When Getchell Gold (CSE:GTCH) optioned the Fondaway Canyon gold project in January of last year, President Mike Sieb had never felt more confident that he was making the right move.
To Sieb, a 30-year industry veteran known for a combination of technical ability and senior management experience, the Fondaway site checked all the boxes, particularly given the stellar data left behind by the previous owners.
Fondaway is a past gold producer with a legacy resource estimated at 1 million ounces. Located a mere two-hour drive from Reno, Nevada, it is easily accessible, which helps to keep costs reasonable. Nevada is also a mining-friendly state, so taking the project from exploration to a fully functioning mine would not generate a red-tape nightmare.
“The mineralization is very apparent on the surface,” Sieb explains to Public Entrepreneur. “That’s really the package that finally brings us to the table. You’re starting off with a healthy foundation to work from, and when we started to do even just a cursory review of the asset it was readily apparent that the historic resource was actually quite constrained.”
In fact, as Getchell’s team continues work on Fondaway, the opportunities to in-fill and expand the mineralization zones are becoming quite evident.
Early assay results from the company’s inaugural 1,995-metre diamond drill program in 2020 to test the geological model of the Colorado zone exceeded expectations and set in motion plans to ramp up drilling and develop a mine model.
“It’s not very often that every hole of an exploration drill program returns gold intersections as good as or better than anticipated,” Sieb says. “Our 2020 drill program substantially expanded the known mineralization and demonstrated that our broadest gold zones remain open with excellent potential for further extension.”
Sieb, who called the findings “an absolute rarity from my experience,” says all six drillholes show promise. One high-grade standout hole pierced the main Half Moon Shear Vein 54 metres below surface and registered 8.6 grams per ton gold over 9.8 metres. Another returned 21.9 metres grading 6.2 grams per ton.
“The success here is that what we represented in the model actually showed up in the real world. We know that we have what we modelled. We know what the historic work accomplished and what it represents. The model indicated that there is a substantial 100-metre-thick band of mineralization that you can envision,” Sieb says.
“The 2020 drill program was designed to prove that the very thick band of mineralization actually exists and that it has real potential continuity.”
Toronto-based Getchell obtained the Fondaway property from Canagold Resources as part of a four-year option agreement under which Getchell can acquire a 100% interest in the site at any time.
In return, Getchell pays Canagold $2 million in cash as well as $2 million in shares. And it must spend $1.45 million on exploration. Canagold also will retain a 2% net smelter return royalty should Getchell acquire its 100% stake in Fondaway.
The property was first staked in 1956, and after changing hands over the decades Canagold obtained it in 2017 and released a resource estimate showing 2.01 million indicated tons grading 6.18 grams per ton gold and inferred resources of 3.2 million tons grading 6.4 grams per ton. Past drilling was extensive, comprising 735 holes for a total of 56,682 metres.
In addition to Fondaway, Getchell is developing a second property in Nevada – a high-grade copper, gold and silver project called Star. The company also controls the Dixie Comstock gold project and the Hot Springs Peak gold project in the state, but the Star project stands out. The site is 60 kilometres north of Fondaway. Sieb calls it “excellent bonus potential” for investors.
“We have developed fairly compelling targets that will be drilled and tested this year at Star,” Sieb explains. “This project has some really good high-grade showings on surface and some compelling geophysical targets at depth and has never been drilled before.”
Meanwhile, the company has the finances to push forward with Fondaway in 2021. Getchell has $1.6 million in the bank and about $3 million of warrants that are in the money. Sieb also notes Getchell is fortunate that it can spread its earn-in payments on Fondaway over four years rather than having to make a hefty outlay upfront.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2021, Sieb says Getchell plans to undertake a drill program to extend known mineralization and follow up on the newly discovered zone. It also plans to drill an additional 4,000 metres this year and is advancing toward a revised resource estimate.
“The next step is readily apparent. It’s going to be a major drill campaign that is going to start to fill in the open spots with a focus on developing a mine model,” Sieb explains.
Sieb says he’s already visualizing the next drill program at Fondaway and that it is now in the planning process.
“I can easily see where those holes are going to be located to start to further expand as well as in-fill the mineralization,” he explains. “And we’re also going to do another model of the mineralization to get a better sense of what we really have.”
This story was featured in the Public Entrepreneur magazine.
Learn more about Getchell Gold at https://www.getchellgold.com/