Canada snapshot: Projects to watch in BC, Yukon and NWT
The natural endowment of Canada’s British Columbia province, the Yukon and Northwest Territories continues to drive mineral exploration and development. Here are eight companies active in the region:
American Creek Resources
American Creek Resources (TSXV: AMK) is exploring for gold and silver in British Columbia’s Golden Triangle area. The company holds interests in three projects within this district, Treaty Creek, Electrum and Dunwell.
Treaty Creek, where American Creek Resources holds a 20% interest (60% Tudor Gold (TSXV: TUD) and 20% Teuton Resources (TSXV: TUO)) encompasses the hydrothermal system host to Seabridge Gold’s (TSX: SEA, NYSE: SA) KSM deposit and Pretium Resources’ (TSX: PVG, NYSE: PVG) Brucejack project. According to AMK, this project is potentially host to up to 7 km of mineralization at depth. Drill highlights from the 2019 program at this property include 0.73 gram gold per tonne over 839 metres, including a section of 1.05 grams gold over 329 metres and 1 gram gold over 336 metres. These results are from the Goldstorm zone, one of four areas of mineralization identified on the property.
Electrum is located between the historic Silbak Premier mine (Ascot Resources (TSX: AOT)) and Pretium Resources’ (TSX: PVG, NYSE: PVG) Brucejack mine. There has been minimal exploration conducted on this property, which appears to be host to a low sulphidation epithermal system with high-grade electrum (a gold-silver alloy) in quartz veins. AMK holds a 40% interest in this project with Tudor Gold, its joint venture partner, at a 60% stake.
At Dunwell, located between Ascot Resources’ Premier and Red Mountain projects, the historic Dunwell mine produced a total of 45,657 tonnes between 1926 and 1937 at a head grade of 14.3 grams gold-equivalent. In addition to mineralization at the historic mine site, the company has identified additional gold showings along a three-km strike length.
Beyond the Golden Triangle, the company holds five additional properties in its B.C. portfolio. Gold Hill is within the headwaters of the Wild Horse River and includes the area believed to be the source of gold recovered during historic placer mining downstream and also features a series of underground workings. Follow up work is also planned for the Austruck Bonanza, Ample Goldmax, Silverside and Glitter King projects.
American Creek has an approximate market capitalization of $24 million.
Garibaldi Resources (TSXV: GGI) is focused on exploration at its properties in British Columbia and Mexico.
The company’s flagship 63 sq. km Nickel Mountain project is located 6 km southwest of Eskay Creek in B.C.’s Golden Triangle district.
Nickel Mountain is host to the historic E&L deposit, which features the first nickel-copper rich massive sulphide zones discovered in the Eskay camp. E&L was originally discovered in 1966 and was held by Silver Standard (TSX: SSRM, NASDAQ: SSRM) between 1958 and 2014.
Drill results from this project released in December returned strong copper and precious metal grades: one hole intercepted 7.94% nickel, 5.85% copper, 0.16% cobalt, 7.05 grams palladium per tonne, 2.73 grams platinum per tonne, 1.75 grams gold per tonne and 15.81 grams silver per tonne over 4.43 metres within a wider 15-metre intercept grading 5.25% nickel and 3.21% copper. These results are from the upper part of the Lower Discovery Zone (LDZ).
At E&L, Garibaldi has identified five zones of mineralization, which are open for expansion. Based on field work completed up to December 2018, the company has confirmed that the Nickel Mountain gabbroic complex strikes for over 3 km and extends for at least 1 km across. Geophysical surveys have identified conductors across a trend of at least 6 km at Nickel Mountain.
In December 2017, Garibaldi released assays from a hole drilled 200 metres east of the historic E&L deposit, which returned a 16.8-metre interval grading 8.3% nickel and 4.2% copper within a 40.4 metre interval of 3.9% nickel and 2.3% copper starting at 100 metres. According to the company, this drillhole suggests a high-quality discovery with a very pure style of mineralization, which is desirable from a processing perspective.
Garibaldi acquired an option to purchase a 100% interest in the E&L deposit and surrounding claims in 2016 and commenced exploration efforts later that year.
In addition, the company holds the King, PSP, Red Lion and Grizzly properties in B.C.
In Mexico, Garibaldi holds four additional exploration-stage projects in the country’s Sinaloa, Sonora and Chihuahua states.
Garibaldi Resources has a market capitalization of approximately $113 million.
GT Gold (TSXV: GTT) is an explorer working on advancing the Saddle North and Saddle South discoveries at its 468 sq. km Tatogga property within B.C.’s Golden Triangle district.
Saddle North, first identified and drilled by the company in 2017, is a copper-gold porphyry with drilling to date tracing mineralization over approximately 700 metres of strike, for 1,400 metres to 1,600 metres down plunge and over thicknesses of 200 metres to 560 metres. It remains open with GT identifying a higher-grade core zone that strikes over 200 metres to 400 metres and is 40 metres to 450 metres thick.
In December, the company released the most recent intercepts from infill work on this core area: highlights include 2.05 grams gold-equivalent over 124 metres and 1.47 grams gold-equivalent over 21 metres.
Saddle South is an epithermal gold-silver system that was first drill tested by the company in 2017. Drilling to date has traced mineralization over 1,300 metres of strike, over a width of up to 300 metres and down to a depth of over 600 metres; it remains open. This discovery features near-surface, high-grade mineralization over 1,000 metres of strike. Saddle South intercepts include 18.08 grams gold and 313.38 grams silver over 2.13 metres and 187.5 grams gold and 53.6 grams silver over 0.74 metres.
In November, the company announced an $8.3 million investment by Newmont-Goldcorp (TSX: NGT, NYSE: NEM) whereby the major increased its stake in the company from 9.9% to 14.9%. GT’s current cash balance is about C$18 million.
GT is working on a geological model for Saddle North, expected to feed into a maiden resource estimate, which is scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2020. This will be followed by a preliminary economic assessment, anticipated by the end of 2020.
In addition to the Saddle discoveries, the company has identified the Quash Pass target, located about seven km to the south-west of Saddle that features geochemical and geophysical anomalies up to six km long with a similar strike direction to the Saddle system. Initial drilling of this target is planned for next year.
GT Gold acquired Tatogga in 2016.
GT Gold’s current market capitalization stands at about C$123 million.
Metallic Minerals (TSXV: MMG) is focused on advancing its exploration-stage silver projects in the Yukon. The company’s 166 sq. km Keno Silver project, within the Keno Hill Silver District, is located adjacent to and on strike with Alexco Resources’ (TSX: AXU) property whose holdings include four high-grade deposits.
The greater Keno Hill Silver District has produced over 200 million oz. of silver over the last 100 years with eight past producing mines at the 35-km long Keno project. The deposits in the district feature high-grade silver-bearing veins with additional lead and zinc. Of the 12 mineralized trends identified, 10 continue into its under-explored eastern flank where Keno is situated.
To date, three targets at the project have been drilled with a further 16 undrilled targets and prospects. Several of the targets are on extensions of trends associated with deposits at the Alexco property.
In August, Metallic provided an exploration update for the central part of the Keno property: in addition to samples from two targets yielding in excess of 1,000 grams silver, the company has identified two new silver-zinc-lead soil anomalies extending over kilometers. Structural analysis of local geology has also highlighted additional prospective corridors.
In April, the company released an update for the eastern part of the property and announced that it has identified a total of eight targets featuring silver-zinc-lead soil anomalies and high-grade silver surface samples within favorable host rock.
Diamond drill highlights from the 2017 exploration program included 2.8 metres of 312 grams silver-equivalent as well as 1.76 metres of 560 grams silver-equivalent from the Homestake target. Caribou intercepts included 2.65 metres of 972 grams silver-equivalent and 1.6 metres of 2,851 grams silver-equivalent.
Also in the Yukon, Metallic holds the 44 sq. km McKay Hill project, 50 km north of Keno Silver. It sits within a silver-lead-zinc rich belt running from Alaska to southern Yukon and includes the Keno Hill Silver district. This past-producing asset features 37 vein structures identified to date. Recent rock and soil sampling has revealed six targets over an area of 3 km by 1.5 km.
Metallic is planning for its 2020 field season. In October, the company closed a $2.75 million non-brokered private placement with Eric Sprott, who now holds an estimated 13% of the company’s shares.
In September, the company announced that it entered into an option agreement to acquire 100% of the La Plata silver-gold-copper property in Colorado. This property features a porphyry system rich in precious metals with additional silver and gold epithermal prospects.
Metallic Minerals has a current market capitalization of approximately $22 million.
Nighthawk Gold (TSX: NHK) is focused on advancing the Colomac gold project, located within the company’s 899 sq. km Indin Lake property in the Northwest Territories.
Colomac currently consists of five deposits with total inferred resources of 50.3 million tonnes grading 1.62 grams gold per tonne for a total of 2.6 million ounces. Six zones within the nine-kilometre Main Sill area of the Colomac deposit contribute 48.6 million tonnes to the current resource inventory. The Main Sill unit is up to 160 metres wide at depth with mineralization intercepted down to 800 metres thus far. Colomac is situated within a 16-kilometre underexplored host formation with two additional undrilled parallel sills.
In December, Nighthawk reported results from three of the Main Sill zones with drilling extending mineralization at depth and increasing its width. Additional shallow high-grade intercepts suggest a new style of mineralization for the project. Notable intercepts included 1.89 grams gold per tonne over 110.5 metres and 4.41 grams gold over 11.2 metres.
In May, the company released its best hole to date: an intercept of 13.49 grams gold over 56 metres from zone 1.5 at Colomac.
Open pit mining of the Colomac deposit took place between 1989 and 1991 as well as between 1994 and 1997. Nighthawk resumed exploration at the property in 2009.
Beyond Colomac, Nighthawk has identified a number of targets at Indin Lake: four along the northwestern edge of the property and three along its southeastern boundary.
Notably, four distinct gold deposit settings have been identified at Indin Lake: Colomac Main is hosted by a differentiated mafic sill while three other targets appear to be structure-related lode gold deposit types. Three further targets are iron-formation hosted while one target is hosted in a brecciated intrusion.
Nighthawk has drawn parallels between the setting of the Colomac deposit and the 10-kilometre strike of prospective host rock at the Kalgoorlie gold camp in Australia: both are of Archean age with gold hosted by mafic intrusions and occurring in more silica-rich fractions. The company is using this analogy in generating drill targets.
The company has identified a number of targets beyond Colomac for follow-up that potentially could be used to supplement a future Colomac mill or grow to emerge as stand-alone projects.
Nighthawk’s shareholders include Kinross Gold (TSX: K, NYSE: KGC) with a 9.9% interest and Osisko Gold Royalties (TSX: OR, NYSE: OR) with an 8.6% stake in the company.
An updated resource for Colomac is expected next year and will incorporate 50,000 metres of drilling completed in 2018 and 2019.
The company has a market capitalization of approximately C$107 million.
Seabridge Gold (TSX: SEA, NYSE: SA) holds the KSM, Iskut and Courageous Lake projects in B.C. and the Northwest Territories.
The KSM deposit, located within B.C.’s Golden Triangle, is the world’s largest undeveloped gold-copper project by reserves. Reserves for the asset total 2.2 billion tonnes grading 0.55 gram gold per tonne, 0.21% copper, 2.6 grams silver per tonne with additional molybdenum for a total of 38.8 million oz. of gold, 10.2 billion lb. copper and 183 million oz. of silver.
In March, Seabridge released updated resources for the Iron Cap deposit at KSM, which is closer to infrastructure than the other deposits at the site. The company sees potential to include Iron Cap early on in the mine plan; it plans to complete an updated PEA for the project.
Preliminary feasibility study results for the project were released in September 2016 and outlined an open pit and block cave operation extracting ore from the Mitchell, Iron Cap, Sulphurets and Kerr zones. Over a 53-year mine life, the first seven would see average annual production of 933,000 oz. of gold and 205 million lb. copper with additional silver and molybdenum. The analysis suggested a $1.5 billion base-case net present value (NPV) estimate at a 5% discount rate; total costs were estimated at $673 per oz. of gold produced with a $5 billion capital outlay.
Seabridge also released the results of a PEA in October of 2016, which examined the option of developing inferred resources at the Deep Kerr and Iron Cap Lower zones. The PEA placed a greater emphasis on block cave mining with reduced surface impacts from the open pits. This iteration would see total costs of $358 per oz. with higher peak throughputs, $5.5 billion in initial capital and a resulting $3.4 billion base-case NPV at a 5% discount rate.
The company also holds the Courageous Lake property in the Northwest Territories with reserves of 91.1 million tonnes grading 2.2 grams gold for a total of 6.5 million oz. of gold. A preliminary feasibility study completed on this project in 2012 outlined an open pit producing an average of 385,000 oz. of gold annually at cash operating costs of $780 per ounce. The associated capital cost stands at $1.5 billion. Additional exploration is ongoing at this site.
In 2017, Seabridge acquired the Snowstorm gold project in Nevada; it is located at the intersection of three gold belts in the district and on strike with several gold mines. A drill program is upcoming for this property.
In June of 2016, Seabridge acquired SnipGold, adding the Iskut project to its holdings. Iskut is located 30 km from KSM and features measured and indicated resources of 187 million tonnes grading 0.12% copper, 0.36 gram gold and 2.19 grams silver. Additional inferred resources stand at 5 million tonnes. Exploration is ongoing at this past-producing site.
Seabridge Gold has a market capitalization of approximately $1.1 billion.
Skeena Resources (TSXV: SKE) is focused on advancing its project portfolio in B.C.’s Golden Triangle district.
Its flagship Eskay Creek project is located 83 km northwest of Stewart and covers an area of 51 sq. km. In November, Skeena released the results of a PEA for Eskay. The study suggested an open pit operation producing gold and silver in concentrate that would be sold to third party smelters. The study outlined life of mine average annual gold-equivalent production of 306,000 oz. at all-in sustaining costs of US$757 per oz. with pre-production capital outlays of $303 million. The associated after-tax net present value estimate, at a 5% discount rate, came in at $638 million with a 51% internal rate of return.
Current Eskay Creek pit-constrained resources, released at the end of February 2019, stand at 12.7 million tonnes in the indicated category at a head grade of 5.8 grams gold-equivalent for a total of 2.3 million gold-equivalent ounces. Inferred resources total 14.4 million tonnes at 2.9 grams gold-equivalent for a further 1.3 million gold-equivalent ounces. Underground resources add 218,000 indicated and 78,000 inferred gold-equivalent ounces.
Eskay Creek produced 3.3 million oz. gold and 160 million oz. silver between 1994 and 2008 from underground operations with average head grades of 45 grams gold and 2,224 grams silver.
In December of 2017, Skeena signed an option agreement with Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX, NYSE: GOLD) to acquire a 100% interest in Eskay Creek by spending a minimum of $3.5 million on exploration, paying $10 million and reimbursing Barrick for reclamation costs and a bond for a total of up to $7.7 million. Under the terms of the agreement, Barrick retains a back-in right to purchase a 51% interest in the property, exercisable for a 12-month period following the announcement of a resource of at least 1.5 million gold-equivalent oz. on the property.
In addition, Skeena holds the Snip property in its portfolio, acquired from Barrick in 2017. The 19-sq.-km property hosts the historic Snip mine, which produced 1 million oz. of gold between 1991 and 1999 at a head grade of 27.5 grams gold.
The company’s GJ project is 30 km west of Imperial Metals’ (TSX: III) Red Chris mine and features two porphyry deposits located 14 km apart. A PEA for the project released in April of 2017 outlined an open pit operation with a 25-year life and a $216 million capital outlay returning a pre-tax net present value estimate of $546 million, at an 8% discount rate. Skeena is currently seeking a partner to advance this asset to the pre-feasibility stage.
Skeena Resources has a market capitalization of approximately C$76 million.
Stratabound Minerals (TSXV: SB) is focused on its 84 sq. km Golden Culvert project within the Hyland Gold Belt in the Yukon. The belt is also host to Golden Predator’s (TSXV: GPY) 3 Aces project and Goldstrike Resources’ (TSXV: GSR) Plateau gold project.
Golden Culvert features a 24 km long mineralized trend; soil sampling has identified a 3 km long, 250 metre wide anomaly with gold grades in excess of 30 parts per billion within this trend.
Within this soil anomaly, exploration work completed to date has traced gold mineralization along a 570-metre strike. Mineralization at the site appears to consist of quartz vein and breccia structures that control the gold emplacement; gold may be localized in shoots within the veins.
Over the course of its 2019 exploration program, the company traced the Main Vein structure along 1.9 km of strike within the 3-km soil anomaly; it remains open. Stratabound also discovered a new structure, 7.1 km north of the Main Vein that outcrops at surface. This vein features a similar dip and strike as the Main zone structures to the south and is located at the edge of a historic gold in soil anomaly. The 7.1 km strike length between the veins remains unexplored.
In October, Stratabound released trenching results from Golden Culvert that returned 24.41 grams gold over 6 metres and included a higher-grade section of 95 grams gold over 1.5 metres. This intercept is from a newly discovered, parallel vein structure at the Main zone. The 2019 exploration efforts at the Main zone widened the mineralized corridor to 130 metres from 50 metres previously by identifying four new gold-bearing veins.
Stratabound has the option to acquire a 100% interest in Golden Culvert by making total payments of $1.72 million over five years and spending a total of $700,000 on exploration; it has now met the spend requirement. In December, the company announced a restructuring of the option agreement payments, deferring some payments to later years. Half of the payments may be made in shares.
Also in December, the company closed a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $200,000 with Jerritt Canyon Canada, a private company that operates the Jerritt Canyon mine in Nevada.
In New Brunswick, Stratabound holds a 100% interest in the Captain copper-cobalt deposit. In addition, in December, the company announced that it has signed an option agreement to acquire a 100% interest in the McIntyre gold project located 80 km west of Bathurst. There are currently two known gold occurrences at this site that are located 1.5 km apart; diamond drilling has started with a focus on testing previously-identified gold mineralization along 300 metres of strike.
Stratabound has a current market capitalization of approximately C$5.7 million.
(This article first appeared in The Northern Miner).