Includes 2023 Updates to Goals & Objectives
Western Exploration Inc. (TSX-V: WEX) (OTCQX: WEXPF) is pleased to provide additional assay results for the final four holes from the 2022 Phase 1 drill program at Doby George, one of three main mineral deposits located at the Company’s wholly-owned Aura Project, located in Elko County, Nevada.
Western Exploration CEO Darcy Marud said, “We have now received assay results for all nine drill holes completed at Doby George in 2022. The assay results demonstrate remarkable continuity of high-grade, near-surface, oxide gold mineralization at Doby George. Western Exploration has long believed in the higher-grade potential at Doby George and the Phase 1 drill program completed in 2022 has confirmed this belief.”
“The results of the Phase 1 drill program will be used to complete further metallurgical test work with the view of advancing the Doby George deposit to a Pre-Feasibility Study. In addition, we anticipate following up these high-grade intersections with additional step-out drilling in both oxide and unoxidized areas of Doby George in 2023,” continued Marud.
The complete results for holes DGC794, DGC795, DGC796 and DGC797 are reported below in Table 1 below, along with the assay results previously reported on October 2, 2022 and December 8, 2022.
2022 DRILL PROGRAM SUMMARY
The Phase 1 drill program was comprised of nine large diameter (PQ) core holes which were completed between July 26, 2022, and September 12, 2022. The drill holes were located at eight different drill sites for a total of 1,138 meters in drilling at the Doby George deposit (see Figure 1 and Table 2 below).
The purpose of the Phase 1 drill program was to evaluate areas within, and adjacent to, the current resource boundary to:
Drill holes DGC794 and DGC795 were drilled in the Twilight zone of Doby George, which accounts for limited overall tonnage, but locally exceptional gold grades. Both holes showed positive AuFA grade distribution when compared to the resource block model prepared for the Company by Mine Development Associates (see Figure 1 and Figure 2 below) and contained in the technical report titled “2021 Updated Resource Estimates and Technical Report For the Aura Gold-Silver Project, Elko County, Nevada” dated October 20, 2021 (with an effective date of October 14, 2021) (the “Technical Report”).
A copy of the Technical Report is available on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) under Western Exploration’s issuer profile.
The Twilight holes show variable AuCN leach recoveries, but these are typically at, or well above 80% in the significant intercepts.
Hole DGC796 was drilled in the West Ridge Deposit to test the deepest portion of the deposit in an area modeled as mixed to unoxidized mineralization (see Figure 1 and Figure 3 below). There is good correlation with distribution of fire assay gold grades relative to the block model. Distribution of mixed and unoxidized mineralization also generally confirms the modeled sulfide boundary in the Technical Report.
Hole DGC797 was drilled to verify an isolated high-grade intercept located in the NE part of the West Ridge Deposit (see Figure 1 and Figure 3 below). The hole intersected only one narrow zone of +1.0 g/t Au mineralization and is the only hole from the 2022 drill program that did not confirm block model grades. This area will be re-evaluated with future drilling, as it lies on a major structural trend.
All sample intervals were assayed by both fire assay (AuFA) and cyanide soluble shake tests (AuCN) followed up by atomic absorption finish. The AuCN results are a measure of the solubility of Au in diluted CN solutions and the state of oxidation of the samples. An AuCN/AuFA ratio of greater than 80% generally indicates strong oxidation and good cyanide extraction potential.
Table 1. January 16, 2023 Doby George Drill Hole Results(1)
|DGC 789 (2)||West Ridge||63.09||83.97||20.88||19.6||1.41||1.36||96%|
|DGC790 (2)||West Ridge||33.83||88.39||54.56||42.0||2.08||1.88||90%|
|DGC791 (3)||West Ridge||14.78||89.00||74.22||54.0||1.71||1.63||95%|
|DGC796||West Ridge Deep||197.21||221.44||24.23||23.0||0.87||0.02||2%|
|DGC797||West Ridge NE||85.34||90.83||5.49||5.5||1.24||1.22||98%|
Table 2. Doby George 2022 Drill Hole Coordinates
|Drill Hole||Easting||Northing||Elevation||Azimuth||Dip||Depth (m)|
During 2023, the Company plans on completing metallurgical test work at Doby George in the first half of 2023 and then moving towards the commencement of a Pre-Feasibility Study. Additional step-out diamond drilling is proposed for Q3 and Q4 2023 to follow up on high-grade intersections in both oxidized and unoxidized portions of Doby George.
During 2022, Western Exploration completed an updated 3D geologic model of Gravel Creek and Wood Gulch. The Company now believes that both deposits formed contemporaneously and are related to a Miocene felsic eruptive event. The eruptive event is bound by NW trending extensional fault zones that are fluid conduits for low sulphidation epithermal style mineralization at both Wood Gulch and Gravel Creek.
The new geologic model has significantly expanded the footprint of prospective geology and mineralization to an area of approximately 1 kilometer by 3.5 kilometers, which is more than three-times the size of the current resource areas. Historical wide-spaced drilling in this newly defined area have returned numerous above-cutoff (2 g/t Aueq) intercepts of gold and silver. The Company anticipates completing an additional 5,000 to 10,000 meters of drilling to test these areas which could result in a significant expansion of the resource areas of Wood Gulch and Gravel Creek.
ABOUT DOBY GEORGE
Doby George is one of the highest-grade, undeveloped open pit heap leach resources in Nevada and one of three mineral deposits on Western Exploration’s 100% owned Aura Project. The Aura Project is located 32 kilometers north of the Jerritt Canyon mine, which has been in continual operation since 1981. The deposit is an outcropping, high-grade sediment-hosted mineral deposit, with multiple zones of mineralization identified by drilling in a 1.7 x 0.8 km area (see Figure 4 below). The zone of oxidation extends 150 to 200 meters below surface, while limited deep drilling has encountered unoxidized gold mineralization at depths of over 600 meters below surface.
Homestake Mining Company initially discovered the deposit in the mid-1980s. Since that time, 836 drill holes have been completed, totaling 116,355 meters of drilling. This includes 83 drill holes totaling 23,760 meters that were drilled by Western Exploration LLC between 1998 and 2022. Metallurgical test work completed on oxidized material by Homestake Mining Company, Independence Mining Company, and Atlas Precious Metals Inc., has indicated favorable metallurgy for standard cyanide heap leach processing. Results from the previous metallurgical testing completed on 52 bottle rolls and 23 column leach samples indicate that heap leach gold recoveries approaching seventy percent can be expected via a crush of 1 to 1.5 inches.
In addition to an established mineral resource estimate (as determined in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects), the Aura Project has well established infrastructure including year-round accessibility by highway and county-maintained road and nearby access to water and electricity (see Figure 5 below). Western Exploration has exploration, development, and mining rights on 930 hectares of privately owned fee lands through a mineral lease agreement with a local landowner and may purchase those fee lands at any time for the development of Doby George.
The 6,000-hectare Aura Project is unique in the junior mining space, as resources have been identified in three different deposits (Doby George, Gravel Creek and Wood Gulch), as supported by the Technical Report (see Table 3 below).
able 3. Updated resource estimates for the Aura Project as contained in the Technical Report
|AuEq (g/t)||AuEq (oz.)||Tonnes||Au (g/t)||Au
|AuEq (g/t)||AuEq (oz.)|
About Western Exploration
Born from a 25-year history of advancing exploration projects in Nevada as a private company, today Western Exploration is composed of an experienced team of precious metals experts that aims to lead Western Exploration to becoming a premiere gold and silver development company in North America. The Company’s principal asset is the 100% owned Aura gold-silver project, located approximately 120 kilometers/75 miles north of the city of Elko, Nevada, and includes three unique gold and silver deposits: Doby George, Gravel Creek, and Wood Gulch. Additional information regarding Western Exploration and the Aura Project can be found on the Company’s website and on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) under the Company’s issuer profile.
Qualified Person Approval
The scientific and technical content in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Mark Hawksworth, General Manager of Western Exploration’s Aura Project, who is a “qualified person” within the meaning of NI 43-101.
Quality Assurance – Quality Control
Drill program design, Quality Assurance/Quality Control and the interpretation of results is performed by qualified persons employing a QA/QC program consistent with NI 43-101 and industry best practices.
Drill core samples were delivered by Major Drilling to Western Exploration’s secure warehouse/logging facility in Mountain City and washed, photographed and logged by company geologists. Quality control samples are inserted at regular intervals in the sample stream, including blanks, core duplicates and reference materials with all sample shipments to monitor laboratory performance.
Drill core samples are transported by Neilsen Exploration to McClelland Laboratory Inc. located in Sparks, Nevada, for sample preparation and analysis. Each interval is removed from the core box, weighed and crushed using a jaw-crusher to an approximately 2″ top size. The crushed interval is blended by repeated coning and is quartered to obtain a one-quarter split for finer crush. Each one-quarter split is crushed to 10 mesh (2 mm) and split to obtain 0.25 – 0.50 kg for pulverization. For fire assays, the 0.25 kg split is pulverized to >95%-150 mesh (106µm). Analysis for gold and silver is completed using a 30-gram fire assay with AA finish. For the CN soluble tests, A 10-gram aliquot of sample (>95%-106 µm) is leached by shaking in a 50 mL test tube for 1 hour, at ambient temperature and 33.3% solids, using a solution of NaCN (5.0 gpL) and pH > 11.0 using NaOH. The solution is separated by centrifuging. Clear solution is analyzed by AA for gold.
Figure 1. Location of 2022 PQ Metallurgical test holes and resource zones in the Doby George deposit, with key assay intervals received YTD. (Graphic: Business Wire)
Figure 2. Positive comparison of fire assay gold values in Twilight holes DGC794 and DGC795, relative to block model grades contained in the Technical Report. (Graphic: Business Wire)
Figure 3. Positive comparison of fire assay gold values in Deep Westridge hole DGC796, relative to block model grades contained in the Technical Report. Distribution of mixed and unoxidized mineralization generally confirms the modeled sulfide boundary in the Technical Report. Hole DGC797 was drilled to verify an isolated high grade intercept and results did not confirm expected block model grades. (Graphic: Business Wire)
Figure 4. Doby George deposit with +1.0 g/t Au resource blocks and US$1,800 Au pits. (Graphic: Business Wire)
Figure 5. Aura Project – Land holdings and Infrastructure. (Graphic: Business Wire)
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