Red Lake Mining Division, Ontario, Canada
The North Birch Gold Project is the new name for the recently optioned Western Fold Property and H Lake Property (see Newrange News Releases of December 24, 2019 and January 14, 2020). It comprises approximately 3,850 hectares and lies in the northwestern corner of the Birch-Uchi Greenstone Belt in the Red Lake Mining Division of northwestern Ontario, roughly 100 kilometers northeast of the town of Red Lake. It is presently accessible by air only, but road access is improving as logging roads and an all-weather road to the Springpole Gold Project, 12 kilometers to the southeast, are pushing farther north. In the summer, float planes are available from Red Lake, Sioux Lookout and numerous fishing lodges in the region. In the winter, fixed wing aircraft equipped with skis for landing on the frozen lakes are available, primarily in Red Lake. Helicopters are also available year-round from Pickle Lake and Kenora.
The Birch-Uchi Belt is considered to have similar geology to the Red Lake Belt but has seen less exploration and is about three times larger. The North Birch Project covers a geological setting identified from airborne magnetic surveys (Ontario Geological Survey and AurCrest Gold) and interpreted as being a favourable environment for gold mineralization. Specifically, the Property covers an intensely folded and sheared iron formation that is similar in appearance to the one hosting Newmont Goldcorp’s Musselwhite Mine (past production, reserves and resources exceed 7 million ounces Au), some 190 kilometers to the northeast. In addition, the stratigraphy underlying the bulk of both properties is interpreted as Cycle I volcanics, which are thought by some workers to be equivalent to the Balmer Assemblage, host of the prolific Campbell/Red Lake gold orebody (more than 20 million ounces gold in past production and reserves) in the adjacent Red Lake Greenstone Belt.
Minimal previous exploration has been conducted on the North Birch Property, largely because it lies at the limits of government mapping. However, the past-producing Argosy Gold Mine is only about four kilometers from the southeast boundary of the property and the Richardson Lake deposit lies just 2.5 kilometers north of Argosy. Gold mineralization at Argosy is hosted by what appears to be a set of extensional veins related to a north-south structure. Veining in iron formation at Richardson Lake is of a similar style, while gold-bearing pyritic quartz veins in iron formation have been reported elsewhere in the vicinity of the Property.
The Argosy Gold Mine is the most significant past-producing gold mine in the Birch-Uchi Greenstone Belt and produced a total of 101,875 ounces of gold and 9,788 ounces of silver at a gold grade of 0.37oz/t (12.7g/t). The mine closed in 1952 due to high operating costs and a $35/oz gold price.
The better-known Springpole Gold Project, owned by First Mining Gold Corp., contains a reported (First Mining’s website) 4.67 million ounces of gold in the Indicated category. Although not yet in production, it is the largest gold deposit known in the Birch-Uchi Belt.
While the lack of previous exploration on the North Birch Project makes this a largely grass roots prospect, it covers an interpreted geological setting that is considered to be highly prospective for both iron formation hosted and high-grade quartz vein hosted gold mineralization.
Newrange will initially complete a data compilation on the project and is considering a new airborne magnetic and electromagnetic survey, followed by Induced Polarization (IP) geophysics, and mapping in the summer of 2020. Based upon results, this will be followed by drilling of the best targets.