Mr. Goodwin then went on to manage the development, test mining and
completion of feasibility studies as Vice President, Mining, for Yukon
Zinc Corporation's Wolverine zinc-silver project. Prior to joining the
Company, Mr. Goodwin oversaw a $300 M project for the construction of a
2000 tonne-per-day polymetallic mine as Chief Operating Officer & Vice
President Mining for Redcorp Resources Ltd. In each of his last three
assignments, he has demonstrated the ability to assemble and manage a
competent technical team to manage advanced stage mining projects.
Larry Hillesland has been hired as the Manager of Geology for the
Project. Mr. Hillesland has over 30 years of mineral exploration
experience throughout the Western Hemisphere, with a strong focus on
gold. In addition, he has worked as Project Manager or Exploration
Manager for several projects including Kinross' Kupol Project, the
Century Mining's San Juan Mine, and American Bonanza's Copperstone Mine.
Mr. Hillesland's most recent job was Project Manager for Kodiak
Exploration's Hercules Project in Ontario, where he managed major drill
programs. Mr. Hillesland also managed the exploration program at
Goldfields Cerro Corona in Peru. Mr. Hillesland has applied his talents
to project development, the assessment of district plays, and to mergers
and acquisitions; all skills that Fire River Gold will use as the
Kristian Whitehead has been added to the team as Senior
Geologist. Mr. Whitehead has focussed his seven years of exploration
experience on gold exploration, primarily in the Tintina Gold Belt,
where the Nixon Fork Mine is located. He has acted as Senior Project
Geologist twice before; on the Dublin Gulch Project for StrataGold, and
most recently on the Cassiar Gold Project for Hawthorne Gold
Corporation. Other projects Mr. Whitehead has worked on include the
Frasergold (BC), and the Clear Creek, Hyland, Aurex, Lynx, and Donjek
(all in the Yukon).
This project team will manage the geological re-assessment work that
began in the summer of 2009. This involves the re-logging and
re-assaying of several thousand feet of existing core obtained from
prior drill campaigns at the mine. There are also 9381 meters of
drilling that was done on the orebody in 2007 and 2008, the results of
which have never been released. The work will result in a complete
re-evaluation of the geological model that will be used to prepare a new
resource statement, which will be declared in a NI 43-101 Report before
year end. The Company will issue regular updates on the progress of this
program, including the 2007 and 2008 drill results over the next few
About Fire River Gold Corp.
Fire River Gold Corp. is a junior exploration/development company
focused on North American gold projects with a specific emphasis in
Alaska. The company's management team has extensive experience in all
aspects of project acquisition, exploration, and development and has
over one hundred years of combined experience working in Alaska. Fire
River Gold is publicly traded in Canada on the TSX Venture Exchange (FAU),
in Germany on the Frankfurt Exchange (FWR) and on the United States'
OTCQX Exchange (FVGCF). The recently acquired Nixon Fork Gold Mine in
Alaska has the potential to be a near term gold producer. Management's
objective is to make FAU a North American gold producer in the next 18
months. The Company is presently negotiating additional advanced stage
gold projects in North America.
About International Metals Group
The International Metals Group ("IMG") is an organization of
professionals with a wealth of experience in all aspects of the mining
industry. Our group consists of a brain bank of project acquisition,
exploration and development professionals, including dedicated CEOs,
geologists, engineers, corporate finance and investor relations experts,
corporate managers, public company administrators, and regulatory and
government affairs specialists. The companies within the group are able
to share resources, costs and expertise, which provides a significant
advantage in comparison to individual public companies.
For further information on the International Metal Group Companies,
please visit: www.internationalmetalsgroup.com
Nixon Fork Mine
The Company's main focus is the gold-copper-silver Nixon Fork Mine,
Alaska, which was acquired in August of 2009. A former high-grade gold
mine, it produced approximately 145,000 ounces of gold at a production
average of 42 grams per ton (1.4 opt).
This turn-key project is a fully operational mining-milling facility
that includes a 200+ tpd flotation plant with a gravity gold separation
circuit. In 2008, a complete CIL gold leaching circuit was designed and
purchased and is approximately 60% installed. The mine also includes a
fleet of mining vehicles, a self-contained diesel power plant,
maintenance facilities, drilling equipment, an 85 person camp, office
facilities and a 1.2 km long landing strip. Mining and processing
operations at Nixon Fork are fully permitted and bonded.
2010 Re-evaluation Program in Progress
In 2009 the company began a $1.25M evaluation of the project to confirm
the status of the geological work, confirm both the gold grade from the
tailings pond, and further metallurgical assessment through testwork.
The evaluation program is continuing into 2010, with key milestones
including a determination of a go, no-go decision for completing the CIL
circuit to process tailings by Spring 2010; defining exploration targets
for underground and surface drilling commencing in Spring; the
preparation of a new resource estimate for the property by fall 2010,
and the determination of a go, no-go decision for the resumption of
underground mining by the end of the year.
The Nixon Fork mine hosts a skarn deposit with complex geology.
Understanding the rock types and structure is paramount to demonstrating
the continuity of mineralization. Although management believes the
information from the previous operators to be relevant, it is
management's objective to re-establish a new geological model and mine
plan by completing the following:
- at the mine site, the company has a team of geologists that are
currently re-logging all existing core at site in conjunction with
underground mapping of current workings (a component of the re-logging
will be to reduce and compile historic rock codes from over 300 to
- re-assaying selective intercepts, and
- confirming or correcting hole surveys
- re-logging and re-assaying portions of the most recent drill
programs undertaken by the previous operators
- management plans to drill up to 20,000 m in 2010 in both
underground and surface programs
Upon completion of this work, a new resource estimate scheduled for
completion late in 2010, will be prepared for the property, using Fire
River's new data from the 2010 Exploration program.
The ongoing work program of 2010 is under the direction of Richard
Goodwin, P.Eng., an underground mining engineer and experienced project
manager, with a team of site geologists. To accelerate this work, the
project team has been expanded in 2010 with the addition of four
geologists, including Larry Hillesland as the Manager of Geology and
Kristian Whitehead as a Senior Project Geologist.
Underground Exploration Update 2010
From 2004 through 2009 the previous operator spent approximately US$52
million on upgrades to the processing facilities, mine infrastructure,
permitting and bonding with only a limited amount of their budget spent
FAU plans to use the results of this geological re-evaluation program to
guide a 12,000m underground drill program scheduled for spring and
summer. The final resource estimate, scheduled for release late in 2010
will incorporate the results of the re-evaluation program as well as the
results of the 2010 drilling.
Surface Exploration Update 2010
As well, the Company will undertake a total of 8,000m of surface
drilling which will test several development prospects on the property
from surface in hope of establishing additional zones of mineralization.
Re-Evaluation of Tailings Pond
The first operator of the Nixon Fork Mine produced an average head grade
of approximately 42 grams per ton (1.4 OPT) but only averaged 83%
recovery. Based on previous engineering and metallurgical studies done
on the tailings pond, between 150,000 tonnes and 170,000 tonnes of mill
tailings are in place (at a grade of between 7 and 9 grams per tonne)
which are currently being re-evaluated.
The objective is to look at the feasibility of re-processing the
tailings through the new CIL plant that was purchased and is
approximately 60% installed in the mill. A drill program was done in the
fall to confirm the gold grades and a metallurgical study is in
progress, confirming prior study results. A complete evaluation of the
tailings production is slated for first half of 2010. If the Company
elects to defer this option, gold recovery from the tails will be a
component of an overall mine plan, anticipated for completion by the end
of 2010. Ongoing periodic updates will follow as the program continues
In December 2009, the Company closed a $3.0 Million first tranche of a
proposed $10.0 Million brokered private placement with Loewen, Ondaatje
(SP), and McCutcheon (LOM). The unit offering at $0.50 per unit consists
of one common share and one half-warrant, with each full warrant
exercisable at a price of $0.75, for a period of eighteen months after
the closing date of the private placement.
Richard Goodwin, P.Eng. is the Qualified Person for this press release.
On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank you for your
ongoing support and interest in Fire River Gold.