The Fuse property consists of 95 claims covering 3.1 sq mi along the Cortez Gold Trend in Eureka County, Nevada (Fig. 1). Miranda Gold believes that the Cortez Trend is best characterized as a west-northwest-trending belt of gold deposits internal to the larger northwest-southeast Battle Mountain-Eureka Trend. From west-northwest to east-southeast, the Cortez Trend includes the Pipeline Mine complex (+20 M oz Au), the Cortez Mine (1.4 M oz Au), the Cortez Hills deposit (13 M oz Au), the Pediment deposit (1.3 M oz Au), and Barrick Gold's newly announced Red Hill (different from Miranda's Red Hill) and Goldrush discoveries (Barrick reported inferred resource +3.5 M oz Au).
The new discoveries at Barrick's Red Hill and Goldrush indicate that the Cortez Trend extends southeasterly into Horse Creek Valley and toward Miranda's Fuse, Red Hill, and Coal Canyon properties (Fig. 1). Previous drilling by Barrick Gold on Miranda's Red Hill in close proximity to the JD window, 7.5 mi (12 km) east-southeast of Goldrush, returned an intercept of 80 ft of 0.146 oz Au/ton (24.4 m of 4.987 g Au/t) that included an interval of 45 ft of 0.237 oz Au/ton (13.7 m of 8.105 g Au/t). Miranda considers this robust drill intercept a validation of its east-southeast projection of the Cortez Trend into the JD Window. The Fuse property offers a similar pediment-covered, sediment-hosted gold target on the under-explored southeast projection of the Cortez Trend.
Fuse is located in Horse Creek Valley, 90 mi (144 km) southwest of Elko, Nevada. The claims cover pediment flanking the southeast side of the Cortez Mountains on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The property is approximately 13 mi (22 km) east of Cortez Hills and 9 mi (14.5 km) east of Barrick Gold's recent Red Hill discovery.
The majority of Horse Creek Valley is staked by the Cortez Joint Venture (Barrick Gold 60% / Kennecott 40%), Barrick Gold, and Idaho Resources. Miranda's Fuse claims are adjacent to the Cortez Joint Venture's South Buckhorn Project and Idaho Resource's Powder Keg claims.
The Fuse claims are completely underlain by pediment gravel fill of Horse Creek Valley. As interpreted from gravity data, the Fuse property overlies fault-bounded horsts or structural highs in the bedrock under relatively thin gravel cover. The one drill hole on the Fuse claims, PP06-01(Fig. 2), intersected bedrock siliclastic rocks in the upper plate of the Roberts Mountains Thrust at 330 feet.
Potential host rocks are the carbonate lower-plate section below the Roberts Mountains Thrust. Erosion through the upper plate creates "windows" into the carbonate section, as in the JD Window at Miranda's Red Hill project about 6 mi (10 km) south of Fuse. The JD Window contains a thick sequence of upper Devonian carbonate rocks. Lower-plate windows are buried beneath pediment gravels in Horse Creek Valley where the carbonate section forms the top of bedrock west of Fuse at Goldrush and reportedly in drill holes in the south Buckhorn area, and south of Fuse at the JD Window. At Fuse the lower-plate would most likely be similar to the JD Window and contain the Devonian Nevada Group including the McColley Canyon Formation and Denay Limestone which are host rocks in the Goldbar District, or Wenban Limestone which is a host rock at Cortez Hills.
Placer Dome (previous to the Barrick take over) had commented in talks that the west-northwest structural regime is important for localizing mineralization at Cortez Hills, and that it is also an important deposit-scale predictor of gold systems within the greater Cortez Trend. Gravity-based structural projections in the Fuse area suggest a series of west-northwest-, north-northwest-, and northeast- trending structures that intersect within or adjacent to the boundaries of the Fuse claims.
The Cortez Joint Venture reported in talks concerning Cortez Hills that mercury soil-gas anomalies are a vector to covered mineralization. Idaho Resources conducted mercury soil gas surveys in the Horse Creek Valley-Pine Valley area in 2004 and staked and leased the Powder Keg claims to the Cortez Joint Venture as a result. The Fuse claims are contiguous with the Powder Keg claim group.
Miranda completed a mercury soil gas survey on the Fuse project and defined mercury anomalies which correlate with prominent breaks in the gravity data (Fig. 2). The mercury anomalies and gravity breaks are believed to represent faults in the bed rock beneath pediment cover.
Due to pediment cover, there is neither bedrock nor observable alteration exposed on the Fuse property. However, within the JD Window to the south of Fuse, a large alteration cell is present that includes widespread silicification and decalcification within Devonian carbonate rocks. The alteration sequence at Fuse, if a buried gold system were present, should be typical of Carlin-type deposits and characterized by a central silica zone, a proximal clay-decalcified zone, a distal carbon enrichment zone, and anomalous pathfinder elements of arsenic, antimony, mercury, and thallium.
High quality gold deposits in the Cortez Trend have been recently discovered under pediment cover. The Horse Creek Valley area represents a geologic setting similar to Crescent Valley, which hosts the Pipeline-Cortez Mine complexes. The recent discoveries of the 13 million ounce deposit at Cortez Hills, the 3.5 million inferred ounces at (Barrick's) Red Hill, and Goldrush support additional exploration on the pediment-covered southeast extension of the Cortez Trend.
In the late 1980's, Cominco American Ltd. operated the Buckhorn Mine about 7 mi (12 km) west of Fuse. The mine produced about 100,000 ounces of gold from epithermal, Miocene-age, basalt-hosted deposits and in 1994 had an Indicated Resource of over 400,000 ounces gold. Royal Gold and Anglo Gold conducted exploration for additional epithermal deposits south of Buckhorn. Upon drilling altered lower-plate carbonate rocks beneath pediment cover on their TYRE claims, the focus of Anglo's exploration turned to sediment-hosted gold deposits. The property was vended to the Cortez Joint Venture which was active on their adjacent ET Blue project where ore-grade intercepts in lower-plate carbonate rocks have been a focus of rumors and discussion within the exploration community since late 2002.
The Red Hill-JD Window area south of Fuse (Fig. 3) has been actively explored since the mid 1960's by numerous companies including Asarco, Atlas, Barrick Gold, Battle Mountain Gold, Homestake, Idaho Resources, Pathfinder Exploration, and U.S. Borax. US Borax delineated a small (40,500 oz at a grade of 0.043 oz Au/ton or 1.474 g Au/t) gold resource. Pathfinder drilled gold mineralization and intersected 60 ft of 0.120 oz Au/ton (18.3 m of 4.114 g Au/t). Barrick, as Miranda's funding partner, intersected 45 ft of 0.237 oz Au/ton (13.7 m of 8.105 g Au/t). NuLegacy Gold Corp. is currently Miranda's Red Hill project funding partner; conducted geochemical, mercury soil-gas, and geophysical surveys; and has an on-going drilling program.
Joint Venture Exploration / 2012 Plans
In late 2006 Placer Dome (subsequently acquired by Barrick Gold), Miranda's joint venture partner on the Fuse claims, completed 1,870 ft (570 m) of reverse circulation drilling in one vertical hole (PP06-01). It was designed to test a coincident gravity high-mercury soil-gas high for prospective lower-plate carbonate rocks beneath pediment cover (Fig. 2). The hole intersected bedrock at 330 feet (100.6 m), ended in upper-plate siliceous rocks, and, although significant gold was not encountered, demonstrated relatively thin pediment cover. Multi-element geochemical analyses, necessary for identifying geochemical zoning, were not made. Barrick terminated the Fuse agreement in 2009.
Miranda is actively seeking a JV partner for Fuse.