The Santa Fe project is located within the Walker Lane physiographic province in Southwestern Nevada, approximately 6 miles northeast of the town of Luning, Nevada. The Walker Lane is considered one of the prime exploration terrains in Nevada and is host to over 45 million ounces of gold and 436 million ounces of silver. Large mineral deposits such as the Comstock Lode, Bullfrog, Rawhide, Goldfield, Tonopah and Paradise Peak are located within the Walker Lane.
The Santa Fe property covers an area of approximately 26 km2 and is 100% owned by Gateway Gold Corp, a wholly owned subsidiary of Victoria Gold Corp.
Over 1000 historical holes were drilled on or proximal to the current property from previous operators that include Homestake Mining Company. Historical activity commenced in the area during the early 1970s and previous operators focused on near surface oxide ore which were eventually mined within the existing Santa Fe, Calvada, Slab and York open pits.
The Santa Fe deposit was discovered by Westley Exploration in the late 1970’s and mined by Corona Gold in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. In excess of 350,000 ounces of gold and 700,000 ounces of silver were recovered before closure was initiated in 1994. Ore was mined by open pit methods and the gold was recovered by heap leaching the oxide ore. Based on information received from Homestake, a “500 x 500 foot high grade sulphide pipe”, crops out in the south end of the Santa Fe pit. Although Homestake drilled over 30 holes into the pipe, it was never mined or drilled out in detail. Half of the holes drilled into the pipe by Homestake bottomed in significant gold mineralization. Hole BSF74-14, starting at surface on the south edge of the pit, intersected 240 feet averaging 2.88 g/t (0.084 opt) gold and 25.4 g/t (0.74 opt) silver including 90 feet averaging 4.66 g/t gold (0.136 opt) and 36.7 g/t (1.07 opt) silver. A second high-grade zone occurs below the north central part of the pit where Hole CSF89-19 intercepted 55 feet grading 3.98 g/t (0.116 opt) gold and 6.38 g/t (0.186 opt) silver including 25 feet that averages 7.99 g/t (0.233 opt) gold and 8.47 g/t (0.247 opt) silver. Previous drilling did not define the full extent of mineralization, which remains open for expansion.
Victoria drilled 12 diamond core holes on the property from August 2009 to August 2010. The majority of the holes targeted sulfide rich mineralization present in a steeply dipping post-mineral fault zone (BH Zone) located near the southeast end of the existing open pit. Drilling did not define the full extent of mineralization, which remains open for expansion.
Exploration work originally focused on the southern half of the Santa Fe property targeting oxide gold deposits in Tertiary carbonate rocks of the Luning Formation. These deposits were located along the northwest trending structures associated with the Walker Lane. The sulfide “pipe” identified by Homestake was initially tested by them and later by Victoria Gold in 2009 and 2010. Good grades and thicknesses of gold were encountered in those drill programs and mineralization remains open in several directions. There is potential for mineralization to extend down-plunge as well as laterally to the west and east. Additional work is planned when an updated geological model has been developed.
Recent exploration by Victoria Gold Corp has renewed efforts to locate near surface oxide deposits and in 2011/2012 the focus has been on the northern half of the property. Victoria initiated geological mapping and a soil and rock chip sampling program that produced significant gold anomalies similar to those overlying Santa Fe prior to mining. These geochemical anomalies are hosted in Tertiary volcanic rocks that are clay altered, oxidized and locally silicified. The area has the potential to host near surface oxide gold deposits in the volcanic rocks as well as gold mineralization in the carbonate rocks at depth. Santa Fe hosts drill-ready targets and has potential for rapid resource delineation.
Geology and Mineralization
The Santa Fe district is in the central Walker Lane, a region characterized by prominent northwest-striking faults. Pre-Tertiary basement rocks in the district are mainly limestone, dolomite and siliciclastic rocks of the Triassic Luning Formation. These rocks have been intruded by stocks and dikes of Jurassic or Cretaceous diorite and Cretaceous quartz monzonite to granite porphyry. The basement is overlain by a thick sequence of Tertiary volcanic rocks. Gold-silver deposits in the Santa Fe district are hosted primarily by the Luning limestone near contacts with Cretaceous quartz monzonite of the Todd Mountain Stock and similar intrusive bodies. Bleaching, dolomitization and silicification of the limestone is closely associated with the mineralized zones. The district is intensely faulted and the intersection of west-northwest trending faults with the east-west Calvada and related faults seems to be preferred locations for known mineral deposits. In 2009-2010 Victoria Gold Corp drilled 12 holes for a total of 5,579 meters that targeted mineralization outboard of the Santa Fe pit. The character of the mineralization encountered is disseminated gold-silver in sulfide-rich, silicified zones within the Luning Limestone. During 2011-2012 Victoria’s field mapping and soil sampling defined structurally controlled mineralization in the northern part of the property. This mineralization is hosted in altered volcanics and may indicate the presence of a near-surface oxide deposit. Follow-up exploration is planned for the near future.
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