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i-80 Gold stock rises on bonanza grades drilled at Ruby Hill in Nevada

The Ruby Hill mine is located along the southeastern end of the Battle Mountain/Eureka gold trend. Credit: i-80 Gold

i-80 Gold (TSX: IAU; NYSE: IAUX) has received promising results from the first four holes drilled to follow up the recently discovered Hilltop zone that have confirmed high-grade, polymetallic CRD (carbonate replacement) mineralization at the company’s 100%‑owned Ruby Hill property in Nevada.

Highlighted results, all from the Upper Horizon area of the Hilltop target, include bonanza grades of 60.2 g/t gold, 908.7 g/t silver, 15.7% lead and 1.1% zinc over 10 metres in one hole, as well as 1.9 g/t gold, 631.3 g/t silver, 33% lead and 7.4% zinc over 18.3 metres in another.

Previously, the discovery hole in the Upper Hilltop zone returned 515.3 g/t silver, 28.9% lead, 10.5% zinc and 0.9 g/t gold over 28.3 metres. Owing to this successful drilling at the Hilltop zone, the current program at Ruby Hill has again been expanded to facilitate additional step-out drilling at this target.

In addition to the Upper Horizon, drilling is testing the Lower Horizon (assays pending), where the initial hole intersected multiple zones of mineralization including 238.8 g/t silver, 11% zinc and 9% lead over 9.4 metres and 469.5 g/t silver, 11.8% zinc and 18.2% lead over 2.1 metres.

“We believe that the grades of mineralization at Ruby Hill are truly world-class, and the Hilltop zone ranks amongst the highest-grade new discoveries being drilled anywhere on the planet,” CEO Ewan Downie said in a news release.

The Ruby Hill property is one of i-80 Gold’s primary assets and is host to the core processing infrastructure within the Eureka district of the Battle Mountain-Eureka trend including an idle leach plant, an active heap leach facility. It is host to multiple gold, gold-silver and polymetallic (base metal) deposits.

The Hilltop discovery is a new zone of mineralization located approximately 400 metres southwest of the polymetallic Blackjack zone, immediately south of the Archimedes pit and proximal to the planned portal that the company is advancing for construction.

Mineralization at Hilltop consists of polymetallic carbonate replacement in the form of massive and semi-massive sulphide and oxide mineralization containing high-grade precious metals and base metals. Continued definition and expansion drilling is underway, and the horizon remains open along strike and at depth.

“Given its proximity to the underground infrastructure planned in 2023, the Hilltop zone, when combined with the Blackjack deposit, is expected to be a major contributor to our future growth profile as we ultimately look to produce gold, silver and base metals,” Downie added.

The Eureka (Ruby Hill) mining district has a history of high-grade polymetallic CRD production that began in the 1860s and spanned a period of more than one hundred years.

Historic mined grades rank amongst the highest for any CRD district in the world, but since the 1970s, the CRD potential of the Eureka district has been largely overlooked in favour of exploration for Carlin-type gold deposits, and the company said it considers the opportunity to be substantial.

The Hilltop discovery opens up a structural corridor measuring greater than 1.5 km between the Archimedes pit and the original Ruby Hill mine, which was previously underexplored due to post-mineral alluvial cover. Mineralization in the upper horizon occurs immediately below alluvial cover at a depth of about 150 metres.

Infill and step-out drilling was also completed in 2022 in the Ruby Deeps (Carlin-type) gold deposit to aide in the advancement of the company’s plan to develop an underground mine at Ruby Hill with mineralization accessed via a ramp from the Archimedes open pit. Work is now progressing for the completion of updated mineral resource estimates (gold and polymetallic zones) and an initial economic study for the gold zones (only).

The current program at Ruby Hill is one of several drill programs on i-80 projects in 2022 that are collectively budgeted to comprise more than 50,000 metres. 

Shares of i-80 Gold rose 6.1% by noon Toronto time following the release of the Ruby Hill drill results. The company has a market capitalization of C$750.8 million ($565m).