The company released the results of drill holes TE-12 to TE-35. So far, 43 diamond drill holes for a total of 12,740 metres have been completed, with assays pending for holes TE-36 to TE-40.
Drilling has tested a variety of targets, including geophysical, down dip and along strike extensions of known gold-bearing quartz veins, and coincident geophysical and geological targets.
St. Elias said Thursday that it has received inconclusive results from drill holes that specifically targeted the geophysical anomalies reported by Quantec, with Quantec data set to be independently examined by Canadian geophysicists.
Despite this, drill holes that tested geological targets intersected gold at depths, the company added.
Indeed, holes with relatively deep intersections included hole TE-14, which hit 7.08 grams per tonne (g/t) gold over 0.85 metres at a true depth of 276 metres, and hole TE-29, which intersected 6.08 g/t gold over an interval of 0.50 metres at 275 metres true depth.
The company said management is now planning a program of underground exploration and bulk sampling of the gold-bearing structures intersected during the surface drilling campaign.
St. Elias explained in a statement that the strategy is consistent with the old gold mining rule of thumb, "drill for structure and drift for grade," as high grade gold often occurs only in steeply-plunging shoots in the plane of the vein.
One of the main aims of this program is to compare the grades and widths of structures intersected by the drill holes with the "much higher-quality data" obtained by bulk sampling the same structures underground, St. Elias said.
At the end of May, the company also said it plans to temporarily suspend drilling at the Tesoro project, "pending the receipt of the independent evaluations of the existing geophysical data, completion of a formal compilation of all available historic, geochemical, geological and structural data, and detailed geological mapping covering a number of historic mine areas."
The Tesoro gold project is 100 per cent owned by St. Elias, with no underlying royalties. The property covers approximately 6,974 hectares and lies within the 300 km by 30 km Nazca-Ocona gold province, which trends northwest parallel to the Pacific coastline.
The belt is noted for the strike continuity of many of its quartz vein systems and associated faults. While the veins are often narrow, their gold grades can be high, especially in localized "shoots" that occur where the vein geometries change.
The company has found five mineralized zones the Tesoro project that host more than 50 quartz veins. Underground exploration and development work has been carried out on three of these veins (C1, C2 and A4 veins).
A total of 1,157 tons of bulk sample material averaging 0.93 ounce per ton gold has been extracted from the underground exploration and development workings so far.