Located 70 km SE of Fairbanks, Alaska, the exploration-stage Hilltop Gold Project (“Hilltop”), is situated mid-way between Sumitomo’s Pogo Mine and Kinross Gold’s Fort Knox Mine. Under an option agreement with Northern Empire Resources Corp., Sonoro can acquire a 60% interest in Hilltop by spending C$3 million on exploration activities and issuing 1 million Sonoro shares to Northern Empire by December 31, 2019. A two-phase exploration program was conducted during 2015, generating compelling results and a declaration by Sonoro to continue building on the success of the program.
Results From The 2015 Exploration Program
Phase 2 Summary
The Phase 2 exploration program, carried out in August and September 2015, expanded the known gold footprint over three distinct target areas within Hilltop and highlights from the re-sampling of trenches at the Hilltop North zone included assays of 11.7 g/t gold and 26.5 g/t gold. The exploration program entailed the collection of 355 soil samples, 42 rock samples, and the resampling of a specific section of trench 5 from Phase 1.
“The Phase 2 exploration program has expanded the known gold footprint at the Hilltop South and Hilltop North areas, highlighted new prospective target areas, demonstrated a clear association between gold values and Intrusive Related Gold pathfinder elements in both rock/trench samples and soils, and returned higher gold values than this spring’s trenching program,”
John Robins, Chairman, Northern Empire Resources Corp.
“The exploration results from both Phase 1 and 2 at Hilltop have exceeded our expectations and support our belief that the Richardson Gold District will emerge as one of the most exciting areas for gold exploration in Alaska as we advance this project. We look forward to building on our exploration successes in 2015 in the near future.”
Kenneth MacLeod, President & CEO, Sonoro Metals Corp.
Highlights from Phase 2 include:
During the period between the Phase 1 and Phase 2 exploration programs, erosion at trench 5 exposed a larger portion of an Arsenopyrite-bearing quartz vein sampled in Phase 1. Resampling of trench 5 during Phase 2 returned high grade gold values averaging 9.71 g/t Au over 4 m. Phase 1 results (see news release of August 10, 2015) for this same interval were 2.337 g/t Au. The resampling highlighted gold in rock samples of 11.7 g/t Au from 0-1 m and 26.5 g/t Au from 1.0 to 2.0 m in trench 5;
Gold values in the Phase 2 soils range from 2.5 to 60 ppb and exhibit a positive correlation with Intrusive Related Gold (“IRG”) pathfinder elements, including As, Bi, Sb, Te, W, and Pb;
Infill soil samples were collected in the area of the due diligence sampling in Phase 1 (Hilltop South). Assay results have expanded and substantiate a strong east to west trending gold in soils anomaly measuring 1.8 km long by 500 m wide;
Infill soils were collected at Hilltop North in the area of anomalous top of bedrock soils which were collected during the 2011 season by a previous exploration group. Infill lines along previously sampled anomalous soils further confirmed the anomalous nature of the gold in soils values and also better defined the anomalous area to 100 m spaced lines (previously 200 m spaced lines);
Anomalous reconnaissance soil samples and rock float samples collected in the Mosquito Creek drainage area (6 km SW of Hilltop) highlight this area for potential follow-up work in 2016;
Infill soil samples collected between sections of anomalous sample lines (500 m line spacing) collected in Phase 1 at the Birch Hill Conductor (3 km SW of Hilltop) further highlight the anomalous nature of this zone.
Results from the Phase 1 exploration program at Hilltop confirmed and expanded the known gold footprint, with channel samples grading up to 19.45 g/t Au and rock grab samples grading as high as 26.55 g/t Au. The program entailed 61 soil samples to verify previous sampling, 336 soil samples to expand the anomalous gold footprint from previous sampling, 228 rock samples, and 213 m of trenching.
Highlights from Phase 1 included:
Due diligence soil sample results confirmed a soil anomaly 400 m by 1,000 m with values above the 85th percentile ranging from 13 to 480 ppb Au.
More widely spaced soil sampling expanded the zone of previously defined anomalous gold results 400 m further to the west and defined a zone of interest 2.4 km by 2.4 km.
1 m channel sampling from five trenches returned 7 m at 1.41 g/t Au in trench 3 and 10 m at 2.29 g/t in trench 5, with the best 1 m sample grading 19.45 g/t Au. Rock grab samples from trench exposed material returned values as high as 26.55 g/t Au.
Elevated pathfinder element assays from trench samples (including As, Bi, Pb, Sb, Te & W) showed Intrusive Related Gold (IRG) affinity.
Northern Empire’s Chairman, John Robins, P.Geo., stated, “The highly encouraging results from our first phase of exploration have added significant value to the road-accessible Hilltop gold project. The program has been very successful in corroborating anomalous historic results, expanding the known gold footprint of the Hilltop zone, generating high-grade in-situ gold samples, recognizing multiple widespread zones of coincident pathfinder elements and identifying new prospective target areas. With the recent announcement of the exploration program expansion at Hilltop, we are eager to get back in the field to follow up on these exciting results.”
Kenneth MacLeod, President & CEO of Sonoro added, “While Sonoro has already met its 2015 financial commitments under the option agreement with Northern Empire, the results from the Phase 1 exploration program are sufficiently compelling to warrant its immediate continuation. Consequently, Sonoro has budgeted an additional $100,000 for the now-launched expanded exploration program.”
The field component of the work program at Hilltop started at the end of April and was completed the first week of June. On July 28, Northern Empire and Sonoro announced plans to return to Hilltop to extend the Phase 1 exploration program.
Program Summary (Phase 1): Results
Receipt of DNR Permit #2235 which is a five year Miscellaneous Land Use Permit for Hardrock Exploration and Reclamation and allows for trenching, drilling (including water use permit), road improvement and road construction.
61 due diligence soil samples were collected to verify sample results from top of bedrock soils collected in 2011 by a previous exploration group. These 61 soil samples represent 10% of the total number of samples collected in 2011, and the new results demonstrate a substantial gold in soil anomaly 400 m wide and over 1 km long in an east-west direction. Of the 61 due diligence samples collected, 27 rank at or above the 85th percentile (grading 13 to 480 ppb Au) and 4 additional samples rank at or above the 95th percentile. At each sample site, two samples were collected; 1 from the top of bedrock position as previously collected and 1 sample from the B-horizon. Results confirmed that the gold in soil values collected in 2011 are valid and that use of B-horizon soils at Hilltop is a useful exploration tool.
336 soil samples were collected at Hilltop to expand the footprint of known anomalous soils from historic work. Of the 336 samples collected, 51 samples ranked in the 85th percentile or higher and 17 samples ranked in the 95th percentile or higher (27ppb to 480ppb). Analysis of the soils results shows that the anomalous gold footprint has been expanded and has proven the veracity of pathfinder element ‘stacking’ as a useful technique for prioritizing follow-up work.
A total of 213 meters of trenching and 228 rock samples were completed at Hilltop and focused on an area with historic high grade (Au) grabs from hand dug pits. 8 trenches were completed and were subsequently mapped and sampled. Analytical results show a potential to develop a high grade trend. The best one meter sample ran 19.45 g/t Au over one meter, with rock grab samples as high as 26.55 g/t Au. Using a 0.1 g/t Au cut-off, trench HT15-003 returned 7 m at 1.41 g/t Au while trench HT15-005 returned 10 m at 2.29 g/t Au.
Pathfinder elements associated with gold in the trenches show a strong Intrusive Related Gold (IRG) affinity (including As, Bi, Pb, Sb, Te, W, etc). In addition, correlation coefficients for As, Bi and Te are all above 0.9.
Project infrastructure improvements were made by upgrading access using a Cat Dozer to improve 10.5 km (6.5 miles) of road on existing trails and trap lines. ATV access from the paved Richardson Highway is now complete and readily accessible. Further work can now be done to allow for 4x4 access to key points within Hilltop in the future.
All soil samples were sent to Activation Labs in Ancaster Ontario, an ISO accredited Laboratory. Gold analysis was by FA-AA (Fire Assay – Atomic Absorption), details of the procedure can be found at:
Rock samples from the trenches were assayed using ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry) and FA-AA and submitted to ALS Chemex in Fairbanks Alaska.
On-site Quality Assurance/Quality Control (“QA/QC”) Measures
Soil samples are collected in the field using wet strength Kraft bags. Samples returned to the field office are organized and dried before shipping making sure that physical and hydromorphic contact between bags does not occur. Once dry, the sample bags are placed into labelled, secure rice sacks for shipment. Northern Empire has implemented a quality-control program to comply with best practices in the sampling and analysis of field collected samples. This program includes inserting field duplicates, standards and blanks, equivalent to 10% of the sample set, into the sample stream.
The 31,720 acre (12,836 hectare) Hilltop property is bordered on the south by the all-weather and paved Richardson Highway. In addition, Hilltop is proximal to high power electrical transmission lines and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Access into the interior of the property from the Richardson Highway is via a new system of logging roads and trails which makes most points within Hilltop accessible for exploration activities.
Northern Empire holds a 100% interest in the Hilltop property within the broader Richardson Gold District (excluding placer gold). Northern Empire has granted Sonoro an option to earn a 60% interest in Hilltop through the expenditure of C$3,000,000 on exploration activities at Hilltop and the issuance of 1,000,000 Sonoro shares to Northern Empire prior to December 31, 2019.
Stephen Kenwood, P. Geo. is a qualified person within the context of National Instrument 43-101 and has read and takes responsibility for this news release. Readers are cautioned that the presence of mineralization on properties adjacent to or in proximity to Hilltop is not necessarily indicative of alteration and mineralization on Hilltop.
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