Golden Crest Gold Project – South Dakota
In August of 2021 Solitario acquired a large land position in western South Dakota known as the Golden Crest Project. These mineral claims comprise strategic land holdings in a gold district that has historically produced from multiple mines ranging in production from several million to the more than 40 million ounces of gold at the Super Giant Homestake Mine. The project area is in a safe and mining friendly jurisdiction with highly developed infrastructure, an unbroken 145-year record of continuous gold mining, a skilled mining workforce and a history of high-grade, underground mineable gold deposits. In addition to exploration work to date, Solitario intends to move forward with more advanced gold exploration at Golden Crest, including a drill program for 2022, pending completion of permitting. See latest press releases for ongoing exploration work at our Golden Crest Property.
What We Know About Super Giant Gold Deposits
The historic Homestake Mine (42 million mined ounces and 20 million unmined ounces of gold) is one of the largest individual gold deposits in North America and has the distinction of falling into a rare class known as Super Giant gold deposits (deposits containing +58 million ounces). There are less than forty known gold deposits of this size worldwide. Super Giant deposits are characterized by a cluster of surrounding geologically similar deposits within an area of several hundred square kilometers that define profoundly mineralized regions. Globally, these deposit clusters nearly always contain satellite gold endowments in excess of 100 million ounces. Examples of Super Giants and their associated clusters include the Timmins-Abitibi Belt (Canada), Golden Mile-Eastern Goldfields (Australia), Obuasi-West Africa and Carlin/Gold Strike-Carlin Trend (Nevada).
The World’s Most Underexplored Super Giant Gold Region in the World
Most of the known gold deposits in the Black Hills were found at the surface during the Black Hills Gold Rush from 1876-1896. Exploration efforts to locate totally new deposits have been slight and sporadic during the past 120 years. Despite the immense fertility of the district, no comprehensive and systematic exploration program has ever been performed, even by Homestake Mining Company. Remarkably, no truly new gold deposits have been discovered in the Black Hills since the turn of the 20th Century.
The Homestake Mine operated continuously for approximately 125 years (1876 – 2001) during which time the Homestake Mining Company had a virtual monopoly on ownership of mineral lands throughout much of the region. Homestake had ample future reserves for over a hundred years of mine operations, and so it never felt compelled to search for gold regionally. During this period, nearly all of Homestake’s exploration work was conducted within three to four miles of the original discovery, except for a period between 1988 to 1993.
Homestake’s very limited amount of regional exploration work in the 80’s and early 90’s included a widely spaced stream sediment geochemistry program over an area of seventy-five square miles. This effort identified five largely unexplored drainage areas in the western part of the district with anomalous gold and associated pathfinder elements. Four of these five anomalies had completely unexplained bedrock gold sources, well outside of known historically mined areas. Solitario now controls all four of the likely bedrock source regions of these sediment anomalies and is conducting exploration to further define gold distribution.
In addition, Homestake drilled three deep reconnaissance wildcat holes in the western portion of the northern Black Hills to test for the presence of favorable Precambrian rocks. Two of these holes intersected the important ore-hosting Homestake Iron Formation within areas that Solitario now controls.
Target Rich Property
The Black Hills exhibits a remarkable spatial superposition of significant gold deposit types of different ages, all within a single compact mining district. Few other districts in the world possess this feature. Large Precambrian-aged orogenic gold deposits, such as Homestake, hosted in Precambrian basement, are overlain by ancient paleoplacers at the Precambrian-Cambrian unconformity that preserve gold eroded from the older deposits during Precambrian weathering and erosion. These in turn are overlain by Paleozoic sedimentary rock sequences 300-400 meters thick that contain several prominent stratigraphic hosts for Tertiary-aged replacement style gold mineralization in high-grade veins and disseminated bulk tonnage deposits. The contemporaneous igneous rocks associated with the Tertiary mineralizing event that intrude the Paleozoic rocks and basement also host significant gold resources. Initial exploration work by Solitario suggest these gold targets lying above the Precambrian basement occur within Solitario’s Golden Crest Project property position and can easily be reached by drilling to depths ranging from 200-400 meters.
Future exploration efforts will test for multiple deposit types as it cuts through Paleozoic or igneous rocks searching for concealed Precambrian gold. These stacked targets significantly de-risk the exploration for the larger, but more challenging to find, Precambrian deposits. Several of these additional deposit types can be world class targets in their own right: the sediment-hosted Wharf Mine of Coeur Mining has a total gold resource base of 7.4 million ounces (mined and current resources) and the igneous-hosted Gilt Edge Mine of Agnico Eagle Ltd hosts a growing resource in excess of 3 million ounces of gold.