Yukon junior mourns tragic loss of talented geologist

Julia Lane, Vice President, Exploration, centre, and Graham Downs, CEO, examine diamond drill core at the Rackla Project. Photo by Peter Kennedy.

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ATAC Resources Ltd. [ATC-TSXV] said Thursday August 8 that it is mourning the loss of its exploration vice-president, Julia Lane, one of the casualties in a fatal aircraft accident in the Yukon on August 6, 2019.

The company said the C208 Caravan aircraft, operated by Alkan Air of Whitehorse, Y.T., was lost during a routine flight from ATAC’s Rackla Gold Project to Mayo, Yukon. The aircraft’s 24-year-old pilot Shawn Kitchen was also among the casualties.

“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the family and friends of both Julia and Shawn for the tragic losses. Julia was a consummate professional in everything she did and a true inspiration to aspiring geologists,” said ATAC President and CEO Graham Downs.

“We are absolutely devastated by this tragedy. Julia was truly a rising star in the industry and a close friend,” added Rob Carne, former ATAC President and Chairman of the company’s Technical Committee.

Lane was a University of British Columbia graduate, who began working with ATAC in 2009 as senior project geologist for the Rackla Gold Project. “Her exemplary abilities in balancing mineral exploration and project management were immediately recognized and she took on more responsibility,” the company said.

Carne will assume the oversight of exploration and technical duties for ATAC on an interim basis.

ATAC is focused on developing Canada’s only Carlin-style gold district and intrusion-related polymetallic targets at the 1,700 km2 Rackla property.

It has been widely reported that companies like Barrick Gold Corp. [ABX-TSX; GOLD-NYSE] and Newmont Mining Corp. [NEM-NYSE] have been attracted by the geological similarities between parts of the Yukon, and the fabled Carlin gold trend in Nevada.

It is why Barrick has acquired a 19.9% stake in ATAC and formed a strategic partnership with the junior on a section of its Rackla gold property known as the Orion Project. However, Barrick elected late last year to drop the earn-in option that was potentially worth $55 million.

Orion is one of three separate projects located on Rackla. The other two are the Osiris and Rau.

An inferred resource of 1.68 million ounces (grading 4.23 g/t gold) has already been outlined on the Osiris Project. The Osiris inferred resource includes a pit constrained mineral resource containing just over 1 million ounces of gold at 4.08 g/t.

Osiris was discovered in 2010 through follow-up stream sediment sampling of highly anomalous arsenic values from the Yukon Government database. The discovery holes intersected 65.20 m of 4.65 g/t gold. Four zones make up the 12 km2 Osiris cluster. They include Conrad, Osiris, Sunrise, and Ibis. Of the four, Conrad is the most advanced.

This year the company has switched its attention to the Rau Project. The company said exploration at Rau this year is focused on the eastern side of the 660 km2 project, and is designed to follow up on gold, copper silver and tin anomalies identified in 2018. Work completed to date includes prospecting, soil sampling, geologic mapping, rotary air blast (RAB) drilling and ground based induced-polarization and magnetometer geophysical surveying, the company said.

Downs has said he hoped that systematic exploration at the Rau Project will lead to a meaningful discovery.

On Thursday, ATAC shares eased 5.17% or $0.015 to 27.5 cents. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of 17.5 cents and 60 cents.

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