McEwen Mining Inc. [MUX-TSX, NYSE] has received Bonanza-grade gold assays from its 100%-owned Black Fox mine near Timmins, northeastern Ontario.
Mining at Black Fox was suspended from March 26 to April 14, 2020, to allow time for management to evaluate and adapt to operating with the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since April 14, 2020, the mine has been operating under corporate and provincial COVID-19 guidelines.
The temporary suspension and subsequent staged ramp-up back into production impacted the company’s mining plan for 2020, and the company is in the process of adjusting production forecasts. Guidance for the second half of 2020 will be provided with the company’s second quarter results. Development mining remains on target and focused on increasing access to additional mining areas.
Underground exploration drilling along the upper west flank of the Black Fox mine encountered high-grade results within 400 feet (120 metres) to the west of the nearest mining area. Infill drilling also returned very high grades close to existing workings. Further underground development and drilling will be required to demonstrate continuity of the mineralization on the west extension of the mine. The occurrence of high-grade gold intersections suggests the potential to define new gold resources to the west.
Highlights include 776.6 g/t gold over 2.4 metres (True Width), including 2,488.2 g/t gold over 0.7 metres in hole 300-F888-40. Hole 300-B890-04 intersected 162.3 g/t gold over 2.5 metres (True Width), including 1,009.2 metres over 0.4 metres. Hole 335-EX877-07 returned 79.3 g/t gold over 2.6 metres (True Width), including 197.5 g/t gold over 1.0 metre.
A complete summary of new underground drilling results from Black Fox is available at the company’s website.
Progress on the twin ramps to access the Froome deposit encountered a temporary delay in order to recondition the pit wall above the access portals. Priority work on the pit wall has been completed, and ramp development resumed on June 16, 2020. Gold production from Froome remains on target for late 2021.
The resource estimate for the Grey Fox target area, located 3.2 km southeast of the Black Fox Mine, was updated and increased by 43% to 888,000 gold ounces at 7.1 g/t in the indicated category, with an additional 173,000 gold ounces grading 6.6 g/t in the inferred category.
Work on conceptual engineering and permitting is advancing, and the company expects to begin an economic study later this year. Tradeoff evaluations are expected to include open-pit and underground mining scenarios, with a production objective of at least 100,000 ounces of gold per year from the existing Stock mill. The company plans to accelerate the development of the Grey Fox project to coincide with the completion of mining at the Froome deposit.
At the Stock property, the company’s exploration team is designing surface drilling to infill and evaluate the growth potential of the Stock West mineralized zone discovered in 2019. The company is also assessing the potential of reopening the historic Stock mine in order to provide underground access to the Stock East and Stock West mineralized zones.
At the 100%-owned Gold Bar mine 48 km northwest of Eureka, Nevada, mining was suspended on April 1, 2020, and restarted on May 6, 2020, at the Pick West deposit on a one-shift-per-day basis.
An updated resource estimate and mine plan are expected to be completed in early Q3. Fortunately, to date, the company has not had any COVID-19 cases among its work force.
Infill drilling and confirmation drilling conducted in and around the Pick pit since mid-March, 2020, have increased the company’s confidence in the revised geologic model and demonstrated potential near mine exploration opportunities to the southwest and northeast. Selected intersections from the infill drilling program at Pick West include 3.3 g/t gold over 56.4 metres, 3.2 g/t gold over 33.5 metres, and 5.1 g/t gold over 19.6 metres, including 11.3 g/t gold over 5.2 metres.
A complete summary of new surface diamond and reverse circulation drilling results from Gold Bar is available at the company’s website.
Drilling has started at the Gold Bar South satellite deposit to test extensions of the deposit and acquire samples for additional metallurgical testing and resource validation. Permitting for development and production from Gold Bar South is also in progress.