Midway Gold reported in late March that Barrick Gold has begun its 2010 drilling program at Midway’s Spring Valley project in Pershing County, Nevada, where Barrick is working under an earn-in agreement and option to joint venture signed in March 2009. Barrick has budgeted $5 million for its 2010 exploration program at Spring Valley. The program includes both reverse circulation and core drilling and is expected to last through the summer. The focus for this year’s program is continued expansion of the gold resource. In 2009, Barrick completed a $4-million exploration program at Spring Valley that included drilling of 34 holes totaling 29,000 ft of reverse circulation drilling and 8,700 ft of core drilling. Significant intercepts included fire assays of 339.5 ft grading 0.037 oz/mt gold (including 10 ft of 0.485 oz/mt gold) and 156 ft grading 0.028 oz/mt gold.

Metallurgical tests during 2009 included gravity tests that indicated that substantial amounts of the gold in the Spring Valley samples can be recovered by simple gravity methods, without fine grinding, but gravity alone may not be the optimal processing option. Gravity separation tests produced gold recoveries in the range of 50.6% to 91% of the calculated head grade. The majority of gravity recoverable gold was released with the coarsest grind. Gravity tails were found to be amenable to leaching of the remaining gold.

Under the terms of its agreement with Midway, Barrick can earn a 60% interest in the Spring Valley property by completing $30 million in exploration expenditures by December 2013. (www.midwaygold.com)