Nighthawk explores regions near Colomac in NWT

Since it kicked off this year’s 32,500-metre drill program in March, Nighthawk Gold (TSX: NHK; US-OTC: MIMZF) has continued drilling at the Colomac and Grizzly Bear gold deposits, which, along with its Goldcrest gold deposit, make up the Colomac project’s inferred resource of 2.61 million contained oz. gold in 50.3 million tonnes grading 1.62 grams gold per tonne.

But the company has also spent a lot of time drilling several of its regional gold deposits and showings to build on what it says is a gold camp with vast, underexplored potential in the Indin Lake greenstone belt of the Northwest Territories, 200 km north of Yellowknife.

“This past year a little over half of our drill metres were outside Colomac on our larger land package,” Michael Byron, Nighthawk’s president and CEO, says in a telephone interview. “The whole concept of why we consolidated the Indin Lake belt was to demonstrate that it is a gold camp at its very early stages of exploration and evolution.”

So far, Nighthawk’s most exciting regional targets on the property are Treasure Island, 11 km northwest of Colomac; Leta Arm, 15 km southwest of Colomac; and Damoti Lake, 28 km south of Colomac.

The company drilled 16 holes (4,000 metres) at Treasure Island this year — the first drilling there since the company intersected several shallow, high-grade gold intercepts in 2011.

All 16 holes intersected mineralization, with visible gold in 14 of them.

Highlights include 46.3 metres grading 3.31 grams gold per tonne from 118 metres downhole, including 21.8 metres of 6.23 grams gold from 121 metres downhole and 16.5 metres of 7.71 grams gold from 126 metres downhole in drill hole 18-4B. Drill hole 18-3B cut 18.5 metres grading 7.37 grams gold from 165 metres below surface, including 8 metres of 16.14 grams gold, starting from 167 metres downhole.

A worker wets drill core from the Colomac deposit at Nighthawk Gold’s Indin Lake gold project. Photo by Nighthawk Gold.

“Those are wicked hits and are brand new in this area,” Byron says. “Now it’s just a function of understanding the mechanism of the emplacement of that higher grade.”

Treasure Island is the northernmost project on Nighthawk’s Indin Lake property and is situated along the eastern end of a 7-kilogram mineralized corridor that hosts several high-priority gold showings, including Laurie Lake, 4 km west. So far drilling has confirmed the gold system is upwards of 200 metres wide, 700 metres long and open in all directions, and supports Byron’s thesis that it could become a high-grade feeder to any future mining operation at Colomac.

Nighthawk also went back to Damoti Lake, a high-grade gold deposit in iron formation that it had not touched since 2010. Previous owner Anaconda Gold completed a resource estimate for Damoti Lake in 2005. The deposit has a measured and indicated resource of 40,600 tonnes grading 26.17 grams gold per tonne, with another inferred mineral resource of 17,800 tonnes grading 16.38 gram gold per tonne at a cut-off grade of 8 grams gold.

Nighthawk says there is an opportunity to grow the resource beyond its high-grade core and will release drill results before year-end.

“We wanted to go back there this year and see if we could build out those mineralized domains a little farther afield, and grow that resource,” Bryon says. “It doesn’t have a 43-101 that encapsulates the entire mineralization. We’re hoping to deliver that in early 2019, so we’ll see how that goes — that’s our intention.”

Byron says they will also test some exploration models at Damoti Lake because previous operators typically stepped out only 25 metres or so if they had a good hole. “No one looked at it as an exploration exercise to say ‘where else could it leak into, and let’s test some conceptual targets,’ so that’s what we’re doing.”

Meanwhile, the company also drilled its Leta Arm gold project, where it had not worked since 2011. Leta Arm straddles the Leta Arm fault zone, a north- to south-trending regional deformation zone up to 10 km long and 500 metres wide, which hosts two historical gold mines — North Inca and Diversified — and two gold showings: No. 3 and Lexindrin.

The Diversified mine is 1.3 km north of the North Inca mine and the No. 3 showing is situated in between (450 metres south of the Diversified shaft and 800 metres south of North Inca’s East zone), while Lexindrin is 1.2 km north of the Diversified shaft.

Exploration shafts and limited underground development were done on the North Inca and Diversified deposits in the 1940s to explore quartz veins with high-grade gold mineralization.

Byron says Diversified, North Inca, No. 3 and Lexindrin are part of the same mineralized system because they share similar mineralization styles, mineralized widths, morphology, a common, steep northern plunge, and are distributed along a linear array.

Drilling this year focused on extending the deposits and exploring for a connection along strike, while searching for new deposits along the Leta Arm fault zone.

All 11 holes drilled into North Inca intersected mineralization, with visible gold in eight of them. The highlight was 18-3B, which returned 26 metres of 2.68 grams gold from 94 metres downhole, including 10 metres of 4.90 grams gold. Another hole, 18-2B, assayed 9 metres of 4.49 grams gold from 86 metres downhole, including 2 metres of 10.45 grams gold.

Nighthawk staff inspecting core samples at the Indin Lake gold property. Photo by Nighthawk.

At Diversified, drill highlights included 18 metres grading 5.81 grams gold, including 9 metres of 9.65 grams gold in hole 18-8 and 14 metres of 3.50 grams gold from 127 metres downhole, including 7 metres of 6.67 grams gold in hole 18-6.

The best results from the No. 3 showing were 10 metres of 2.67 grams gold from 42 metres downhole in 318-2B, and from the Lexindrin showing, 21.8 metres of 1.20 grams gold from 121 metres downhole in 18-1B.

“The more and more we do this [drilling], we’re basically proving up our thesis, which is — we’ve got a gold camp here,” Byron says. “We’re closer to the beginning than the end, that’s why it is so exciting. You never know what the next drill hole is going to give you.”

The company also drilled its four zones at the main Colomac deposit (1, 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5) and at its Grizzly Bear deposit.

At Grizzly Bear, 4 km southwest of Colomac’s Zone 1.5, all 11 holes intersected mineralization, including several broad zones that are open to depth. Highlights include 6 metres of 4.04 grams gold per tonne from 62 metres downhole, including 3 metres of 7.78 grams gold.

Other positive results from Colomac this year include 20 metres of 2.98 grams gold from 153 metres, including 13 metres of 4.30 grams gold in Zone 3; 26 metres of 2.04 grams gold from 232 metres downhole in Zone 2.5; 25 metres of 3.42 grams gold from 138 metres downhole in Zone 2; 68 metres of 2.24 grams gold, including 6 metres of 5.70 grams gold from 298 metres downhole in Zone 3.5; and 84 metres of 2.91 grams gold from 276 metres downhole, including 25 metres of 5.05 grams gold in Zone 1.5.

Bill Waychison, Nighthawk Gold’s exploration manager, examines a core sample at the Colomac gold project in the Northwest Territories. Photo by Nighthawk Gold.

Nighthawk’s 899 sq. km land package takes up 95% of the entire Indin Lake greenstone belt, Byron estimates — or “three times the size of the core of the Timmins camp.

“We grabbed every showing, every deposit,” he says. “What we did at Indin Lake was just identify that it had potential to be like these other mining camps, and it was cheap, because no one else was thinking along those lines, and there was no competition.”

Annual costs to hold the land are reasonable, too. Mining claim assessment requirements cost the company $100,000 a year and taxes on mining leases add $50,000 annually, for a total $150,000.

What’s more, the company has no work commitments on any of the ground, Byron says. When it did its deals for Colomac and Leta Arm, for example, Nighthawk took full ownership.

Nighthawk has $15 million in cash, and Byron says the company could afford to do another large drill program next year.

But, he says, Nighthawk’s management team is flexible.

“If there is an opportunity to look at a financing at good terms and our share price is there and we can do flow-through, we’ll look at that, but we haven’t made any plans to go down that road,” he says. “If it presents itself, we will. But we’re not desperate here — let me put it that way. We’re not running on fumes.”

In July the company raised $2.5 million in a non-brokered, flow-through private placement to boost its 2018 exploration drill and prospecting program from 25,000 metres to 32,500 metres.

As for working in the Northwest Territories, Byron says, it’s all pretty good.

The First Nations and Metis are on the same page about protecting the environment and the importance of creating jobs for their youth, he notes.

He says 30% of the gross domestic product in the Northwest Territories comes from diamond mining, so the government is well aware of its economic dependence on mining.

“Maybe diamonds last forever, but diamond mines don’t,” Byron says. “And there will come a day when you have to find that 30% somewhere else and mining is the logical choice, as they are already schooled in it.”

This story was written by Trish Saywell and it first appeared in the print edition of The Northern Miner, volume 104 number 25 november 10 – 23, 2018.