Rise to resurrection
U.S. miner unearths secrets from historical mine to make old gold again
By Samantha McLeod
Located about 60 miles north east of Sacramento, in the heart of California’s Gold Country is a story of resurrection where old is becoming gold again.
Here in the area dubbed Grass Valley lies the historic Idaho-Maryland Mine, which in its heyday produced over 2.4 million ounces of high grade gold to be one of the most productive underground gold mines in California history — second only to the adjacent Empire Mine.
Today, about 150 years later after it was discovered and a myriad of owners, the Idaho-Maryland Mine is once again luring miners, geologists and investors to its treasure trove, much of which they believe is intact and wrapped in secrecy.
Leading the charge is Benjamin Mossman, President, CEO & Director of Rise Gold Corp. (CSE: RISE), an exploration stage mining company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“It was producing up to 129,000 oz gold per year before being forced to shut down by the U.S. government in 1942,” said Mossman.
At that time, the government deemed gold mining as non-essential to wartime production and shut down almost all gold mines in order to reallocate miners, equipment, and supplies to increase production of base metals necessary for the war effort.
“The United States Geological Survey was also denied access to the mine. As such, the full details of the geology, mine workings, and exploration discoveries of this major gold deposit have never been published from the mine,” said Mossman, a mining engineer with over 15 years of experience in the industry.
For Mossman, success lies in dredging up and analyzing those secrets that shroud the abandoned shafts and tunnels to get at what he is confident is a significant gold deposit.
“The Idaho-Maryland Mine Project was forced to shut down due to WWII just when it was reaching its full potential. While other great gold deposits have been discovered and mined out over the last 70 years in the area, this mine has been frozen in time,” said Mossman adding, “Historic past production of the mine was very high grade, especially in modern terms, with an average mill head grade of 17 grams per tonne.”
Rise Gold Corp is taking a fresh look at the Idaho Maryland project.
A Canadian company, Emgold Mining Corporation, previously had a lease on the project and employed a novel idea to make ceramic tiles from the Idaho Maryland waste rock. Emgold also prepared a mineral resource estimate based on the historic drilling information as the basis for commencing gold mining on the property.
Emgold dropped the option after it failed to submit funds to the City of Grass Valley for an independent Environmental Impact Report, and did very little exploration work on the property.
Rise thinking is deeper, and its targets are focused on what lies beneath the historical mine workings.
Mossman summarized the strategy, “The most compelling value at the Idaho Maryland is at depth, rather than the remnants left around the old workings. The historic mine operator was expending large effort and capital to reach this area, and was getting excellent results before the forced shutdown. We have the internal reports of several of the top geologists of the era, who wrote strong recommendations to the company to continue exploration in this area. It is a great starting point, and a very rare situation for an exploration project.”
In January 2017, Mossman’s Rise Gold purchased the Idaho-Maryland Gold Mine for US$2,000,000 ensuring a 100% interest in the property and with no royalties on future gold production.
Included in the sale were the complete historic records of the mine, including thousands of documents and maps that show mine workings, 70,000 metres of core drilling results and 36,000 assays, production data, drill results and other important information.
“The company’s engineers and geologists have processed all of the relevant data into a digital database and model to consolidate historic production and exploration work and define priority exploration targets,” said Mossman.
The company’s exploration program is expected to begin this fall, and it has divested itself from all its British Columbia exploration properties to focus on the development of the Idaho-Maryland Gold Project.
“After months of work reviewing the mine documents and the recent completion of our Technical Report, our confidence in the Idaho-Maryland Gold Project has only become stronger,” said Mossman.
“Our mission is to match the faith and discipline of the past explorers of Idaho-Maryland. Our vision is to give rise to the next major discovery at one of the United States’ greatest past producing gold mines.”