Western Alaska Minerals (TSXV:WAM) recently completed its 2023 exploration activities at the Illinois Creek Carbonate Replacement Deposit (CRD) project, which it wholly owns. Located in central Alaska, the project encompasses approximately 30,000 hectares.
CEO Kit Marrs commented in a press release: “It is rare for a junior exploration company to control, in a stable mining jurisdiction, an entire, intact system of this scale, that even at this early stage is showing the hallmarks of a well-mineralized CRD system. It took several tries with the drill bit at WPC, but once we intercepted the exceptionally high-grade silver-lead-zinc sulfides there, it took just two seasons of drilling to flesh out a substantial zone, justifying the calculation of an initial mineral resource estimate. Results to date suggest that WPC is just the fingertip of a 6 km-long mineralized trend that runs back to Illinois Creek, of which only 8% has been drill tested to date. With our updated understanding of the system, we are excited to be zeroing in at Last Hurrah and continuing to trace high-grade mineralization back towards Illinois Creek.”
The site includes a six-kilometer corridor of CRD-style alteration, structural features, and stratigraphy favorable for mineral deposits. This corridor connects the previously mined Illinois Creek Mine, known for gold and silver deposits, with the Waterpump Creek massive sulfide CRD deposit, rich in silver, lead, and zinc.
In 2023, WAM focused its drilling efforts on two areas: Waterpump Creek and the Last Hurrah target area. At Waterpump Creek, five drill holes totaling 1,706 meters aimed to expand the known high-grade sulfide mineralization. The most notable outcome was from drill hole WPC23-30, which intersected significant mineralization, including 40.2 meters with high concentrations of silver, lead, and zinc.
The exploration then shifted to the Last Hurrah area, located 700 meters south across a fault line. This site, based on geophysical surveys and previous drilling, was believed to be part of the mineralized corridor. Nine drill holes totaling 3,412 meters were completed here, encountering broad zones of CRD alteration and dispersed mineralization. Two of these holes indicated the potential for mineralization in deeper limestone units, suggesting new avenues for exploration across the property.
The company’s technical team is integrating these findings into an enhanced district model, which is being prepared for the next drilling season. This model also includes a reinterpretation of the geophysics.
WAM’s exploration results support the theory of a continuous and intensifying pattern of CRD-style mineralization and alteration extending south and west. This pattern aligns with the district’s zonation, transitioning from low-temperature silver-zinc-lead mineralization at Waterpump Creek to higher-temperature copper-gold-silver deposits at Illinois Creek.
Additional exploration at the Last Hurrah area in 2023 revealed strong CRD alteration in most drill holes, with fugitive carbonate veins indicative of proximity to mineralization. Geophysical surveys suggested an increase in the alteration’s extent toward the Illinois Creek mine. However, no massive sulfides were intersected in this area.
A comprehensive 3-D resistivity and induced polarization survey conducted over Waterpump Creek and Last Hurrah target areas by DIAS Geophysical highlighted key structural and stratigraphic controls of CRD mineralization. The survey also identified distinct fault structures, including a potential north-south fault that could be controlling the mineralizing fluids.
The 2023 drilling program at Waterpump Creek, comprising five holes totaling 1,706 meters, yielded significant results. These included high-grade silver-lead-zinc infill and expansion, with notable intercepts in multiple drill holes. This data is contributing to a preliminary NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate, expected to be published in early 2024.
Highlights from the results are as follows:
Western Alaska Minerals (TSXV:WAM) has released the initial assay results from the step-out phase of its second-year of drilling at the Waterpump Creek Carbonate Replacement Deposit. The results indicate that Hole WPC23-0030 has expanded the Waterpump Creek zone to 495 meters in strike length.
The hole was part of a two-drill program aiming to examine the continuation of the Waterpump Creek system southwards. Notably, this hole was drilled from the same pad as WPC22-022, albeit at an angle of -70° facing south. WPC22-022 had previously been identified as intersecting a structure believed to be a feeder chimney, with several high-grade zones of mineralization, as reported on December 7, 2022. Further details on these findings, along with intercepts from other drills, were provided in a press release dated July 6, 2023, which also detailed the outcomes from the step-out hole WPC23-0032 that identified the Illinois Creek fault’s location.
Kit Marrs, CEO of Western Alaska Minerals, commented in a press release: “We welcome this proof that high-grade mineralization at Waterpump Creek remains open to the south and that the distinctive CRD alteration seen there is turning up in our drilling 700m farther south at Last Hurrah. We look forward to continuing drilling at Last Hurrah to find the sulphides that the alteration is telling us should be nearby and trace it back towards WPC, which may just be the tip of the finger of a major CRD manto”.
Characteristically, the intercepts mentioned are dominated by in-situ gossan intertwined with residual galena. Throughout the intercepts, Pb and Zn carbonates and oxides are observed. The identified gap in mineralization from 249.3 to 262.1 in the referenced table is attributed to a significant amount of late-stage pyrite, comparable to what was found in WPC22-018 and WPC22-022.
When considering this year’s results, along with data from the previous 26 drill holes at Waterpump Creek, there’s confirmation of the continuity of massive sulfides ranging between 30 to 75 meters in width and 495 meters in length, which show a gentle plunge towards the south.
Update on Phase II Drilling at Last Hurrah Target
The initial drilling at the Last Hurrah target, which is situated 700 meters south of Waterpump Creek, has been completed. Positioned across the Illinois Creek fault from Waterpump Creek, Last Hurrah was earmarked as a potential site due to a reinterpretation of past geology, soil geochemistry, geophysical examinations, and previous drills carried out by Anaconda and NovaGold.
Four holes, spaced at intervals of approximately 120 meters, were drilled along an east-west line, focusing on the north-south-aligned alteration vectors. These holes aimed to pinpoint mineralization in this previously uncharted territory. Each of these holes revealed widespread and intricate alteration, including signs of sanding, bleaching, and UV fluorescence. This suggests that the area experienced multiple episodes of hydrothermal fluid activity. Hole LH23-0005 was a standout, displaying the distinct “Barbeque Rock” fluorescence (vivid orange and pink under Shortwave UV), accompanied by anomalous Pb and Zn values as evidenced by a hand-held XRF Analyzer.
These findings are consistent and similar to the data from hole WPC22-021, which was drilled 30 meters away from the high-grade sulfide intercept in hole WPC22-022, strongly hinting at the close vicinity of mineralization.
Highlights from the results are as follows:
Table 1. Drill intercepts within hole WPC23-0030.
*All intercepts are core length; true widths have not been determined for the above intercepts but are thought to be greater than 80% of actual drill thicknesses.
Table 2. Hole Location table.
|UTM East (m)
|UTM North (m)
Western Alaska Minerals (TSXV:WAM) has reported new drill assay results from drill hole WPC22-22 at the Waterpump Creek Carbonate Replacement Deposit from three multistage massive sulfide horizons. Mineralization is currently open and will continue to be the company’s focus as part of its expanded 2023 drill program.
Western Alaska Minerals CEO, Kit Marrs, commented in a press release: “The overall grades in this hole are outstanding with some exceptional intervals with silver grades up to 39 oz/ton in one of the internal zones. These three high-grade intercepts total over 86 meters in composite thickness and tie together with similar mineralization in ten other holes to give us 400 meters of continuous high-grade mineralization linked to the sulfide chimney cut in WPC22-18. All the signs indicate this is part of a major CRD system and we can’t wait to start the 2023 drill season and continue tracing this mineralization south where we think these zones coalesce and become thicker.”
Highlights from the assay results are as follows:
The best results are 54.6 Meters Grading 187 g/t Silver (6.0 oz/ton), 6.2% Lead and 5.1% Zinc (Including: 3.5 Meters Grading 1223 g/t Silver (39.3 oz/ton), 32.5% Lead and 8.1% Zinc)
The discussion below incorporates visual data from drillholes WPC22-21 and -22 and from previous drill holes (See news release of September 22, 2022). Assay results from WPC22-21 will be reported when received and vetted.
Hole WPC22-22 cut three significant zones of massive to semi-massive sphalerite and argentiferous galena in a matrix of secondary dolomite like that seen in previous drilling press releases. The intercepts are separated by highly altered and weakly to unmineralized dolomitic host rock. All the intercepts clearly show multiple cross-cutting stages of mineralization. Distinctive zones of silver-rich galena cut separate lower-silver sphalerite stages. There are at least two separate stages of sphalerite.
Data from this release continue to show a strong correlation between silver and lead with each 1% lead associated with approximately 1 oz/ton silver. Zinc grades appear far more variable and reflect different stages of mineralization.
Table 1. Highlight assay results from drill hole WPC22-22. All Company Waterpump Creek results can be found on the website along with more technical details.
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