By Ellsworth Dickson
Successful mining stock investors have an old saying: look for the three M’s, that is, good Management, a good Mining project and Money or the ability to raise it. Let’s see if Bonterra Resources Inc. [BTR-TSXV; BONXF-OTC; 9BR1-FSE] meets those criteria.
The company continues to receive very encouraging drill results from its 2018 Resource Development Program at its 100%-controlled Gladiator gold project in the Urban-Barry Camp 170 km northeast of Val d’Or, Quebec.
Not only is Quebec the world’s leading mining jurisdiction, the provincial government returns part of a company’s exploration expenses that can be used for future exploration. The area in which the Gladiator gold project is located is in the prolific Abitibi Gold Belt that hosts numerous multi-million ounce gold mines such as Windfall Lake, Casa Berardi, Detour Lake, Douay, Joutel, Val d’Or and Rouyn-Noranda – and that is just on the Quebec side. The Abitibi Gold Belt continues west across the border into northeast Ontario where it hosts more multi-million ounce gold mines in Timmins and Kirkland Lake, making it one of the world’s premier gold belts.
The current program includes approximately 70,000 metres of drilling utilizing six rigs, metallurgical studies and an updated mineral resource update. Approximately 60,000 metres of diamond drilling was completed in 2017.
The Gladiator deposit currently has a NI 43-101 compliant inferred resources of 905,000 tonnes grading 9.37 g/t gold (273,000 ounces), although company geologists expect resources to increase since the Gladiator gold deposit remains open in all directions.
In a recent press release, the company reported that a new “sixth parallel” gold zone at the Gladiator gold deposit. This newly discovered gold zone, located approximately 50 metres south of the Barbeau Zone, is parallel to and geologically similar to the other five mineralized zones currently modelled at the expanding deposit.
Highlights and observations:
- A new gold zone was recently discovered in hole BA-18-09 with 11.8 g/t gold over 2.6 metres intercepted south of the Barbeau Zone, increasing the number distinct mineralized gold zones to six;
- Infill drill results continue to demonstrate the continuity of the deposit, highlighting the predictability of the mineralized zones.
- Hole BA-18-12 intersected 16.3 g/t gold over 3.4 metres at the South Zone at a depth of 266 metres. This intersection continues to confirm the continuity of the South Zone on the western side of the Gladiator deposit.
- Hole BA-18-11 intersected high-grade gold in five mineralized zones, including 10.1 g/t gold over 2.4 metres in the Barbeau Zone. This highlights the predictability of multiple mineralized zones and validates the geological model.
- Hole BA-18-10A intersected 16.5 g/t gold over 2.2 metres in the main zone and confirms the continuous nature of the modelled mineralized zones.
To date, continuity of mineralization is now confirmed over a total drilled strike length on at least four horizons (north, footwall, main and south) of 1,200 metres, as well as a drilled depth of over 1,000 metres.
The above drill results follow earlier assays that included an intersection of 17.8 g/t gold over 3.0 metres. High-grade intersections have extended multiple zones westward, adding strike length at the Rivage gap. In earlier press release, Bonterra reported excellent drill results such as 9.3 g/t gold over 3.1 metres at the North Zone.
With over 100,000 metres of diamond drilling completed, there are too many high-grade gold intersections to mention. However, a couple of the best ones include 137.4 g/t gold over 2.5 metres in Hole BA-16-19 as well as Hole BA-17-05 returned 23.6 g/t gold over 5.0 metres and 41.0 g/t gold over 6.0 metres, including 147.9 g/t gold over 1.6 metres. One great drill hole does not make a mine and, obviously, this project is not a one-hole wonder.
To get an idea of the size (to date) of the gold deposit, drilling at the Gladiator deposit has now outlined it to a depth of +1,100 metres below surface with a strike length of 1,200 metres. The company expects to have completed the updated NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate in the second half of 2018.
The Gladiator Project claims cover 10,541 hectares along the gold trend with much of it remaining unexplored. Bonterra has already identified numerous exploration and drill-ready priority targets.
In a related development, Bonterra has received highly positive results for its preliminary metallurgical testwork, which is part of its ongoing Resource Development Program at the Gladiator Project. Results to date show total gold recoveries of up to 99.4%, including 76.1% from the gravity circuit.
“The outstanding metallurgical results, when compared to the overall average lower recoveries within our industry peer group, are a significant milestone for the Gladiator gold deposit. The exceptional gravity recovery rates of up to 76.1%, combined with a simple flotation circuit, may reduce capital requirements related to a future potential milling operation,” commented Nav Dhaliwal, CEO of Bonterra. “Potentially not requiring a cyanide leaching circuit minimizes the environmental footprint of any future mining operation and could also improve potential future process economics of the project.”
Peter A. Ball, Vice-President, Operations, said, “The simple metallurgy, consisting of potentially only a crushing and grinding circuit to achieve 76.1% recovery provides a low CAPEX/OPEX process to pour gold bullion on site. Adding a flotation circuit could yield up to 97.3% recovery and deliver a very high-grade gold concentrate, making material very compatible and easily transported to a local or a centralized standard milling facility.”
This metallurgical development is significant in terms of cost-savings for building a concentrator as well as for environmental reasons and ore processing economics.
While current efforts are focused on the Gladiator Project, Bonterra also has a 100% interest in the Larder Lake Project in the Larder-Cadillac Break Camp, near Virginiatown on the Ontario side of the Abitibi Gold Belt. The 2,165-hectare property, extending 10 km along the Break, was purchased from Kerr Mines and contains the past-producing Cheminis gold mine.
The property, located 7 km west of the 11-million ounce Kerr Addison Mine, has extensive infrastructure and easy access. A 2011 resource estimate pegs indicated resources at 335,000 tonnes grading 4.07 g/t gold (43,800 oz) with inferred resources of 5,141,000 tonnes grading 5.55 g/t gold (917,000 oz). The Larder Lake Project was purchased on favorable terms in 2016, equating to approximately $4 per ounce. In addition, Bonterra benefited from $7 million in work and database information from previous optionor Goldfields that included 25,000 metres of drilling.
As far as management goes, Bonterra’s team has extensive experience in exploration and mining. Nav Dhaliwal has 20 years of leadership and entrepreneurial experience in starting up and financing numerous junior resource companies.
Dale Ginn, P.Geo., VP Exploration, is a geologist with 30 years’ experience in exploration and mining who has participated in many start-ups and discoveries. He has held senior positions with Sprott Mining, Jerritt Canyon, San Gold, Harmony Gold, HudBay, Westmin and Goldcorp.
Peter Ball has 25 years’ experience in mining engineering, corporate finance, business development and marketing in various management and senior executive roles. He is a director of several listed companies.
Bonterra Resources is well financed with approximately $60 million raised in past 12 months. There is a strong shareholder base that includes Eric Sprott, Sprott U.S. Holdings, Inc., Van Eck and Kirkland Lake Gold. The company has 226.5 million shares outstanding.
In conjunction with the current price of gold over US$1,300/oz, the high assays at the Gladiator Project bode well for developing a viable operation and any increase in the gold price will only add to the economic vitality of the project. Holding an excellent mining project in a favoured jurisdiction that features one of the highest grades amongst its peers, extensive management experience in capital markets and funding in place, Bonterra Resources is well positioned to achieve its goal of defining a multi-million ounce, high-grade gold resource at its Gladiator Project.