Exploration Program and Plan of Operations in 2023

Exploration Program and Plan of Operations in 2023

  • Outline of Proposed Exploration

    Exploration on the Sheep Creek property for 2023 will be staged, beginning with geologic mapping and sampling in the early part of the field season, followed by ground and airborne geophysical surveys, with core drilling scheduled for the late summer and fall. It is anticipated that additional claims will be located to increase the property position, and this will be addressed as situations arise. General exploration activities and rationale for those activities are described in this memo.

  • Geological Mapping and Sampling

    Detailed geologic mapping and sampling will be continued in areas where exploration in 2022 identified the highest density of carbonatites with the highest grades of rare earth mineralization. This core area is along the northeast side, or open southwest facing slope of Sheep Creek where soil overburden is thin and forest cover light and extends from Adit #1 and #2 on the northwest to lode claim SC 35 on the southeast, a distance of ~ two miles. Mapping at a scale of 1:1,000 was initiated in this area during the latter part of the 2022 season as a follow up to reconnaissance mapping at a scale of 1:6,000. The 1:1,000 scale appears to be sufficient for both drill hole planning and drill hole interpretations and will be continued. The detailed mapping in 2022 revealed a complex geology of compositionally similar, laterally discontinuous lithologies that grade into each other without marker bed horizons that are further complicated by pre-carbonatite, syn-carbonatite, and post-carbonatite faulting and deformation. Only about 35% of the property has been mapped on a reconnaissance scale and the remainder of the property beyond the core-area has not been evaluated. It is a priority to traverse these areas and a basic boots on the ground approach will be employed.

    Approximately five square-miles of the property remain to be evaluated. Rock chip sampling will be conducted in association with geologic mapping to better define grades of mineralization, domains of mineralization and controls to mineralization. Carbonatite composition can be pegmatitic in character and therefore can vary within short distances thereby necessitating multiple analyses from any given site to quantify average grade mineralization. All newly recognized carbonatite occurrences that are identified during reconnaissance mapping will be sampled. Analytical results of stream sediment samples and soil samples collected in 2022 are encouraging and point to multiple areas warranting geologic review. The anomalous samples are either in areas not previously evaluated and therefore suggest newly discovered mineralization or in areas where the magnitude of the anomaly appears to be greater than implied by the known mineralization. All these areas are dominated by overburden that conceals the geology. The stream sediment samples reinforce the observation of widespread district-scale mineralization and several of the anomalies are at the outer edges of the claim block. Additional stream sediments will be collected at tighter spacings to further define the anomalies and will be collected along drainages outside the claim block in the interest of reconnaissance exploration. Areas of anomalous soil samples will be ground-checked and soil sample grids will be integrated into the original 600’ x 1,500’ orientation survey to fill-in areas of mineral interest. Multiple anomalous soil samples occur at the edges of the claim block similar to what was found for the stream sediment samples.

    Samples again will be submitted to Activation Laboratories for analysis. Standard and blank samples included as checks in the 2022 samples all were within allowable variations and Act lab’s reputation in the industry reinforces the confidence in the analyses.

  • Ground Geophysical Surveys

    Mapping during 2022 has shown that the structural geology of the property is complex and post-mineralization faulting of carbonatite dikes has occurred along multiple orientations. Although carbonatites rarely outcrop, exposures in cuts and trenches reveal the carbonatites are commonly covered by only a foot or so of overburden. It might be possible to utilize ground geophysics to track and link carbonatite exposures thereby increasing strike lengths and in turn the viability of underground targets. A hand-held magnetic-radiometric survey might be able to discriminate the altered, fenitized selvage that surrounds most carbonatites from unaltered gneiss and meta-diorite. A technique such as VLF-resistivity also might be effective in recognizing these fault/shear bounded linear features. A surface-run magnetic-radiometric survey would be cost-effective compared to exploration trenching and much ground could be covered in a short period of time.

  • Airborne Geophysics

    Airborne magnetic-radiometric geophysical surveys have proven to be successful for identifying concealed carbonatite mineralization in the near surface where geology is concealed by overburden and at significant depths where bulk-mineralization could occur with only a distal, minimal surface expression. Discussions with Precision Geo-Surveys, Langley, BC, Harmen Keyser, principal, indicates the availability for a helicopter supported mag-rad survey in the July 2023 timeframe. The area proposed for the survey encompasses approximately 14 square miles and includes the US Critical Materials claim block and adjacent unclaimed ground. The airborne geophysical survey is a critical part of the 2023 exploration program.

  • Establish Access to Adit #2

    Access into Sheep Creek Adit #1 and Adit #3 in 2022 allowed underground geologic mapping and sampling that greatly increased the understanding of carbonatite rare earth mineralization and host-rock structural geology. Based on historic maps, mineralization in Adit #2 is more extensive than in Adits #1 and #3 and access underground could further add to the understanding and predictive geology of the mineral system. It may be possible to open Adit #2 by hand with pick and shovel. If this is not possible, clearing the portal of the caved adit will require mechanized equipment and be part of and timed with the Plan of Operations.

  • Claim Staling - Ground Acquisition

    Reconnaissance stream sediment samples and soil samples suggest additional rare earth mineralization occurs beyond the boundaries of the current claim block. Increased competitor activity is anticipated for 2023 and these areas should be considered for acquisition. It is likely that claim staking will be an on-going activity throughout the 2023 field season as additional areas of mineralization are identified.

  • Permitting

    Permitting exploration activities for 2023 with government agencies is in progress and will be an evolving on-going process as different aspects of the program are initiated and as they expand in scope. Re-opening old forest roads and constructing new access roads, building drill-pads, and the impacts to forest well-being that could result from these activities will require review and permission by the US Forest Service in conjunction with the State of Montana Department of Environmental Quality. A formal Plan of Operations is being prepared for the Sheep Creek property by a group that specializes in permitting and they will continue as advisors throughout the permitting process.

  • Drilling

    Core drilling will be conducted from as many as ten sites with each site designed to accommodate multiple drill holes. Targets are selected based on grade of mineralization, strength of structure including continuity and width, as well as access requirements. First phase drilling will test a range of targets with follow-up drilling on the targets with the most favorable results. The drilling is designed to test the down-dip continuity of dikes and vein-form mineralization and the strategy will be to drill relatively shallow holes first to establish dips with deeper holes based on carbonatite intersections. Maximum depth penetration will be in the range of 500 to 700 feet. The number of drill sites and total drill footage is dependent on budget and timing of permits. It is anticipated that additional targets will be identified through further on the ground geologic work and by the airborne geophysical survey, and if timing permits, these targets could be incorporated into the 2023 drill program.

US Critical Materials