Skeena Resources (CVE:SKE) is working the ground where it’s legendary chairman, Ron K. Netolitzky, discovered both the Snip Mine and Eskay Creek.
Walter Coles, Jr., the company’s president and CEO, told MINING.com during an interview that the company is in the midst of an aggressive drilling program on its Spectrum property, located in northwest British Columbia.
Spectrum is a structurally-hosted, high-grade, mesothermal gold deposit located in the prolific Golden Triangle, an area known for many discoveries and mines. Skeena’s corporate goal is to establish a 43-101 compliant, two to three million ounce, high-grade gold resource in multiple, closely spaced, steeply dipping, parallel zones. The Spectrum property includes 13 known gold prospects most of which have received no previous drilling.
Coles lauds his chairman’s experience in the area:
“Ron had some great fortune in the Golden Triangle region of northwest BC.,” says Coles.
“His first big project up there was called the Snip Mine, which produced a million ounces at about one ounce per tonne. It is held by Barrick Gold today. The other big success was something called Eskay Creek. It produced 3.5 million tonnes with an average grade of 49 grams per tonne gold. It is probably one of the highest grade mines put into production in Canada.
“Both of those historical mines are located very close to where we are exploring today, and we hope the third time will be a charm.”
MINING.com: What is Skeena Resources?
Walter Coles, Jr.: Skeena Resources is a exploration company that is focused on a project in northwestern British Columbia.
MINING.com: Can you tell me something about the Spectrum property?
Walter Coles, Jr.: Spectrum is a post discovery project. There is a historical resource of 240,000 ounces put together in the early ’90s, and for a variety of reasons this project has laid dormant. We have just acquired the project in October of 2014, and have launched on a drilling program with the hope of putting together a couple of million ounces of high grade gold.
MINING.com: What is the work you are undertaking right now?
Watler Coles, Jr.: Right now we have two drill rigs operating on the project. We should have assay results coming out in a couple of weeks. [Editor’s note: drill results were posted last week, after our interview.] We should also have a steady stream of results over the next six months. If the results are encouraging, we will probably add a third rig to the project.
MINING.com: I understand you chairman has some experience in the region.
Watler Coles, Jr.: Ron K. Netolitzky had some great fortune in the Golden Triangle region of northwest BC. His first big project up there was called the Snip Mine, which produced a million ounces at about one ounce per tonne. It is held by Barrick Gold today. The other big success was something called Eskay Creek, and Eskay Creek produced until 2004, 2005, or thereabouts, but the grades were truly exceptional. It produced 3.5 million tonnes with an average grade of 49 grams per tonne gold. It is probably one of the highest grade mines put into production in Canada. Both of those historical mines are located very close to where we are exploring today, and we hope the third time will be a charm.
MINING.com: You have some interesting neighbours, Imperial Metals and Pretium Resources.
Watler Coles, Jr.: Yes, the Imperial Mine which just started production a couple of months ago is about 40KM to the east of where we are exploring today. Pretium Resources is more similar geologically to what we are exploring for geologically at Spectrum. Again, very high grade gold.
MINING.com: Can you tell me something about the First Nations in the area, the Talhtan?
Walter Coles, Jr.: We take those relationships very seriously. We are working very closely with them to ensure this project is considered a win for them, as well as a win for the company.
MINING.com: Ron K. Netolitzky, your chairman, has had a long mining career. Can you talk about some of the things he has done?
Walter Coles, Jr.: Ron had a consulting company based out of Calgary that for decades consulted to mining companies all over the world. He had his initial successes in the late ’80s and early ’90s in British Columbia. And then when the NDP were elected, he decided to leave BC and he went to Africa. He worked there for a number of years. He also worked in Central America. His two most recent successes were the Brett Resources: he was chairman of Brett. It was sold to Osisko in 2010 for over $500 million. We are hoping that Skeena will be the next big success.
MINING.com: Your background is in the business and finance side?
Walter Coles, Jr.: Yes. I think Ron and myself put together a really good team where people have different skill sets, different expertise. I bring the financing expertise to the table. It feels like a formula that is working. We are able to raise money when most of the juniors in the exploration space cannot. And with those funds we are able to go out and drill. And the only way you have an exploration discovery is you’ve got to have drill rigs turning.
MINING.com: You have an agressive drill season ahead. What are the milestones after the season ends?
Walter Coles, Jr.: Well, this is a multi-year project. We are limited by the winter storms. Last year we were able to drill until the beginning of November. The goal this year is to put together a resource and probably come out 2016, and then the next year we will seek to grow that resource to a larger amount. As I mentioned, our goal is 2-3 million ounces. We hope to maintain this 10 to 12 grams per tonne as an average grade for the deposit and then we will take it through PEA and pre-feasibility. Our plan is not to try to build a mine. We think our expertise is finding deposits and then vending them to teams that have an expertise in building mines.