Western Alaska Minerals’ most advanced stage asset is the Illinois Creek oxide gold-silver deposit, a past-producing run of mine (ROM) heap leach mine that operated between 1997 and 2002, a time of historically low gold and silver prices. In 2018, the company entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with Piek Inc. to advance the resource and ultimately purchase the asset and the entire Illinois Creek property. In March 2021, Western Alaska Minerals (then Western Alaska Copper & Gold) completed a cash and stock purchase agreement with Piek Inc. to capture 100% of the Illinois Creek property which also includes the Waterpump Creek CRD target.
Illinois Creek NI 43-101 Technical Report
In 2019, WAM retained BD Resource Consulting, Inc., and SIM Geologic Inc. to prepare an updated mineral resource estimate for the Illinois Creek Project. The focus of this initial National Instrument (NI) 43-101 technical report for the property was the gold, silver, and copper oxide mineralization at the past producing Illinois Creek Mine. That mineralization is hosted in gossans related to the deep oxidation of the Illinois Creek CRD system developed in a thick Ordovician sedimentary section of dolomite and calcareous and dolomitic quartzites. The Waterpump Creek target is part of this same Illinois Creek CRD system.
The NI 43-101 Technical Resource Study was completed in October 2019, and subsequently updated in February 2021 with the addition of gold, silver and copper resources at the historic leach pad. The Illinois Creek Project shows exceptional heap leach grades when compared to other North American heap leach projects. An updated February 2021 resource estimate is shown in the figure below and is based on over 550 historical drill holes.
Note: In-situ mineral resources are limited inside the $1,600/oz Au pit shell and are reported at a base case cut-off grade of 0.35g/t gold equivalent (AuEq). Strip Ratio is 3.79:1 Leach pad mineral resources are reported at a zero cut-off grade. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves because the economic viability has not been demonstrated.
Prepared by:Robert Sim, PGeo, Sim Geological Inc, Bruce Davis, PhD, BD Resource Consulting, Inc.
- Past Producing Mine (1996-2002)
- Limited exploration of the extensions since mine development
- Complete 1996 mine permit data set from Alaska Department of Natural Resources is in hand
- Various technical and environmental studies currently being updated (2022)
- Mined and stacked leach pad material is ready for re-processing with modern recovery methods
Major optimization upsides exist at the historical mine, particularly on the process and recovery side. Merrill Crowe processing could strongly impact silver recoveries and Cu pre-strip or suppression using a SART process could provide a valuable copper concentrate and improve gold recoveries. Additional metallurgical testing is underway and is expected to be completed in 2023.
Geology & Exploration
There are multiple opportunities to add value and resource to the Illinois Creek Project. One highly significant opportunity to emphasize is the synergies between the Illinois Creek project and WAM’s high-grade Honker Gold project. Honker Gold has demonstrated high grade resource potential of 200K oz Au at grades of >6 gpt Au, and it could provide significant scale to support a two resource, single processing operation, mine scenario. Learn more about the Honker Gold project.
Illinois Creek Oxide Gold Targeting
The gold-silver (Au-Ag) resource is open down dip and along strike.
Major optimization upsides exist at the historical mine, particularly on the process and recovery side. Merrill Crowe processing could strongly impact silver recoveries and Cu pre-strip or suppression using a SART process could provide a valuable copper concentrate and improve gold recoveries. Metallurgical testing is underway and should be completed in Q4 2022.
The qualified person who reviewed and approved the technical disclosure on this website is Stuart Morris, P. Geo., a qualified person as defined under National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Morris is an independent consultant with a MS in Economic Geology and 40 plus years of experience in mineral resources, mine, and exploration. He is a Registered Geologist with the British Columbia Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (BC-APEG) No. 135066 and with the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration No. 16289.