This morning, Blackrock Gold (TSX-V:BRC) announced the beginning of a 7,000+ meter drill program at its Tonopah West Project in Nevada. The Tonopah Silver District is second to only the Comstock Lode in Nevada; Nevada is still known as the “Silver State” on the back of these two districts. In the mid 1910’s, Tonopah would have easily been one of the most significant precious metals districts on the planet. On the back of their recent deal with Ely Gold Royalties, Blackrock Gold (TSX-V:BRC) is now by far the largest claim holder in the district, controlling over half.
The entire district spans only 4 miles end to end. The initial discovery was made on the east side of this east-west trending district with outcropping veins at surface, and miners followed those west. The east side of the district petered out early on, their best years were between 1900-1915; the west side represents the blue sky as miners followed the vein systems and this is where the last precious metals production took place. Tonopah was hard hit when precious metals prices took a huge dive in 1923, World War 1 had also sent costs much higher for basic materials.
Many of the veins Blackrock is targeting (Victor, Ohio, and Denver/Bermuda/Paymaster) represented some of the largest producers in the district. Victor was 24 meters thick where production shut down. Denver/Paymaster/Bermuda represented the very last of all of the production in the entire district when they finally shut down due to metals prices. Development work was carried out on where Blackrock is currently targeting although they couldn’t follow through with mining it in time.
Blackrock outlines 4 targets in this morning’s NR, however, the most interesting to me is target 2 – the Denver, Paymaster, and Bermuda/Merton veins:
“Through the McKane shaft, three veins, Denver, Paymaster, and Bermuda/Merton, were mined from 1200 to the 1650 level. Geologic and assay reports indicate additional mineralization down dip from the 1650 to 1880 level and possibly down to the 2150 level. Gold and silver are open to the west along strike. Five drillholes totalling 2,600 metres will target the veins along strike and down dip including a drillhole 800 metres west of the last known mineralized zone. The drillholes are targeting veins in the Mizpah and West End Rhyolite lithologies. An area with potential ranging from 1 million to 3 million tonnes averaging 10 to 15 g/t gold and gold equivalent is the target;”
Blackrock Gold President & CEO Andrew Pollard offered the following comments:
“With a production profile that averaged 2125g/t silver equivalent over fifty years, the Tonopah silver district has already proven itself as one of the most significant silver-gold districts in North America2. In the 1910s this camp, which spans only four miles end to end, established itself as one of the largest producers in America, though the tumultuous decades that followed were enough to dethrone what was known as the “Queen of the Silver Camps.” The western-half of the district, newly-consolidated and of which we now control, represented where the last of the production took place when operations shuttered due to low metals prices. It’s precisely where these miners left off that we are targeting as the first group to conduct modern exploration on the historic workings. With over 7,000 meters of drilling lined up this summer we aim to be the ones to restore prominence to this prolific district.”
The key here is that Blackrock is the first group to conduct modern exploration on the historic workings that have been frozen in time since the 1920s. Silver is on the verge of launching into a major bull market and Blackrock has the keys to one of the largest silver districts in the best mining state in the United States. I asked Blackrock CEO Andrew Pollard about the assays for hole 6 from Silver Cloud and he said the samples had to be sent for metallic screening and should be received back shortly.
Disclosure: Author owns shares of Blackrock Gold at time of publishing and may choose to buy or sell at any time without notice.
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