Exploratory core-drilling rigs will be used in up to twelve sites in the Talkeetna Mountains this summer, after preliminary geophysical explorations indicate of precious metals. Alaska Earth Sciences project manager Michelle Johnson says the aerial and ground surveys conducted last summer provided enough indication that two areas near the headwaters of the Susitna river, roughly 40 miles west of Paxon, had potential for minerals like cobalt, zinc and chromium. This summer, two drill rigs will be employed to take core samples from selected sites to determine whether further development is a possibility.The engineering firm has already obtained a placer mining permit from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, and is applying for a temporary water use permit to facilitate the drilling. Johnson says that once the exploratory drilling is complete, selected sites will be remediated according to DNR regulations.
According to Alaska Earth Sciences, about 1 out of 50 exploration projects moves to advanced exploration stages with increased drilling activity, and of those, roughly 1 out of ten-thousand projects moves forward to development.