Gladiator Metals Corp. [TSXV-GLAD; OTCQB-GDTRF; FSE-ZX7] provided an update to its continuing data compilation over the Whitehorse copper project with the identification of significant widths of unmined, copper-gold skarns over more than 700 metres of strike at the historic Little Chief mine trend, Yukon.
Jason Bontempo, CEO, commented: “With the identification of the Middle Chief mineralization Gladiator continues to define areas of high-grade copper skarn mineralization with significant exploration upside from its data compilation of historic drilling data sets. The Middle Chief mineralization represents a near-surface area of mineralization open in all directions with limited exploration or development away from historical underground infrastructure.
“Historical drilling and past production from the Little Chief mine area as a whole remains shallow, and this data compilation represents an opportunity to review the deposit in 3-D for the first time to begin to appreciate the exploration potential of the high-grade copper-gold skarn, which remains open in all directions, for future resource growth.
“Planned diamond drilling is scheduled to commence in the coming months and will be testing the Middle Chief target as well as near-mine extensions to the historic Little Chief mine.”
The former Little Chief mining trend is the largest historically producing mine in the Whitehorse copper belt with a total mined production of approximately 8.54 million tonnes grading greater than 1.5% copper and 0.75 g/t gold. Production from the Little Chief open-pit mine commenced in May 1967, with mining of the open cut completed in 1969. Underground mining development commenced in 1971 and ceased operation in 1982 due to the prevailingly low copper price environment. On review, Gladiator has identified down-dip potential for the mineralization to continue, where little or no drilling has been completed to date and mineralization remains open.
Gladiator has recently completed collating historic drilling for the Little Chief historical production area. Supporting this work, the company has completed a lidar survey and undertaken reconnaissance, prospecting and sampling of outcropping Cu-Au skarn mineralization proximal to the historic Little Chief underground and open-cut mine. From this, the company has confirmed the existence of significant mineralization that was drilled initially from the decline constructed to access the former Little Chief underground mine, with further drilling being undertaken prior to the mine closure in 1982.
The recently collated historical drilling data have identified a significant, a greater-than-200-metre-long body of shallow mineralization (120 m below surface), located underneath the decline and to the north of the Little Chief open-pit and underground mine, named the Middle Chief mineralization. This mineralization appears to remain intact with drilling completed to date being limited in scope and size and has not closed off the unmined high-grade copper skarn mineralization at Middle Chief. Further drilling is also planned to test the extent of remnant mineralization from the Little Chief orebody that remains open along strike and down dip.
The recently collated historic drilling (628 underground holes LCU-001-619, BC2490-1-2, BC2500-1-2 and 166 surface holes LC-001-121, MC-001-014, XLC-001-028 and BCF-001-006 and D-001-4 for 68,940 metres), none of which had been previously reported by the company, highlighted significant mineralization that potentially remains intact, this includes the following drill holes from Middle Chief that have been collared underground: LCU-003 with 53.56 m at 1.23% Cu from 88.54 m; and LCU-009 with 49.83 m at 3.06% Cu from 70.26 m; LCU-013 with 23.01 m at 2.07% Cu from 87.78 m. Refer to original press release for more assays.
Gladiator intends to commence exploration drilling at Middle Chief in the coming months. This drilling will be complemented by DHEM surveying of the holes to identify undrilled extensions to the mineralization.
In addition to this, Gladiator is currently undertaking a high-resolution drone-borne aeromagnetic survey over the Little Chief area.
Work completed to date has identified more than 30 drill-ready, high-grade regional targets associated with copper-rich skarns at the contact between the Cretaceous-age Whitehorse plutonic suite and the Triassic to Jurassic Lewes River group’s clastic and carbonate metasediments.
The project is accessible through numerous access roads and trails located within two km of the South Klondike Highway and the Alaska Highway. An extensive network of historical gravel exploration and haul roads exists throughout the project area. Access to existing electric power facilities is available through the main Yukon power grid.
In November 2022, Gladiator executed an option agreement to acquire 100% of the Whitehorse copper project by incurring exploration expenditures of $12-million on the project, staged payments of $300,000 in cash and the staged issue of 15 million shares over six years. Following the exercise of the option, the company must pay the optionor, or such other person(s) as the optionor may direct from time to time, a 1% net smelter returns royalty on the Whitehorse copper project.