HighGold Mining Inc. announced the first drill results of the 2022 field season from the Difficult Creek Prospect (DC), located 4 km northeast of the Company's 1.05 Moz indicated at 9.4 g/t gold equivalent (AuEq) JT Deposit (3.0 g/t AuEq cut-off grade). Difficult Creek is one of several district-scale prospects being explored by HighGold on the Johnson Tract project in Southcentral Alaska, USA. Initial diamond drilling in 2022 has focused on the Difficult Creek prospect and the long-awaited follow-up to the exceptional grade intersection returned in hole DC21-010 drilled late last season which included 577.9 g/t Au and 2,023 g/t Agover 6.40 meters.
New drilling in 2022 has been completed along strike to the east, west and down-dip from hole DC22-010 in fans of short, shallow step-out holes. Results to date are very encouraging and highlights from the first 8 holes for which assays have been received are detailed below (true thicknesses 70-90% of reported intersection length). The DC Prospect is located 4 kilometers northeast of the JT Deposit and is characterized by a series of large gossan alteration zones similar in style to the +1Moz AuEq JT Deposit that collectively extend over a 1.5 km x 3.0 km area in a broad northeasterly trend.
Gold mineralization and pervasive clay/anhydrite alteration are preferentially developed within dacitic to rhyolitic fragmental rocks that are capped by a shallowly-dipping sequence of lesser altered andesite volcanics that are host to a gold- and silver-rich epithermal vein field at higher elevations. The widespread extent of mineralization exposed in erosional windows through the capping andesite supports potential for a large and partially blind mineralized system linking the various DC Prospect zones together over a strike length of 3 km. Drilling in late 2021 resulted in the discovery of near-surface bonanza-grade mineralization, which returned 577.9 g/t Au and 2,023 g/t Ag over 6.40 meters in hole DC21-010.
Subsequent geological modeling during the off-season inferred an east-west striking, steeply north-dipping trend to the mineralization that became the focus for the initial 2022 drill program at what is now referred to as the 'Ellis Zone'. 2 drill rigs have been targeting the Ellis Zone at the Difficult Creek prospect since the beginning of July with 3,017 meters completed in 25 drill holes to date. Drill hole lengths typically range from 75 to 150 meters and have been completed as fans of holes in a close-spaced 12.5 to 25-meter grid pattern with the objective of further refining the geometry, geological controls, and grade distribution of this promising new mineralized zone.
The drilling has now successively delineated an east-west striking zone of quartz-carbonate-sulfide veining and brecciation at shallow depths (<100m vertical) over core intervals up to 25 meters in length, with local narrow intervals of coarse-grained semi-massive to massive sphalerite, galena, chalcopyrite, and pyrite. Surrounding alteration consists of silicification and a widespread zone of semi-massive to massive pervasive nodular anhydrite and anhydrite veining. The veining and alteration are visually similar to that intersected at the main JT Deposit, located 4 km to the southwest.
To date, drilling has defined Ellis Zone mineralization over a strike length of approximately 100 meters and from surface to a depth of 100 meters. The Ellis Zone remains open along strike and at depth. The bonanza-grade gold and silver assays from the DC Prospect remain a very important driver for the Company and a second round of drilling is planned for September/October to continue chasing the newly defined mineralization at depth and along strike.
One drill rig will remain dedicated to continuing to expand the Ellis Zone for the rest of the drill season while the other drill rig will test important resource growth targets at the main JT Deposit, one of the other core priorities for the 2022 drill season. 2 diamond drill rigs are currently operating on the Project along with regional geological mapping, geochemical sampling, airborne drone-magnetic geophysical surveying, and preliminary environmental and engineering baseline studies. Approximately 65% of the planned 13,000-meter drill program is dedicated to DC prospect area with 25% for infill and step-out holes on the JT Deposit and the remaining 10% on regional prospects.
A late start to the season (due to larger than normal snowpack) may reduce the total meterage completed in the 2022 field season to between 10,000 to 11,000 meters by the end of October. To August 31st, a total of 5,397 meters have been completed in 36 holes (28 at the DC prospect, 6 at the Milkbone prospect, 1 at the Kona prospect, and one at the JT Deposit area). Assays results will be released on an ongoing basis pending review and meeting Company quality assurance-quality control protocols.