Gladiator Metals (TSXV: GLAD) has announced an update on its data compilation and exploration efforts at the Whitehorse Copper Project. This update includes the discovery of significant, unmined Copper-Gold skarns over a 700-meter strike at the historic Little Chief mine trend.
Gladiator CEO Jason Bontempo commented in a press release: “With the identification of the Middle Chief mineralization Gladiator continues to define areas of high-grade copper skarn mineralisation with significant exploration upside from its data compilation of historic drilling datasets. The Middle Chief mineralization represents a near-surface area of mineralization open in all directions with limited exploration or development away from historical underground infrastructure. Historical drilling and past production from the Little Chief mine area as a whole remains shallow, and this data compilation represents an opportunity to review the deposit in 3D for the first time to begin to appreciate the exploration potential of the high-grade copper-gold skarn, which remains open in all directions, for future resource growth. Planned diamond drilling is scheduled to commence in the coming months and will be testing the Middle Chief target as well as near mine extensions to the historic Little Chief mine.”
The Little Chief Mine, along with the Middle Chief Target, forms part of the Whitehorse Copper Belt. The Little Chief Mine, historically the largest producer in this area, yielded around 8.54 million tonnes of ore with a copper grade of over 1.5% and 0.75g/t gold, according to a 1984 report by Watson. Mining operations at Little Chief began in 1967 and concluded in 1982, influenced by the low copper prices at the time. Gladiator’s recent review suggests the potential for further mineralization at deeper levels, previously unexplored by drilling.
Gladiator has been actively compiling and reviewing historical drilling data from the Little Chief mining area. This includes a LIDAR survey, reconnaissance, and sampling around the historic mine site. The results confirmed significant mineralization, initially identified in drilling from the decline of the old Little Chief underground mine, with additional drilling occurring before the mine’s closure in 1982.
David Tenney in 1981 reported underground reserves at Little Chief and Middle Chief that had remained unexplored. Gladiator’s analysis of historical drilling data has now identified a significant body of shallow mineralization, named the Middle Chief mineralization. This body, over 200 meters in length and located 120 meters below the surface, lies beneath the decline and north of the Little Chief Open pit and underground mine. It appears largely intact, with limited drilling scope to date.
The historical drilling data, comprising 628 underground and 166 surface holes, covering a total of 68,940 meters, had not been previously reported by Gladiator. It highlights substantial unmined mineralization.
For the first time, Gladiator has been able to review and model this mineralization in three dimensions, providing a new perspective for targeting further mineralization. The company plans to utilize modern geophysics techniques, including down-hole electromagnetics (DHEM), in its exploration.
Gladiator intends to commence exploration drilling at Middle Chief in the coming months, following a recently approved Class 1 exploration notification. This will be accompanied by DHEM surveying to identify undrilled extensions to the mineralization.
At the same time, Gladiator is conducting a high-resolution drone-borne aeromagnetic survey over the Little Chief area. The company plans to process the magnetic data and complete a three-dimensional inversion model, important for targeting the Magnetite enriched Skarns associated with historical mineralization.
Gladiator also plans to broaden its assay scope in future drilling and sampling, including testing for gold, silver, and molybdenum, which were significant contributors to the economics of the historic Little Chief operations.
The historical drilling data, obtained from the Yukon Geological Survey archives, has been incorporated into an industry-standard database by Gladiator. This comprehensive compilation and analysis marks a significant step in Gladiator’s ongoing exploration and development efforts in the Whitehorse Copper Project area.
Highlights from the results are as follows:
Gladiator Metals (TSXV:GLAD) has updated shareholders on the latest developments in its exploration activities at the Whitehorse Copper Project, a site with a history of copper production. The company’s recent efforts include compiling historical drilling data, conducting a LIDAR survey, and sampling in areas around the Arctic Chief mining pits.
Gladiator CEO, Jason Bontempo commented in a press release: “The Arctic Chief Trend continues to develop as a significant exploration opportunity with outcropping copper-gold skarn mineralization now mapped by Gladiator extending for at least 2.4km of strike and external to past historical operations. Previous successful exploitation of the Arctic Chief Trend was very limited in scope and depth, with only minor amounts of drilling being undertaken outside of the past production area. Mineralization remains open in all directions (along strike and at depth) at all of the defined prospect areas. Regional programs are still active in the Whitehorse Copper belt with the results of ongoing drone borne magnetics anticipated shortly”.
The focus of the current work is the Arctic Chief Trend, where historical records indicate past production of high-grade copper ore. Gladiator Metals has charted several prospective zones extending over a 2.4km strike. The trend contains two shallow historic open pits, named East and West, which previously yielded copper ore with significant gold content.
Historical records, as cited by a report from 1984, indicate that the Arctic Chief area produced over 200,000 tonnes of copper ore with grades of 1.4% copper and 1.0 g/t gold. Despite these figures, past mining efforts were confined and shallow, with minimal drilling beyond the mined zones, suggesting the presence of unexplored mineralization along strike and at depth.
Gladiator Metals’ review of historical drilling has uncovered indications of potential mineralization extending from the small excavations. Notably, the previous drill samples were tested only for copper, despite high-grade gold being present, as recent sample analysis showing gold values reaching up to 19.9 g/t. Future assays will now also test for gold, silver, and molybdenum, recognizing their historical contribution to the site’s value.
The company has retrieved drill records from the Yukon Geological Survey and incorporated them into a database, standard within the industry. Detailed historical drilling data and rock chip sampling results have been made available for public access.
On the regional exploration front, Gladiator Metals has identified over 30 new high-grade targets suitable for drilling. These sites are linked with copper-rich skarns along the boundary where the Cretaceous Whitehorse Plutonic Suite meets the clastic and carbonate metasediments of the Triassic to Jurassic Lewes River Group. This contact zone extends over 35km and is considered underexplored but highly promising for high-grade copper and other minerals.
Gladiator Metals’ exploration efforts are facilitated by the accessible nature of the Whitehorse project, which benefits from existing infrastructure and its proximity to the city of Whitehorse. The company also notes the advantage of having an established partnership with the project’s landholders and a local drilling service provider.
Highlights from the project are as follows:
Best Chance Prospect
Recently collated historic drilling (51 holes for 5,038 metres) none of which had been previously reported by the Company, highlight significant mineralization that remains unmined and extends over more than 250m with mineralization remaining open along strike and at depth. Downhole mineralization includes:
In conjunction to the historic drill data compilation, Gladiator undertook reconnaissance, investigation and sampling of outcropping mineralization proximal to historic drilling. Sampling identified multiple zones of outcropping mineralization in the Best Chance prospect area with results including:
Undrilled high-grade copper and gold mineralization 400m to the NE of two small open cut mining pits located at Arctic Chief historic mining area defined by rock chipping with results including:
Undrilled high-grade copper and gold mineralization defined by rock chipping around small, historic underground workings 200m to the West of the Best Chance prospect area with results including:
Empress of India Prospect
Undrilled high-grade copper and gold mineralization defined by rock chipping of multiple zones over more than 400m of strike with results including:
Arctic Chief Prospect
The results above over the various prospects comprising the Arctic Chief trend are in addition to a previously announced data compilation completed at Artic Chief Prospect (News release dated 31 July 2023) which included (refer to Figure 3 for locations):
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