Image credit: Freegold Ventures

Gold Mining in Alaska dates to the late 1890s, and gold was discovered in the Fairbanks district in 1902, sparking what became known as “America’s Klondike. Over a hundred years later, gold is still being discovered in Alaska, and companies like Freegold Ventures (TSX:FVL) are now positioned to be leaders in the state’s mining.  

Case in point, Alaska is home to some of North America’s largest undeveloped gold deposits, including Freegold’s Golden Summit Project, a road-accessible project roughly 30 minutes by vehicle from Fairbanks, Alaska. 

“It’s a legacy project for the company in many ways,” Kristina Walcott, CEO of Freegold Ventures, said in an interview with The Market Online, adding that the project has “grown exponentially” since 2020.  

The initial resource dates to 2011. By 2013, a reasonably significant resource had been defined. Still, it was not until 2019 that a new interpretation identified the project’s potential to host higher grades in drill hole GS2001, which intersected 3.69 g/t g/t gold over 188 metres. 

As of June 2024, Freegold Ventures is in the middle of its 2024 drill program at Golden Summit, which it kickstarted in April. Two diamond drill rigs are focused on identifying zones of higher-grade gold mineralization.  

Walcott explained why the company is focused on Alaska. The state is largely underexplored, and large gold deposits continue to be found, which means the Company is in a prime position for unprecedented growth. 

Walcott also told The Market Online that the Company is expected to update its resource estimate shortly which means investors will have plenty to look forward to from Freegold Ventures in the coming weeks and months. 

The Golden Summit Project  

The 2024 program is in full swing. Freegold Ventures completed its first resource estimate back in 2011 and drilled about 36,000 metres between 2011 and 2013, which Walcott said enabled the company to “grow the resource very nicely.”  Even then, our discovery rate was fantastic, but with the lower gold price and relatively low grade with perceived complicated metallurgy, the project did not garner much market attention.  It was a new interpretation in 2019 that changed the Company’s fortune.  

After that, Walcott explained, the company conducted the initial 2020 program that discovered deeper, higher-grade mineralization. 

Notably, the first hole in 2020 was tremendously successful, returning 188 metres at 3.69 grams per ton, which was the longest and highest grade intercepted at Golden Summit at its projected target depth.  It was a huge validation of our new interpretation. It’s not very often that you have the kind of success where you hit just about exactly where you think you are going to intersect mineralization. Since then, the Company has ramped up its efforts at the project, drilling over 100,000 metres.  

Over the past four years, Freegold Ventures has been able to advance the Golden Summit Project into one of the largest undeveloped gold resources in North America. 

The 2020 -2022 program focused on the discovery and delineation of deeper, higher-grade Cleary Vein System (CVS), which was interpreted to be the down-dip extent of the higher-grade vein zones found within the historic Cleary, Colorado, Wackwitz and Wyoming veins as well as their broader enveloping stockwork zones.  

In short, the program successfully demonstrated the potential for more extensive and higher-grade gold mineralization at depth on the project.  

Map depicting drill intercepts within the interpreted higher-grade corridor on gridded soil-in-soil geochemistry with potential western expansion. 

Notable results from the 2023 program confirmed the potential to further expand the resource along strike to the west within a 1.5-kilometre-long gold-in-soil geochemical anomaly at potentially shallower depths and highlighted the potential to increase the overall resource grade by further expansion drilling. Significant mineralization, including broad zones of higher-grade mineralization, was consistently intersected during the 2023 drill program. 

One of the highest-grade intercepts was intersected in hole GS2333, 250 metres west of the main Dolphin area. This hole intersected multiple zones with more than 2 g/t gold over a significant width (2.12 g/t over 197.3m) within a broader interval of 1.76 g/t gold over 276.5 metres. Mineralization is still open up-dip, down-dip, and along strike.  

“[The company is] not done growing this resource,” Walcott told The Market Online. “There are other target areas on this project that we think have excellent potential for further discoveries. “ 

2024 Program at Golden Summit  

With the 2024 drilling program at Golden Summit now underway, two diamond drill rigs are focused on identifying zones of higher-grade gold mineralization. 

Because the 2023 program successfully discovered higher-grade mineralization on the western side of the existing resource at a shallower depth, the company’s focus for 2024 will be to build on that success. The company plans to continue drilling on the western part of the Dolphin/Cleary deposit and extend the drilling coverage farther to the west.  

Golden Summit is non-glaciated and therefore soil geochemistry has proven to be an excellent indicator of near-surface gold mineralization. As such, three distinct geochemical trends have been identified, including two south-southwest trends and a clear east-west trend spanning an additional 1.5 kilometres. 

The 2024 drill program will aim to explore these trends to identify higher-grade shallow mineralization to improve the overall resource grade before commencing with economic studies. 

The company has made important advancements with its recently announced metallurgical results. The drilling carried out from 2020 to 2023 has transformed the deposit in terms of both size and grade. These latest metallurgical results are equally significant, revealing that a large portion of the deposit is not refractory and could be processed using gravity and CIL (carbon-in-leach) methods, both of which are well-understood conventional methods. 

“We knew that creating and processing a flotation concentrate could yield high recoveries, but determining how much that increase in recovery adds to the capital expenditures (“capex” is a balancing act. So, having the potential to achieve recoveries of 77% from simple processing is a huge win for the company. Over the next few months, additional work will be undertaken to refine the processing flowsheet further and determine the optimal path(s) forward.” said Walcott. 

Catalysts to watch for  

As the halfway mark of 2024 approaches, Walcott explained milestones investors can watch for News Releases announcing drilling results from the 2024 program and the start of economic studies later this year or early into next year to drive the project forward. 

“It’s a unique project and there’s still a tremendous amount of exploration upside,” Walcott said.  

Walcott added that the company that the company’s focus is on the Dolphin Cleary and the Western Extension, but there are other areas with potential for hosting higher-grade veins and considerable potential within its 5,900-hectare property. 

“We have the opportunity to keep driving the exploration needle and pushing for a new discovery,” she said. Very few projects out there have the optionality that Golden Summit has.  We expect 2024 to be a year where we really begin to optimize the project. We are not necessarily focused on growing the resource but on further optimizing the project for future success, whether defining areas of higher grade closer to the surface or continuing to improve on the metallurgical recoveries. It’s all part of the project’s evolution.  

The investment corner 

As of this writing, Freegold Ventures has a market cap of C$183.13 million and a share price of $0.40, with 446 million shares outstanding.  

While the company continues advancing its Golden Summit project in Alaska, Freegold Ventures will be one to watch in the state where unprecedented growth is at its fingertips thanks to Alaska hosting some of North America’s largest undeveloped gold deposits. 

In other words, this means investors won’t want to miss out on this opportunity before it’s too late. 

Join the discussion: Find out what everybody’s saying about this stock on the Freegold Ventures Limited Bullboard investor discussion forum, and check out the rest of Stockhouse’s stock forums and message boards

This is sponsored content issued on behalf of Freegold Ventures please see the full disclaimer here.

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