Kinross Gold U.S.A., a subsidiary of Kinross Gold Corporation, has initiated drilling operations at the PWC in Nevada’s Cortez District, following an exploration agreement with Riley Gold.

The exploration and venture option agreement was signed in March this year, which allowed Kinross to earn up to a 75% interest in the PWC by investing a minimum of $20m.

Spanning around 24.7km² in Lander County, the PWC is situated in a region renowned for significant gold production.

Kinross, which holds a 9.9% equity stake in Riley Gold via a private placement, is both funding and operating the PWC.

The drilling campaign aims to explore previously untested favourable lower plate carbonate host rocks within the Wenban and Roberts Mountains Formations, which are known to be prolific gold hosts in the district.

Wenban Formation is notably the primary host for all major gold deposits in the Cortez District, each containing more than five million ounces of gold.

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Extensive geological work conducted by Riley Gold and Kinross since acquiring the PWC has included surface mapping, soil geochemistry and controlled-source audio-frequency magnetotelluric (CSAMT) surveys.

Furthermore, a comprehensive reinterpretation of historical drill holes, gravity, magnetic and CSAMT data has been instrumental in developing the drilling targets for 2024.

The focus is to discover a large, disseminated gold deposit in the vicinity of the Gold Acres stock, similar to the geological setting of the NGM Pipeline gold deposit.

The Bureau of Land Management has approved the permits submitted by Kinross for the initial work and drilling, paving the way for the exploration activities to proceed.

Riley Gold CEO Todd Hilditch said: “We are excited to have partnered with Kinross and to have drilling under way at PWC. Technical meetings have identified exciting targets, based on geological and geophysical data interpretation, in areas that have never been drill tested.

“Having a partner with a proven track record of gold production from two mines in Nevada (Round Mountain and Bald Mountain) is extremely valuable from a technical and operational standpoint.

“Our PWC project is within the Cortez District that has a significant history of gold production and current reserves.”