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Thursday, 11 October 2012
TNR Gold gears up for upcoming Los Azules trial, boasts success at Alaska Shotgun gold project
TNR Gold Corp. (CVE:TNR) has a major quarter ahead of it with the continued exploration of its Shotgun gold property in Alaska and as it prepares for a trial fighting for the ownership rights to a portion of the Los Azules copper project in Argentina.
TNR Gold and its subsidiary, Solitario Argentina S.A., are contesting the ownership to the northern half of the Los Azules copper deposit and are seeking to have the court recognize a right on the part of Solitario to back into the project.
The Los Azules deposit is currently owned by subsidiaries ofMcEwen Mining Inc. (TSE:MUX) (NYSE:MUX), which has described the project as one of the largest undeveloped copper deposits in the world.
Prolific mining investor Rob McEwen is the president and major shareholder of McEwen Mining, which was created back in January of this year from the combination of Minera Andes and U.S. Gold.
In a recent news release, McEwen Mining announced a considerable increase in the Los Azules copper project resource from the one previously prepared in June 2010.
The trial claiming title to a substantial portion of the deposit begins on November 19 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Given the magnitude of the claim, the resolution of the lawsuit is “highly significant” to the company, says TNR Gold’s president Gary Schellenberg.
But TNR Gold's prime focus is on its Shotgun property in Alaska, from where it just last month released "the best drill results ever obtained from the property”, TNR's president says.
Here, TNR has a 100 per cent ownership, with no disputes involved, and is looking for a large, bulk-tonnage gold deposit, similar to what is being developed at the Donlin gold project by NovaGold (TSE:NG) (AMEX:NG) and Barrick Gold (TSE:ABX) (NYSE: ABX), Schellenberg reckons.
The property holds an historic (pre NI 43-101) resource of about 1 million ounces so far, and Schellenberg says that a significant result of this year's program was that it opened the door for discovering a "much larger" deposit.
In a follow-up to the announced 2012 drill program results from hole SR12-56, which returned 242 metres averaging 1.25 grams per tonne (g/t) gold, the company last month unveiled further results from the second hole, returning 209 metres averaging 1.02 g/t gold across the full length of the targeted porphyry system.
The mineral explorer said the results confirmed its model of mineralization, where "elevated gold values occur in very broad zones with higher grades in repeating structural features through the Shotgun Ridge area."
Mineralization found also matched interpreted geophysical anomalies, which will help the company to target further drilling.
"Geophysical results at Shotgun Ridge suggest that features hosting mineralized zones may be structurally replicated several times, indicating significant potential for discovering new mineralized zones.
"There are several other similar geophysical and geochemical signatures on different parts of the property, and we have identified potential offsets of the mineralized zone for drilling next season."
TNR has completed drilling at the property for this season, with every intention to go back in early April or May of next year.
"It was a short season for us. We have proven our updated exploration model and that the property has upside through the geophysics we have done," Schellenberg adds.
"There is now indication that we are seeing expansion of the mineralization laterally and to depth, and we are looking at what additional information we will need to complete a 43-101 compliant resource estimate - expected at the latest at the end of next season."
Just yesterday, the junior gold company released the results from the third and final hole of its drilling program this year. Hole SR12-58 returned 83 metres averaging 0.82 g/t gold across the full length of the southwest zone within the Shotgun Ridge system, with the company saying it confirmed down dip mineralization.
The infrastructure at the property is remote, he admits, but no more so than for Donlin – one of the largest undeveloped gold deposits in the world. The Shotgun property is just 175 kilometres south of Donlin within the Kuskokwim Gold Belt in southwestern Alaska.
"We are looking for gold deposits in the multi million ounce range here. We now understand from this year’s success that there is greater potential than previously anticipated."
Indeed, the Shotgun property has multiple adjacent prospects, "which could be as good as Shotgun Ridge," Schellenberg says, where the company will be looking for additional ounces. “Shotgun Ridge was the first zone found, but just because it was exposed on the ridge does not mean it will be the largest or the most important zone.”
The company also boasts newly appointed Greg Johnson on its board of directors, who was co-founder and executive of NovaGold Resources, and held senior exploration roles for Placer Dome – now known as Barrick Gold – including a key role in the discovery of the 40 million ounce Donlin gold deposit.
TNR Gold, which purchased the remaining 50 per cent interest in Shotgun from NovaGold in 2010, has around $1.2 million of cash under its belt, and is looking into various ways of funding next year's exploration program, including a potential joint venture.
These plans are secondary, however, to the resolution of the disputed ownership of Los Azules, which the company hopes will be sometime early next year.
In addition to Shotgun and Los Azules, TNR Gold also has exposure to the iron ore market with its Soules Bay project nearly 300 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ontario.
The property contains a 12 km strike length, "highly magnetic" iron formation, the junior explorer claims, and lies next to a historical resource of 628 million tonnes grading 23.1% soluble iron.
The vast majority of the formation within the property has not yet been tested, but an extensive exploration program is planned once the provincial government of Ontario confirms ownership claims.
TNR Gold's stock has risen more than 83 per cent in the last month, and is currently sitting at around 11 cents.