The area surrounding Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories is well known for its historic gold mines. Millions of ounces have been recovered from the past producing Con and Giant Mines. For Terrax Minerals (V.TXR), having ground within sight of the abandoned headframes of these famous mines was the beginning of the story. Extensive exploration has discovered both high grade and bulk gold showings along 45 km of strike on trend with the Con Mine and Giant Mine, two of Canada’s highest grade gold mines.
Early this year, Terrax acquired additional ground to the south and to the east of its initial holdings and now holds over 440 square kilometres of prospective ground adjacent to the City of Yellowknife.
Speaking with Stuart Rogers, President of Terrax, it is very clear the company has a plan as it explores its district-scale holdings. “We had a very successful winter drill season early this year, with over just under 15,000 meters drilled in a two month period,” said Rogers, “This summer we focused on conducting an extensive fieldwork program on the new ground we acquired as well as areas on our initial holdings that we had not fully explored.”
“The fact is we can’t do field work in winter due to snow cover but we are able to drill all year round, with easier access in many cases over frozen lakes, ” said Rogers. “We completed 3,200 line kilometres over all areas of the property that had not previously been surveyed and followed this up with ground-based magnetic surveys on known high-grade gold zones We conducted an extensive outcrop sampling program with over 6,000 samples have been taken. “We have 227 square kilometres in the new area we call “Eastbelt” which has never been explored using modern methods. This area hosted several past producing, high grade, gold mines and we think it might host our next discovery.” said Rogers.
Initial results from surface sampling have served to justify that optimism, with high-grade gold discoveries announced in July at Angel and Duck Lake on Eastbelt. This was followed up in October by TerraX’s acquisition of the historic Burwash mine property, the site of the first, and highest grade, gold mine in the Yellowknife camp with an average production grade reported of 13.6 ounces per tonne (466 g/t Au) over a limited mine life. TerraX believes that the high-grade gold mineralization sampled at the nearby Angel discovery is on a related structure to the Burwash mine.
“We did over 4.5 million dollars on field work this summer. This is the sort of work that majors would do and it allows us to identify and prioritize the very best targets for next year’s campaign,” said Rogers.
“In areas of the property with overburden or lake cover, we conducted lake sediment surveys and biogeochemistry. We sample a particular tree common to low-lying areas of the property area and do chemical analysis to see if there are trace amounts of gold in their branches and map the results,” said Rogers.
“This is all preparatory work for our drilling which will resume in early 2018,” said Rogers. “We are fortunate to have our assay lab located 5 minutes from our core facility at the airport and all our drill sites are within a half hour drive of our core facility. This allows for a quick turnaround of assay results. We’re hoping to have the early results of our 2018 drill program ready for by PDAC in early March, as we have done in the past.”
The reality of the marketplace means that while extensive fieldwork is the smart thing to do it is tough to raise money to do it. “We have been told many times that you need to be drilling to raise money,” said Rogers. With the recent exercise of warrants providing an addition $1.9 million in cash Terrax is in good financial shape with $2.53 million dollars in the bank as of October 17, 2017.
“The Yellowknife Gold project is an intriguing mix of potential high-grade gold deposits and extensive lower grade gold zones at surface with a large selection of very promising drill targets for this year’s campaign. We have over 450 drill holes in our database totaling just under 90,000m of drilling. All the mineralized zones we are developing for resource definition and are still open along strike and at depth and will be followed up in 2018 as well. Terrax has always been about a district level program. With the rich gold mining history of Yellowknife, there is no question that there is gold there. The real question is “how much”, which involves proving up the ounces necessary to justify the investment in a mine. With high-grade deposits like Mispickel, Barney and Crestaurum and extensive low-grade deposits like Sam Otto, the ounces appear to be adding up,” said Rogers.
In the next few months, the fieldwork results from the Eastbelt will continue to be released and drill targets selected for the winter drill program. By PDAC, the first drill results should be flowing in and the market and the corporate players will be paying close attention.
When you pay attention, you realize that Terrax may actually be on the verge of developing a large gold resource with all the infrastructure, roads, power and people in place it needs to build another world-class mine in a historic mining community.