Mining Intelligence and News
United States

McCoy-Cove Project

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Mine TypeUnderground
  • Gold
  • Silver
Mining Method
  • Drift & Fill
Backfill type ... Lock
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotThe gold deposit defined at McCoy-Cove represents one of the highest-grade deposits in North America.

i-80 Gold is nearly completes construction of a decline and is in the process of completing an extensive definition drill program from underground drill stations in advance of completing a full Feasibility Study. Feasibility Study will focus on the Helen and Gap Zones – currently being drilled.

The initial phase of underground development is completed.

Preliminary work has also commenced on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) NEPA third-party contractor process with a contract award expected sometime in the second half of 2024.


i-80 Gold Corp. 100 % Indirect
The i-80 Gold Corp. interest in the McCoy-Cove Project is held through Premier USA and Au-Reka LLC. Premier Gold Mines USA, Inc. holds 100% of the McCoy-Cove Property through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Au-Reka Gold LLC.



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Deposit type

  • Skarn
  • Vein / narrow vein
  • Carlin-type
  • Carbonate replacement


Geology and Mineral Resource The Cove Project contains four structurally controlled mineralized zones within the Triassic sedimentary package. The Helen and Gap zones are Carlin Style disseminated refractory gold deposits. The Cove South Deep (CSD) gold and silver mineralization is associated with disseminated sulfides and is characterized by Ag:Au ratios of 50:1 to over 100:1. The 2201 zone is comprised of disseminated sulfides within sheeted stockwork veins with high concentrations of lead and zinc.

The Cove-Helen deposit consist of two mineralization styles, Carlin-style and polymetallic sheeted veins. The Carlin-style mineralization within the Helen, Gap, and CSD zones comprises approximately 85% of the existing resource with high gold and silver grades occurring as both stratabound and structurally controlled mineralization at the intersection of the Cove anticline and favorable lithologic beds, structures, intrusive dikes and sills.

The polymetallic 2201 zone is a separate deposit from the shallower Carlin-style mineralization and is believed to be a structurally controlled sheeted vein system. Veining is oriented northwest, with vein geometry being controlled by a deeper northwest striking reverse fault. Due to its depth, the 2201 zone has seen limited drilling since its original discovery in late 2013, however, additional infill and step-out drilling in the future will help to better define deposit potential and mineralization controls.

There are four distinct mineralization types known on the property: Carlin-style, polymetallic heeted veins, carbonate replacement (Manto) and skarn. The Helen, Gap and CSD deposits are Carlin-style deposits while the 2201 zone is comprised of steeply dipping polymetallic sheeted veins.

The gold in Carlin-style deposits is usually sub-micron in size and generally occurs in pyrite and arsenical pyrite. An envelope characterized by decalcification, silicification, and argillization accompanied by anomalous amounts of silver, arsenic, antimony, thallium, and mercury often accompanies mineralization. The Carlin-style mineralization at Cove is relatively rich in silver compared to similar deposits elsewhere in northern Nevada (Johnston, 2003). When Carlin-style mineralization occurs in the silty limestones and packstones of the Favret Formation and Home Station Dolomite, decarbonatization replaces fine-grained calcite and/or dolomite with quartz and forms very fine-grained illite and pyrite. Diagenetic pyrite was probably present in the Helen Zone before Carlin-style mineralization based on the abundant presence of subhedral pyrite grains that bear no arsenian rims. The arsenic-bearing pyrite precipitated as a product of Carlin-style mineralization in the Helen are fine-grained (~10 microns) patchy, anhedral “fuzzy” pyrite generally smaller than the diagenetic pyrite grains. In the CSD zone, most pyrite grains in high-grade samples are larger (~20 microns), display spectacular, sharp geochemical zonations, and are rimmed with arsenian pyrite or stoichiometric arsenopyrite. The few samples studied from the Gap under the SEM suggest it shares more in common with the CSD zone though its silver content is lower overall.

The polymetallic veins in the 2201 zone are enveloped by a zone of illitic of the conglomerate matrix detected by sodium cobaltinitrate staining and confirmed by scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis. Minor silicification is relatively common, especially in the conglomerate, however, it is not present everywhere and not always directly associated with mineralization.

Carbonate replacement mineralization occurs as local pods of manto-style mineralization characterized by massive sulfide (pyrite- sphalerite-galena) replacing basal limestone at the Dixie Valley/Favret contact. Mineralization is discontinuous and generally defined by high- grade Ag-Zn-Pb±Au.

Skarn mineralization at the historic McCoy pit occurs as both endoskarn and exoskarn mineralization characterized by a predominantly garnet-diopside-magnetite mineral assemblage.

The Carlin-style mineralization across the deposit appears to represent an evolving system from a “primary” endmember represented by the CSD zone with higher Ag/Au, coarser-grained pyrite, and a close proximal relationship to Ag-Pb-Zn-(Au) mineralization to the “evolved” endmember represented by the Helen Zone with lower Ag/Au, very fine-grained pyrite, and weak spatial association with any other styles of mineralization. The Gap can be considered a “transition” zone between the two endmembers until more petrography is conducted on the recently discovered Gap to test this hypothesis. Helen Zone geochemistry is distinct from the CSD zone in many ways. For samples greater than 1 ppm Au, less than or equal to 100 ppm Ag, and confirmed to be Carlin-style mineralization by core photo review, the Helen Zone has an average Ag/Au ratio of approximately 0.85 whereas the CSD zone is 2.25. Gold in both the Helen and CSD zones correlates with As, Sb, and Hg, however, Au correlates moderately (0.52 correlation coefficient) with Ag in the CSD zone but more weakly (0.3652 correlation coefficient) in the Helen Zone.

Like the geochemistry, the mineralization in the Helen and CSD is also distinct. The As- bearing (assumed to also be Au-bearing) pyrite in the Helen are generally finer-grained, less euhedral, and more poorly zoned than the As- bearing CSD zone pyrite. Helen pyrite overall have lower As content – ranging from just at detection limit (~0.3 wt% to 0.5 wt%) to 2.1 wt% – than the CSD zone which contains pyrite with arsenic contents ranging from detection limit to 6 wt%. The SEMEDS system first detected trace elements such as Te, Tl, Hg, Sb, and even Au and Ag in CSD zone pyrite, while electron microprobe analysis confirmed the presence of Au, Ag, As, Tl, Hg, Sb, and Pb in CSD mineralization. Other pyrite in the CSD zone contain fewer trace elements but still display complex elemental zoning and growth patterns visible only in backscatter electron imaging. The complicated nature of the mineralized pyrite at the CSD zone is suggestive of a more complex and long-lasting mineralizing event in comparison to the seemingly simple Helen mineralization.

In the 2201 zone, Au correlates with Ag, As, Cu, Fe, Pb, Sb, and Zn – a distinctly different grouping of elements from the CSD, Gap, and Helen Zones. The 2201 zone veins typically occur as sheeted veins and range in thickness from 0.1 cm to 6.5 cm and contain both quartz and carbonate minerals as gangue. Generally, the calcite and dolomite- dominant veins are shallower and thinner whereas the quartz(- carbonate)-bearing veins are deeper and can reach widths of 15 cm. The sulfides are mostly pyrite, sphalerite, and galena with arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, and pyrrhotite also locally present. Visible gold is mostly limited to the thicker veins and is always observed along the margins with coarse-grained quartz. When microscopic, the gold is present as electrum with approximately 15 wt% Ag (measured on SEM-EDS) and hosted within sulfides such as chalcopyrite or arsenopyrite. Galena may also carry up to 10 wt% Ag. An oriented hole drilled in 2014 (PG14-23) provided some structural data for the vein-type mineralization. There were no trends for veins grouped by gangue or thickness, however, when grouped by depth, the data show that veins shallower than 1,750 feet generally strike northeast-southwest with varying dips and veins deeper than 1,900 feet generally strike northwest-southeast and dip steeply in both directions.



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CommodityUnitsAvg. AnnualLOM
Gold koz 102743
All production numbers are expressed as metal in doré.

Operational metrics

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* According to 2021 study.

Production Costs

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Assumed price Silver USD  ....  Subscribe
Assumed price Gold USD  ....  Subscribe
* According to 2021 study / presentation.
** Net of By-Product.

Operating Costs

UG mining costs ($/t milled) USD 90.7 *  
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* According to 2021 study.

Project Costs

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UG OpEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Processing OpEx $M USD 151
Transportation (haulage) costs $M USD 69
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Mine Management

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