Gold In Nevada and Walker Lane Exploration
Nevada Is a State with Prolific Amounts of Gold
Nevada’s Basin and Range is one of the great metallogenic gold provinces of the world. Historic gold production from Nevada over the past 150 years totals about 175 million ounces, while proven and probable reserves at existing operations exceed 70 million ounces. In 2008 alone, Nevada was ranked as the world’s fourth-largest gold producing region, contributing 5.7 million ounces from 19 major gold operations. Exploration expenditures, as voluntarily reported to the Nevada Division of Mines, are in the $50 million per year range (probably closer to $70 million) while mine expansion expenditures came to $110 million in 2008. (Source – US and Nevada gold production. Courtesy Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology).
Nevada’s vast gold endowment is due the unique geologic evolution of the Basin and Range province and the favorable geology contained therein. Nevada is known to host three major gold-silver belts or trends that are northwest trending and consist of the Carlin Trend, the Battle Mountain-Eureka Trend, and the Walker Lane Trend. Roughly 80% of historic production and known existing reserves are found on one of these three trends. Most of the current production in Nevada comes from either the Carlin or Battle Mountain Trend while the Walker Lane Trend had most of its past glory over 100 years ago. The Carlin and Battle
Mountain Trends are known to contain mostly sediment-hosted gold deposits that were largely all found after 1940 while the Walker Lane Trend contains volcanic-hosted, epithermal gold-silver deposits that were found from 1859 through 1982. The fabulous gold-silver bonanza’s of the Walker Lane were extremely high grade with gold-silver equivalent grades usually exceeding 1.0 opt gold equivalent.
Most Nevada exploration today is focused on the Carlin and Battle Mountain trends where available land and claims are largely controlled by the major producers and a handful of junior explorers. This land is extremely expensive to obtain and generally requires expensive exploration methods such a deep drilling when the land can be obtained. Few new discoveries have been announced over the past 20 years that were not part of existing major land holdings and the resources that are being produced are being depleted rapidly. The major producers over these past years have been forced to look overseas in oftentimes unstable places such as Africa, South America, and Asia to replace their depleting Nevada reserves, while world gold demand over this period has actually increased and is increasing today from the major buyers in China, India, and the world banks.
The Walker Lane Trend has been largely overlooked since the last downturn in gold exploration that started in the mid-1990’s. The major producers and junior explorers have not come back to explore for the high grade bonanzas for which the Walker Lane is famous. There are many reasons why they haven’t returned such as lack of experienced staff, no recent discoveries, and a deficit of forward thinking. Much of the Walker Lane Trend is covered by valley gravels and shallow pediment that can be daunting to those not experienced in the geologic, geophysical, and geochemical techniques required to be successful. Most of the more recent discoveries since 1990 such as Gemfield, Miday, and Castle were made using these techniques with which the staff of Walker Lane Exploration, Inc is intimately familiar.
It is our view that Nevada will remain a prime gold mining and exploration region for decades if not centuries to come. As has been discussed many times in Exploration Insights however, the key to making a discovery in this, or any, mature province relies in sound geologic work, persistence and money. The key to making money on a discovery is by investing in the junior explorer who is capable of executing an intelligent strategy incorporating sound geologic techniques and persistence without excessive shareholder dilution. Always bear in mind; a discovery is of no value to us if it is not reflected in the share price.
(Source for some of the above material – Brent Cook www.explorationinsights.com)