Northern Freegold Resources, a TSX-Venture listed (symbol: NFR) exploration and development company, owns 100 per cent of the Freegold Mountain property, which contains adjacent multi-million ounce gold-copper deposits. Over the past three years the company has been successful in growing its resources by over 600 per cent1, which has mainly been the result of the delineation of the second resource for the property, in 2012, located at the Revenue zone. The property is situated only 70 kilometres west of Carmacks on the Klondike Highway with access to excellent infrastructure and logistical links to the property. In September, the company completed a program of preliminary metallurgical testing for both the Nucleus and Revenue deposits with extremely encouraging results. The company expects to update its resource estimate at Nucleus by the end of 2012, and will then complete its first Preliminary Economic Assessment for the property, set to be released in 2013.
Both the Nucleus and Revenue deposits are located within a 10 kilometre geophysical anomaly with coincidental gold and copper geochemical anomalies, running east-west across the 200 square kilometer property. The Nucleus deposit contains 1.1 million Indicated ounces of gold at 0.7 g/t and 0.6 million Inferred ounces of gold at 0.47 g/t. The Revenue deposit contains 1.1 million Inferred ounces of gold at 0.34 g/t along with 286 million pounds of copper at 0.13 per cent and 90 million pounds of molybdenum at 0.04 per cent. This puts Northern Freegold in the top three gold/copper/molybdenum resources in the Yukon. Assessments on the property are in good standing until 2019.
The adjacent Nucleus and Revenue deposits have been the main focus of exploration on the property due to their close proximity to each other, on the western end of the district scale anomaly. Both deposits are currently open in all directions and at depth. Gold represents about 65 per cent of the contained metal value at prevailing prices, with significant amounts of copper, molybdenum, and silver making up the balance. Recent metallurgical results indicating gold recoveries of up to 97 per cent for the Nucleus deposit, and recoveries of up to 92 per cent for copper, 74 per cent for gold and 81 per cent for molybdenum at the Revenue deposit compare very favorably to other similar gold/copper porphyry deposits in North America.
One of the key factors influencing the future economic feasibility of mining projects in the Yukon is the properties’ proximity to key elements of transportation and infrastructure. Only a fraction of Yukon resource companies have road access. Northern Freegold has the advantage of being one of these. It has a government maintained road connecting its property to the Klondike Highway near Carmacks. This greatly diminishes the drilling and exploration costs as rigs and equipment can be trucked to site rather than being more expensively flown in by helicopter. Secondly, access to electricity is critical for a mining project and grid power is usually much cheaper than off-grid diesel sub stations.
Fortunately, Northern Freegold’s properties are close to the Klondike Highway where the high voltage transmission grid is located. Nearby mines such as Capstone’s Minto mine are connected to the grid. The Yukon Electrical Company has indicated that it plans to extend the electricity spur line from Carmacks, which is located roughly 70 kilometers west of the Freegold Mountain property. This could potentially bring grid power to the property
The company is fortunate to work in a jurisdiction that recognizes the necessity of supporting and working with responsible mineral exploration and mining ventures. The current Yukon government was responsible for setting up a streamlined process for permitting, through the creation of the Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Board. Permitting can be a major hurdle to overcome in any region, but the continuous open dialogue between government, first nations, explorers, and producers in the Yukon has created an environment that is more favourable than those found in other jurisdictions.
2013 should be an exciting year for Northern Freegold as it delivers on its key milestones. The property is over three times the size of Manhattan. Only a small portion of it has been explored. The company has made additional discoveries on the east side of the property at the Tinta Zone, and has areas with encouraging trenching results such as at Ridge. With further drilling there is the prospect of additional growth in the resource. Northern Freegold’s near term objective is to further explore and drill the known porphyry system with the goal of doubling the size of the existing resource.