Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Monster Gold Deposit!

On break for the July 4th celebration in Flat Alaska. Dr. Paul Graff stands on running board of the
Flat Alaska hotel limo adjacent to the Flat recreation seen in the photo to the left.
The Northern Miner (Feb 11-17, 2013) described Donlin Creek as a MONSTER GOLD DEPOSIT with more than 43 million ounces of gold drilled! And another 140 million ounces of gold resource! It is currently ranked as one of the 10 largest gold deposits found in history! The deposit is approximately 8 km in length, with much of the drilling focus in a 3 km area. This means that during mining and exploration of the remaining 5 km of the deposit will likely result in considerable expansion of the gold reserves.

To get some concept on how big this deposit is, try comparing it to one of the more extraordinary world-class gold deposits in history - the Homestake mine in South Dakota. The Homestake operated for 123 years, making it one of the longest lived gold mines in history. Production at the Homestake began in 1878 and ceased in 2001 after the mine produced 39.8 million ounces of gold. The Homestake was also one of the longest listed stocks on the NYSE in history! The Northern Miner also reported the Donlin Creek to be the largest undeveloped gold deposit in the world! 

For 7 geologists, this is a lifetime achievement and discovery - how many people in history can claim discovery of such a monster gold deposit? And I was one of those seven who made that discovery and was honored at the 2009 PDAC Convention in Toronto Canada.

Just how big is this monster gold deposit? Here are some statistics to think about. To help put this one, single, gold deposit in the proper perspective, let's look at the other gold states and their production.

The known gold reserves at Donlin Creek (excluding the potential resources):
  • contain 3 times more gold mined in the entire mining history of Arizona from 1774 to the present! And this doesn't even include the 140 million ounce resource estimate at Donlin Creek.
  • It has more gold than mined in all of Alaska from 1848 to the present!
  • Donlin Creek has more than a third of all gold mined in California
  • It contains as much as 86% of all gold mined in Colorado!
  • It has 49 times more gold mined in Georgia from 1839 to the present!
  • In contains twice as much gold that has been mined in Montana from 1852 to present!
  • It has 40 times more gold than was mined in North Carolina from 1799 to the present (1.2 million ounces)!
  • Donlin Creek has 25% as much gold that has been mined in Nevada from 1852 to the present (152 million ounces)! Combining the reserves and gold resources together at Donlin Creek indicates that Donlin Creek has at least 30 million ounces more than all of the gold mined in the entire history of Nevada!
  • It also has 4.6 times as much gold that was mined in Oregon (9.3 million ounces of historical production)!
  • It has more than twice the amount of gold mined in Utah (more than 17.7 million ounces)!
  • It contains 120 times more gold mined in all of Wyoming (385,000 ounces). And if we include the gold resource at Donlin Creek, this amounts to 468 times more gold than mined during the entire mining history of Wyoming!
  • Even the Klondike can't compare. All of the gold mined in the Klondike (18.3 million ounces) in the past only amounts to a little less than half as much gold drilled at Donlin Creek!!! If we again combined all of the Donlin Creek reserves and resources, this would amount to essentially 10 times more gold than was mined from the Kondike! And remember, once mining begins at Donlin Creek, more gold will be found!
So, am I humbled by this discovery? Nope!

I thank God that WestGold hired me and Paul Graff and Mark Bronson recommend me for my mapping skills. I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to work with some incredible people for those two summers of 1988 and 1989, and I also got to drive them nuts with my pranks! And, you would think the operators of the mine would invite us to the grand opening and give each of us a stack of gold bars as a thank you.

Anyway, WestGold (Western Gold Exploration and Mining) also operated the Bima Dredge off Nome, Alaska and thus the company was a major company that could have built itself into a major mining company. But somewhere at the top, things were not to be.