Source: ProspectingJournal.com -- As investors at the recent World Resource Investment Conference in Vancouver looked to 2013 with hopeful eyes, many agreed that 2012 couldn’t be forgotten quickly enough. The ongoing debt crisis and stagnant world economy took its toll on exploration plays in 2012, with countless articles bemoaning the “cash-starved juniors” as a group that saw equity financing for the top 100 plunge 41 per cent compared to 2011.
“There’s no doubt that 2012 was a tough year for a lot of companies,” stated David Hottman, President & CEO of BC-based Orestone Mining (TSX.V: ORS), whose presence at the event brought much-needed optimism. “It has been a volatile ride for many, but for juniors with solid properties and good finances it’s just business as usual.”
Putting the gloom that has permeated the junior market aside, Hottman’s positive outlook offers a refreshing glimpse at a market that is still far from out. As a recent article in the Vancouver Sun highlights, British Columbia’s mineral exploration and development industry is “leading the way when it comes to attracting investment and building partnerships.” Highlighted in the article are huge mining assets such as New Gold’s Blackwater project, set to begin production in 2017 (pending federal and provincial environmental approval), and Thomson Creek Metals’ nearby Mount Milligan copper/gold mine, which is located northwest of Prince George and is set for production in late 2013.
The provincial attitude towards mining operations has also improved significantly in the last decade and is now seen as a force that will work with both the mining companies and the local communities. The government is committed to providing the infrastructure to support mining projects in this part of the province, such as a new BC Hydro powerline and additional roadways like the Omineca extension.
With two significant projects going into production within a short distance of each other and other major miners such as Xstrata, Goldfields and Teck working on similar porphyry projects in the immediate area, money is flowing into this region of BC and with it more attention towards exploration activity. This is, simply put, one of the few great spots for a junior exploration company to be.
Located just 41 km northeast of Fort St. James and 30 km south of the Mt. Milligan Mine, Orestone Mining’s 100% owned Captain Property has been building steam in recent months. Of the company’s four British Columbia projects, which span a total of more than 700 square kilometres, the Captain has become the focus for 2013.
The Captain project hosts a large gold-copper porphyry system that measures 7 by 14 km. The project has alteration and geochemical signatures consistent with Afton, Mt. Milligan, Galore Creek, Ridgeway and other alkalic porphyry systems. Featuring overall flat terrain, moderate tree cover and an extensive network of forest service roads, the Captain is open for exploration year-round. And being only a quick drive from the Mt. Milligan deposit, which has a proven and probable reserve of 532 Mt grading 0.20% copper and 0.38 g/t gold, the Captain holds a serious amount of potential.
“It’s simple, really—the Captain is right next to what will soon be a large producing mine and, so far, we have discovered some very promising drill results, “claims Hottman.
Management is vital to any junior’s success and Orestone’s is made up of proven mine finders, who have a long history of successfully exploring and developing large projects. Hottman was a founder of Eldorado Gold and Nevada Pacific Gold, which was acquired by McEwen Mining. Geologist Gary Nordin, also a founding member of Eldorado, has a long track record of identifying significant resource projects including Bema Gold which was bought by Kinross. Bob Wasylyshyn, most recently President and COO of Gold-Ore Resources, has over 30 years of industry experience, from grass-roots discoveries to the successful startup and operation of Sweden’s Bjorkdal gold mine.
Orestone drilling next to the road - The Captain Project
Orestone’s recent news releases undoubtedly started the year off right, reporting a significant gold mineralization discovery from the 912 metre diamond drill program on the Captain project.
Of the seven holes completed on the property, the most significant is vertical hole C12-05, which was drilled to a depth of 550.2 metres. Assay results show that the entire hole is mineralized from the bedrock contact at 63 metres to the bottom of the hole at 550 metres—giving an impressive 487 metres of gold mineralization.
As the table below shows, hole C12-05 returned two significant intervals of strong gold mineralization in intrusive rock: the upper zone, grading 0.65 g/t gold and 0.06% copper over 118.8 metres, including 9.1 metres grading 6.46 g/t gold and 0.27% copper; and the lower zone, grading 0.41 g/t gold and 0.07% copper over 164.6 metres, including 6.1 metres grading 4.45 g/t gold and 0.51% copper. The mineralization remains open to depth.
Approximately 500 metres east of C12-05, hole C12-03 hit 70 metres of intrusive with gold grades of 0.13 g/t gold and 0.05% copper. This could indicate another mineralized porphyry system to the east.
States Hottman, “We are very pleased with intersecting long intervals of gold and copper mineralization and, in fact, although intervals of the hole are low-grade, the entire hole is mineralized from the bedrock contact at 63 metres to the bottom of the hole at 550 metres. With higher grade sections of two to ten grams per tonne gold, we have demonstrated the gold-enriched nature of this large porphyry system and have learned a great deal about how to follow it.”
With the optimism of the recent drill program now under their belt, Orestone has a lot to look forward to in 2013. “This year will bring more exploration as we work to understand the significance of the recent discovery and uncover more systems,” says Hottman.
“We have just completed a detailed high resolution magnetic survey of the property before the next drilling phase. Two significant magnetic highs have been detailed in the survey. One of the magnetic highs is associated with the alteration and monzonite dykes in drill hole C12-05 and measures 100-300 meters in width and has been traced along a 1500 meter east-west strike. The much larger second anomaly is located 600 meters north of drill hole C12-05 and has a width of 500-1000 meters; it has been traced along an east-west strike of 1500 meters and has not been drill-tested. This detailed magnetic survey has greatly aided interpretation of the strong mineralization intersected in hole C12-05, which showed us a clear correlation between gold/copper mineralization and specific magnetic responses. This relationship has been recognized at the nearby Mt. Milligan Deposit (Thompson Creek Metals) as well as at the Woodjam Deposit (Goldfields Ltd.).”
“This survey data will enable us to explore much more efficiently and expedite our follow-up drilling. The large magnetic target located north of C12-5 will be the focus of our next drilling campaign. This will allow us to outline the alteration and associated gold mineralization.”
Gold associated with magnetite alteration, which Orestone has uncovered, increases the effectiveness of magnetic surveys as an exploration tool. Thus, utilizing a well-planned magnetic survey prior to drilling will give the Company the best chance of success when drilling the next phase of holes. If Orestone hits similar mineralization again, this will further delineate the discovery and prove up more resources.
“Like I said, I feel good about 2013,” states Hottman. “With a healthy financial position, this recent discovery, our close proximity to Mt. Milligan and our ability to drill year-round on easily accessible terrain, we stand a great chance of delivering more shareholder value.”
With permits in place to facilitate the next several phases of exploration, which include 30 line kilometres of geophysics and 38 sites approved for drilling, Orestone certainly isn’t short of options. But for 2013 it’s all about focus, which is on the Captain project.
As Orestone’s exploration plans unfold in the coming months and Mt. Milligan ramps up towards production, expect this area to get a lot of buzz from the investing community. The Company has already got the attention of some major and mid-tier producers who like what they see; in this safe and leading mineral exploration area of BC, serious eyes are now on Orestone. And if Orestone continues to deliver like it has with the recent news releases, expect a junior that rewards those who chose a promising company in a challenging market.
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