Diamond drilling has resumed on the Deloro gold project located adjacent to the past-producing Delnite mine in the Timmins gold camp. To date 12 holes have been completed and submitted for assay. Numerous en-echelon zones of quartz-ankerite veining hosted within a package of strong carbonate-altered and sheared mafic volcanic rocks containing pyrite and trace chalcopyrite have been intersected. Drilling to date indicates the alteration zones get stronger and thicker at depth. A second deep diamond drill program designed to test the down plunge extension of the Delnite ore body is scheduled to be initiated during the first quarter of 2010. The property is situated approximately 900 metres along the western strike extent of the 930,000 ounce past-producing Delnite mine. More than 20 million ounces of gold have been produced historically from within a 5 kilometre strike length of the property. Under the agreement, Benton can acquire from Deloro Mining and Smelting a 100% interest in two contiguous mining patents and one mining claim located 5 km southeast of the city of Timmins along the prolific Dome-Aunor-Delnite mine trend.
At the Golden Harp Option, Benton is planning approximately 2500m of diamond drilling to further test gold mineralization intersected at the Cook and MC zones (BTC PR Nov 20, 2009). The drilling program will also test the Crocker zone surface mineralization discovered during last summer's field season.
Benton has received assay results from the final four diamond drill hole completed of a 20-hole program on the Company's 100% owned Saganaga gold project located in the Shebandowan greenstone belt 100km west of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Significant results were obtained from the Starr and North Starr zones. At the Starr zone previously released drill holes SAG09-13 and 14 (BTC PR Dec 1, 2009) tested the depth extent of a historical drill intercept of 5.6gpt Au over 20.0m completed by Teck Cominco Ltd in 2006. Both holes intersected multiple gold mineralized zones include including 3.0gpt Au over 20.5m including 4.5m grading 7.3gpt. Holes SAG09-15 to 17 tested the North Starr gold zone where multiple parallel gold zones were intersected. Drill holes SAG09-18 and 20 tested the Megan Vein mineralization and returned anomalous values. Benton is pleased with the results which not only demonstrate the potential for multiple mineralized horizons of economic interest but also assist characterizing the style and orientation of the shallow gold zones. A second phase of drilling is being planned as follow up. In addition, the Company is planning a program to follow up on several new gold-silver zones discovered by the 2009 prospecting program where newly exposed mineralization returned values up to 16.5gpt Au with 349gpt Ag from grab samples. The mineralization is hosted within both a 10-20m wide quartz stockwork system and a sulphide-rich silicified altered volcanic package.
During the first quarter of 2010 Benton plans to complete drill programs on both the Horne and Bark Lake properties. At Bark Lake, located 120km west of Thunder Bay, Ontario, a drill program consisting of 5 to 6 holes will test the prospective source of mineralized boulders discovered on the property that returned grades up to 1.5% Ni, 1.2% Cu, 4.2gpt Pd and 2.8gpt Pt. A 3-4 hole drill program will also be completed to test the nickel mineralization encountered on its Horne property located 85km west of Thunder Bay, Ontario, where grab samples returned values up to 2.1% Ni and 1.2% Cu.
Benton recently announced that it has exercised 5.6 million of its Coro Mining Corp. (Coro) warrants at an exercise price of $0.18 per warrant. Benton's management believes that the investment in Coro represents a tremendous asset to Benton shareholders. Coro's management team continues to move the San Jorge copper-gold deposit through the late stages of permitting. In addition, Coro has an impressive portfolio of early stage copper and gold projects with good potential for large scale deposits of economic significance. Benton acquired 27,272,727 units of Coro (approximately 34% of the issued and outstanding shares) in January 2009 for $3 million CAD (or $0.11/unit) with each unit consisting of one common share of Coro and one common share purchase warrant, each warrant entitling the Company to acquire a common share of Coro for $0.18 until January 23, 2010 and thereafter for $0.20 until January 23, 2011. After the exercise of the 5.6 million warrants, Benton now owns 32,872,727 common shares of Coro (representing about 36% of the issued and outstanding shares of Coro) and retains an additional 16,672,727 unexercised warrants and if exercised would increase Benton's interest in Coro to approximately 46%.
In addition Benton would like to announce it has dropped the option to acquire the Hope Brook project in southern Newfoundland.
Benton currently has approximately $12.8 million in cash and in addition to holding various interests in a number of exploration projects, owns about 36% interest in Coro Mining Corp (TSX:COP), holds an approximate 5% interest in Marathon PGM Corp (TSX:MAR) and retains a 2% Net Smelter Royalty on the northern portion of the Marathon PGM deposit.