In today’s challenging market for junior gold explorers, it’s great to see a company diversifying its portfolio and adding value for its shareholders in what looks to be an exciting gold play in Alaska.
Last month Miranda Gold (TSXV:MAD), a Vancouver-based prospect generator focused on Nevada and Colombia, announced that it has acquired the Willow Creek project in Alaska, a highly prospective set of some 137 lode claims totalling 8,700 acres.
In geological terms, a lode is an ore body that fills a fissure, or a vein of ore deposited between layers of rock.
The prospect generator signed a 20-year lease with Alaska Hardrock for control of the property, with an initial $50,000 payment to be followed by another $100,000 after a due diligence period.
According to the Alaska Bureau of Mines, the Willow Creek lands historically produced half a million gold ounces, mostly from three nearby workings developed from three faulted segments of the same vein. Miranda Gold notes that the Willow Creek district is the second largest historical lode gold producer in Alaska, having produced 5 percent of the state’s gold before 1950.
Significantly, previous exploratory drilling shows high-grade gold, with one intercept revealing 2.5 ounces per tonne (82 grams per tonne), with more upside potential in the vein beyond the level of the workings.
“We see tremendous potential in the upside at Willow Creek and as a prospect generator we think high-grade, low-risk projects that can be advanced quickly are attractive to JV partners,” Joe Hebert, Miranda’s vice president of exploration, said in the November 21 press release.
The company is comparing the lode gold mineralization at Willow Creek to Mother Lode, California, where mineralization can extend beyond three-quarters of a mile in depth.
“Miranda feels the potential of the district is comparable to or higher than recorded historic production, if shoots can be developed by extending mineralization in the vein approximately 650 ft above and/or below the historic workings,” it states.
Ken Cunningham, Miranda’s president and CEO, told Kitco News in a video posted Monday that Miranda had competition for the claims and that the company is excited about its potential, considering the high-grade nature of the drilled-off section.
“Something that I’ve always been told is ‘grade is king.’ We have a declining gold price … so coming up with something that has a historical production base of in excess of one ounce I think in this market is going to be very attractive,” said Cunninhgam, adding that two companies have already expressed interest in becoming joint venture partners to underground mine the deposit.
Asked about the current difficult market for juniors, Cunningham told Kitco the company is conserving cash by cutting costs and in the near-term, will focus on Colombia because it “gives us a shot at discovery.”
In an June interview with INN, Cunningham said Colombia is the least explored of the Latin American countries and that, with a significantly improved security situation and about 100 million ounces of gold discovered in the last 10 years, “it’s a great jurisdiction.”
Miranda Gold has a three-year alliance with Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX:AEM,NYSE:AEM), which is funding 70 percent of its exploration budget. Its other joint venture partners are Prism Resources (TSXV:PRS.H), CMQ Resources (TSXV:NV), Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) and Red Eagle Mining (TSXV:RD).
Securities Disclosure: I, Andrew Topf, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.