In an announcement released today, Hunt Gold Corp. addressed the questions that investors have been asking about why it is taking so long to release assay results for the recent drill campaign at the Company’s “Mockingbird” Gold Property in Arizona. In response, the company quoted their Project Geologist Ed Huskinson who often says “Quality results take time.”
Before the assay process even begins, the drill core has to be logged, split, placed in sample bags and shipped to the Assay Laboratory. Splitting the core involves taking an electric saw and sawing end to end through hundreds of feet of drill core. The core from this drilling program was mostly gneiss (altered granite), which is a very hard rock.
According to the press release, the splitting of the core took weeks of effort. Although the core from the very first hole was split and sent to the Assay Laboratory in late December of last year, this process was not completed for the final and eighth drill hole until the end of last week.
Once the drill core arrives at the Assay Laboratory, it is processed at time frames which are at the Assay Laboratory’s discretion. Once the Assay Laboratory starts on a company's core samples, the pulps are prepared from the split core. They are then put through the fire assay process. Typically, the samples are mixed with fluxing agents including lead oxide, and fused at high temperature. The lead oxide is reduced to lead, which collects the precious metals. Once cooled, the lead remains at the bottom, while a glass-like slag remains at the top.
The precious metals are then separated from the lead by cupellation. The final technique used to determine the gold and other precious metals contents of the residue can range from a balance (for very high grade samples), to AAS, ICP-AES or ICP-MS. Finally, the gold and silver content of the remaining residue is determined.
The Assay Laboratory then verifies its calculation before releasing the assay results. This whole process can and usually does take more than a month. The process is taking even longer than usual for Hunt Gold since the recent drill campaign was interrupted by the worst snow storm in the Las Vegas area since 1979 and the multiple days the Assay Laboratory was closed for the Holidays. No assay work (other than preliminary sample preparation) was actually begun by the Assay Laboratory lab until January.
Keeping all this in mind, Hunt Gold will not know definitively of any gold in the drill core until the assay results are in from the Assay Laboratory. However, Management has proven historical data validating that the four mines at the Mockingbird Property historically produced gold. The company reminded shareholders that together its management team has over 200 years of experience and would not be expending enormous sums of money and energy on these projects unless they were convinced that the efforts are based on provable numbers.
In the meantime, Hunt Gold will be awarding the drilling contract that consists of drilling on a number of drill sites, which areÂ continually being selected by the company's geologists. This “non stop” drilling campaign (barring adverse weather conditions) will utilize a “state of the art,” faster and less costly drilling process. The company currently plans to use a track-mounted or rubber tire (buggy) rig capable of reverse circulation (RC) drilling. RC drilling is much more economical on a per foot basis than core drilling and will enable the next drilling campaign to significantly increase the footage drilled.
Hunt Gold Corporation’s Project Geologist Ed Huskinson initiated a comprehensive reconnaissance sampling program at the Company’s “Mockingbird” Gold property. Numerous additional mineralized areas were discovered during the recent drill campaign, and the reconnaissance is inventorizing and sampling the surface outcrops in a very thorough and scientific manner. Soil geochemical samples are being taken on a 200 foot grid over priority areas, most notably the 56 recently staked claims in the former Anaconda project area. Geochemical results will be posted onto a map and contoured, thus generating “bulls-eye” targets for the next phases of drilling.
The company anticipates continually drilling throughout this year to expand gold resource and advance its gold properties toward production. Nonstop exploration is at the core of Hunt Gold’s current business model, with a focus on selecting drill targets in a prudent and geologically sound manner.
The new drilling campaign scheduled for this month will target a wide range of carefully selected drill sites over a large number of sections on the majority of Hunt Gold Corporation’s Eleven principal Gold Mining properties. The company's drilling plans primarily involve its “Golden Eagle,” “Ambassador,” “Venezia,” “Starlight” and “American Flag” Gold Mining properties, as well as the continued “fast track” exploration taking place at the extensive “Mockingbird” Gold Project.
Hunt Gold Corporation’s CEO, Mike Saner, commented, “Hunt Gold Corporation’s exploration program at its ‘Mockingbird’ Gold Project is expanding as we continue to learn important new details about this exciting gold property. Exploration will be done in a systematic way in order to maximize ‘Mockingbird’s’ potential for Hunt Gold Corporation and its shareholders.”
He added, “The new policy of nonstop but systematic drilling on numerous sections of the Company’s Gold Mining properties are expected to significantly add to Hunt’s Gold Resources and given the return of the Gold Price to a number now well in excess of US$900/oz; the value of the Company’s Gold properties would continue to escalate rapidly.”
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