Epithermal Gold

(All historical drilling, sampling and production data in this section of the website was found in the Metal Mining Agency of Japan database.)

Japan Gold has a total of thirteen separate project areas prospective for high-grade epithermal gold mineralization. Ten of the projects are located on the island of Hokkaido, and three projects are located on the island of Kyushu. All of the prospecting rights license applications covering these projects have been accepted, reserving the ground for Japan Gold and allowing for surface forms of exploration such as mapping, geochemical sampling and geophysics. To date, 23 of the 56 applications over the Ikutahara Project have been granted as Prospecting Rights authorizing the Company to commence more advanced exploration methods, including drilling.

Location of the Ten Hokkaido Epithermal Gold Projects: 

Location of the three Kyushu Epithermal Gold Projects:


The Ikutahara Project

The 19,114 hectare Ikutahara Project is Japan Gold’s most advanced project. It comprises 56 prospecting rights license applications, 23 of which have been granted as Prospecting Rights, authorizes the Company to commence more advanced exploration methods, including drilling.

The project covers 17 historical gold mines and workings which were discovered and intermittently mined between 1910 to the government imposed closure of gold mines in 1943. Many of the historic workings that were active in the area stopped in ore and never reopened. The project area has seen only minor exploration since that time.

From October to December 2016, six geologists and support teams undertook a nine-week field program at Ikutahara. These results have been compiled to further define targets for additional detailed prospect mapping and surface geochemical surveys in conjunction with drill testing over priority targets in 2017.

A drilling permit application has been filed for the Akebono prospect and drilling is expected to commence in late 2017, pending receipt of the permit. Japan Gold has purchased 3 compact, portable diamond core drill rigs and has signed a contract with Sumiko Resources Exploration & Development Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd., to manage and operate its drilling programs in Japan.

Ikutahara Targets:

The Akebono Mine Area: is covered by the 23 Prospecting Rights. Detailed drill plans have been lodged and the Company’s first drill program will commence immediately upon receipt of the requisite drill permits. Production records are not available for the Akebono mine, but a 200 metre exploration tunnel was developed between 1938-1940, with 25 metres of drift on vein. The average vein thickness was approximately 1 m, with average reported grades of 20 g/t gold and 550 g/t silver and individual samples up to 1.2 metres at 446 g/t gold and 376 g/t silver.

Nine other historic mines lie within the granted licenses some of which had prospecting and exploration work programs carried out on them late last year, these include the Saroma, Taiho and Taihoku mines. Detailed mapping and surface sampling has already commenced this season to better define these areas of mineralization for drill targeting.

Detailed surface work will also focus on the other significant targets that lie within the 33 application areas still under review by METI. Targets here include the high-grade Ryuo mine area, the Kitano-o mine reported to have produced 96,450 ounces of gold from gold-bearing eluvium associated with sinter deposits and sub-sinter epithermal veins; and the Ikutahara, Showa and Chitose mine areas.

Ryuo Mine Area: The Ryuo mine was developed on six levels with veins up to 1.6 metres wide. Incomplete production records show more than 5,000 ounces of gold produced between 1938-1953, with grades averaging 8.9 g/t gold and 36 g/t silver. The Jinja vein measured 120m x 70m x 1m with an average grade of 13.99 g/t gold and 110 g/t silver, and the Shoei vein measured 200m x 90m x 1m with an average grade of 5.21 g/t gold and 132 g/t silver.

Kitano-o Mine Area: The Kitano-o mine was the district’s first major producer, with an estimated 96,450 ounces of gold mined at an average grade of 5.9 g/t gold between 1924-943 from mining of gold-bearing eluvium associated with sinter deposits and sub-sinter epithermal veins within rhyolitic volcanic rocks. Within the central part of the project area the Kitano-o, Showa and Ikutahara mines represent a unique style of ‘high-level’ gold mineralization. Sinter deposits generally represent the surface expression or outflow of epithermal vein systems developing at depth. The Company will be exploring for such vein zones that may lay at depth beneath these high-level deposits; and depth and strike extensions of the numerous other vein targets.

Ikutahara Project Area – Historical Mines

The Aibetsu Project

The Aibetsu Project comprises 22 accepted applications (7,034 hectares) in northern Hokkaido. Five historic epithermal gold / silver and mercury mines are located within the Aibetsu Project area. The Aibetsu Project area includes the Tokusei mine, which produced 38,580 ounces of gold and 472,620 ounces of silver between 1930-1942¹. The Metal Mining Agency of Japan completed an extensive work program over the Tokusei area, including detailed mapping, soil sampling and surface sampling, and discovered high grades from several drainages over an area of 1 km x 1 km. The Metal Mining Agency of Japan also completed five diamond drill holes for a total of 3,300 metres with a peak result of 0.95 metres @ 69 g/t gold and 263 g/t silver 2, at about 300 meters and 450 meters below surface respectively.

Within the pre-existing 9 applications, the Company plans to infill and extend southwards, from previous MMAJ mapping and soil geochemical sampling completed over the Tokusei mine area, to define new drill targets. Soil sampling is expected to commence in mid-June 2017.

1Watanabe, 1996. Genesis of Vein-hosting Fractures in the Kitami Region, Hokkaido, Japan. Resource Geology, v46(3), pp 151-166, 1996.
2Metal Mining Agency of Japan, Geological Survey Report for Fiscal Year 2002, North Hokkaido Area.

Aibetsu Project Area 

The Tenryu Project

The Tenryu Project comprises 4 accepted application (1,267 hectares) located in southwest Hokkaido, three kilometres southeast of Japan Gold’s Aibetsu Project.  Tenryu is hosted in similar volcanic stratigraphy to the historic mine workings located within Japan Gold’s Aibetsu Project, the most prominent of which, Tokusei produced 38,580 ounces of gold and 472,620 ounces of silver between 1930-1942¹. The Metal Mining Agency of Japan completed exploration activities over the Tokusei area between 1998 and 2002, which culminated in five diamond drill holes for a total of 3,300 m with a peak result of 0.95 m @ 69 g/t gold and 263 g/t silver 2 from 500 m along strike of the mine structure.

An initial reconnaissance survey of the area is planned to be completed this year so the project may be ranked against Japan Gold’s other projects for work prioritization.

The Buho Project

The Buho Project comprises 4 accepted application (1,,324 hectares) located in southwest Hokkaido. The Buho prospect is a vein hosted by high-level alteration on the flank of the Akaigawa inner caldera. There are numerous other precious and base metal occurrences in the area of the caldera complex. Previous drilling by Austpac Resources intersected a north-south vein 140 metres below the main ridge with 3.5 metres @ 220 g/t gold and 42 g/t silver, including 0.9 metres @ 72.5 g/t gold and 65 g/t silver.

 The Onne Project

The Onne Project comprises 9 application blocks for a total of 2,998 hectares and hosts the historic Onne gold-silver and Niko mercury mines. At Onne the epithermal quartz veins are developed along east-northeast to east-west orientated structures. Minor production in the years of 1936 and 1928 reported average gold grades of 5 g/t gold and 15 g/trespectively. At the Niko mine, disseminated cinnabar was mined from an acid altered rhyolite intrusion4.

The Fujimi Project

The Fujimi Project comprises 7 application blocks for a total of 2,201 hectares over the historic Fujimi and No.2 Tateushi gold-silver mines and surrounds. At Fujimi, five quartz veins hosted in rhyolite were mined in the 1930’s minor production records noted an average grade of 15 g/t gold and 20 g/t silver5. The No.2 Tateushi mine had exploration development carried out in the late 1930’s, however this work was probably curtailed by the government moratorium and closure of gold mines in Japan in 1942. Notably, the deeper levels of both of these deposits were not explored and no drilling has been completed here. The Fujimi mercury mine is located immediately to the west of the application area and hot springs are also noted in the valley. The active hot springs are also analogous feature to the Sulphur Creek-Knoxville gold-silver-mercury district.

The Harutomi Project

The Harutomi Project, centered around the historic Harutomi mine, consists of 5 application blocks for a total of 1,672 hectares. The Harutomi mineralization is hosted in the Miocene Konomai formation and was discovered in the late 1930’s, development and production were halted by the 1942 moratorium. Small scale production was carried out between 1960 to 1970 with annual production not exceeding 2,400 tons per year with gold grades between 3.6 to 6.0 g/t gold and 92 to 252 g/t silver6. A total of 10 veins were developed with strike lengths up to 500m, the average recorded width of the Shikami No. 5 vein was 2.1 meters with localized outcroppings up to 10 meters wide. A total of 7,810 meters of underground workings were developed by the late 1960’s6, however exploration was limited to the area of known veins, no exploration drilling has been completed to test deeper extensions and for veins not exposed at surface.

The Sanru Project

The Sanru Project comprises 35 accepted applications (11,269 hectares) immediately adjacent to the historic Sanru gold mine, which was the second largest producer in Northern Hokkaido. The Sanru mine produced approximately 215,410 ounces at an average grade of 7.4 g/t gold and more than 1.4 million ounces of silver. The Sanru structure and several other parallel structures host six gold occurrences and are included under the application.

The Numanoue Project

The Numanoue Project comprises four accepted applications (1,296 hectares) approximately 8 kms east of the Konomai mine, which produced 2.3 million ounces of gold. The Numanoue mine itself produced approximately 35,365 ounces @ 8 g/t gold and more than 2.6 million ounces @ 815 g/t silver. Japan Gold believes that additional exploration potential remains at the Numanoue deposit and in the area, and intends to follow up with additional exploration.

The Hakuryu Project

The Hakuryu Project comprises 15 accepted applications (4,901 hectares) approximately 1.5 kms south of the Konomai mine, which produced 2.3 million ounces of gold. Eight historic gold working are located within this project. It is underlain by the same host geology as the Konamai mine which consists of the Konamai Formation sedimentary rocks which are cut by Late Miocene andesite and rhyolite subvolcanic intrusions.

The Kamitsue Project 

The Kamitsue Project comprises 12 accepted applications (4,069 hectares) approximately 10 kms southeast of the Taio mine, Northern Kyushu's largest gold mine which produced 1.2  million ounces of gold. Kyushu hosts two other plus million ounce gold producers, the currently producing Hishikari mine with 8.5 million ounces of gold at a grade of 47.3 g/t and the Kushikino mine which produced 1.8 million ounces of gold at a grade of 6.7 g/t  between 1914-74 in the southern part of the island.

Detailed surface exploration was completed over the Kamitsue area and reported by the Metal Mining Agency of Japan (MMAJ) in the early 1990’s. The Company has inspected several localities with historic workings dating back to the early 1900’s, however no production data is recorded. Regional alteration mapping and soil geochemical sampling reported by the MMAJ covers a 7km by 4km area at Kamitsue. This work identified two distinct coincident clay-alteration / geochemical anomalies including a 5.5km by 1.5km east-west trending zone with anomalous gold, silver, arsenic, antimony and mercury and a smaller 1.5km by 0.5km zone with anomalous gold, silver, arsenic and mercury.

Considering the size of the defined anomalies at Kamitsue, and the other significant gold deposits throughout Kyushu, the Company feels the area has significant merit for further exploration and will commence follow up surface exploration later this year.