Black Pine

Black Pine is a Carlin-style, sedimentary rock-hosted gold property located in Cassia County, southern Idaho.  It is host to a past-producing heap leach gold mine that operated from 1991 through 1998.  During this time, it produced approximately 435,000 ounces of gold at a historical grade of 0.7 grams per tonne from seven shallow pits.

Black Pine Idaho Map for website Dec 2017


In June 2016, Liberty Gold acquired the Black Pine Property from Western Pacific Resource Corporation for US$800,000 cash, 300,000 shares of Liberty Gold and a 0.5% NSR reserved to Western Pacific.  The project area totals 12,749 acres/5,159 ha and consists of unpatented mining claims on USFS and BLM lands, an Idaho state minerals lease, private lands and a majority interest in private mineral rights. The main gold zone encompassing the historic Black Pine mine is not subject to seasonal closures and can be accessed year-round, weather and road conditions permitting.

As a result of the sale, Liberty Gold acquired the data for 1,874 shallow (average depth of 93 metres) historic drill holes totalling 191,500 metres, as well as over 10,000 historic surface soil and rock samples, blast hole samples and historic mining, engineering and permitting data.

Black Pine is underlain primarily by strata of the Pennsylvanian to Permian Oquirrh Group, which overlies Devonian and Mississippian strata on a series of low-angle normal faults. The Oquirrh Group is divided into a 300 meter thick section of “middle plate” consisting of silty/sandy carbonate rocks within a system of interleaved, low-angle thrust and normal faults, overlain by an “upper plate” consisting primarily of limey sandstone.  Oxidized, finely-disseminated gold mineralization has been discovered throughout the middle plate over an area of approximately 14 km2.  The highest gold grades in drilling are associated with calcareous siltstone in proximity to large listric normal faults.

From 2016 to late 2017, Liberty Gold compiled the extensive drill database and produced a 3D model of the mineralization in historic drill holes. In late 2017, twelve reverse circulation holes were drilled from five locations. The drilling validated historical results adjacent to a historical pit and more importantly, demonstrated exceptional upside beneath the limit of shallow historical drilling1

1See: Technical Report of the Black Pine Gold Project, Cassia County, Idaho, USA” effective July 23, 2018 and signed September 7, 2018, prepared by prepared by Michael M. Gustin, CPG, of Mine Development Associates of Reno, Nevada, Moira T. Smith, Ph.D., P.Geo., Vice President, Exploration and Geoscience, Liberty Gold and William A. Lepore, M.Sc., P.Geo., Senior Project Geologist, Liberty Gold, available on SEDAR or on the Liberty Gold website.

A new Plan of Operations, received February 2019, opened up access to the entire 14 km2 area of anomalous surface geochemistry and historic gold in drill holes for comprehensive drill testing.

In 2019, the drill program was designed for infill and validation of historical results, and to test prospective areas adjacent to and beneath historical drilling. Drilling identified two new discoveries, named D-1 and D-2, extending gold mineralization along stratigraphic and structural corridors between the historic A and B pits and the A Basin target. The results from the 2019 drill program include some of the longest and highest-grade unmined intercepts drilled by any operator on the Black Pine property.

Highlights include[2]

At D-1 and D-2:

  • 1.78 grams per tonne of gold ("g/t Au") over 47.2 m, including: 3.24 g/t Au over 22.9 m, 9.99 g/t Au over 3.0 m and 5.73 g/t Au over 1.5 m, in LBP021.
  • 2.56 g/t Au over 41.1 m, including: 4.47 g/t Au over 19.8 m and 8.76 g/t Au over 4.6 m, in LBP029.
  • 4.39 g/t Au over 53.3 m, including: 5.76 g/t Au over 38.1 m and 12.05 g/t Au over 12.2 m, in LBP043.
  • 3.40 g/t Au over 62.5 m, including: 5.01 g/t Au over 33.5 m and 6.21 g/t Au over 21.3 m, in LBP064.
  • 3.14 g/t Au over 44.2 m, including: 6.53 g/t Au over 16.8 m and 11.3 g/t Au over 7.6 m, in LBP062.

Drilling in 2020 identified new zones of mineralisation, including: 1) the D-3 zone, located immediately west of and partially under the D-1 zone; 2) an extension of the D-1 zone to the southeast; and 3) extensions to the F-zone, located approximately 1 km to the south of D-3.

Highlights from the new  D-3 zone include[3]:

  • 1.98 g/t Au over 33.5 m, including 3.93 g/t Au over 15.2 m, and 1.11 g/t Au over 30.5 m in LBP127.
  • 1.44 g/t Au over 96.0 m, including 1.95 g/t Au over 32.0 m and including 5.31 g/t Au over 1.5 m and 1.86 g/t Au over 29.0 m in LBP152.
  • 1.43 g/t Au over 9.1 m and 1.20 g/t Au over 67.1 m, including 2.57 g/t Au over 16.8 m and including 8.51 g/t Au over 3.0 m in LBP138.
  • 1.41 g/t Au over 22.9m, including 1.93 g/t Au over 13.7 m and 1.51 g/t Au over 56.4 m, including 2.36 g/t Au over 24.4 m and including 5.86 g/t Au over 3 m in LBP206.
  • 1.01 g/t Au over 62.5 m, including 1.94 g/t Au over 25.9 m in LBP189.
  • 1.50 g/t Au over 27.4 m and 0.62 g/t Au over 7.6 m in LBP203.
  • 0.98 g/t Au over 80.8 m, including 2.32 g/t Au over 18.3 m and 2.19 g/t Au over 7.6 m in LBP169.

2See press release dated January 7 and January 16, 2020, and press releases in 2019 dated May 29, June 19, July 15, July 31, September 12, October 1, October 15, and November 5, for drill results from the 2019 drill program.
3See press releases issued in 2020 dated June 16, June 23, July 14, July 18, September 10, September 29, November 10, and December 2. 

Drilling in 2020 also targeted the southeast extension of D-1, in a 400 m-long, undrilled area between the historic B and Tallman pits. This drilling successfully identified shallow oxide mineralization, exemplified by:

  • 3.04 g/t Au over 19.8 m, including 8.54 g/t Au over 4.6 m in LBP150.

Continued drilling in 2021 showed the D-1, D-2 and D-3 zones coalesce into essentially one larger, continuous zone of mineralization with discrete zones of higher-grade mineralization now referred to as the “Discovery Zone”.

Following the approval of an expanded Plan of Operations in 2021 drilling began in the Rangefront target area south-east of the main Discovery Zone where shallow historic drilling indicated a potential deeper mineralized system. Initial drill holes indicated a thick section of receptive host rocks and widespread gold mineralization. Continued drilling began vectoring in on higher grade zones similar to the main Discovery Zone. This drilling eventually defined a 1 square kilometer zone of oxidized mineralization.

Some highlight drill intercepts include[4]:

  • 0.91 g/t Au over 86.9 m, including 2.15 g/t Au over 22.9 m and 2.03 g/t Au over 21.3 m in LBP356.
  • 1.37 g/t Au over 50.3 m including 2.37 g/t Au over 22.9 m and 1.27 g/t in hole LBP358
  • 0.63 g/t Au over 112.8 m in hole LBP408
  • 1.95 g/t Au over 41.1 m including 4.43 g/t Au over 10.8 m in hole LBP473

4See press release dated September 01, 2021

In February 2022, the Company announced that it had secured water rights in excess of 2,300 acre-feet per annum (“AFA”) intended for future use as process water supply and in September, approval for a new Plan of Operations was received which added 11.9 square kilometers, for a combined surface area of permitted operations at Black Pine of 24.3 square kilometers. In November, the company purchased and obtained registered title to two historical Black Pine water rights totalling 868.5 AFA, securing an aggregate of 3,202 AFA of process water supply, sufficient for any future large-scale mining operation.

Drilling in 2022 comprised of 318 reverse circulation holes for 66,381 m and 6 core holes for 1,118 m and focused on expanding the known smaller, near-surface satellite zones of mineralization (primarily the E, F, M, and Back Range zones), expansion and infill of the Rangefront Zone, and testing of reconnaissance targets, including Bobcat and South Rangefront. Drilling commenced in early January and continued through mid-December and encompassed:

  • Infill and step-out drilling in the Rangefront Zone for resource upgrade and expansion purposes.
  • Targeting of areas of near-surface, above average grade that might favourably impact the first few years of a mining operation. Target areas included the M, F, and Back Range zones.
  • Amalgamation of zones consisting of two or more small resource pits defined by primarily shallow historical drilling. Target areas included the M, F, and Back Range zones.
  • Expansion drilling along the margins of existing zones, including the western margins of the CD and E zones.
  • Identifying and defining areas of mineralization associated with surficial deposits, including waste rock storage areas and historic pit backfill.

Testing of new targets including Bobcat, South Rangefront, Section 36, and Next Canyon Up targets.

In 2023, our exploration program consisted of 27,461 m of drilling and continued to target resource expansion in the Discovery Zone, CD-Tallman Zone and Rangefront Zone and discovery of new mineralization, including several untested target areas. Some highlight drill intercepts include:

  • 3.74 g/t Au over 21.3 meters (“m”) including 15.85 over 3.0 m in LBP906.
  • 3.28 g/t Au over 10.7 m and 0.52 g/t Au over 51.8 m in LBP893.
  • 2.13 g/t Au over 18.3 m including 10.3 g/t Au over 1.5 m in LBP793.
  • 7.07 g/t Au over 18.3 m including 11.92 g/t Au over 10.7 m and including 46.7 g/t Au over 1.5 m in LBP813.
  • 3.40 g/t Au over 32.0 m, including 6.74g/t Au over 9.1 m LBP945.

In July 2023, we announced a new discovery area “Rangefront South” located approximately two kilometres to the south of the main Rangefront Zone, with two reportable intercepts of oxide gold: 0.37 g/t Au over 9.1 m, and 0.31 g/t Au over 7.6 m in drill hole LBP931. (see press release dated July 24, 2023)

Funding for 2023 included exploration drilling, metallurgy, engineering studies, hydrologic studies, permitting and a range of de-risking activities, including identifying access to power and acquiring additional lands and mineral rights in the vicinity of Black Pine.

Multiple phases of metallurgical testing have been conducted at Black Pine including:

  • Bulk sample column tests
    • Phase 1A (6 x 300 kilogram surface bulk samples):
        • 78.9% weighted average gold extraction, ranging up to 92.8%
  • Variability composite column tests (149 composites from PQ drill core)
    • Phase 1B (29 composites):
        • 82.9% weighted average gold extraction, ranging up to 94.5%
    • Phase 2 (45 composites):
        • 80.8% weighted average gold extraction, ranging up to 94.8%
    • Phase 3 (15 low-grade composites):
        • 65.2% weighted average gold extraction ranging up to 80.8% (see press release dated October 27, 2021)
    • Phase 4A (24 composites):
        • 86.9% weighted average gold extraction, ranging up to 95.8% (see press release dated March 22, 2023)
    • Phase 4B and 4C (36 composites):
        • 84.2% weighted average gold extraction, ranging up to 94.2%. (see press release dated March 14, 2024)

Phase 4B and 4C composites and the pending Phase 5 variability test program filled gaps in the Black Pine resource metallurgical database. The Phase 4B and 4C data have updated the metallurgical recovery equations supporting the deposit-wide gold recovery model. Phase 5 initial results are expected in mid-2024 and will support the on-going pre-feasibility engineering and economic study at Black Pine.

An independent maiden resource estimate for Black Pine was announced in July 20215. The Mineral Resource has an effective date of June 20, 2021, is reported in a pit shell at a cut-off grade of 0.20 g/t Au and consists of:

  • Indicated mineral resource of 1,715,000 ounces of oxide gold at an average grade of 0.51 g/t Au and totalling 105,075,000 tonnes; and
  • Inferred mineral resource of 370,000 ounces of oxide gold at an average grade of 0.37 g/t Au and totalling 31,211,000 tonnes.
  • A high-grade subset of the Mineral Resource using a cut-off grade of 0.5 g/t Au consists of:
    • Indicated mineral resource of 1,020,000 ounces of oxide gold at an average grade of 1.04 g/t Au and totalling 30,520,000 tonnes; and
    • Inferred mineral resource of 134,000 ounces of oxide gold at an average grade of 0.94 g/t Au and totalling 4,440,000 tonnes.

A Preliminary Economic Evaluation was started in 2021 based on this resource study and was stopped when it became apparent that the Rangefront Zone was going to be a large addition to the resource base.

5 See the “Updated Technical Report and Resource Estimate for the Black Pine Gold Project, Cassia County, Idaho, USA” effective June 20, 2021, and signed August 18, 2021. The Technical Report was prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects by Michael Gustin, P. Geo., of MDA, a division of RESPEC, based in Reno, Nevada; Gary L. Simmons of GL Simmons Consulting LLC of Larkspur, Colorado, both independent Qualified Persons under National Instrument 43-101; and Moira Smith of Liberty Gold Corp. The report is available under the Company’s profile at www.sedarplus.ca and is also available on the Company’s website.

An update to the initial resource estimate for Black Pine was announced on February 7th, 20236. The updated Resource builds on the maiden resource released on July 13th, 2021, and includes an additional 528 reverse circulation  and core holes (126,726 metres) drilled by Liberty Gold between April 2021 and October 2022.

This 2023 Mineral Resource Estimate (“MRE”) with an effective date of January 21, 2023, is reported using a constraining resource pit at a cut-off grade (“COG”) of 0.20 g/t Au and consists of:

  • Indicated resource of 2,613,000 ounces of oxide gold at an average grade of 0.52 g/t Au and totalling 157,267,000 tonnes (“t”); and
  • Inferred resource of 483,000 ounces of oxide gold at an average grade of 0.43 g/t Au and totalling 35,150,000 t.
  • A high-grade subset of the MRE within the 0.20 g/t Au resource pit using a COG of 0.50 g/t Au consists of:
    • An indicated 1,548,000 ounces of gold at an average grade of 1.02 g/t Au and totalling 47,391,000 t; and
    • An inferred 219,000 ounces of gold at an average grade of 0.93 g/t Au and totalling 7,315,000 t.

In total, using the same COG as the previous resource estimate, the 2023 updated MRE represented a 52% increase in indicated ounces and a 31% increase in inferred ounces over the maiden resource released 18 months prior. Within the higher-grade subset (0.50 g/t Au COG within the 0.20 g/t Au resource pit), 528,000 indicated ounces were added relative to the 2021 maiden resource estimate, a 52% increase.

6 Further information on Black Pine is available from the press release dated February 7, 2023, entitled “Liberty Gold Announces Updated Resource Estimate for the Black Pine Oxide Gold Deposit, Idaho”. An updated Technical Report and Resource Estimate for the Black Pine Gold Project, Cassia County, Idaho, USA” effective January 21, 2023, prepared by Ryan Rodney, C.P.G., Senior Resource Geologist, SLR Consulting (Canada) Ltd., Gary Simmons, MMSA, GL Simmons Consulting LLC and Moira Smith, Ph.D., P.Geo., Liberty Gold and will be filed by March 24, 2023, under Liberty Gold’s issuer Profile on SEDAR+ (www.sedarplus.ca);

In February 2024, an update to the independent Mineral Resource Estimate was announced7. The new Updated Resource is reported using a $1,800 per ounce gold constraining resource pit at a COG of 0.20 g/t Au and consists of:

  • Indicated resources of 3,206,000 ounces of oxide gold at an average grade of 0.49 g/t Au and totalling 203.8 million tonnes (“Mt”); and
  • Inferred resources of 325,000 ounces of oxide gold at an average grade of 0.42 g/t Au and totalling 24.1 Mt.

A high-grade subset of the Resource contained within the 0.2 g/t Au resource pit, applying a COG of 0.5 g/t Au and consists of:

  • Indicated resources of 1,765,000 ounces of oxide gold at an average grade of 1.01 g/t Au and totalling 54.2 Mt; and
  • Inferred resources of 143,000 ounces of oxide gold at an average grade of 0.91 g/t Au and totalling 4.9 Mt

This new Updated Resource represents an increase of 593,000 Indicated gold ounces from the 2023 estimate.

7 See press release dated February 15, 2024

One key focus for project activities at Black Pine in 2024 is on permitting and pre-feasibility study work including: Geotechnical Engineering, Metallurgy, Mine Planning, Heap Leach Pad trade off studies, design and costing of all related site infrastructure.

Further to the submission of the Pre-Plan of (Mine) Operations in the third quarter 2023, there is on-going detailed engagement with the federal and state agencies responsible for the mine permitting process.  It is anticipated that the Mine Plan of Operations for Black Pine would be submitted to the lead agency, US Forest Service in the final quarter of 2024 to formally kick-off the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) mine permitting process. 

Much of the gold system at Black Pine remains under-explored or incompletely tested, including areas along the southeastern, eastern and northeastern edge of the property, as well as the gap between the Discovery Zone, Back Range Zone and E Zone. These areas have been included in a modification to the exploration plan of operations,  received in June and a budgeted 20,000 metre exploration drilling commences in the second half of 2024.

Peter Shabestari P.Geo., VP Exploration, Liberty Gold, is the Company's designated Qualified Person within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") and has reviewed and validated that the information contained herein is accurate.