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Hot Springs Property, Nevada

Location: 22 miles northeast of Winnemucca, Nevada
Area size: 11,894 acres
Metal type: Gold

Highlights of Hot Springs Property in Nevada, USA – Summary

Introduction

The Hot Springs Property is located in Humboldt County, Nevada. Nevada is gold elephant country. The Property has proven gold resource and geological gold mining potential.  Bald Eagle Gold Corp. has a 50% interest in unpatented lode claims and private leases making up the Hot Springs Property through a joint venture interest with Osgood Mountains Gold, LLC.  Nevada is a highly prolific internationally recognized gold jurisdiction.   

The Property is located in the southeastern part of Humboldt County, Nevada.   The property is located at the intersection of the Battle Mountain and Getchell-Comstock Gold Trends.  There are numerous well known historical and current producing mines in the region, including the Hecla’s Midas and Fire Creek Mines, Newmont’s Twin Creeks Mine and the Barrick/Newmont’s Getchell and Turquoise Ridge mines. 

Nevada – Major Gold Producer

The Property is located in one of the most prolific gold mining regions of the world.  Nevada accounted for 83% of total United States gold production in 2018 and produced 5.3% of the world’s gold that year. The United States was the fourth leading gold producer in the world in 2018. Total world gold production, since the beginning of civilization has been approximately 6 billion ounces and Nevada’s total production of 235 million ounces, makes up roughly 4 % of that amount.  

The majority of the gold produced in Nevada is mined from two linear alignments of deposits: the Carlin and Battle Mountain-Eureka trends in the northcentral and the northeast, both spatially associated with the northern Nevada rift.   The Carlin and Battle Mountain-Eureka trends accounts for roughly 70 % of the gold produced in Nevada.  Both the Battle Mountain-Eureka gold trend and the Carlin gold trend intersect with the Getchell gold trend in north-central Nevada. These trends result in part from a regional alignment of major gold deposits thought to represent deeply penetrating Proterozoic to Paleozoic structures.  These gold trends are estimated to have contained more than 200 million ounces of gold before mining began.

Humboldt County, Nevada

Figure 1
Figure 1

The Property is between the Sleeper Mine and Getchell/Turquoise Mine and on the Hot Springs Mountains Range.  The Osgood Mountain Range is immediately to the east and on the east flank of that range is the Getchell Mine, an underground mine in the Potosi mining district of Humboldt County.  That mining operation consists of two underground mines, Getchell and Turquoise Ridge, operated as the Turquoise Ridge Joint Venture. Barrick Gold is the operator and 75% owner with Newmont Mining owning the remaining 25%.  The mining method currently used is underhand cut-and-fill. The refractory gold ore is treated by pressure oxidation technology at the Twin Creeks Sage autoclave and gold recovered using conventional carbon-in-leach technology.   The gold deposit is a sediment-hosted disseminated Carlin-type deposit, with sub-micron sized gold distributed in pyrite and marcasite.

Modern Exploration and Development techniques

The Hot Springs and the Osgood Mountains Ranges are both in the Arkosic Triangle of northwest Nevada. Based on recent investigations and concepts, developed during the prior gold cycles, these mountain ranges have been subject to very similar geological processes which are now seen to enhance the prospectivity of the Hot Springs Property.  That is what makes this Property exciting.  These processes include Mesozoic (248 million to 65 million years ago) compression of Paleozoic (543 million – 248 million) rocks during the Jurassic period (206 million – 144 million).  The compression caused thrust faults to form in the eastern part of the depositional basin and thrusts and folds in the western part.  These folds produced fractures which can act as conduits for the flow of gold-carrying magmas and magmatic fluids and gasses.

Location of Gold Mineralization:

Mining began in Humboldt County in the early 1860's and for many years there was sporadic production from several districts. The discovery of fabulously rich gold ores in the National district in 1907 likely represents the most significant event in the mining history within the county.  The Getchell mine, in the Potosi district, became active in 1938, and for several years thereafter it was the largest gold producer in the State. Most of the gold mined in Humboldt County has come from lodes, but there has also been considerable placer gold produced from the Dutch Flats district. 

The Dutch Flats area, which came to be known as a placer (surface gold) district in the early days, was discovered in 1893 and produced placer gold up until 1959. The deposits of that time period were stream and slope-wash gravels.   In addition to gold, significant quantities of scheelite and cinnabar occurred in the placers. The ore minerals were reported to have come from came from low-grade lode deposits in a granodiorite stock and in folded early Paleozoic sedimentary rocks.   The lode deposits were of two types: gold-quartz veins that contained some sulfides and a little scheelite (tungsten ore), and disseminated cinnabar in a shear zone that cut metamorphosed shale and feldspathic quartzite. Cinnabar of cinnabarite is the bright scarlet to brick-red form of mercury sulfide.  Cinnabar generally occurs as a vein-filling miner associated with volcanic activity and alkaline hot springs.   

See: https://westernmininghistory.com/articles/124/page1/ for further details.

The Hot Springs Property area includes the aforementioned Dutch Flats locale.  The widespread significant gold mineralization on the property and the high levels of arsenic, silver, mercury and antimony suggest that the Hot Springs Property is a host to the surface expression of the upper portions of a low-sulphidation epithermal gold system or a Carlin style gold deposit.  Gold appears in placer material as nuggets, course angular grains, sometimes attached to a quartz matrix.

As mentioned above, gold is also found in northeast trending quartz veins trending along with the major north-easterly trending zone of multiple faults and shearing. The cinnabar, a common vein-filling material on the Hot Springs property, varies from dust sizes to one-centimeter diameter material rocks.

The Dutch Flats and Hot Springs Property within the Arkosic Triangle

Figure 2
Figure 2

Possible Type of Deposit at Hot Springs

Based on the currently available data, two different types of mineralization may be present on the site:

Gold Deposit Target Map of the Property

Figure 3
Figure 3

Historic Exploration and Current Programs

Historic exploration (up to the end of the last century and before the current gold cycle) on the Property has been limited to near-surface rotary drilling.  The modern concepts developed have led us to develop programs involving deeper core drilling, consistent with the modern approach in the 21st century higher gold-priced technologically improved environment.

Historic exploration on our Property, has discovered multiple gold occurrences within the property.  Key historical exploration includes drill results of 82.3 meters of 0.8 g/t gold from 1.5 meters, including 1.5 meters of 32.5 g/t bonanza grade gold and 42.7 meters of 0.7 g/t gold from 32.0 to 74.7 meters (including 13.7 meters of 1.2 g/t gold). 

Until now, the Property has not been drilled to any significant depth, even though considerable gold has been prospected at the surface for many years.  We are now drilling at greater depths consistent with an epithermal model or a Carlin gold model. 

CSAMT and IP targeting has recently been carried out and further geophysics and geochemistry targeting is occurring.  This target will be in conjunction with the drill results of the current programs, which will be announced in the future.

Host Formation and Geological Setting:

How Gold Deposits are Formed

Economic gold deposits are formed when gold carrying magma, fluids, or vapors rise to surface of the earth through rifts and faults in crustal rocks.  This occurs in either extensional (the ground opens up) or compressional (the ground is pushed together and reverse faults develop) tectonic regimes. 

In an extensional regime, openings arise in the crust as surface rock is pulled apart.  In compressional regimes, rock is pushed together, and faults are created at the surface which provides pathways for rising magma or fluids.  The magma or fluids carry the gold towards the surface.  The gold ends up precipitated (solidified) in various chemical forms in surface and near-surface crustal rock, which is called host rock.  The geological structures and chemistry of the rock are some of the attributes of host rock or host formations.

Important deposit types are distinguished according to geological environment (called “setting”), host rock type (e.g., granite, sandstone, limestone), associated minerals (e.g., sulphides and other metal minerals) and depth of emplacement.  They include volcanic hosted massive sulphides (VHMS), and intrusive ore bodies of various types such as mesothermal ore bodies, porphyritic ore bodies, and epithermal ore bodies of various types.  There are also residual or detrital ore bodies which are formed for prior igneous or metaphoric ore bodies with weathering.

Host Rock and Regional Geology

The Arkosic Triangle includes various formations whose creation and development are crucial in the theory of how a deposit at the Hot Springs Property could have been formed.  Theories of formation are called “ore genetic theories” and these ore genetic theories are crucial in having a well-developed gold deposit exploration program which is effective and efficient.

Northwestern Nevada showing the Arkosic Triangle and Hot Springs Range

Figure 4
Figure 4

The Arkosic Triangle includes the following Middle to upper Paleozoic formations, with estimated ages shown in millions of years prior to current times.

The middle to upper Paleozoic formations were compressed during the Jurassic period (206 million – 144 million) causing eastern-directed folding in the eastern part of the depositional basin and western-directed folding in the western part.

The Inskip Formation, the Harmony Formation, and the Havallah sequence constitute a structurally disrupted stratigraphic assemblage that records a history of extreme tectonic and igneous activity from the Devonian to the Permian geological periods. 

The older standard theories of structural geology in this region were developed during the 1950s and 1960s, prior to the availability of substantial paleontological dating. According to the older theories, the Havallah sequence, a diverse assemblage of oceanic rock, was obducted onto the continent during the latest Permian or earliest Triassic Sonoma orogeny by way of the Galconda Thrust.  Obduction is the over thrusting of continental crust by oceanic crust or mantle rocks at a convergent plate boundary, such as closing of an ocean or a mountain building episode. This process is uncommon because the denser oceanic lithosphere usually subducts underneath the less dense continental plate. Obduction occurs where a fragment of continental crust is caught in a subduction zone with resulting over thrusting of oceanic mafic and ultramafic rocks from the mantle onto the continental crust. Obduction often occurs where a small tectonic plate is caught between two larger plates, with the crust welding onto an adjacent continent as a new terrane.

Figure 5
Figure 5

The middle to upper Paleozoic formations referred to above were compressed in the Jurassic period (206 million – 144 million) causing eastern-directed folding in the eastern part of the depositional basin and western-directed folding in the western part.

In the 2000s, it became possible to construct a tectonic theory that involves all the middle to upper Paleozoic sequences that is applicable both to the Arkosic Triangle and is consistent with regional geology.   Tectonics refers to the movement of sections (plates) of the earth’s crust over millions of years.  Plate tectonics create continents and oceans, earthquakes, volcanoes and other geological events.

Basis for New Geological Theories

The Upper Devonian to Mississippian parts of the Inskip Formation and of the correlative sequences have a very conspicuous feature in common: they contain coarse-grained Arkosic sedimentary strata. These coarse-grained Arkosic rocks are unique to Nevada and require a unique explanation of their origin. The ages of detrital zircons in these rocks point to an origin in northwestern Canada.  That fact, plus the coarse grain size and immaturity of the Arkosic deposits, led to the theory that the Arkosic Sediments were eroded from a part of the North American plate that rifted away from the continent at the latitude of northern British Columbia and then drifted southward to the latitude of Nevada. From this position, it shed coarse Arkosic sediments eastward to the Arkosic Triangle during the Late Devonian to Mississippian.

Supporting the above theory is the presence, at the base of the Arkosic deposits, of large Olistoliths that contain Cambrian Archaeocyathids endemic to northwestern Canada and other distant northern locations. The dimensions of some of these Olistoliths, measured in meters, imply a very close source area.

Although they have been structurally disrupted, the Paleozoic stratigraphic components of other ranges in the Arkosic triangle are similar to those of the East Range.  All upper Devonian to Permian units in the Arkosic triangle are now viewed as part of a single genetic assemblage, deposited on a similar substrate, in a single depositional basin, and have the same tectonic history.  The Sonoma Orogeny has been relegated to a minor local event and the age of the Golconda Thrust has been revised.

Geological, Structural, Geochemical and Geophysical Concepts to Explore and Develop Gold Deposits in the Hot Springs Property

Locally, the stratigraphic column in the area of the Hot Springs Property from oldest to the youngest deposits includes:

The three formations which cover most of the property are the Harmony formation (limestone member), Harmony formation (limestone member), and the Vesicular basaltic andesite.

Stratigraphic Columns

Figure 6
Figure 6

According to modern models, the Upper Devonian to Permian units in the Arkosic Triangle are parts of a single genetic assemblage deposited on a single substrate in a single depositional basin and have the same tectonic history.  Both the Hot Springs Range and the East Range lie at the western margin of the Paleozoic miogeocline.  A miogeocline is an area of sedimentation which occurs along the passive margin of a continent. The deposits occur as typically shallow water clastic sediments which thicken seaward to form a clastic wedge parallel to a tectonically quiescent coast. The Hot Springs Range and the East Range share the following characteristics:

Modified and Simplified Map of Part of the Hot Springs Range

Figure 7
Figure 7

The Hot Springs Property is south of 41 degrees latitude in the figure 7 above.

Geology Map of the Hot Springs Property

Figure 8
Figure 8

Surface Geological Map of the Hot Springs Range

Figure 9
Figure 9

Considering the Vesicular basaltic andesite formation on both flanks of the Hot Spring Mountains Range suggests that a main anticline covers the entirety of the property, but information about the folding age of the middle to upper Paleozoic deposits, which is Jurassic, shows Vesicular basaltic andesite erupted after folding in the Hot Spring Mountains Range.

Epithermal Gold Systems

Based on Figure 11 below, Nevada is host to many epithermal gold deposits.  The Sleeper, Midas, Hycroft, Round Mountain, Tonopah Mule Canyon, Paradise Peak, Comstock Lode, McLaughlin, Aurora, Bullfrog, Goldfield, and Oatman mines in Nevada, as illustrated below, are epithermal gold mines or have epithermal aspects.

Figure 11
Figure 11

Although many epithermal deposits are known for their high gold grades, lower grade deposits are amenable to mining by underground methods and many bulk tonnage deposits with as little as one part per million gold or less are presently being exploited by open-pit mining.

Many deposit subtypes have been defined and alternative classification schemes developed for epithermal gold-silver deposits; these subtypes and classification schemes reflect variations in metal contents, gangue and ore minerals, or inferred composition of ore-forming hydrothermal fluids. Epithermal gold-silver deposits are separated into low, intermediate, and high sulfidation subtypes to reflect the most frequently used classification scheme.  Epithermal deposits form in the upper crust at the surface to depths about 1,500 m below the water table and at temperatures that range from about 100 to 300 °C.

Most deposits are genetically related to hydrothermal systems associated with subaerial volcanism and intrusion of subduction-related calc-alkaline magmas ranging in composition from basalt to rhyolite in island and continental  settings.  While less commonly, these deposits are can be related to hydrothermal systems associated  with continental rifting or hot spot magmatism.

Most epithermal deposits are related to hydrothermal systems that form in response to release of magmatic fluids (degassing) from crystallizing intrusions at depth. Epithermal gold-silver deposits form in a variety of tectonic settings that range from extensional to transtensional, transpressional, and compressional.   Within this broad range of regional tectonic settings, epithermal deposits most commonly occur as veins or breccias developed in local extensional or dilational fault and fracture zones.   Disseminated and replacement ore also commonly forms in permeable lithologies where horizons intersect faults or fractures that allowed fluid ingress.

Most known epithermal gold-silver deposits are Cenozoic, which reflects preferential preservation of these shallowly formed deposits in tectonically unstable regions; however, potassic alteration with quartz, adularia, carbonate minerals and/or clays are indicative of formation from near-neutral pH fluids, and this forms the core of low and intermediate sulfidation deposits.

Epithermal gold-silver deposits commonly contain elevated abundances of arsenic, antimony, mercury, selenium, tellurium, thallium, and  tungsten.   Some deposits also are enriched in lead, zinc, copper, and molybdenum.  However, concentrations of these elements (parts per million to weight percent) vary widely within individual deposits, between different deposits within each subtype of deposit, and between each deposit subtype; commonly gold abundance is the best indicator of gold mineralization.

Structural Geology

Figure 10
Figure 10

Folds

Figure 10 shows the dominant structure of the property is a north-northeast trending syncline due to the location of Valmy Ordovician formation (SOv) along both flanks of the Hot Spring mountains.

Reviewing the geology map of Delvada Spring Quadrangle shows that in the most parts of the property, the Harmony formation (Limestone member) is located in the core of a folded structure which has created the  Hot Spring mountains. 

A younger body of the of Harmony formation (sandstone member) is located on both sides of the folded limestone, and these present an anticline structure with NE axis trending.

Considering the Vesicular basaltic andesite formation on both flanks of Hot Spring Mountains Range suggests that a main anticline covers entire the property, but information about the folding age of the middle to upper Paleozoic deposits, which is Jurassic, shows Vesicular basaltic andesite erupted after folding in the Hot Springs Mountains Range.

Reviewing the Delvada Spring Quadrangle geology map shows that a few anticlines and synclines exist on the property, and most of them have NE axial trending.   In summary, the Property consists of successive anticlines and synclines. Most of the formations within the Hot Springs Mountains Range shows that the main structure of this region is an anticlinorium northeastern trending. An anticlinorium is a series of anticlines and synclines imposed over a general arch.  

Fractures

Based on the folding mechanism, most of lineaments (especially joints) at the property are interpretable.  Figure 10 shows all different fractures, (faults, joints, and lineaments) related to folded structures. The main fractures are tension fractures, most of them at the crest of folds parallel to the fold axis. These fractures are created due to the bending and tension on the outer parts of the anticlines and synclines. The second types of fractures are perpendicular to the first group (they are perpendicular to the fold axis).  The third type of fractures are shear fractures which are conjugate fractures and located on both flanks of the folds.  

The geology map of the property, Figure 9, shows that the first type of fractures (tension fractures), which are parallel to the fold axis, are dominant fractures (see figure 7).  Although shear fractures are seen on both flanks of the Hot Springs Mountains Range, their density is low and they are not as important as the tension fractures.

Exploration

Historical Exploration has occurred in several phases over the last 50 years including:

Based on the currently available data, two different types of mineralization may be present on the site:

The Possibility of Carlin Type Deposits at Hot Springs

The existence of the Pinson gold project to the southeast with an aerial distance of 10 miles indicates the possibility of similar geology at Hot Springs. At Pinson, a Carlin-type gold deposit was discovered on the eastern flank of an enormous anticline, the Osgood Mountains. This has been proven with ample drilling and the presence of an operating gold mine.  Due to proximity and similar geologic conditions, this type of mineralization must be considered and evaluated for the Hot Spring Property.

Digital Elevation Model of Northern Nevada, showing locations of mineral belts and districts

Figure 12
Figure 12

The structural setting, alteration mineralogy, and mineralization characteristics of the Pinson deposit is consistent with other Carlin-type deposits within Nevada.  Structural pathways, reactive rocks, and sources of heat, gold, sulfur, and iron are required for Carlin-type deposits to form. Large regional structures transecting reactive rocks create contacts, faults, and shears. These secondary structures create pathways and traps for hydrothermal and metalliferous fluids.

Two models of disseminated gold mineralization are possible:

  1. Mineralization occurring in the permeable beds of Harmony formation even though they are not carbonate rocks. In this case, mineralization would occur in sandstone beds with a high permeability.
  2. Disseminated gold mineralization could occur along the limestone member of the Harmony formation, following the classic pattern of Carlin mineralization within a carbonate unit.

Current Exploration

We are currently in a core-drilling campaign and have completed approximately 1,000 meters of drilling on three completed holes.  Analysis of core is occurring at the present time and additional drilling is occurring.

The Company, in conjunction with its joint venture partner, Osgood Mountains Gold, LLC, began a core drilling program at the end of 2020 and has completed approximately 1,000 meters of drilling. Detailed core logging is being carried out by seasoned geologists with extensive experience in the precious metal mineralization of the Basin and Range province of Nevada. Analytical work is being carried out at ALS in Reno, Nevada. Ongoing initial review of core samples support our current drilling operations.