The Empress gold property is located in the Syine Township, approximately 100 km west of Hemlo and 15 km east of Terrace Bay, north of Jackfish Lake, near the north shore of Lake Superior. Trans-Canada Highway number 17 passes through the south part of the property. The property is 100% owned by Alto and covers approximately 736 hectares. In February, 2017 the Company has entered into an agreement to option 100% of its interest in the project to Sanatana Resources Inc. The terms of the agreement have been disclosed in a news release disseminated on February 7, 2017.
Geology and Mineralization
The Empress gold property lies within the Archean age Hemlo-Schreiber Greenstone Belt in the Wawa sub-province. It is favourably located near the north contact of the Terrace Bay Pluton, a large felsic intrusive that has been the focus of exploration near its western contact where recent drill results of 3.21 g/t gold over 149.5 m were reported by GTA Resources on February 14, 2012. Mafic volcanic rocks with interflow meta-sediments and mafic to felsic intrusive rocks underlie the north half of the property. The Terrace Bay Pluton underlies the south half.
A north-east trending shear zone (Empress Shear Zone) follows the main interflow sedimentary unit near the centre of the property and locally it is gold mineralized. Gold is associated with sulphide-bearing quartz veins that occur within the Empress Shear Zone, a structure that was traced for over 1.6 km. Alteration of sheared rocks includes silica, sericite, carbonate, chlorite, biotite, pyrite, and minor chalcopyrite.
Work by prospectors Wayne Richards and Rudy Wahl during the 2012 and 2013 summer seasons resulted in discovery of several gold occurrences hosted by the Terrace Bay Pluton on claims adjacent to the Empress property to the east.
Gold exploration in the vicinity of the Empress project dates back to the development of the Empress Mine at the turn of the century. Between 1895 and 1900, the Empress Gold Mining Company sunk various test shafts, adits and pits on a series of gold-bearing veins. A 10-stamp mill was erected, and 112 ounces of gold were produced from 1100 tons of ore (calculated average of 0.1 oz/t or 3.5 g/t Au). Operations were eventually shut down due to lack of funds. In 1938 the old mill and other structures at the Empress Mine were disassembled and the metal sold as scrap.
From 1982 to 1987 Micham Exploration Inc completed ground and airborne EM and magnetometer surveys followed by geological mapping, trenching, rock and soil sampling (B-horizon), and IP surveys over selected areas. The work was carried-out under the supervision of David R. Bell Geological Services Inc. Fourteen holes totaling 2,157 m were drilled on the current Empress Property returning anomalous gold including 44.2 g/t gold across 0.61 m associated with quartz veins within the Empress Shear Zone.
Topography in the area is rugged and past drilling was limited to areas of easier access.
Between 1995 and 1997 the current Empress claims were staked by prospectors George Daniels, and Audrey and Jon Ferguson and optioned to the Landis Mining Corporation-McArthur Minerals Inc. joint venture in 1997. Approximately 20 km of line cutting, ground magnetics and VLF-EM surveys were completed in 1997. This was followed by a humus soil survey and by geological mapping and prospecting.
Cameco Gold Inc. (Cameco) acquired the property in 1998 and started work in 1999. Cameco held the ground to 2005 and its programs included 34 km of new grid, geological mapping, IP surveying and mechanical stripping along the Empress Structure. The Cameco work identified surface zones up to 16 m wide averaging 1.3 g/t gold, including higher grades containing 5.3 g/t gold across 2.8 m in surface channel samples. The work also confirmed the Empress Structure for 1.4 km along strike.
Alto Ventures Limited purchased the property from Cameco in 2005 and completed mapping and prospecting programs, extending the structure to 1.6 km along strike and defining targets for drilling.
In 2008, Alto drilled two holes to test the Empress Structure near the historical Empress Mine and each of the two Alto holes intersected impressive looking quartz veins mineralized with pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena and sphalerite. Anomalous gold was intersected in each of the holes, up to 0.6 g/t across 2.3m including a higher grade section containing 2.0 g/t across 0.5 m. Due to rugged topography, Alto's drilling was also limited, like the previous drilling to the areas of easier access near the historical Empress Mine.
The area of the 16 m wide surface gold mineralization is located 300 m east of Alto's 2008 holes and it has not been drilled yet because of the rugged topography. Results are encouraging and indicate that additional drilling is required especially to test beneath the wide gold zones exposed on surface where no previous drilling was carried out.
No significant exploration work was conducted near the south end of the property in the Terrace Bay Pluton. In light of the recent discoveries of new gold occurrences by Richards and Wahl (see Map), the contact zone requires new prospecting and sampling.