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Next Contender for Nevada’s Geological Jackpot?
By Marc Davis of

Though Nevada’s world-famous gold fields have historically yielded over 150 million gold ounces, they are still proving to be geologically fertile hunting grounds for exploration-minded junior mining companies.

Two good examples are Auex Ventures and Fronteer Gold. Their gold finds were scooped up earlier this year for the princely sum of $2.3 billion by Nevada’s deep-pocketed dominant gold miner, Newmont Mining (TSX: NMC) (NYSE: NEM). (This came on the heels of Fronteer gobbling up Auex in a deal worth $280 million). Both Auex and Fronteer were listed on Canada’s mining-oriented TSX stock exchange.

Now several dozen other mining juniors are vying for their own big pay days. They include Midway Gold (TSX: MDW), which has made a significant gold discovery at its Spring Valley Project in the Humboldt gold trend. This is where 2.16 million ounces of gold have been outlined, along with drill-inferred indications that a further two million ounces are also within reach.  

Just a few miles to the east of the Spring Valley Project another small aspiring gold miner, Max Resource (TSX.V: MXR) (NASD OTC BB: MXROF), is also hoping to strike pay-dirt in the same prolifically mineralized gold camp. Max just commenced drilling its Majuba Hill property, which encompasses a small historic past-producing mine that dates back as far as 1907. This is where high grade copper was mined, along with both gold and silver. Notably, the Majuba project is also in close proximity to three modern-day gold/silver mines.

Max’s management hopes to significantly expand the Majuba Hill property’s mineralized footprint and to outline a meaningful resource base. The company is encouraged by the fact that drilling in 2007, which was conducted by the property’s previous owner, encountered grades as high as 145 grams per tonne (g/t) of silver over 4.57 meters (5.1 ounces per tonne over 15 feet).   

“We believe that Majuba Hill exhibits the early-stage potential to become a large tonnage copper/silver porphyry deposit,” says Stuart Rogers, President of Max Resource. “By summer time, we should hopefully have assay results completed to determine if our exploration model is on the right track.”

One Vancouver-based investment advisor, who is also a geologist, says that Max is shrewd to have established itself in such a richly mineralized region, where other companies have had considerable success during the last several years.

“There’s certainly the potential to successfully duplicate the type of important discoveries made by companies like Fronteer or Midway,” says the source, who is not authorized to speak to the media and asked not to be identified.

“I think Max have set themselves up well with the acquisition of Majuba Hill,” he adds. “The historical work there suggests that the property hosts a porphyry copper/silver system with some very high grade results. I’m really encouraged by the potential to expand upon those historical results.”

Max has the option to earn up to a 75% stake in the project by spending $10 million on exploration over the next eight years. However, any exploration success will likely see this timeline shortened considerably, according to Rogers.

“Promising mineral discoveries tend to be developed along an expedited timeline in mining-friendly Nevada, unlike many other jurisdictions elsewhere in the world,” he adds. “Just look at Fronteer Gold, which went from a standing start in 2007 to a headline-grabbing buy-out just four years later after proving up nearly six million ounces of gold.”   

Another one of Max’s key prospects is the East Manhattan Project, which is in the same gold trend as the 2.3-million-ounce Northumberland deposit, which was one of Fronteer Gold’s prized assets. Max’s project is also just eight miles south of the world-class Round Mountain mine, where over 12 million ounces of gold have been produced to date by its joint owners, Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX) (NYSE: ABX) and Kinross Gold Corp. (TSX: K) (NYSE: KGC).

Max is also exploring the Diamond Peak property, which is situated in the Carlin Trend – the world’s most prolific gold belt, where over 60 million ounces of gold have been mined to date. This project is scheduled for drilling later this summer. A two-hole 2010 drill program encountered encouraging gold grade intercepts, according to Rogers.  

Then there’s also the Table Top project near Majuba Hill, where a recent six-hole drill program intersected gold in every hole. Highlights include 9.6 metres of 1.04 g/t (31.5 feet of 0.04 ounces). Table Top is just a couple of miles south of the small but high-grade Sandman deposit, which was also one of Fronteer’s three key gold assets prior to the company’s acquisition by Newmont.  

According to Max’s management, the significant mineralization encountered at Table Top during a 2010 drill program appears similar to that encountered at the Goldstrike Betze-Post mine in the Carlin gold belt. Owned by the world’s largest mining company, Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX) (NYSE: ABX), this mine has over 12.5 million ounces of reserves. And with an annual output of around 1.25 million gold ounces, it is also inexpensive to operate.  

Drilling at Table Top in 2010 intersected gold mineralization that ran as high as 12.1 meters of 0.91 g/t of gold (40 feet of 0.031 ounces). Max plans to continue drilling this summer with the goal of identifying a high-grade vein system that is similar to the ones that host several nearby gold deposits. They include the Sleeping Canyon Mine, which is 25 miles to the north, and where over 2.5 million ounces of gold have been mined to date.

Other junior mining companies in Nevada that are generating encouraging exploration results include Evolving Gold (TSX: EVG), Klondex Mines (TSX: KDX), Golden Standard Ventures (TSX.V: GV), Atna Resources (TSX: ATN), La Quinta Resources (TSX.V: LAQ), Victoria Gold (TSX.V: VIT) and Rye Patch Gold (TSX.V: RPM), to name a few.

The principals of and www.Top40GoldStocks do not directly or indirectly own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.


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