Dreaming of a new Nevada

ATAC Resources' stock skyrocketed last week, following the company's announcement it had found more clues that suggest it's sitting on a new gold district near Mayo.

ATAC Resources’ stock skyrocketed last week, following the company’s announcement it had found more clues that suggest it’s sitting on a new gold district near Mayo.

The company’s stock, which trades on the Canadian Venture Exchange, is now worth more than $5 after peaking at $7.22 on Tuesday.

The Vancouver-based mining junior’s stock was worth $2.70 at the end of August, and just 50 cents this time last year.

The trading frenzy was triggered by a new gold discovery by the company, which has spent the past four years poking around its Rau property, located about 50 kilometres northeast of Keno City.

The company’s initial drill results are “great,” said Mike Burke, Yukon’s head of mineral services. But what likely caught investors’ attention more than rich gold grades is the company’s claim to have found a “Carlin-type” discovery.

That’s one of the holy grails of mineral exploration.

“The northern Carlin trend in Nevada has over 100 million ounces of gold,” said ATAC’s CEO, Graham Downs. “That doesn’t mean we have that. But it’s a testament that we’re in the right environment to find gold deposits.”

“The Carlin trend in Nevada is world class, very large,” said Burke. “It’s been the type of deposit that geologist has been looking for worldwide for years. It’s something you’d love to find somewhere else.

“It’s the blue sky that made the stock (rise) so much – holy cow, maybe someone has found a Carlin-style deposit in Yukon. If that’s the case, the potential is pretty nice.”

As in Nevada, Rau’s gold is all found in limestone. The Rau property had been explored for silver, zinc and lead in the past.

“But nobody had ever looked for gold,” said Downs.

“More importantly, nobody had ever assayed their silver, lead and zinc samples for gold, because it costs more. If they had done that, this could have been discovered a long time ago.”

Rau also remained undiscovered until recently because, from the air, there’s little sign of gold or indicator minerals, said Burke.

“Three or four years ago, we would have said that belt of rocks doesn’t have a lot of gold potential,” said Burke. “It’s got a few sniffs here or there, but no one has found anything of significance in it.”

But that all changed last year when ATAC began drilling its Tiger zone. The company soon hit paydirt, with some rock samples bearing as much as 24 grams of gold per ton.

It’s still early days, Downs cautions. “There’s no imminent mine yet. It’s just at exploration.

“Sometimes these things get taken out of hand, like there’s going to be a mine up in Mayo next week. It’s going to take years for this thing to develop.”

And the company has lots of ground left to explore. It has claimed over 1,400 square kilometres at Rau.

Besides finding gold, ATAC has also stumbled upon promising samples of silver, lead and zinc this summer. “The property is very rich,” said Downs.

The company hired about 50 workers this year to run five diamond-drill rigs. It expects to continue drilling until mid-October.

Lab technicians should be kept busy analyzing ATAC’s 18,000 metres of core samples well into the winter.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.