Ascot finds more to like on the old Premier Mine site

Ascot Resources is breathing new life into one of northern BC's most storied mine sites.

Ascot's Premier/Dilworth property, which covers more than one hundred square kilometres near the town of Stewart in northwest British Columbia, includes the old Premier Mine site.

Premier Mine was started in 1910 and was the largest employer in the area up until the mid '50s. In 1921 the mine shipped 6,000 tons of ore with the gold valued at $1.5 million (1921 dollars). The mine went through various incarnation before closing in 1996. Ascot acquired mineral claims to the property in 2009.

Ascot currently has five operating drills on the property and is linking historical zones that were never fully connected.

Last month it announced intersections of 76.30 G/T gold over 1 metre.

Eric Sprott of Sprott Asset Management plumped for Ascot Resources. In August Ascot closed a $20 million financing with Eric Sprott.

In the last three months Ascot Resources stock has doubled. At the end of June the stock was at $1.20; it now trades at $2.40.

As expected there is a lots of existing infrastructure on the site, such as a mill complex, tailings pond and a new hydroelectric project on property. There are also existing haul roads and underground access. Elevation levels are a reasonable 250m to 800m.

Geologist Lawrence Tsang talked to Resource Maven Gwen Preston in mid-August 2016 about the company's drilling program and results.

Transcript is edited for clarity.

Premier/Dilworth project is located 13km north of Stewart in British Columbia's Golden Triangle. Premier is considered to be an epithermal and veins deposit.

MINING.com: Who are you?

Lawrence Tsang: My name is Lawrence. I’m a geo here. I’ve been with Ascot for six years. This is my seventh season. Currently we have five drills. We are drilling into Premier. One drill is doing our infill drilling. We try to do our infill drilling within a resource block, and then the other four drills we are doing step-out drilling.

MINING.com: What’s this pit’s story?

Lawrence Tsang: We are standing at the Premier pit and this is the Glory Hole area, behind us and, for sure, this was started in the 20s and 30s. They were mining high-grade gold and silver, and from within this small Glory Hole they took out almost 2 million ounces at an average of one-ounce grade, and that’s how Premier was started.

An Ascot Resources's worker examines core samples in the company's office in Stewart, B.C.

MINING.com: Why is Ascot here?

Lawrence Tsang: So Ascot made an option agreement with Boliden and this year we will pay our final payment, and then Ascot will 100% own both Premier and Dilworth projects. We have our resource up in the north end, which is Big Missouri, Martha Ellen, and Dilworth. We have about four million ounces of one gram. It's a bulk-tonnage, lower-grade deposit, but at the same time within that deposit we have high-grade potential as well, but we just have to put in more effort and drilling to find that.

MINING.com: Why are you chasing high grades in the south?

Lawrence Tsang: The Premier Mine area, especially in the west zone 2014 which was our first year working in the area, we were hitting phenomenal high-grade and also some high-grade silver as well. So now we have a better understanding in the high-grade system in the Premier. We are doing step-out and we are going to plan further infill.

An Ascot Resources drill worker examines equipment at the Premier/Dilworth project.

MINING.com: What have you done so far in terms of metres drilled?

Lawrence Tsang: Up to now, after five to four months of drilling for this season, we are up to 47,000 metres. We are confident by early November we can get to 65,000 to 70,000 metres drilling.

MINING.com: What is it like to work here?

Lawrence Tsang: We are situated in a really good area. We are just 40 minutes away drive from the closest town, Stewart. We can get all the local drillers as helpers and also other supplies as well. All the drillers can drive back to town to go home every day. We have all the infrastructure. We have an office [in Stewart], which makes our drilling cost very low—our costs, including assay and salaries, we are talking about less than $100 per metre of drilling.

A drill rig on Ascot Resources's Premier/Dilworth project.


 

Gwen Preston is the Resource Maven. Years as a mining journalist gave her a deep base of knowledge and a broad network of contacts in the resource sector. She understands which projects and pieces of news matter. She understands what it takes for a project to advance along the exploration-development-production path and what opportunities each stage offers. She knows how the metals markets work, alone and within the global economy, and how to profit from commodity cycles. Sign up for Gwen Preston's newsletter here.

Michael McCrae and Gwen Preston interviewed Ascot Resources in August. Editing help is from Valentina Ruiz Leotaud.