Polar Star Mining reported that BHP Billiton has completed a preliminary assessment of the 172,800 ha of exploration land held by Polar Star in northern Chile and has informed the company of its decision to proceed with four of the five blocks offered. In terms of acreage, this means that BHP Billiton will further its exploration efforts on approximately 130,900 ha of exploration ground owned by Polar Star.

BHP Billiton may earn a 51% interest in each block for which it solely funds $3.5 million of exploration expenditures (total commitment of $14.0 million over the four blocks) within 30 months beginning August 13.

The properties are located along approximately 360 km of the Domeyko fault system in northern Chile, commonly referred to as the Mega Porphyry Belt. 

Lautaro is the most advanced of the assets in terms of exploration undertaken by BHP Billiton to date and is located on a northwest-southeast trend that hosts the Lomas Bayas mine. Surface geochemistry shows high values for gold, silver, molybdenum, copper, lead and zinc associated with an area of alteration/lithocaps indicative of porphyry systems. Geophysics identified conductors within the same areas. BHP Billiton began drilling the target areas in July.

Maudore Minerals subsidiary Aurbec Mines is conducting an underground drilling program at the past-producing Sleeping Giant gold mine 80 km north of Amos, Quebec. Forages M. Rouillier, of Amos, has been contracted to provide up to three underground diamond drills and crews to complete 20,000 m of underground drilling. 

One diamond drill is targeting extensions of zones that accounted for 90% of past production at Sleeping Giant. These zones were mined at lower gold prices than those currently prevailing, and gold-bearing material left behind on lateral extensions has good exploration potential. 

A second diamond drill is positioned deeper in the mine on the 975 level and will complete a fan-shaped array of holes targeting the 16 and 785N zones, which are two sub-parallel gold-bearing quartz vein systems located some 50 m from each other. Historical drilling on the 785N zone returned an intercept of 20.59 g/mt gold over 1.8 m. 

Mine access rehabilitation commenced at Sleeping Giant in mid-July to ensure that the shaft and main access drifts were in a suitable condition for mining and exploration. This work proceeded faster and at lower cost than expected because the mine is dry and has been well maintained.

Tsodilo Resources announced in mid-September that First Quantum Minerals has initiated a drilling program on metal licenses held by Tsodilo in northwest Botswana that form the project area of a strategic partnership between the two companies that was announced on April 18. 

One diamond drill rig will drill fences across prospective targets, such as fault intersections, to increase the companies’ knowledge of the basin stratigraphy and structure. Holes will be inclined to provide oriented core, spaced 500 to 2,000 m apart, and drilled to depths of 300 to 700 m. The initial program of nine holes will take two to four months to complete. 

Reverse circulation (RC) drilling will sample transported cover, testing for metal anomalism that may originate from buried mineralization in the basement rock. The RC drilling will work an offset grid pattern, with lines spaced 2 km apart and average drill depths of 50 m, with a following diamond drill “tail” when selected. The RC drill program envisions 250 holes to be drilled in priority areas to outline deposit footprints, with further areas to be covered if the technique proves successful.

First Quantum has also initiated an airborne electro-magnetic survey covering the project area.

Canadian Zinc Corp. is conducting a follow-up exploration diamond drill program at its wholly-owned South Tally Pond copper-lead-zinc-silver-gold project in central Newfoundland. The planned program consists of 20 drillholes, totaling 6,300 m, using two diamond drill rigs. 

The program is designed to follow up on favorable results from a drill program completed earlier in 2013 at the South Tally Pond project’s Lemarchant deposit. Priority targets include testing for additional massive sulphide mineralization at the newly discovered northwest target (3,200 m, 9 drillholes); lateral and depth extensions to the known indicated and inferred resources of the Lemarchant deposit (2,500 m, 9 drillholes); and initial testing of a strong Titan 24 geophysical anomaly 1.2 km west of the Lemarchant deposit (600 m, 2 drillholes). 

The Lemarchant deposit is a significant precious metal-rich, copper-lead-zinc volcanogenic massive sulphide discovery with expansion potential. An initial NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate reported an indicated resource of 1.24 million mt at average grades of 5.38% zinc, 0.58% copper, 1.19% lead, 1.01 g/mt gold, and 59.17 g/mt silver; and an inferred resource of 1.34 million mt at average grades of 3.70% zinc, 0.41% copper, 0.86% lead, 1.00 g/mt gold, and 50.41 g/mt silver.