SSR Mining (TSX: SSRM) says it is drilling excellent grades and long intercepts at its Seabee gold operation 125 km northeast of La Ronge, Saskatchewan. The project consists of the Santoy gold mine and Seabee processing plant 15 km away by road.
The Gap hanging wall (GHW) is being drilled from underground drives at the Santoy mine. Hole SUG-20-920 returned 6.9 metres grading 19.16 g/t gold, and hole SUG-20-017 returned 9.5 metres averaging 12.14 g/t gold. The drill program is aimed at upgrading existing resources to reserves in 2022.
The Santoy hanging wall (SHG) is the most recent discovery, and it is being drilled both from underground and surface. Hole JOY-20-918 intersected 2.8 metres grading 12.75 g/t gold; hole SUG-21-011 cut 2.2 metres at 11.31 g/t gold; and hole SUG-21-018 cut 3.6 metres at 16.31 g/t gold. The SHG is viewed a potential future development within the Santoy mine. If drilling is successful, a resource estimate will be released next year.
The Joker target located 1 km south of the Santoy mine has the potential to provide a substantial extension to that mine beyond the GHW and SHW, says SSR. Hole BAT-20-017 intersected 1.5 metres grading 25.97 g/t gold and 0.75 metre grading 21.48 g/t gold. Both these assays came from less than 15 metres below surface.
The mineralization at the Joker target shares similarities to the GHW, which is characterized by quartz veins hosting visible gold with up to 10% sulphides.
SSR would welcome a significant mine life extension at Seabee because there is excess capacity at the mill and the tailings dam was recently expanded to provide management through 2031 at current production levels.
At year-end 2020, the Seabee gold operation had proven and probable reserves of 1.6 million tonnes averaging 9.83 g/t gold and containing 493,000 oz. of gold. In the first half of 2021, the operation produced 61,000 oz. of gold, well on its way to guidance figures of between 95,000 and 105,000 ounces. The mine site all-in sustaining cost per ounce was $795, comfortably under guidance of $860 and $910.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)