Northern Empire acquired the Sterling Gold Project from Imperial Metals Corporation in May of 2017. It is comprised of two deposit areas, the fully-permitted Sterling Mine and the Crown block of deposits in the northern part of the property. The Sterling Mine hosts a pit-constrained, inferred resource of 254,000oz at 2.57 g/t gold at a 0.3 g/t cut-off*.
The Sterling Mine operated historically as three separate open pits and two underground mines. Total gold production from the Sterling Mine between 1980 and 2000 was 194,996 ounces of gold from 853,984 tonnes of ore, with an average gold grade of 7.44 g/t. Production at the Sterling Mine has shown, through historical operations, that the ore body is amenable to heap leaching. Ore was mined from open pit and underground sources and was placed run-of-mine on heap leach pads where gold recoveries averaged 88%.
Northern Empire has the four major permits required to restart and operate the Sterling Mine. The amended Plan of Operations, the Water Pollution Control Permit, the Nevada Reclamation Permit and the Air Quality Operating Permit.
In 2017, the Company drilled 49 holes confirming and expanding the Sterling Mine. Part of that work identified a zone of potential shallow mineralization associated with a mapped structure that exits the Ambrose pit and was intercepted by drilling on Water Tank Hill. Holes into this structure, now referred to as the “Sterling Connector”, include STR17-010C which returned 8.66 g/t Au over 9.05 meters at a depth of 1.34 meters, STR17-039C, which returned 6.07 g/t Au over 7.92 meters starting at a depth of 0.61 meters and STR17-049C, which returned 3.90 meters grading 2.44 g/t Au starting at a depth of 25.21 meters.
In addition to exploring the Sterling Connector, the Company will be drilling the “Sterling Flats” target located to the west of the Sterling Mine deposit where drilling has identified the host structure of the Sterling Mine resources, indicating a possibility of further expansion of the known resource.
Drilling in 2018 will consist of approximately 25 new holes totaling approximately 2,100 meters. Upon completion of this program, and the receipt of pertinent assay results, Northern Empire will initiate a resource estimate revision at the Sterling Mine, to incorporate the drilling success to date.
* Please refer to the technical report on the Sterling Project dated July 12, 2017, found on the Company’s website and SEDAR.