Irving Resources’ wholly-owned subsidiary Irving Resources Japan GK has expanded its land position on the island of Hokkaido in Japan. All 12 applications for mineral prospecting licences at the Utanobori Gold-Silver Project have received initial acceptance from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and a multi-step review now begins for the final approval.

Mitsui Mineral Development Engineering Co Ltd (MINDECO) is assisting the Canadian-based company throughout the process. The applications cover a total of 33.41sqkm.

Since late 2016 Irving has filed 38 mineral prospecting licences covering 121.55sqkm of the Utanobori mining centre, a classic volcanic rock-hosted epithermal vein system positioned along the northern margin of a 75km-wide volcanic centre, possibly a caldera.

Irving is particularly interested in areas between the historic Utanobori gold-silver mine and a location where historic surface samples taken from veins reportedly contain very high-grade silver.

Historic geologic reports refer to the presence of siliceous sinter terraces that formed in hot spring pools in this region. Such deposits are an indicator of potential epithermal vein mineralization below.

Irving plans follow up reconnaissance work, including sampling, at Utanobori in 2017.

At its Omui Gold-Silver Project Irving recently entered into a long-term lease of surface rights covering the high-grade Honpi vein and surrounding areas where Irving geologists collected samples of vein material grading up to 480 g/t gold and 9660 g/t silver.

According to the terms of the lease, Irving has paid approximately JPY1.8 million cash (approximately C$22,000) for access to 15 hectares for the initial five years. The lease is a five-year term and can be extended for up to three additional five-year periods. These surface rights are considered critical for Irving to proceed with mining work on this important target.

Irving is focused on identifying high-silica, high-grade gold-silver epithermal vein mineralisation that could potentially be suitable for use as smelter flux in the many operating base metals smelters across Japan. Recovery of precious metals occurs during the smelting and refining process.

As an example, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd treats ores from its high grade Hishikari epithermal vein deposit by utilising them as smelter flux in its copper smelter.

In addition to its Omui, Utanobori and Rubeshibe projects, Irving plans to acquire more similar high quality projects in Japan over the next few months and prior to the 2017 field season. Fieldwork will begin on Hokkaido after snowmelt around May.

Access to all projects is excellent allowing for all levels of prospecting activities including rock and soil sampling, mapping and ground-based geophysics. Such work will be Irving’s main focus in 2017 while applications for prospecting licences are being processed and Irving awaits the final transfer of the Omui mining licence.