The Big Ten project is located along the northern margin of the of the Walker Lane belt in west-central Nevada. It occurs in an extensional, Tertiary-aged rhyolite volcanic centre analogous in age and setting to the Round Mountain gold mine located approximately 50 km’s to the north where cumulative and ongoing mine production now exceeds 15 M ounces of gold (Kinross Gold Corporation), and to the past producing Paradise Peak gold deposit located 110 km’s to the northwest, operated by FMC Mining Corp. between 1986 and 1994.
Based on reconnaissance surface exploration and airborne magnetic, radiometric and hyperspectral surveys, the Company now owns seven properties along the 20 km length of a structural corridor and mineral trend which bisects the entire Big Ten caldera, and is parallel to the eastern margin of the Walker Lane belt. There is ample evidence for focused alteration and gold and silver mineralization along the entire 20 km length of the controlling structure. The Big Ten volcanic center is clearly fertile for gold, and its potential is underscored by the gold endowment of the next volcanic center to the north at Round Mountain. VR’s land position on the Big Ten trend affords the unusual opportunity to explore and evaluate a complete epithermal gold system, both laterally and vertically.
There are scattered historic workings in the region, active between the 1900’s and 1930’s, but modern exploration at the Danbo property for example is limited to early-stage surface sampling and a reverse-circulation drilling program in the early 1980’s by Amselco. Overall, the properties in the Big Ten project are remote and underexplored using modern epithermal gold exploration technologies, but there is road access for cost-effective exploration.
The Big Ten project is located in Nye County in west-central Nevada. It is in the southern part of the Monitor Range, approximately 50 kilometres northeast of Tonopah.
Cost effective exploration is afforded by road access to the property on Highway 82, with actively used historic ranch and mine roads throughout the property connecting it to the highway.
Topography is mountainous. The main workings at the Danbo property are at an elevation of 7,900 feet, with surrounding ridges and rounded peaks exceeding 8,800 feet. Sub-alpine bowls are grassy rangeland with scattered sage and stunted pine and juniper in some places. The lower elevations of the Big Ten corridor are covered by an open floor, spaced pine forest.
Outcrop is extensive in the sub-alpine areas. Where there is cover, colluvium is interpreted to be thin and local in nature. Soil profiles are poorly developed; fine, light brown colluvium normally gives way to more rubbly weathered outcrop material within a metre of depth, or less.
The Company now owns seven properties along the 20 km length of the Big Ten mineral trend. The properties comprise 75 claims in total, covering 1,526 acres. Each property is a single, contiguous claim block. The individual properties include:
- Hat Peak: 4 claims, 83 acres; large sericite/pyrite alteration halo; surface gold geochemistry; possible large-scale porphyry root.
- Kano: 3 claims, 62 acres; distinct hyperspectral anomaly occurring on USGS mapped rhyolite intrusive; surface gold geochemistry.
- Fisher: 4 claims, 83 acres; historic gold production in volcanic mega-breccia (caldera rim).
- Amsel: 24 claims, 496 acres; extensive 3 x 2 km silica-adularia alteration in tuff with co-spatial gold-arsenic soil anomaly; potential for a large tonnage Round Mtn. analogue below a silicified cap.
- Danbo: 21 claims, 434 acres; gold at surface in 3 quartz vein sets with 1.3 km strike.
- Clipper: 17 claims, 328 acres; gold at surface in multiple quartz vein sets across 1.5 km width.
- Little Joe: 2 claims; 41 acres; southern extension of gold-bearing quartz veins at Danbo and Clipper properties.
The properties are on federal land, within the Toiyabe National Forest and managed by the federal Forest Service. The properties are outside of the BLM’s broadly defined area of sage grouse protection.
The properties are owned 100% by VR, registered to the Company’s wholly-owned, Nevada-registered US subsidiary Renntiger Resources USA Ltd. There are no underlying annual lease payments on the property, nor are there any joint venture or carried interests on the property. There is a 3% net smelter returns royalty on 8 core claims in the central portion of the Danbo property and a 2% net smelter returns royalty on the Amsel property.
VR has completed numerous reconnaissance surveys and detailed field programs on the various properties within the Big Ten project, starting in the fall of 2016. Work includes:
2016 (Danbo Property)
- Geological mapping of Tertiary volcanic stratigraphy, and structural mapping of the vein system;
- Alteration mapping in the field, aided by systematic collection of 43 samples of vein outcrops for SWIR spectral analyses (TerraSpec mineral reflectance alteration mapping);
- Soil sampling: 96 samples on 50 metre stations on 6 lines covering 800 m strike length of the vein system;
- Ground magnetic survey: 16 lines, 600 m long, on 100 spacing, for 9.6 line-kilometres covering an overall area of approximately 1.6 kilometer by 600 metres, covering the entire known vein system.
2017 (Danbo Property)
- Airborne Hyperspectral survey for mineral alteration mapping covering 3 by 1.5 kilometre area: 3 metre pixel resolution; Level III processing;
- Soil Sampling: 49 additional samples to extend and infill existing samples; and
- Rock sampling for geochemistry: 59 samples
2018 (Big Ten Project)
An airborne magnetic and radiometric survey, and an airborne hyperspectral survey were completed in June 2018, covering the area surrounding the Amsel property:
- The helicopter-borne, high resolution magnetic survey consists of 108 lines spaced 100m for 912 line-kilometres in total covering a block approximately 8 x 10 kilometres in size.
- The fixed wing hyperspectral survey covers approximately the same area as the magnetic survey. It is used for mapping alteration based on spectral mineral reflectance properties.
The Company used the results as the foundation for a nine-day field program of reconnaissance – level and detailed geological mapping, prospecting and rock sampling (54 samples). A one-week follow-up program of geological mapping and prospecting was completed in the fall of 2018, during which an additional 28 rock samples were collected.
The Company continues to synthesize and integrate data from the Big Ten corridor for ongoing exploration targeting.
The Company continues to work with the National Forest Service on a Plan of Operations drill permit for targets on the Danbo property. A formal scoping estimate is in hand from a third party, including program and budget, for baseline surveys required for the Plan of Operations submittal. The Company will evaluate and consider this work for the spring of 2019.
The Big Ten caldera is a Tertiary-aged volcanic complex some 20 kilometres in diameter, and located near the eastern limit of Tertiary-aged extension, volcanism and faulting of the Walker Lane Belt in west-central Nevada. The Round Mountain (16 M oz gold) and Manhattan (800,000 oz gold) epithermal gold deposits occur in similarly aged rhyolite caldera centers immediately to the north and northwest. Further, the low-sulfidation character of the hydrothermal gold-silver quartz vein system at Big Ten is comparable to Round Mountain.
The various properties all occur along/within a northwest-southeast trending structural corridor which bisects the entire Big Ten caldera; the trend of alteration and gold-bearing quartz veins is called the Big Ten epithermal gold trend.
There is a consistent volcanic stratigraphy of welded and non-welded rhyolite tuff common to the mineral properties along the Big Ten trend. Certain tuff units are prospective for quartz vein deposition based on relative permeability.
There are common elements to the various occurrences of alteration and mineralization along the Big Ten Trend. These attributes collectively strengthen the exploration model around the Big Ten structure and mineral trend. They afford the opportunity explore and evaluate a complete epithermal gold system, both laterally and vertically. Salient features of the trend include:
- The three main central properties all occur near discordant fault offsets, or fault intersections within the northwest-southeast trending corridor;
- Individual quartz veins on all three properties are subvertical and northwesterly striking, parallel to the Big Ten trend itself;
- The style of mineralization is that of a low-sulfidation epithermal system, but gold and silver values are commonly highest in samples with visible, disseminated, fine-grained and bright silver iron sulfide (pyrite);
- Quartz veins do not occur in isolation, but in quartz vein sets across several hundred metres, with greater than one kilometre of strike length at Danbo and Clipper;
- Quartz vein sets are commonly associated with obvious zones of silicification, including a broad topographic hill of bleached and silicified rhyolite tuff at Amsel, and distinctive, resistant ribs silicified rhyolite northwest of Amsel and at Clipper.
Danbo is an epithermal gold prospect hosted in a sub-horizontal Tertiary pyroclastic sequence of rhyolite lapilli tuff and ash flow tuff. The volcanic stratigraphy exposed on the Danbo property consists of 4 well-defined felsic pyroclastic units. The pyroclastic units are sub-horizontal and do not show evidence of major faulting. No vertical or horizontal translations are evident across the major veins transecting the property.
A series of northwest-striking epithermal quartz veins can be traced across a north-trending valley incised into the pyroclastic sequence for approximately 1,500 m of strike. Three or four distinct zones of veined tuff are mapped across an overall width of 300 to 400 metres, with an additional zone inferred from soil geochemistry and hyperspectral surface alteration data implying a width of 1.1 kilometres. Individual veins are centimetres to decimetres wide, with metre-scale zones of quartz vein breccia in the central part of the property. Narrow (less than one meter), white weathering, crystalline mica-bearing argillic alteration halos are evident at most vein outcrops.
Drusy quartz in open space is nearly ubiquitous along the 1,500 m strike length. Bladed quartz after carbonate is also common, evidence of hydrothermal boiling in the high-level, low-sulfidation epithermal vein system at Danbo. Banded, colloform textures are observed only locally, and most commonly in the central, lower elevation part of the property.
The quartz veins generally contain trace to 1%, fine grained sulfide minerals as disseminated grains and blebs, most commonly a bright silver, subhedral pyrite. Gold-silver ratios in mineralized samples with visible sulfide are low, but variable, typically 10:1 or less.