Crown Minerals Corp. is a private company founded in 2022, currently in the process of getting listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange.
OPEN FINANCING OPPORTUNITY: Currently, the company is doing a private placement financing at a price of $0.05 per unit, which includes one common share of the company and one warrant exercisable into a share at a price of $0.075 in the first year and $0.20 in the second year (from the date the company’s shares commence trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange).
Zimtu Capital Corp. and Crown Minerals Corp. have entered into an agreement with the owners of Gladiator Gold Corp. to acquire all of the company‘s right, title and interest in and to the Gladiator Gold Project in Arizona, USA. Crown Minerals is currently in the process of seeking a Canadian stock exchange listing. Already today, investors have the opportunity to participate in a private placement financing as Crown Minerals intends to advance the project with the objective of re-starting production.
Gladiator Gold Mines Corp. has identified and secured an exciting land position in Arizona with geological conditions similar to those multi-million ounce gold producing areas of northern Canada. The Gladiator Gold Project includes a consolidated past-producing gold mining camp in the stable and mining-friendly jurisdiction of Arizona, USA. The 2,300 acre (9.3 km2) property block contains the most significant of the past-producing veins in the Crown King Mining District. The Gladiator Property includes 7 known veins with historic mines or exploration work and an estimated strike length of 8.4 km. The average grade of the historic mining camp is estimated at nearly 0.5 ounce of gold per ton (17.14 g/t) and 2.5 ounces of silver per ton (77.8 g/t).
A recently completed Technical Report (2021) recommends a phase-1 trenching and bulk sampling program to assess grade and tonnage of surface oxide mineralization. Several bulk samples obtained with an excavator, totaling 6,000 tons (as 6 batches of 1,000 tons each, from different locations), could be run through the mill on site. Assuming a nominal throughput at the mill of 250 tons per day (tpd) and allowing for some down time, this program would require about 8 weeks to complete. The estimated cost of this phase-1 program is approximately $495,000. In this case, it may be possible to offset some or all of the program’s cost by selling the concentrate or doré. Assuming a grade of 0.5 ounce/t gold, the proposed 6,000 t bulk samples could yield some 3,000 ounces of gold, worth $5.8 million USD at the current gold price of $1,935 USD/ounce.
Full size / The Gladiator Mill. There is a significant amount of infrastructure already on site.
Full size / Gladiator 560 main haulage level
At the turn of the 20th century, Crown King was a prolific mining community of over 3,000 miners. The exploration techniques we are so familiar with today were not available back then and mining simply followed the mineralized vein and reserves were not blocked out beyond a couple of feet of the immediate mining area. Mining was carried out mainly in the Oxide Zone (top 100 feet of decomposed and weathered gold and silver zones enriched by leaching and re-depositing actions). The near to surface oxide material allowed good precious metal recoveries on site by using crude recovery methods.
The historic Crown King Mine (which the community is named after) produced an estimated 500,000 ounces of gold from 1 million tons of rock. However, for security and tax reasons most of the produced bullion was never reported. Some of the historic assay records show that oxide material graded 1-2 ounces of gold per ton. The Crown King Mine was mined to a depth of 600 feet (183 m) and a length of 1 mile and it is still open on strike and down dip. The primary Sulfide Zone (below the Oxide Zone) veins can vary in width from 4-40 feet (1.22-12.2 m).
“In the 1890’s, the southern Bradshaws was one of the most active mining areas. Bradshaw City once had 5,000 people before the population migrated to Crown King. The mines and town are within the Prescott National Forest. The historic mines include the Crown King, War Eagle, Del Pasco, Oro Bella, Tiger, Philadelphia, and Lincoln. Several mines may be going back into operation. The Gladiator Mine plans to reopen this year. It was last run in 1986-1988 with about 70 miners and still has the mill and equipment as it was left at that time [when about $11 million USD was invested].“ (Source, 2012)
During the last World War, many of the gold mines in the USA were shut down, never re-opened and have remained dormant for well over 80 years. After the war, the US mining industry concentrated their efforts on large tonnage open-pit mines, predominately base metals with gold credits. The Canadian gold mines, on the other hand, remained active over this time period and many of these mines are still operating today.
Click above player or here to watch a 7-minute TV documentary from the 1980s about the history of the Gladiator Mine and restarting production during low gold prices.
Excerpts from “Technical Report for the Gladiator Gold Project, Crown King, Arizona“ (October 2021; formatting/highlighting by Rockstone):
• The Gladiator Gold Project is a former operating gold mine near Crown King, Yavapai County, Arizona.
• Gladiator Gold Mines Corp. (GGMC) owns mineral rights over the former operating mine (Gladiator – War Eagle Vein) as well as over other recognized gold-bearing veins within their land package.
• GGMC intends to advance the project with the objective of re-starting production from the Gladiator and other veins.
• This Technical Report summarizes information available on the Gladiator Gold Project and demonstrates that the project qualifies as a “Property of Merit” meriting further investment. In the opinion of this writer (the Qualified Person or QP), this project warrants further exploration and development expenditures. An exploration work program is recommended comprising bulk sampling of oxide mineralization at surface and underground drilling of sulfide mineralization with the objective of establishing a NI 43-101 compliant Mineral Resource as the basis for an eventual Mineral Reserve. In conjunction with this exploration work, further metallurgical test work should be undertaken to optimize the proposed processing flowsheet. This Technical Report was prepared following the guidelines of Canadian National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101): Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects and Form 43-101F1: Technical Report and Related Consequential Amendments.
Full size / View of Bradshaw Mountains from road to Crown King.
• The Gladiator Gold Mine properties are located about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Prescott and approximately 65 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Phoenix.
• The project area is in the Bradshaw Mountains, about 7,000 feet (2,130 meters) above sea level.
• There are numerous historical gold mines in the Crown King Mining District, most of which are reported to have similar geology and style of mineralization to the Gladiator Vein and other veins comprising the Gladiator Gold Project. According to Lindgren’s tabulation of producing mines in the district (Lindgren, 1926), GGMC controls the most significant of the historic producing veins in the district.
• The Gladiator property comprises both private, patented land and unpatented federal lode claims. The total land package at present comprises approximately 2,300 acres (about 931.5 hectares).
• GGMC controls the mineral rights via agreement with the underlying owners, Nor-Quest Arizona, Inc. There are no annual lease payments, but there will be a production royalty of $10 / ounce of gold produced, capped at $1 million.
• In addition, GGMC currently has approximately 70 acres (about 28.3 hectares) under Mineral Lease on the Fairview Group of Mineral Claims, of which approximately 12 acres (about 4.9 hectares) are currently still under negotiations through Nor-Quest Resources. The lease terms comprise an annual lease payment of $1,500 per acre and a 1.5% net smelter royalty (NSR) payable on future production. GGMC may acquire additional patented lands for its proposed mining activities.
• The Gladiator Project enjoys easy access. It is accessible by vehicle, via about 30 miles (48 kilometers) of well-graded dirt road from the Bumble Bee / Crown King off-ramp of Interstate Highway17, between Phoenix and Prescott.
Full size / Haul road
• Crown King is the closest town to the Gladiator Gold Mine project... In the early 1900‘s the town served as the center of activities for the mining operations in the surrounding districts. At present, it is primarily a recreational community.´... The only services available are housing, one store, two bars, and two restaurants. Gasoline can be purchased at the store. The nearest large supply center is Phoenix, about 2 ½ hours away by car. Prescott, which is about 1 ½ hours from Crown King by car, has few mining supplies. Crown King is served by Arizona Public Service and there is adequate power available in the community. Traditional telephone service is available within the town. Cellular service is very good, providing high quality telephone and data connections both in the community and at the mine site.
• Vegetation in the area consists of heavy pine timber, dense stands of scrub oak and cat claw.
• At an elevation of 7,000 feet (2,130 meters) above sea level, the climate at the project area is typical of high-desert Arizona, with warm summers and cool winters.
• Some of the local labor force has had previous underground mining experience but will require updated MSHA safety training. Supervisory staff and lead miners will need to be sourced out and brought in for the project. Mill operators are available locally and in the Prescott area.
• The Gladiator Gold Project properties were first discovered and worked in the 1870‘s. Production has been intermittent between then and the last commercial production in 1988.
• It is reported that approximately 23,000 ounces of gold and 110,000 ounces of silver have been produced from the Gladiator Gold Project properties. There certainly was significantly more unreported production.
• A historic Reserve Estimate, completed in 2010, estimated a Mineral Reserve of 218,220 tons @ 0.430 ounce per ton gold and 2.43 ounces per ton silver, containing 93,937 ounces of gold and 529,663 ounces of silver. This Historic Reserve Estimate is neither a current Reserve Estimate nor a current Resource Estimate in the context of NI 43-101. Neither the QP nor GGMC is treating it as such.
• This historic estimate did not include potential extensions to the vein mineralization or other likely exploration targets.
• Mineral deposits at the project are classed as mesothermal gold-silver quartz veins, locally also containing base metals.
• There are no high-temperature minerals present, as a result of which Lindgren classified the deposits as mesothermal. The mineralization was likely deposited at depths of 3,000 to 4,000 feet (900 to 1,200 meters) below the paleo-surface.
Full size / Close-up of oxide mineralization at surface on the Gladiator Property.
• Historically, the mining methods at the Gladiator Project have been shrink stoping and modified shrinking. These are the mining methods typically used to exploit steeply dipping narrow veins such as those occurring at the Gladiator Project.
• An evaluation of suitable mining methods should be carried out as part of an optimization study after establishing a mineral reserve. In the Qualified Person’s opinion, given the geometry and morphology of the vein mineralization, it is likely that future mining will also utilize shrink stoping and modified shrinking.
Geological Setting and Mineralization
• The Gladiator Gold Mine properties are located in the Central Arizona Precambrian Schist Belt. The Yavapai Schist, consists of metamorphosed Precambrian sedimentary and igneous rocks which have been crumpled into generally northeastward-trending belts, are cut by various intrusives...
• Gold mineralization at Gladiator is contained in quartz veins within schist, granite, and granodiorite. The veins are locally lenticular but in general persistent and straight with clearly defined footwall and hanging wall contacts. Gangue mineralogy comprises massive to drusy milky-white quartz, locally with carbonates including ankerite. The veins are almost always oxidized at surface to a depth of 50 – 70 feet (15 – 21 meters). The oxidized zones are typically rich in free gold and have led to placer (alluvial) gold deposits in parts of the district. Primary mineralization below the oxidized zone contains free gold, electrum, pyrite, galena, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, arsenopyrite, and tetrahedrite. Gold within primary mineralization can occur both as free gold and as sub-microscopic intergrowths in the sulfide crystals.
• The Gladiator Vein (and its extension after a fault offset, the War Eagle Vein) typically varies in width from about 3 feet to over 5 feet, averaging about 4 feet (0.9 meters to over 1.5 meters, averaging about 1.2 meters). Grades can exceed 1 ounce per ton (opt) gold. Average vein grades according to historical sampling are about 0.434 opt gold and 2.42 opt silver. The vein strikes north northeast to south southwest and dips steeply (about 65 degrees) to the west. It appears to be remarkably continuous and planar. Ore shoots are reported to have an oblique rake within the planar vein structure, as is common in this type of mineralization.
• Where this writer observed the Gladiator vein at surface, it has sharp contacts with the wall rock on both the hanging wall and the footwall. The vein is visually distinct in both color and texture and is easily identifiable. Visual ore control would be an appropriate mining guide.
Full size / Oxidized Gladiator Vein exposed at surface (note sharp contact with wall rock).
Full size / Surface exposure of the Gladiator Vein.
Full size / Surface exposure of the Gladiator Vein.
• The Fairview vein, some 500 feet to the east, roughly parallels the Gladiator Gold Mine vein. Exploration efforts to date have all been positive in demonstrating a plus 0.6 opt gold mineralization for a strike length of nearly 300 feet and a down-dip extension of 150 feet. This vein is the next most promising prospect outside of the Gladiator and can most likely be developed from the 560 -level development.
• The Spring Green vein to the west about 400 feet is also subparallel to the Gladiator. Results of only a small number of samples on this prospect have remained inconclusive. A series of short surface drill holes would be needed to test for higher gold values along strike.
• The other two veins to the west are the northerly extension to the Crown King deposit and the Del Pasco group. These also have reasonably good potential for developing additional gold reserves.
• To date, nine distinct gold veins have been identified in the project area:
1. Gladiator – War Eagle Vein
2. Fairview Vein Gladiator Gold NI 43-101 3 October 2021
3. Lincoln vein
4. Pelican Vein
5. Gold King Vein
6. Bat Vein
7. Crown King Vein
8. Spring Green Vein
9. Del Pasco Vein
• These also have reasonably good potential for developing additional gold reserves.
• Past production and extent and gold grades of the various vein systems indicate that the potential for additional precious metal deposits district wide remains high.
• The Qualified Person believes that given the relatively sparse outcrop and vegetation cover in the project area, there are likely additional veins to be discovered. They could be explored for by a combination of close-spaced surface soil sampling in prospective areas and underground drifting and crosscutting.
Mineral Processing and Metallurgical Testing
• Gladiator Gold Mines Corp. has undertaken internal laboratory and pilot plant scale testing of the Gladiator mineralization and has concluded that it is amenable to conventional treatment. Results were reported verbally to the Qualified Person by Mister Blair Carson of Gladiator Gold Mines Corp.
• Oxide mineralization contains a high proportion of free gold and electrum which reports to a gravity concentrate. This concentrate could be shipped and sold or, alternatively, it could be treated to produce gold doré on site.
• The current oxide flowsheet is attached below (Figure 15). It is a gravity concentration circuit using both older and newer technologies based on work Nor-Quest did. It has a nominal capacity of about 250 tons per day (tpd). GGMC expects a gold recovery of 75% using this process and expects to produce a high-grade gold concentrate.
Full size / Figure “15“: Oxide Processing Flow Sheet
• Sulfide mineralization also contains free gold and free electrum. The proposed process flowsheet is to produce both a gravity concentrate and one or more gold-rich flotation concentrates for shipment and selling. More metallurgical test work is required to optimize the flowsheet for the sulfide mineralization.
• The currently envisioned flowsheet for sulfide mineralization is attached below, as is a diagram of the crushing circuit (Figures 16 and 17). The nominal capacity for treating sulfide mineralization is 120 – 150 tpd. The crushing circuit has spare capacity at 300 tpd. GGMC test work estimates 89% gold recovery with a 10:1 concentration ratio.
Full size / Figure “16“: Crushing Circuit
Full size / Figure “17“: Sulfide Processing Flow Sheet
• GGMC does not believe this is an optimized flowsheet and a metallurgical/ mineralogical study is planned, with a view to buying and installing new equipment to increase grade and recovery based on the study findings.
• In addition to optimizing recovery, this program will be focused on creating an inert tailings product which can be used as paste backfill for the underground mine workings, thus allowing the company to develop a zero-discharge facility.
• There is a significant amount of infrastructure already at site.
• Underground access and workings are reported to be clean and in good condition, requiring minimal rehabilitation. The QP was not able to inspect them personally during the site visit due to a lack of safety equipment at site.
Full size / Gladiator Adit
Full size / Inside the Gladiator Underground Mine.
• An inspection in 2011 by Mine Development and Engineering Corporation (MDEC, 2011) concluded underground workings were in good shape and would require minimal rehabilitation for underground drilling and / or mining to commence. At least two shafts daylight from the 560-level adit, the Gladiator Shaft and the Rattlesnake Shaft.
Full size / Gladiator Oxide Mineralization at surface (Rattlesnake Shaft).
• An operable mill is at site, with a nominal capacity of 250 tons per day (tpd) comprising:
• Jaw crusher
• Cone crusher
• Ball mill
• 5’ x 12’ Wilfley Table (for gravity concentration)
• 390 kVA diesel-powered generator
Full size / Gladiator Mill
• There is also miscellaneous ancillary mill equipment (filters, etc.) at site as well as several flotation tanks. There is a serviceable office trailer at site.
Full size / Equipment – Table being refurbished
Market Studies and Contracts
• To the knowledge of the Qualified Person, none have been conducted recently.
• To the extent that future operations will lead to the production of gold doré on site, this can be sold to refiner(s) on the open gold market.
• To the extent that future operations will lead to the production of a gold-rich gravity and / or flotation concentrate on site, market studies will need to be conducted to identify buyers and commercial terms for the sales of such concentrates.
Environmental Studies, Permitting, and Social or Community Impact
• The scope of work did not include a review of required environmental permits to resume production or to conduct the recommended exploration programs. The QP relied on information provided by GGMC in this regard. The QP did not see any evidence of significant environmental liabilities from previous operations.
• The Gladiator Mine is still considered an “active mine” by the state of Arizona, which minimizes future permitting requirements in the event of a production restart. The contemplated operation will be underground with a small surface footprint and according to GGMC will be designed as a zero-discharge operation, with underground disposal of tailings.
• Based on information provided by GGMC, the QP does not see any significant impediments or time delays in obtaining necessary permits for the recommended exploration programs or for future development or production. It is recommended that a comprehensive study and evaluation of permitting requirements be completed at the appropriate time and before significant further investment in the project.
• Conversations of the QP with a few residents of the small community of Crown King indicate that the community would likely welcome re-opening of the Gladiator Mine for the employment and economic opportunities it would bring. There appears to be little if any “anti-mining” in this corner of Arizona.
Interpretation and Conclusions
• The Gladiator Gold Project has an established history of gold production from high-grade veins.
• Historical and ongoing work, including historic Reserve Estimates, indicate that there remain unmined blocks of high-grade (> 0.5 opt) gold mineralization within the Gladiator Vein. Some of this is at or near surface as oxide and could be amenable to excavating from surface. The remainder is underground and could be amenable to conventional underground mining by shrink stoping or modified shrinking.
• There is significant potential to expand the mineralization with exploration, in both the Gladiator (War Eagle) Vein and other veins in the project area. This exploration would be most efficiently carried out with a combination of surface and underground exploration.
• Historical production and metallurgical test work carried out by Gladiator Gold Mines Corp. indicate that oxide mineralization is amenable to gravity concentration while sulfide mineralization is amenable to a combination of gravity and flotation concentration. Further test work is required to validate and refine the proposed process flowsheets.
• The Qualified Person believes that the Gladiator Gold Project merits further work with the objective of demonstrating a Mineral Resource and Reserve and assessing the feasibility of re-commencing gold production. A key commercial decision will be establishing what is a minimum Reserve required to justify re-commencing production. Typically, underground vein mines are started with a Reserve of a 2- to 5-year mine life, with the plan to replace depleted Reserve annually. It can quickly become cost-prohibitive to delineate Reserves much farther ahead, in that exploration will in general be most effectively conducted by underground drilling, which requires underground development to establish drill stations at the proper orientation to vein target(s).
• There is an adage among experienced underground vein miners: “Drill for structure, drift for grade.” This means that drilling can establish the presence of the vein but drifting and / or crosscutting is in general required to accurately assess tonnage and grade to go into Reserve. This approach is justifiable when there is confidence in the persistence and overall grade of the vein. This writer believes that the Gladiator Vein, and other veins in the project area, have a reasonable expectation of justifying this confidence, with further work.
• The writer therefore concludes that the Gladiator Gold Project is a “Property of Merit” which justifies further investment in exploration and development.
Full size / Stockpiled Mill Feed
• The QP recommends a 2-phase work program to further advance the Gladiator Gold Project. The cost estimates below were developed in conjunction with GGMC.
Phase 1: Trenching/Bulk Sampling of Oxide Mineralization
• The purpose of this phase is to assess grade and tonnage of surface oxide mineralization.
• An excavator should be used to trench along surface exposures of oxide mineralization (including as a priority the mineralization near the Rattlesnake shaft) to delineate oxide mineralization and estimate grade. In addition to trenching along known mineralization, there are opportunities to trench perpendicular to mineralization (essentially, “surface crosscutting”) to explore for oxide additional mineralization at surface. This will likely also generate new exploration targets to be explored from underground.
Full size / Historic trenching on the Gladiator Property.
• Gold grade distribution within this oxide zone is reported to be quite erratic (as is normal in the oxide zones of this type of deposit) and it will be difficult to reliably establish the grade by drilling or channel sampling.
• Several bulk samples obtained with an excavator, however, totaling 6,000 tons (as 6 batches of 1,000 tons each, from different locations) could be run through the mill on site and an average gold head grade could then be calculated from grades of concentrates and tails. This program would also serve to validate and optimize the processing flow sheet for oxide mineralization.
• Assuming a nominal throughput at the mill of 250 tons per day (tpd) and allowing for some down time, this program would require about 8 weeks to complete. The estimated cost of this Phase 1 program is approximately $495,000, comprising these components:
1. Earthworks / excavation / transport sample to mill: $170,000
2. Treatment through mill: $140,000
3. Assays: $60,000
4. Technical support (geologist, surveyor): $60,000
5. Misc. / contingency (15%): $65,000
Total Phase: $495,000
• Assuming this program is successful both in delineating oxide gold mineralization at and near-surface and treating it to produce a commercial gold concentrate or doré at the on-site mill, GGMC could consider continuing the surface oxide bulk sampling to delineate additional zones of oxide mineralization. In this case, it may be possible to offset some or all of the program’s cost by selling the concentrate or doré.
Full size / One location for bulk sampling of Gladiator´s oxide mineralization.
Phase 2: Underground Drilling and Sulfide Metallurgy/Development of NI 43-101 Compliant Resource
• A Phase 2 program of underground diamond drilling is recommended to delineate subsurface gold and silver mineralization along the Gladiator Vein.
• The recommended plan, developed in consultation with GGMC, calls for an initial 1,200 meters of underground diamond drilling. The details of the plan will be developed by GGMC, but the objective will be to penetrate the vein at a density sufficient for estimation of a Mineral Resource which can then be the basis for a Mineral Reserve. Nominal drill hole intercept spacing will be about 100 feet (30 meters). This drilling should follow standard QA/QC and other protocols so that the results can be incorporated into a NI 43-101 compliant Mineral Resource Estimate. This program will likely take about six months to complete and has an estimated cost of about $1.14 million.
• Depending on results of the Phase 1 program, it may be desirable to continue the oxide bulk sampling as an additional component of Phase 2.
• The Gladiator Gold Mine properties were first discovered and worked in the 1870‘s when a small, but unrecorded, amount of high-grade gold ore was produced under extremely adverse conditions. The property was located in a particularly remote district and ore had to be shipped out by burro for nearly 50 miles. The mine was too remote and inaccessible to operate profitably at that time and the original operations ceased, awaiting better access.
• The mine was reopened in the 1890‘s when the first road was built into the area. A small stamp-mill was brought in by wagon train. The mine and mill were then operated with limited water which was pumped from local creeks. Recovery by amalgamation was poor and the mine and mill shut down again about 1900.
• In 1902 the property was acquired by Moores and Maguire under bond and lease. Both men were experienced in mining operation and about $ 25,000 was invested in the reopening of the property. They rebuilt the road, erected new buildings, and equipped the mine with two compressors, which delivered 400 cubic feet of air. Within a short time, they had mined and shipped 5,155 tons of ore valued at $ 20 per ton under the prevailing prices at that time, when gold was valued at $20 per ounce. The ore was shipped to the smelters at Hayden, Magma and to El Paso, Texas. Ore was hauled by wagon to the railhead at Mayer and shipped from there to designated smelter. With a gold price of $ 20.00 per ounce, they did little more than break even on the venture. Realizing that the only chance for a reasonable profit was to construct a local mill, they had flotation tests of the ore performed by the Minerals Separation Company. The tests showed that an iron-concentrate could be made at site with a concentration ratio of 4 to 1 and recovery of 93%. Further testing indicated that most of the iron could be dropped with a resulting concentration of 15 to 1 and recovery held at slightly less than 90% for the contained gold and silver.
• The local water supply was judged insufficient to run a 50-ton mill. The operators did not have enough money to construct either the mill or a pipeline to the property. They then placed the property on the market for $ 200,000.
• In August of 1926 the property was visited by D.M. Barringer, Jr., a well-known Mining Engineer of the period. At that time the property was leased by Fike and Starbird from the owners.
• At that time, the mineralization was accessed by a single adit about 1,900 feet long. It ran as a crosscut for about 500 feet, where it encountered the vein. A short drift ran North at this point and the main heading ran South, following the vein for 1,400 feet.
• Close to the intersection of the vein with the adit there was extensive stoping. The stopes were inaccessible, but it was known that they connected with the surface by the large amount of air that was circulating through the openings. At this point there was about 400 feet of back (roof) above the adit. A 25-foot pillar between two stopes at this point showed the vein to be between 18 and 24 inches in width and contained lead, zinc, and iron sulfides. At that time, Fike and Starbird were proposing to mine the pillar if they could obtain sufficient equipment.
• In the late 1930‘s the property was leased from the owners by C. Moores, a well experienced mine operator of the period. With the help of his family and Anthony Bennett, an experienced mining engineer, the mine was operated from 1937 to 1942. It is for this period that a summary of the smelter shipments is available.
• During that period, they shipped a total of 21,961 tons for which they received slightly over one million dollars. With the proceeds they paid the bills, returned a royalty to the owner, and made a reasonable profit. They continued to operate the mine during the Second World War and leased a mill at Turkey Creek where the ores were milled. No production records are available for this time. When operations were suspended after the war the operators owed the owner $ 30,000 to complete purchase of the mine. According to Mrs. A. Bennett, a daughter of Moores, they borrowed the $ 30,000 on their life insurance policies and completed the purchase.
• From 1947 to 1980 the property was not explored. In March of 1980, the property was leased by Anthony N. Bennett, Sophoronia Moores Bennett, Charles Forbes Moores, Vera Moores, and Elizabeth B. Maguire to John Warsing. Warsing re-opened the adit and explored the property, apparently attempting to promote the property to a larger company. They failed to make the necessary payments and the option reverted to the owners.
• In 1981 the property was leased to Noranda Exploration Company. During a six-month period, they completed a drilling program and thoroughly sampled the surface for geochemical anomalies. During this period most of the larger mining companies had suffered a deep economic recession. Companies depended on base metal mining profits to fund their exploration efforts and as a result had to reduce their programs. In March of 1982 Noranda returned the property to the owners.
• Negotiations with the owner by Nor-Quest Arizona, Inc. (Nor-Quest) were undertaken as soon as information on the Noranda program became available. Nor-Quest obtained a lease and option in 1983 and continued the exploration program begun by Noranda. After surface drilling and underground sampling indicated favorable down-dip extensions of the known ore zones, Nor-Quest exercised their option and acquired the project.
• The lower 560 level adit was widened to accommodate new production. A 120 ton per day gravity flotation processing plant was constructed below the portal and new wells were drilled to supply increased water demands. Underground development began as traditional shrink stoping but was converted to a modified shrink to allow for greater mining selectivity. Production began in earnest in 1986 concurrent with mine development and continued through 1988 when the mine was put on care and maintenance due to economic reasons.
• In 1996 the project was optioned by New Westwin Ventures Inc. and additional drilling was conducted. Additional ore was delineated and blocked out, but the company failed to meet its obligations to Nor- Quest.
• Nor-Quest, under new management in 2011, acquired additional BLM mineral claims and secured additional patented land by way of purchase and lease.
• Additional work was conducted on the oxide zone of the Gladiator Mine and a phased approach was adopted to bring the project back into production.
• The company conducted metallurgical /mineralogical test work and development mining to determine which mining technique best suited for the oxide zone. A 30-ton bulk sample was processed at a local facility to validate the processing flowsheet.
• In 2016 GGMC finalized negotiations with Nor-Quest for exclusive rights to the minerals on all property that Nor-Quest has in Yavapai County.
• GGMC has further advanced the project to limited production from the oxide zone.
Full size / Above table is an estimate of the past production of the Gladiator Gold Mine Properties, extracted from data compiled by GGMC. (Source: Technical Report, 2021)
• Through its early history, various owners and operators carried out exploration by the traditional methods of the time: surface prospecting and underground exploration by drifting.
• During 1981 – 1982, Noranda Exploration Company carried out a campaign of surface drilling (Five drill holes, totaling 1,844 feet, or about 562 meters) which confirmed the underground extension of vein mineralization.
• Noranda appeared focused, however, on an exploration model targeting syngenetic volcanogenic massive sulfides and returned the project to the owners when their exploration failed to validate this target concept. Noranda did identify an exhalative horizon in the Precambrian schist that was a possible host for volcanogenic mineralization but concluded there was no significant such mineralization on the property.
• Interestingly, and of relevance to the potential of the vein mineralization at the Gladiator Project, Noranda concluded that gold and silver mineralization on the property was associated with Laramide-age veins and concluded that these veins frequently contained over 1 ounce per ton gold and over 5 ounces per ton silver (Dennis and Donnelly, 1982).
• Nor-Quest spent over $ 11 million on the project in the 1980’s, principally on drilling, sampling, and underground development drifting. Nor-Quest drilled 16 surface drill holes, in fences at 100-foot (30-meter) spacing along strike, targeting 50-foot (15-meter) intercepts along dip of the vein. This drilling campaign confirmed extensions of the Gladiator Vein.
• Since the last Nor-Quest exploration, work on the property has consisted mostly of confirmatory sampling, principally of oxide mineralization at the surface, pilot scale production through the on-site mill, and recalculation and optimization of historic reserve estimates.
“This [above] estimate was generated from two episodes of diamond drilling (by Noranda in 1981 and by Nor- Quest in 1983) and two underground sampling programs (in 1942 and 1984). Subsequent mining experience with development sampling and drilling by Nor-Quest (during 1986-88) modified these reserves to reflect actual dilution, ore density, and specific mining methods. The minimum mining width was found to be 3.5 feet (about 1.1 meters)... The “probable“ (or indicated) ore category extended the reserves an additional 50 feet (about 15.25 meters) beyond the “proven“ and the “possible“ (or inferred) another 50 feet beyond that. All these reserves were deemed to be “mineable“ in that they were above existing or projected development levels and within known ore shoots. Underground development drilling in the “B“ and “C“ ore zones indicated several ore- bearing vein structures parallel to the main Gladiator vein. Whereas these hanging wall and footwall structures were not as well-developed or continuous as the main vein, they represented significant additional tonnages that could be mined. The 1996 drilling and sampling program was successful in adding new tonnages to the ore reserve. Significantly, the “D“ zone was recalculated using four new ore intercepts along with a new zone along the Spring Green vein to the west. In addition, the Gladiator Vein surface trace was sampled intending to demonstrate a potential for a limited amount of early mill feed tonnage. The results of the drilling combined with historical production records, results of previous sampling programs, and the subsequent mining experience provided the basis for the most recent Nor-Quest Reserve Estimate, performed by Jim Park in 2010 (Park, 2010)... The writer of this report considers that this Reserve Estimate may be considered as roughly analogous to a Resource Estimate, with the Reserve categories of Proven, Probable, and Possible roughly corresponding to the Resource categories of Measured, Indicated, and Inferred respectively... Given the sharp contacts between ore and waste in this deposit, the geometry of the mineralization, the observation that “reserve” blocks appear to occupy 100% of the vein volume identified, the Qualified Person considers it a reasonable conclusion that a contemporaneous Resource Estimate would not have differed significantly from this Reserve Estimate.“ (Source: Technical Report, 2021)
Excerpts from the above article “Among rich mines and gold-ribbed hills of Arizona“ (1904):
In this district is the old Congress mine, the deepest gold mine in America; the Crown King, known for its richness; and the United Verde copper mine... Nevertheless they took out millions of the precious metals, risking their very lives for the rich reward of gold. The mines which were first worked in this manner, the Congress, the Crown King, the Oro Belle, the Tiger, and others, paid abundantly from the very top of the ground. They are all in the Bradshaw Mountain country, a region which is one of the most important in the whole Southwest, and where Eastern money and enterprising railroad construction are making possible great increases in the profits of old mines, their extension and development, and the discovery of many new and valuable mines besides. The Bradshaw Mountains are perhaps the most heavily mineralized mountains in the Southwest.
In the centre of the mountains is the Crown King mine, lying between the Congress on one side and the United Verde on the other, and the King is in some respects the most typical of the rich Bradshaw Mountain mines... They took their ore from the surface, picking out rich specimens and grinding them up in a simple arastra to take out the metal. They at once found some rock that was extremely rich. On one of the veins, from a tunnel only 200 feet long, $90,000 was taken out in a short time... In the first place only ore that averaged from $40 to $65 per ton was taken from the mine. Large quantities of lower grade were left in the tunnels and drifts to be mined now by the present owners. Six thousand tons of this, of value from $10 to $12 a ton, is already blocked out, and aside from these great bodies, large quantities of other ore were apparant... The former owners took out ore only to the depths of 500 feet. Some of this ore contained values of $175,000 to the ton; there were other rich streaks which assayed $90,000. Out of four tons or ore, which was put into 800 fifty-pound sacks, $20,000 was gleaned. In the distance of forty-five feet in the tunnel, $95,0000 was obtained. The mine had produced $2,000,000, all this having been taken from workings that extended only 500 feet below the surface. At this point the owners struck the most valuable ore. On account of the very richness of the mine, it seems, the owners had a falling out...
I cannot leave a description of the noted Crown King mine without a reference to the method planned by Mr. George F. Suhurtcliff, its manager, for developing and working the whole property. The veins which bear the gold cut nearly at right angles a huge rocky hill that is shaped like a colossal loaf of bread. At one end of the mountain are the old workings of the mine. At the other end are the tracks of the Bradshaw Mountain Railroad... It is planned to start a tunnel into the mountain at the railroad, and run it to the other end, connecting with the old Crown King vein at a depth of 800 feet below the level from which the last ore was taken out. This tunnel would cut at about right angles all the veins of the mountain, and would undoubtedly disclose new ones which do not appear on the surface. At the top many of these veins already known are very rich. The first which would be intersected by the tunnel is called the Dam Site, and its ore assays $6 at the surface; the next vein encountered, called the Dartmouth, assays from $40 to $46 a ton. Other veins, the Nelson, the War Eagle, the Zackey, and others, all produced rich ore at the top... and like the Crown King vein they undoubtedly grow richer with depth... a tunnel like this, it is expected, should discover rich streaks of gold, now unknown, like those which produced $90,000 to the ton in the Crown King vein... these should give to this mill at Crown King as great a tonnage of ore as any in the Southwest, and make the mine one of the most profitable and prolific in the United States.
“RBC Capital has outlined key themes in the gold sector for 2023, noting that a more “constructive“ price environment for gold could lead to increased activity in the industry... The bank suggests that should the strength be sustained, there may be a shift back to future production growth via junior developers... Secondly, it anticipates more robust M&A activity in 2023 following a muted year, particularly if recent strength is sustained... Historically, the bank notes that M&A activity has shown a relatively strong correlation with the gold price, suggesting that companies are more willing to transact in a positive price environment... Finally, RBC notes that the junior gold sell-off has reversed course, with potential for further upside on valuations.“ (Source: “Junior gold miners: Bank reckons more constructive price environment will aid North American diggers“, Proactive, January 2023)
“Our annual analysis of major gold discoveries has identified 278 deposits discovered over the 1990-2019 period containing 2,194.5 million ounces of gold in reserves, resources and past production. There are no major gold discoveries on our list in the past three years, and only 25 in the past decade.“ (Source: “A Decade of Underperformance for Gold Discoveries“, S&P Global Market Intelligence, June 2020)
As major gold producers are facing a “supply cliff“ with reserves projected to dramatically shrink in the coming years, intensified acquisitions of junior gold miners are on the horizon. Gold producers‘ highest cash levels in history point to a massive M&A wave coming up, driving valuations of junior gold exploration and mining stocks across the board.
Crown Minerals Corp.
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