The maiden resource estimate from Benchmark Metals Inc. (TSXV: BNCH) for the former Lawyers gold-silver mine puts in pit gold content at 1.5 million oz. and silver at 49.0 million oz. in the indicated category.
Using a 0.5 g/t gold equivalent cut-off, the pit constrained indicated resource is 40.0 million tonnes grading 1.18 g/t gold and 38.1 g/t silver. In terms of gold equivalent, the company counts 2.1 million oz. in indicated and pit constrained material. There is also an inferred pit resource of 15.0 million tonnes at 0.96 g/t gold and 1.24 g/t silver containing 460,000 oz. gold and 12.1 million oz. silver.
The out of pit resource calculated at a 2.0 g/t gold equivalent cut-off includes 330,000 indicated tonnes at 3,24 g/t gold and 110.1 g/t silver plus 1.2 million inferred tonnes at 4.03 g/t gold and 152.3 g/t silver.
Benchmark has a 100,000-metre drilling program for 2021, half of which will go toward resource upgrading and expansion. A feasibility study is anticipated in 2022. The other 50,000 metres will form a regional program aimed as new and existing targets.
An underground operation targeting selected zones operated on the Lawyers property from 1989 to 1992. It produced 171,200 oz. gold and 3.6 million oz. silver during that period. The deposit was not exhausted, according to Benchmark, and about C$50 million in infrastructure remains on the property.
Testing has shown that up to 98% of the gold and 97% of the silver in the ore can be recovered using conventional processing, i.e. gravity, flotation and leaching.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)