization. Also similar to Fort Knox, there is strong evidence at Chicken Mountain that multiple mineralization events and overprinting occurred coinciding with better gold grade. Follow-up drilling will target these high-priority enriched areas with the objective of finding the sweet spot of the gold system and/or the carapace of the RIRGS.
Chicken Mountain geochemical characteristics (gold-bismuth-tellurium plus or minus arsenic plus tungsten plus antimony) are indicative of mineralization that is both proximal and distal to the source intrusion/pluton within a RIRGS framework. This, coupled with the kilometre-long-and-wide alteration and gold mineralization halos into the wallrock, suggests that the smoking gun is there, but the sweet spot (higher-grade, unexposed portions of the cupola/carapace) of the system has yet to fully discovered and more drilling is warranted.
Next steps: 2024 goal of launching exploration plus drill program at Flat's multiple intrusion targets
In 2024, Tectonic plans to continue drill testing new areas of Chicken Mountain. The original historic drilling locations were predicated on drilling underneath historic placer workings, and, therefore, there is not enough concrete evidence to support that this is the best part of the Chicken Mountain gold system. In fact, there is more evidence as stated above suggesting that the sweet spot of the system has not fully been discovered yet. That said, the 2023 and historic drill results suggest a multimillion resource opportunity already exists at Chicken Mountain and follow-up expansion drilling is warranted.
- Generate drill targets for all of the five other intrusion targets at Flat; as stated previously, each of the intrusion targets has the hallmarks of another RIRGS present at Flat;
- Continuing compilation, interpretation and examination of the 2023 Chicken Mountain exploration results over the coming months;
- Complete detailed analysis and integration of the new data with existing historic exploration information to assist in developing robust 2024 drill targeting vectors at both Chicken Mountain and at other potential intrusion targets on the Flat project; key components include:
- Pathfinder element analysis of soil and drill hole data across the property to elucidate geochemical zonation patterns related to RIRGS targets;
- Detailed structural analysis of oriented core data at Chicken Mountain and structural interpretation of high-resolution 2023 lidar data to develop a property-wide structural framework;
- 3-D magnetic inversion to aid in identifying the presence and locations of non-exposed intrusion cupolas;
- Core cutting and assaying of 2003 historic diamond drill core (a total of 744 metres in four holes) from Chicken Mountain and nearby intrusion target, Golden Apex, which were only partially sampled despite some samples that returned up to 20 g/t Au;
- Continuing metallurgical testwork, including initial small-scale column heap leach tests, that will be performed to continue to derisk and explore heap leaching as viable recovery method for gold mineralization.
The Flat drill core exhibits classic Fort Knox/reduced intrusion-related gold system mineralization, including sheeted quartz-sulphide veinlets forming in cracks and fractures within the host rock and acting as pathways for mineralizing fluids to flow-through. Pervasive sericite alteration is another common feature associated with RIRGS and observed in the Flat drill core. This type of alteration occurs when hydrothermal fluids interact with rocks, causing the replacement of minerals such as feldspar and biotite with sericite. This alteration can often be seen as a distinct white or grey colour in the host rock. Understanding the processes and features associated with RIRGS is essential for successful exploration and mining of these types of deposits.
The Flat gold system -- Alaska's next Tier 1 opportunity
Tectonic is currently assessing the Flat gold system in partnership with Doyon Ltd., one of Alaska's largest native regional corporations and a significant Tectonic investor. The Flat gold system is a network of interconnected geophysical anomalies that indicate six confirmed and potential underexplored bulk-tonnage intrusion-related gold systems. The system spans a 20-kilometre trend and has produced approximately 1.4 million ounces of placer gold between 1908 and 1966.
Tectonic is currently evaluating Chicken Mountain, a confirmed intrusion that features a four-kilometre-long gold-in-soil anomaly and 55 historic drill holes, all of which intersected and 25 of which ended in gold mineralization. Highlight intersects from this historical drilling include 12.56 g/t Au over 24.7 m, 211 g/t Au over 1.4 m, 0.98 g/t Au over 76 m, 1.36 g/t over 36.6 m and 5.62 over 7.6 m. Chicken Mountain was the focus of the company's 2023 drilling program and can be found on Google Earth.
Preliminary metallurgical analysis to date has demonstrated rapid leach kinetics and gold recoveries averaging 95 per cent from bottle roll testing. This, combined with gold intersections at or near surface, suggests Chicken Mountain could represent an open-pit, heap-leach opportunity.
C.J.R. Hart, 2007, reduced intrusion-related gold systems, in W.D. Goodfellow, ed., "Mineral Deposits of Canada: A Synthesis of Major Deposit Types, District Metallogeny, the Evolution of Geological Provinces and Exploration Methods," Geological Association of Canada, Mineral Deposits Division, special publication No. 5, pages 95 to 112.
Placer production figures from "Mineral Occurrence and Development Potential Report, Locatable and Salable Minerals, Bering Sea-Western Interior Resource Management Plan, BLM-Alaska Technical Report 60," prepared by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, November, 2010.
Please refer to Tectonic's news release dated Sept. 28, 2021, for historic drill results.
Please refer to Tectonic's news release dated Feb. 16, 2023, for metallurgical testing.
About Tectonic Metals Inc.
Tectonic brings a highly disciplined capital allocation and development process to mineral exploration. By consistently limiting its focus to Tier 1 opportunities that fit its formula for mine economics and derisking projects up front, the team has established a tremendous record of success. Members of the Tectonic team have been directly involved in identifying and monetizing several significant gold discoveries throughout North America that have created a tremendous amount of value for shareholders and stakeholders.
Tectonic's disclosure of a technical or scientific nature in this press release has been reviewed, verified and approved by Peter Kleespies, MSc, PGeo, Tectonic's vice-president, exploration, who serves as a qualified person under the definition of National Instrument 43-101.
The analytical work for the 2023 Flat drilling program was performed by ALS Global, an internationally recognized and accredited analytical service provider which is independent of Tectonic. All samples were submitted to ALS's Fairbanks, Alaska, facility, where they were prepared and shipped to ALS's ALS Global Reno, Nev., facility, where preparation comprising crushing to greater than 70 per cent passing below two millimetres and split using a rotary splitter with 1,000-gram splits pulverized to 85 per cent passing below 75 microns PRP70-250 (crush, split and pulverize 250 grams to 200 mesh). All samples underwent analysis for gold by Au-AA23, a 30-gram fire assay fusion with an atomic absorption finish (AAS). Additional pulp samples were then sent to ALS Vancouver, Canada, where they underwent analysis for multielement (ME-MS61, 48-element, 0.25-gram pulp with four-acid digestion and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) finish) and mercury (Hg-MS42, 0.50-gram pulp with aqua regia digestion and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) finish).
Quality assurance and quality control procedures include the insertion of coarse blanks and certified assay standards into the sample string, one-fourth core and second reverse circulation split field duplicates, and Tectonic-supplied sample bags for pulp duplicates at a rate of approximately one to 10 (10 per cent). Samples are placed in sealed and security tagged bags and shipped directly to the ALS preparation facility in Fairbanks, Alaska.
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