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Benchmark seeks $24m flow-through for Lawyers project in BC

Benchmark’s Lawyers gold-silver project in the Golden Horseshoe. Credit: Benchmark Metals

Benchmark Metals (TSXV: BNCH) has entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwrites led by PI Financial and Sprott Capital Partners to raise C$30 million($24m) for its Lawyers gold-silver project in British Columbia. The underwriters will purchase 10 million units, 1.6 million flow-through units and 12.7 million charity flow-through units by way of a private placement.

Each unit carries a price of C$1 and consists of one common share and one-half of one transferable common share purchase warrant. Each flow-through unit will be sold at C$1.25 and consist of one flow-through common share and half a warrant to be issued on a non-flow-through basis.

Each charity flow-through unit  will be sold for C$1.42 and consist of one charity flow-through common share and one-half of one warrant to be issued on a non-flow-through basis. Each whole warrant is exercisable for one common share for 24 months from the date of closing at a price of C$1.55.

Benchmark has granted the underwriters an option of an additional 20% on the same terms in any combination of units, flow-through shares or charity flow-through shares.

Benchmark owns 100% of the past-producing Lawyers gold-silver mine located in British Columbia’s Golden Horseshoe, 45 km south of the former Kemess South open pit mine. Between 1989 and 1991, the mine produced 171,200 oz. of gold and 3.6 million oz. of silver.

The company says the deposit was never fully mined, nor was the surrounding area explored for similar mineralization. There is an estimated C$50 million ($39m) in infrastructure remaining at the site, including a year-round access road.

The property has four structurally controlled zones (Cliff Creek, Dukes Ridge, Phoenix, and AGB) within a 5 by 8 km radiometric anomaly associated wit a low-sulphidation epithermal system. Recent drilling has returned new near-surface intercepts bulk tonnage potential.

Resource estimate

In May, Benchmark announced an initial resource estimate for the bulk tonnage portion of the Lawyers project. It contains a pit-constrained indicated portion of 40 million tonnes grading 1.18 g/t gold and 38.1 g/t silver for 1.5 million oz. of gold and 49 million oz. of silver. The inferred in-pit resource is 15 million tonnes grading 0.95 g/t gold and 25.1 g/t silver for 460,000 oz. of gold and 12.1 million oz. of silver.

There is also an out-of-pit resource of 333,000 indicated tonnes grading 3.24 g/t gold and 110.1 g/t silver for 35,000 oz. of gold and 1.2 million oz. of silver, plus 1.2 million inferred tonnes grading 4.03 g/t gold and 152.3 g/t silver for 160,000 oz. of gold and 6 million oz. of silver.

This year the company has been drilling a total of 100,000 metres evenly split between resource expansion and upgrading and regional exploration.

In October, Benchmark announced the delineation of a new area of near-surface mineralization between the Cliff Creek and the Dukes Ridge deposits. It is located outside of the existing resource and has a strike length of about 300 metres and a vertical depth of 130 metres. Results released at that time included 41.2 metres grading 1.31 g/t gold and 30.77 g/t silver in hole 21CCRC016 and 10.7 metres at 3.54 g/t gold and 181.71 g/t silver in hole 21DDRC005.

The company says this discovery in the Connector zone will give the project flexibility and potential for higher grade starter pits.

Benchmark also announced a new discovery at the Marmot zone earlier this year. The company says the footprint resembles the alteration, mineralization and geophysical signatures of the Cliff Creek deposit 3 km to the north. The longest intersection was 30 metres grading 0.9 g/t gold and 15.52 g/t silver in hole 21MLDD004.

Drill results released earlier this month from the Cliff Creek Mid zone also had long intersections: 68.6 metres grading 3.07 g/t gold and 11.72 g/t silver, including 21.3 metres at 9.21 g/t gold and 30.17 g/t silver, including 3.1 metres at 56.65 g/t gold and 79.75 g/t silver in hole 21CCRC020 and 86.9 metres grading 0.38 g/t gold and 10.64 g/t silver, including 12.2 metres at 1.30 g/t gold and 37.8 g/t silver.

Benchmark said it has plans to complete the Lawyers feasibility study next year.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)