Nighthawk Gold’s quest to make the Colomac Gold Project worthy of a mining restart got a push from results of the company’s most ambitious drill program to date.
Nighthawk pulled 13.49 grams of gold per tonne over 56 metres from one of 91 drill holes during its exploration program in 2019, the results of which the company announced on Wednesday. That intercept was Nighthawk’s best since the Toronto-based explorer acquired the Colomac Gold Project, 220 km northwest of Yellowknife, in 2011.
The 35,000 metres of drilling from March through September also led to a “breakthrough discovery,” as the company deemed it: the mineralized portion of the Colomac Main zone widens more than three-fold to depth throughout the most promising section of the sill. This could lead to “significant tonnes of high-grade mineralization” and the opportunity for underground bulk mining, if the potential bears out.
Nighthawk referred to that finding as “one of the greatest advances made to date at Colomac.”
Combining drill results from 2018 and 2019, the company is aiming to update Colomac’s mineral resource estimate before the end of June, said president and CEO Michael Byron. The last time an update was done was in June 2018, and it revealed an inferred 2.6 million ounces of gold.
The site’s Main deposit reportedly produced 527,908 ounces of gold between 1990-1997 – under Neptune Resources and Royal Oak Mines – with an average grade of 1.66 grams per tonne gold.
The price of gold has been on a tear since 2019, climbing from the $1,200 per ounce range at the beginning of last year to more than $1,700 an ounce within the past month.
Despite the promising news, Nighthawk, likes its peers, hasn’t been impervious to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company had three drills in place as of March 13 and began a 25,000-metre program, but that activity was shut down on March 27 due to the coronavirus with only 2,598 metres of drilling completed at Colomac and the Leta Arm Gold Project.
“The company is hopeful that exploration activities can resume before the end of summer 2020 to allow for the completion of the remaining flow-through (funding) commitment,” Nighthawk stated in its May 20 news release, noting that metallurgical test work, preparation of the updated mineral resource estimate and the preparation of an internal scoping study are still ongoing.
However, Byron acknowledged that the pandemic’s disruption has potential to make a major impact.
“I see Covid as a definite setback and one that we really don’t know yet how it will ultimately impact society, and our business in particular,” the president and CEO said. “It truly is a great unknown and will probably remain so until a vaccination is developed, or effect treatments are identified. In any event, 2020 will be a touch and go year for many. We are prepared to continue our 2020 program once certain restrictions are relaxed so we can effectively and safely get back to work.”
Colomac is one of several projects within Nighthawk’s 899-square-km Indin Lake property, much of which remains unexplored.