Elkhorn Property History
Mining began in the Elkhorn district with the discovery of silver in 1870. The largest producer in the district has been the Elkhorn Mine which produced over 14.7 million ounces of silver, 20,000 ounces of gold, 14 million lbs. of lead, 2.8 million lbs. of zinc and 148,000 lbs. of copper from the 1870’s through the early 1900’s. The Elkhorn mining district is historically referred to as a silver mining district; however, it has produced over 67,000 ounces of gold in past production. Sixty-four percent of this gold production has come from seven separate skarn occurrences scattered throughout the district, most of which are contained within the current Elkhorn Property.
Modern exploration of the property began in 1982 when a Gold Fields Corp. geologist first visited the site. Gold Fields Corp. began property acquisition in 1984 and began drilling in August of that year. Significant mineralization was encountered in the second drill hole that intersected 15 feet of 0.093 ounces per ton gold at a shallow depth of 145 feet in the Carmody zone. The summer of 1985 was spent concentrating on several geophysical targets and it wasn’t until later that fall that the exploration program was redirected to exploring in the East Butte and Carmody areas.
Subsequent drilling led to the discovery of the East Butte deposit (1986) the Mt Heagan/Gold Hill and Sourdough deposits (1987). By 1989, with the resource at over 1,000,000 ounces of gold, Gold Fields Corp. decided to try to develop the property and began engineering and environmental studies. These development plans were soon put on hold as an asset exchange between Hanson PLC, (the parent of Gold Fields Corp.) and Santa Fe Pacific Gold Corporation resulted in the transfer of the Elkhorn Property to Santa Fe Pacific in 1991.
By 1997, after six years of extensive drilling, engineering and environmental baseline work and, with an Elkhorn Property gold resource in excess of 1.6 million ounces, Santa Fe was acquired by Newmont Gold Corp. Newmont’s objective in purchasing Santa Fe was to obtain Santa Fe’s producing assets in Nevada. As a consequence the Elkhorn Project did not fit Newmont’s strategy and the property was subsequently sold to Elkhorn Goldfields Inc (“EGI”) in 1998. Elkhorn Goldfields Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Elkhorn Goldfields LLC in 2000.
Elkhorn Property – The Golden Dream Mine
The Elkhorn Property has four known mineralized deposits – Golden Dream/Sourdough, Mt Heagan/Gold Hill,East Butteand Carmody. EGI has focused its initial delineation efforts on the Golden Dream deposit developing an underground probable mineral reserve of 1.2 million tons containing 260,000 ounces of gold and 8.5 million pounds of copper.
In 2008, EGI was granted its Operating Permit (view here by clicking PDF, click here) and this past spring EGI began developing the Golden Dream primary access decline. This decline will initially access an oxide portion of the Golden Dream deposit which will allow for the extraction of a 10,000 ton bulk sample for metallurgical testing and revenue generation.
Upon successful testing of this bulk sample, EGI will commence a secondary access to allow for additional mining of the oxide as well as continued development of the sulfide components of the Golden Dream deposit.
Below, and along the horizontal plane of the current Sourdough mineable reserve, ore grade drill intercepts have been encountered that support EGI’s belief that the Sourdough Mine will be expanded beyond the current five year mine life. These additional tons are considered “resources” at this time due to insufficient drill density.
In addition to the Sourdough Deposit, core drilling by EGI over the past five years has expanded the knowledge and definition of the mineral resources of the Gold Hill and East Butte mineral deposits. The Gold Hill and East Butte deposits could also add significant years to the current life of mine projections.