Fondaway Canyon is an advanced stage gold property located in the Churchill County, Nevada. The land package contains 170 unpatented lode claims. The property has a history of previous surface exploration and mining in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Getchell Gold Corp. (Getchell) signed the Definitive Option Agreement with Canarc Resource Corp. on January 3, 2020 to acquire 100% of the Fondaway Canyon and Dixie Comstock properties.
The Company has drilled two very successful programs at Fondaway Canyon in 2020 and 2021. The 2021 program was completed in December, and totaled nearly 4,000 metres, with 10 holes in the Central area completed. All assay results have now been returned, and the final hole (FCG21-16) returned the highest ‘Grade x Thickness’ results in the history of the project, which were released on Feb 15, 2022. In these first two years of exploration, 15/15 holes drilled into the Central Area of Fondaway Canyon have hit gold mineralization, including the discovery of new high grade zones.
The Company will resume drilling as early in 2022 as spring weather allows. The company has also announced that it has secured two drill rigs for the entirety of 2022 drill season, which will allow concurrent programs at Fondaway Canyon and the Star Project in the spring, and then an acceleration of Fondaway Canyon exploration after the Star Project’s maiden drill program is completed.
This chart highlights some of the top results from the 2020 and 2021 exploration at The Colorado SW Zone, Fondaway Canyon:
Key Highlights of 2021 Drill Program
Drill Hole FCG21-16 – North Fork Zone
- The highest ‘grade x thickness’ concentration of gold in the 40+ year history of the Fondaway Canyon gold project was encountered;
- High-grade gold mineralization of 10.4 g/t Au over 25.0m within a broader zone grading 6.3 g/t Au over 50.7m was intersected;
- Additional significant gold intervals were intersected including 3.1 g/t Au over 33.4m, a previously unknown lower zone of gold, and 2.1 g/t Au over 14.1m, a newly modelled near surface lens.
Drill Hole FCG21-15- Colorado SW Zone
- Hole FCG21-15 intersected multiple significant gold intercepts within the Colorado SW zone over an 87 metre down hole distance including 1.2 g/t Au over 33.6m; 1.9 g/t Au over 26.4m and 1.6 g/t Au over 7.7m;
- In addition, FCG21-15 also reported 3.3 g/t Au over 10.6m including 17.6 g/t Au over 1.6m, well above the Colorado SW zone and 1.5 g/t Au over 12.6m below the Colorado SW zone;
Drill Hole FCG21-14- Colorado Zone
- FCG21-14 encountered gold mineralization at surface on the Colorado zone grading 2.6 g/t Au over 18.5m including 6.8 g/t Au over 5.4m;
Drill Hole FCG21-13
- Hole FCG21-13 intersected three major gold bearing zones: the ‘at surface’ Colorado, the Juniper, and the Colorado SW gold zones;
- FCG21-13 collared in mineralization on the Colorado zone and proceeded to intersect multiple significant gold intervals within the top 50 metres of the drill hole;
- The high-grade Juniper zone was intersected grading 9.3 g/t Au over 1.9m and 5.7 g/t Au over 11.6m;
- The Colorado SW zone was intersected with multiple intervals spanning a down-hole length of 103.5 metres highlighted by intercepts grading, 1.0 g/t Au over 19.7m, 1.9 g/t Au over 11.8m, and 1.2 g/t Au over 29.1m.
Drill Hole FCG21-12 – Colorado SW Zone
- intersected the Colorado SW zone of gold mineralization over a 92 metre down hole distance that included 6.3 g/t Au over 3.6m, 2.5 g/t Au over 24.5m, and 1.6 g/t Au over 25.5m;
Drill Hole FCG21-11 – Colorado SW Zone
- intersected multiple significant gold intercepts within the Colorado SW zone over a 242 metre down hole distance including 1.4 g/t Au over 14.9m, 1.0 g/t Au over 52.5m and 2.2 g/t Au over 9.1m;
- FCG21-11 also encountered the near surface high-grade Juniper zone grading 8.8 g/t Au over 8.2m;
Drill Hole FCG21-10 Results – North Fork Gold Zone
- Hole FCG21-10 intersected the North Fork Gold Zone mineralization over 82.2m that included the following notable drill intercepts:
- 3.0 g/t Au over 41.6m that included 47.0 g/t Au over 1.5m, the highest-grade gold intercept in the 40+ year drilling history of the Project;
- 4.6 g/t Au over 9.8m; and
- 1.0 g/t Au over 14.3m.
- Hole FCG21-10 intersected North Fork up-dip from FCG20-04 that graded 2.5 g/t Au over 58.0m;
- Hole FCG21-15 targeting the down dip extent of the Colorado SW gold zone is in progress.
“The latest results are a prime example of why the gold mineralizing system at the Fondaway Canyon Gold Project is so compelling. The Project is host to an enviable setting comprised of very high-grade gold bearing structures that are themselves hosted within broader and thicker zones of mineralization. The grades and thicknesses that have become apparent at Fondaway Canyon rival many of our peers in a world class gold district.” states Mike Sieb, President, Getchell Gold Corp.
Drill Hole FCG21-09 Results – North Fork Gold Zone
Drill holes FCG21-09 and 10 targeted the North Fork Gold Zone, respectively above and below the discovery hole drilled in 2020, FCG20-04, that graded 2.5 g/t Au over 58.0m within a broader zone of mineralization.
FCG21-09 was designed to parallel hole FCG21-04, spaced 50 metres above, and to test the down dip extent of the North Fork Zone (Figure 1). Hole FCG21-09 intersected a broad zone of gold mineralization grading 1.2 g/t Au over 32.6m at a higher elevation than projected for the North Fork zone. This zone of mineralization lines up to the west with gold intercepts reported from multiple historic drill holes and likely represents an upper and previously unmodelled gold zone. Additional drilling is planned to determine the extent of this Upper North Fork zone.
FCG21-09 also intersected a number of other notable intercepts, such as 1.3 g/t Au over 13.1m and 4.1 g/t Au over 5.4m. Getchell considers that the hole did not sufficiently penetrate the target zone and these intercepts represent the upper limits of the North Fork gold mineralization. Hole FCG21-10, targeting the North Fork Zone below the FCG20-04 discovery intercept, was designed to provide additional information and assist in the interpretation.
The North Fork gold zone remains open in most directions and warrants significant follow-up.
Drill Hole FCG21-08 Results – Colorado SW Extension Zone
Hole FC21-08 was drilled from the same drill pad as FCG21-07 and was designed to test the Colorado SW Extension Zone down-dip, and to the west, of FCG20-02. The hole produced highly impressive results from the Colorado SW Extension Zone, spanning a distance greater than 200m downhole. The highlighted gold grade intervals are shown in Table 1 and along the drill hole trace in Figure 3. The Colorado SW Zone remains open laterally and to depth.
Four notable and adjacent drill intercepts grade:
- 4.2 g/t Au over 27.5m from 223.4 to 250.9m, including 13.0 g/t Au over 4.3m from 243.9-248.2m;
- 2.8 g/t Au over 24.5m from 261.5 to 286.0m;
- 1.4 g/t Au over 30.7m from 323.5 to 354.2m; and
- 1.3 g/t Au over 16.8m from 374.0 to 390.8m.
Figure 1: Fondaway Canyon Central Area Plan Map showing 2021 drill hole locations.
Figure 2: Fondaway Canyon 3D Gold Domain Model – Colorado Pit to Pack Rat (NE-SW) Section*
Hole FCG21-08 was the seventh consecutive hole in the Central Area that has intersected substantive gold mineralization.
“The unfolding story at the Fondaway Gold Project just keeps getting better. We continue to hit significant grades of mineralization over considerable widths, with our latest drill hole reporting one of the most outstanding series of gold intercepts in the forty-five-year history of gold exploration on the Project.” stated Mike Sieb, President, Getchell Gold Corp.
President Mike Sieb has recorded an accompanying video augmenting these results. The narrated video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/SrEQ7wo3daw
Figure 3: FCG21-08 Drill Hole Trace with Gold Intervals, Looking NW
2021 Drill Program Results – Juniper Zone
Hole FCG21-08 also tested the Juniper Zone, located within 100 metres of surface, with a 10m vertical step out from FCG20-02 (Figure 2). FCG21-08 intersected the Juniper Zone between 104.0-129.9m returning 4.7 g/t Au over 25.9m that included 11.4 g/t Au over 5.5m (Figure 3).
The Juniper Zone was discovered in 2020 by FCG20-02 that intersected 6.2 g/t Au over 21.9m that included 20.4 g/t Au over 3.2 m (Company news release Jan. 27, 2021). The new Juniper zone represents a significant high-grade gold zone proximal to surface, remains open in most directions, and will be followed up by additional drilling.
Table 1: FCG21-08 Gold Grade Interval Highlights
Drill Hole FCG21-07 – Colorado SW Extension Zone
The first drill hole of the 2021 program, FCG21-07 was drilled southwest from the Colorado Pit (Figure 2). Two holes from the 2020 drill program, FCG20-02 and FCG20-03, were drilled from the same pad. The gold intercepts encountered in holes FCG20-02 and FCG20-03, 1.9 g/t Au over 43.5m and 2.0 g/t Au over 49.0m respectively, are 75m apart from each other and FCG21-07 was drilled between these two 2020 gold intercepts to establish the lateral continuity of the Colorado SW Extension zone across this broad distance.
FCG21-07 intersected a higher-grade gold interval than the neighbouring drill holes, grading 3.0 g/t Au over 33.0m of uninterrupted mineralization including an interval grading 7.8 g/t Au over 4.6m. The highlighted gold intervals from hole FCG21-07 and select adjacent holes are shown in Table 1.
Hole FC21-07 represented the sixth consecutive drill hole that has intersected a substantive interval of gold mineralization at the Central Area of Fondaway Canyon. It was also the first hole drilled in 2021 to start tying together the broad and thick zone of gold mineralization, modelled 800m down dip from the Colorado Pit, discovered during the 2020 drill program
Fondaway Canyon 3D Gold Domain Model – Colorado Pit to Pack Rat (NE-SW) Section*
The modelled gold domain highlights areas where gold intervals have been geologically linked and projected. The modelled gold domain is solely for exploration planning purposes and does not indicate a mineral resource. A qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify a current mineral resources estimate at Fondaway Canyon.
Scott Frostad, P.Geo., is the Qualified Person (as defined in NI 43-101) who reviewed and approved the content and scientific and technical information in the news release.
Highlighted drill intervals are based on a 0.25 g/t Au cut-off, minimum interval lengths of 10 feet (3.3 metres), and a maximum of 10 feet of internal dilution, with no top cut applied. All intervals are reported as downhole drill lengths and additional work is required to determine the true width.
The 2020 and 2021 drill core was cut at Bureau Veritas Laboratories’ (“BVL”) facilities in Sparks, Nevada, with the samples analyzed for gold and multi-element analysis in BVL’s Sparks, Nevada and Vancouver, BC laboratories respectively. Gold values were produced by fire assay with an Atomic Absorption finish on a 30-gram sample (BV code FA430) with over limits re-analyzed using method FA530 (30g Fire Assay with gravimetric finish). The multi-element analysis was performed by ICP-MS following aqua regia digestion on a 30g sample (BV code AQ250). Quality control measures in the field included the systematic insertion of standards and blanks.
The 2017 Technical Report commissioned by Canarc and authored by Techbase International Ltd. has a historical estimate of Indicated resources of 409,000 oz. Au contained in 2,050,000 tonnes grading 6.18 g/t and Inferred resources of 660,000 oz. Au contained in 3,200,000 tonnes grading 6.4 g/t, using a 1.8 m width cut-off and a cut-off grade of 3.43 g/t Au.
The Fondaway Canyon mineralization is contained in a series of 12 steeply dipping en-echelon quartz- sulphide shears outcropping at surface and extending laterally over 1,200 m, with drill proven depth extensions to > 400 m. The deposit is hosted by Mesozoic age sediments and minor volcanics and is classified as “orogenic”, ranging from mesothermal to epithermal in depositional environment. Mineralization is hosted within shears, spatially- and temporaneously-related to certain dykes that occupy the shears, but mineralization also permeates into the hosting sediments. Additional exploration targets include near-surface oxide gold along favorable structural and host rock targets and deeper extensions of the sulphide zones. The >2 g/t rock chip and drill intercept results reveal a sizable, internally consistent and well mineralized zone with abundant exploration targets that have the potential to extend and increase the mineralized zones (see figure below).
This historic resource estimate was completed by Techbase International Ltd of Reno, Nevada, and it is contained within a NI 43-101 report dated April 3, 2017 that was commissioned by Canarc Resource Corp of Vancouver, B.C., Canada. The resource estimate was compiled only from drill holes that could be validated (591 holes @ 49,086 m), a sufficient amount to deem the historic resource as reliable. Using Techbase software, a method of polygons was used along each vein. With a minimum 0.10 opt Au and 1.8 m horizontal vein width used as cut-off parameters, twelve veins had sufficient composited intercepts within the sulfide mineralization for the estimate. No capping or cutting of grades was applied. The historical resource estimate used classifications in accordance with NI 43-101 standards, namely, “indicated” and “inferred”. A review and/or recalculation of the historic resource is required by an independent Qualified Person to confirm these as current resources as defined by NI 43-101. A qualified person for Getchell has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current mineral resources; and the issuer is not treating the historical estimate as current mineral resources
In 2017, Canarc drilled 7 holes in Fondaway Canyon which all intersected multi gram gold mineralization. These holes were not included in the historic resource report.
Fondaway Canyon – Stillwater Wilderness Study Area (“WSA”)
- The vast majority of the gold mineralization is situated outside the boundary of the WSA.
- The 2017 historic resource is unaffected by the WSA boundary as it was modelled using parameters for an underground mining operation.
- A revised resource estimate will consider both mine models, bulk underground and open pit parameters, solely and in combination.
- The location of the current WSA boundary allows for potential open pit development of the mineralization. The topography will factor into the potential ultimate pit limits more so than the WSA boundary.
- The potential continuation of exploitation of the gold mineralization beyond the ultimate pit limits is envisioned by bulk underground mining which is not limited by the WSA.
- In addition, with mining and exploration activity in Fondaway Canyon predating the WSA designation, there is a precedent argument for ‘grandfathered rights’ that would provide a legal exception and allow the operator to extend certain surface activities, including mining, into the WSA.
- The WSA is an interim designation and is NOT a wilderness designated area. A final determination is pending with the US Bureau of Land Management repeatedly issuing the recommendation that the Stillwater WSA be designated as non-suitable for Wilderness and zero acres be designated as Wilderness.
In 1976, Congress passed the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (“FLPMA”), directing the US Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) to identify and review public lands under its administration as to which possess wilderness characteristics as described in the Wilderness Act of 1964. The BLM conducted three phases of wilderness review: inventory, study, and reporting.
The inventory phase was completed in 1980 with the lands designated as Wilderness Study Areas (“WSA”) moving forward to the next phase, the study phase, of the process. Of note, Wilderness Study Areas are NOT designated Wilderness Areas. A WSA is a special designation ascribing a non-impairment standard (i.e. closed to any new disturbances) to the lands within the boundary of the WSA to preserve wilderness characteristics until the BLM completes its review and recommendation, and Congress decides to either designate the WSA as Wilderness or remove the WSA designation. The Fondaway Canyon mineral claims are adjacent to and partially overlain by the Stillwater Wilderness Study Area (Figure 1) and in its final Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) in 1987, the BLM completed its comprehensive wilderness inventory review and provided its recommendation regarding the Stillwater WSA.
Figure 1: Fondaway claim boundary, surface mineralization and road network in respect to the Stillwater WSA The US Bureau of Land Management issued the recommendation that the Stillwater WSA be designated as non-suitable for Wilderness and zero acres be designated as ‘Wilderness’. This recommendation was reiterated in the 1991 Statewide Wilderness Report and in the Nevada Wilderness Survey Area Notebook published in 2000.
BLM’s final recommendation provided strong support for the Stillwater Range WSA not to be designated as wilderness, that the area would be managed for multiple use, and would be open to mineral and energy exploration and development. The entire Stillwater WSA is considered to have moderate to high favourability for the occurrence of metallic minerals and is believed to be one of the best “…potential areas for future metallic mineral finds of all the WSAs studied in the Basin and Range province…”; (GEM, 1983).
In addition, the 1987 EIS acknowledged that exploration for metallic minerals is expected to occur throughout the WSA and that exploration would result in the development of two small surface gold and silver mines in either the Fondaway, Cox, White Cloud, Mississippi or Hare Canyon areas, or around the site of the old Dixie Comstock Mine. These developments would consist of open pit mines, waste dumps, tailings ponds, mill sites and many miles of access and haul roads.
The 1991 Statewide Wilderness Report also acknowledged that since the completion of the inventory designation, more Plans of Operation have been filed pursuant to 43 CFR 3802 in this WSA than in all other Lahontan Resource Area WSAs combined. In addition, exploration continues and grandfathered activities have expanded into the WSA around Fondaway Canyon, Big Elk Canyon, Silver Hill, Cox Canyon, Wood Canyon, Mill Canyon and Alameda Canyon, and further expansion is likely.
Separate to the clear statements by the BLM to Congress supporting the classification of the Stillwater WSA for multiple purpose and not Wilderness, Section 603(c) of FLPMA provides the basis for a special exception for the Fondaway Canyon project in respect to the non-impairment status prescribed for the Stillwater WSA. FLPMA provides the ‘Grandfathered Rights’ exemption so that activities existing on the date of approval of FLPMA (October 21,1976) may continue in lands under wilderness review (i.e. WSA designation) in the same manner and degree as on that date. In addition, ‘Grandfathered Rights’ permit ‘Grandfathered Uses’ (i.e., exploration and mining activities) to proceed into the WSA from surrounding areas, so long as those activities are natural extensions or logical progressions of existing or previous activities on adjacent lands outside the WSA.The assertion is that since drilling, road building, mining, and milling activities were underway at Fondaway Canyon when the WSA was established in 1976, these activities, in the same manner and degree are permitted. This assertion has been successfully argued and a precedent has been set under a 1983 determination by the BLM that allowed past operators to construct roads, conduct drilling programs and perform other exploration activities within the WSA boundary. The BLM also highlighted within its 1983 memorandum that ‘Grandfathered Uses’ would include mining and milling in addition to the drill program proposed by Tundra Gold Mines, the operator at the time of the determination.