The Tashota Project is a major gold exploration and development project. It will be a multi-year program and will be approached on several different fronts:
Wascanna Shaft - Underground Work
The Wascanna Shaft was sunk in the 1920s and 1930s on a small but quite rich gold deposit. AMCL's plans, and that of its Joint Venture Partner, are to assess the possibility of extracting a bulk sample and recovering gold. The availability of a nearby mill for custom milling is central to the viability of the plan, the first phase of which is to dewater the shaft, and to repair the shaft collar and the shaft timbers. This will allow access to the underground workings on the 100 ft level.
Once we have underground access, the gold-bearing veins on the 100 ft level will be resampled, and a "mini-bulk sample" of a few tons will be taken out for metallurgical testing - this will determine what methods are necessary to maximize the recovery of gold from the mineralized veins. Plans also call for closely spaced, shallow diamond drill holes to assess the size, shape and grade of the gold zone between surface and the 100 ft level.
If this exploratory and development work is successful in outlining the several thousand ounces of gold that we expect to find, based on sampling reported in the 1930s, then a full scale bulk sample will be taken and shipped to the mill. With present gold prices in the range of US$1,300 per ounce, this sort of small-scale gold extraction can be highly profitable.
Approval of the MNDM as well as other ministries is required for underground work, including discharging water and capping the shaft when the work is complete. The application and approval process was initiated as soon as AMCL signed the Tashota property option agreement. To a large extent, the timetable for development work will be dictated by progress of these applications.
Wascanna Shaft - Surface Rock
At the Wascanna Shaft, there is a pile of broken rock from the underground workings ("development muck" in miner's terminology), estimated to be about 8,000 tons, with an average gold content of about 0.124 ounces per ton (opt or oz/t). This amounts to about 1,000 ounces of contained gold with a gross value of US$1.3 million. Plans are to investigate the possibility of upgrading this low-grade material by simple screening, then to ship it to a custom mill to recover the gold.
Wascanna Shaft - Extending the Zone
In addition to plans to extract as much gold as possible from the known zone at the Wascanna Shaft, a certain amount of diamond drilling will be carried out to search for extensions of the Wascanna zone, both along strike and down dip, as well as possible parallel zones. Because the shaft will be rehabilitated, it will be possible to access small gold zones in the vicinity that on their own might not justify underground development. Paulpic Zone - Confirming the Resource
Paulpic Zone - Confirming the Resource
At the Paulpic Zone, where an historical resource estimate from 1989 exceeded 65,000 ounces of gold with a grade of 0.243 opts, AMCL's first step will be to drill, in order to validate the old resource. It will be necessary to "twin" a selection of old diamond drill holes to confirm the reliability of the 1980s-vintage assays. Once we can prove that the old data are of good quality, it will be possible to calculate a new 43-101 compliant mineral resource.
It is more than likely that by using a lower cut-off grade, it will be possible to increase the resource without extending the zone at all. Because of today's higher gold price, lower grade sections that were not included in the historical resource can be brought into the deposit model. This can have two beneficial effects - increasing the number of ounces of gold - and making the zone more continuous, which can ultimately lead to simpler (and therefore more economical) mining.
Paulpic Zone - Extending the Resource
The work that was done on the Tashota Property in the 1980s focused entirely on the Paulpic Zone. Only minimal work was done away from this zone. This is a common story in exploration - once a mineralized zone is found that continues to give positive drill results, exploration elsewhere on the project area is neglected.
AMCL and its Joint Venture Partner, proposes to step back and look at the remainder of the property, particularly in the vicinity of the Paulpic Zone. The possibility of finding on-strike extensions of the zone, parallel structures that carry gold or faulted-off extensions of the zone, is very good. To this end, plans include detailed geophysical surveying, detailed geological mapping, prospecting and excavating to expose the bedrock.
The Edgelake Property (once a separate claim group but now included in the Tashota Property) is something of a mystery. Two shafts were sunk, one on either side of Tashota Lake, but nothing is known about what they found. AMCL's plans call for an initial appraisal by examining the "development muck" beside the two shafts, which will give us an idea of how extensive the underground workings are, and what they may have found underground.
Then a systematic exploration program, similar to the one that will be carried out on the Paulpic Zone, will be initiated. Work on the Edgelake claims will commence in the spring of 2011.