Explorers are finding gold beneath the face of Herbert Glacier

This screen grab from a video by Empire Photographer Michael Penn shows a coastal helicopter flying in for a landing at the terminus of the Herbert Glacier Mine site in 2009.

A joint mining venture recently announced it has found promising quantities of gold at Herbert Glacier.

In late October, Quaterra Resources Inc. and Grande Portage Resources Ltd. formed a 35 percent/65 percent joint venture to further explore and develop the Herbert Glacier Project. The project is expected to produce gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead and tungsten.

Grande Portage, headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, is a publicly traded mineral exploration company, principally focused on gold discovery in Alaska and British Columbia. It has $4.3 million in cash and marketable securities. Vancouver-based Quarterra owns or partners in 11 mine projects in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. Thomas Patton, CEO of Quaterra Resources Inc. sounded optimistic about his company’s Herbert Glacier exploration in a recent interview with CNBC.

“The first three holes of the 2011 drilling campaign at Herbert Glacier all intersected visible gold: the results from two of them, holes 11E-1 and 11E-2, are outstanding. One hole intercepted 15.3 meters of 1.08 ounces of gold per ton. Within that was a 2-meter true-width intercept of 3.8 ounces per ton,” Patton said, “which is a lot of gold.”

To date, Grande Portage has drilled a total of 21,400 feet of exploratory holes, according to company release. These holes provide rock samples the mining company uses to assay the amount of gold and other valuable elements in the mine project.

There are at least six “promising gold bearing main composite vein-fault structures containing ribbon structure quartz-sulfides on the property,” according to Grande Portage. The company has focused its exploratory drilling at Herbert Glacier on the Main vein, Deep Trench vein and Goat Creek vein,

The vein system was discovered in 1988 by Echo Bay Mining Co. and the federal Bureau of Mines.

Grande Portage found gold at least 440 feet deep in the Deep Trench vein. It also reported good assays from a drill hole on the Main vein.

The mining companies have said they have begun environmental baseline water sampling at the project.

The Herbert Glacier Project is located near good company. It is part of the 100-mile Juneau gold belt that has produced approximately 7 million ounces of gold. Couer Alaska’s Kensington gold mine is located 24 miles north of the Herbert Glacier property and Hecla Mining Company’s Greens Creek Mine is located 12 miles to the west. The project consists of a collection of 91 mining claims.

ALS Minerals in Vancouver assayed the 2011 samples by fire and used metallic screening for coarse gold detection. Arsenic, silver, lead and tungsten are being assayed by inductively coupled plasma methods.

To date, Grande Portage has completed 46 drill holes from nine platforms totaling 21,430 feet of NQ diamond drilling. The NQ diamond drill removes rock samples 1.87 inches in diameter.

Additional drill results from the Deep Trench vein are expected over the next few weeks. Grande Portage plans to continue to drill in 2012.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.


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