by David Duval
MULTI-YEAR HIGHS IN PRECIOUS METAL PRICES HAS SPURRED EXPLORATION ACTIVITY AND INVESTMENT INTEREST IN SOUTHERN BC, WITH FAVOURABLE LONG TERM PROSPECTS FOR METAL MARKETS SUGGESTING THE TREND COULD BE SUSTAINABLE. MANY OF THE COMPANIES COVERED BELOW HAVE ANNOUNCED SIGNIFICANT EXPLORATION RESULTS THAT MIGHT ONE DAY REPRESENT NEW SOURCES OF COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION.
Although mainly focused in Nevada, Abacus Mining & Exploration Corp. [AME-TSXV; ABCFF-OTC] also has a 20% ownership interest in the advanced stage Ajax copper-gold project near Kamloops. The project is managed by KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. [KGH-Warsaw], which holds the remaining 80%. KGHM has recently begun the process of reengaging the project with a view to resubmitting the previously unsuccessful environmental application for the project.
Academy Metals Inc. [AM-TSXV] holds claims in the Phillips Arm Gold Camp, approximately 200 km northwest of Vancouver. The company has two projects: Margurete and Hewitt Point, the latter being the subject of an exploration program last summer that followed up on anomalous gold, silver and base metal values revealed previously. All told, 27 short holes aggregating 40.85 metres were completed, with the highest gold values reported to be 8.62 g/t gold and 3.8 g/t silver over 38 cm. The project is on strike with the past producing Doratha Morton gold mine which produced gold and silver in the 1930s. At least three target zones have been identified on the Margurete claim.
Affinity Metals Corp. [AFF-TSXV] released assays from the late fall drill program conducted on the 100%-optioned, 8.800-hectare Regal property encompassing the northern end of the prolific Kootenay Arc approximately 25 km north-east of Revelstoke.
The property hosts multiple past-producing mines, including the Regal Silver, Allco Silver and the Snowflake Mine.
Along with numerous high-grade intercepts in multiple holes, a significant new silver discovery was made in the ALLCO area with drill hole #10 intersecting 11.10 metres of 143.29 g/t silver, including 0.55 metres of 2,612.0 g/t silver. This intersection also carried zinc (2.89%) and lead (6%) with some copper (0.66%). Twenty-one holes were drilled totaling 1,846.35 metres.
The drilling was divided over two separate target areas with 10 holes from two separate drill pads allocated to testing two areas within a graphitic argillite/limestone contact in the ALLCO area.
Part of Hunter Dickinson Group, Amarc Resources Ltd. [AHR-TSXV; AXREF-OTCQB] is advancing its 100%-owned IKE, DUKE and JOY porphyry copper deposit projects in southern, central and northern BC. Each of the three projects is located in proximity to industrial infrastructure – including power, highways and rail. According to Amarc, these projects represent significant porphyry gold-copper and copper-molybdenum deposit potential. Amarc’s JOY Project covers the northern extension of the prolific Kemess porphyry gold-copper district.
Copper Mountain Mining Corp. [CMMC-TSX; CPPMF-OTC; C6C-ASX] continues to produce from its flagship porphyry copper mining operation near Princeton. The mine produces approximately 100 million lbs of copper equivalent per year. With a modest mill expansion and integration of New Ingerbelle, the mine is expected to have a 31-year mine life and produce an average of 116 million pounds of copper equivalent per year.
Eagle Plains Resources Ltd. [EPL-TSXV] operates in Western Canada exploring for gold, base-metals, uranium, rare earth elements and industrial minerals. The company is somewhat of a hybrid in the business, placing an emphasis on project generation. The primary objective of its business model is to create partnerships with other companies to advance the company’s exploration projects. Partnering companies may earn an interest in an Eagle Plains project by conducting exploration work in addition to making cash and share payments. Eagle Plains also generates revenue through Terralogic Exploration Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Endurance Gold Corp. [EDG-TSXV; ENDGF-OTC] is focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of highly prospective mineral properties in North America with production potential. The company can earn a 100% interest in the Reliance gold property located five km east of Gold Bridge and 10 km north of the Bralorne-Pioneer gold mining camp which has historically produced over 4.0 million ounces of gold.
Diamond drilling in 2008 targeted the Imperial Zone, returning assays of 13.30 g/t gold over 4.20 metres, 7.05 g/t gold over 5.06 metres, 5.70 g/t gold over 12.05 metres, 5.43 g/t gold over 15.35 metres, and 2.16 g/t gold over 12.13 metres in five drill holes. A sample program, last year, on the Royal Shear Zone confirmed encouraging gold values on surface. Highlights of the results included: 10 g/t gold over 5.0 metres at the Imperial Zone and 4.6 g/t gold over 2.0 metres at the Senator Zone.
Plans for 2020 include mapping, rock sampling, channel sampling, and soil sampling. A diamond drilling program is planned for the summer.
Vancouver-based copper-gold exploration company, EnGold Mines Ltd. [EGM-TSXV], is focused on its 100%-owned Lac La Hache property in BC’s Cariboo region. The Spout deposit, the Aurizon Gold Zone and the 2017 G1 Discovery, located within a 7-km area on the property, are said to represent potential underground minable targets.
The 25,750-hectare property covers multiple drilled prospects that suggest the presence of a large, alkalic porphyry copper system similar to several other mines and deposits. EnGold recently acquired an option to purchase 100% of the Tam property which comprises 875 hectares of mineral claims adjoining the Lac La Hache property and directly east of the Aurizon Gold Deposit.
Ethos Gold Corp. [ECC-TSXV; ETHOF-OTCQB] is a well-financed company with the ability to leverage its strong balance sheet and fiscal reputation for the company’s various exploration ventures. Mineral projects are held by the company in BC, Québec and Nevada. The company’s 6,715-hectare Perk-Rocky property is located approximately 170 km west of Williams Lake. According to Ethos, the property has bulk tonnage Cu-Au potential along with high-grade gold potential. A several kilometre long surface expression of copper-gold mineralization and associated alteration has been observed on the property in a complex structural context. Planning is proceeding for a 2020 field program that would include an IP geophysical survey followed by drilling.
Last year, Gold Lion Resources Inc. [GL-CSE; 2BC-FWB] flew a 466-km airborne magnetic survey over its Fairview property located approximately 45 km west of Kamloops. Rock sampling completed by the company during the 2019 field season returned highly anomalous copper and zinc mineralization with results up to 1.48% and 1.24% copper as well as 1.78% zinc.
Grizzly Discoveries Inc. [GZD-TSXV; GZDIF-OTCQB; G6H-FSE] is exploring for gold and base metals in southern BC. The company has consolidated a previously fragmented historic mining camp with mineral claims covering approximately 180,000 contiguous acres in the Republic-Greenwood Gold District abutting the border with the United States.
Historically, the district produced an aggregate of more than 6 million oz gold prior to Grizzly’s acquisition of the project. The Greenwood Project also sits less than 10 km north of the past-producing Buckhorn gold mine, owned by Kinross, which had a 1.2 million oz. gold resource at 16 g/t gold at start up in 2010. Work conducted to date indicates a large portion of the Greenwood Project covers a continuation of the same geological structures hosting Buckhorn. The company is planning a drill program in 2020 subject to financing.
GSP Resource Corp. [GSPR-TSXV] started the year by acquiring an option to earn a 100% interest in the Alwin copper-gold-silver project located in BC’s most prolific copper-producing region, the Highland Valley near Logan Lake. The Alwin property is approximately 575.72 hectares and rests adjacent to the western boundary of the Teck Resources’ Highland Valley Copper Mine, the largest open pit porphyry copper-molybdenum mine in Canada. Alteration and mineralization of the Highland Valley hydrothermal system extends westward from the Highland Valley Mine onto the Alwin property. Copper mineralization has been known
to exist on the Alwin property since the late 19th century and small-scale mining was conducted on the property during the early 20th century. Recent exploration and mining were conducted during two periods: from 1967 to 1982 and from 2005 to 2008.
Dekalb Mining operated a 700 tpd mill on the property in the 1980s, supplying the plant with copper ore from an underground mining operation that was suspended in September 1981 due to low copper prices. Total production was 155,000 tonnes grading 1.54% copper. A trackless development decline exists to a depth of 270 metres below surface. Following mine closure, Dekalb calculated a resource around the mine workings, which is classified as a non-compliant historical resource that is estimated at 390,000 tonnes grading 2.5% copper after factoring for 25% dilution. GSP is currently permitting a drill program that will focus around and beneath the Alwin mine workings.
Independence Gold Corp. [IGO-TSXV; IEGCF-OTC] has early stage grassroots exploration to advanced-stage resource expansion projects in BC and the Yukon.
The company has the Merit exploration project in the Spences Bridge Gold Belt where seven distinct structurally-associated gold or gold-silver targets associated with a property wide ground magnetic survey has been identified.
The Sullivan Ridge Zone was the initial focus of a sampling program last summer due to past discoveries that highlighted anomalous gold values across a dome-shaped hill. Rock samples collected at Sullivan Ridge returned values from trace to 9.5 g/t gold and 341 g/t silver. The highest grading samples were collected from a series of 30-50 cm wide banded chalcedonic quartz veins on the crest of
the hill which were traced over an area of 700 by 300 metres. The system remains open to the southwest and to the north-east. Also located in the Spences Bridge region, exploration work last year on the company’s Nicoamen property included the discovery of four distinct gold targets hosting gold mineralization in chalcedonic quartz veins.
GGX Gold Corp. [GGX-TSXV; GGXXF-OTCQB] has a large land position in the Greenwood-Republic mining camp in south-central BC which throughout its long history produced 1.4 million oz gold, 10 million oz silver and 0.7 billion pounds of copper. In 2018, drilling on the Gold Drop property intercepted high-grade gold-silver results including 129 g/t gold and 1,154 g/t silver over 7.28 metres from the near surface COD vein which is projected to be 1.5 km long. In addition, tellurium grades were announced with up to 3,860 g/t tellurium, including 823 g/t tellurium over a 7.28-metre core length and 640 g/t tellurium over 6.90-metres.
The Gold Drop property hosts numerous low-sulfide, gold and silver bearing quartz veins or vein systems, four of which were previously mined. The earliest historic work on the property occurred during the 1890s to early 1900s when most of the veins were discovered. Most of the underground development mining occurred during the mid-1920s to 1941. Prospecting was done at the end of the 2019 field season to evaluate targets for trenching and drilling in the coming year. One sample assayed 55.8 g/t gold, 379 g/t silver and 270 ppm tellurium from a previously unknown occurrence of frost-heaved blocks of vein quartz containing pyrite. This site will be a priority for follow up trenching in 2020.
Happy Creek Minerals Ltd. [HPY-TSXV] has a portfolio of minerals projects in southern BC including the Fox tungsten project in the Williams Lake area. In recent months the company has been focused on its Highland Valley Project including the 144 km2 West Valley property. Several other prospects are being evaluated as well. Recent work has generated new deposit-scale targets at the PIM and Abbott prospects, both without any prior drilling.
Since announcing results of its 2019 work on both the Fox tungsten and Rateria-West Valley copper projects, the company has four confidentiality agreements in place for the purpose of exploring potential transactions and has received further interest in its projects during the PDAC convention earlier this month.
It is expected that a five-year exploration permit will be received shortly for the Rateria-West Valley property, which includes geophysics, trenching and drilling. Permits to conduct similar work at the Fox tungsten project are in place for 2020, while a five-year permit that expands the scope of work to a more advanced-stage development project is in progress.
Utilizing the successful 2019 drilling at the Fox Nightcrawler Zone, geological modelling is nearly complete that is expected to provide a substantial target with potential to significantly increase the project resources.
Happy Creek currently has $1.1 million in cash on hand and no debt.JNC Resources Inc. [JNC-CSE] is developing its 100%-optioned project in south-central British Columbia. The Triple 9 Project, located 20 km outside the town of Sicamous, is a gold property with a new discovery of high levels of base metals. The area is mining friendly and within a short distance to numerous industrial-based cities with skilled work forces and equipment and a reasonable drive from home base in Vancouver.
Klondike Silver Corp. [KS-TSXV; KLSVF-OTC] owns 100% of the Sandon Mining Complex in the Slocan Mining District of southeastern BC. This district has produced more than 24 million oz silver since the first discoveries in the late 1800s transformed this scenic wilderness into the silver-mining centre of Western Canada.
The company is the dominant landholder of the camp. Along with the 100 tonne-per-day permitted flotation mill in historic Sandon, the company owns the past-producing Silvana, Wonderful and Hinckley Mines in addition to other past producing mines and exploration properties. In the past, this land package saw little modern exploration because of the previous fragmented ownership of the claims and the presence of overburden.
Klondike Silver is exploring, from underground, the western extension of the Silvana Mine along the Main Lode, a 9-km structure which is the most prolific mineralized feature in the Slocan Mining Camp.
In the Spences Bridge Gold Belt near Merritt, Lionheart Exploration Inc. owns a 100% interest in three claim blocks covering over 5,400 hectares of prospective gold terrane. The property lies within a 110 km northwest trending belt that is known to host significant epithermal gold-silver systems. Dozens of small mines have produced from the belt since the early 1900s. The company’s claim blocks are close to major transportation routes and infrastructure, allowing for cost-effective exploration.
New Carolin Gold Corp. [LAD-TSXV; LADFF-OTC] holds the Ladner gold property situated 150 km east of Vancouver near the Town of Hope which includes the former Carolin gold mine. The Ladner property was drilled in 2019 with one hole returning 10.54 metres of 3.4 g/t gold including 4.7 metres of 5.5 g/t gold. Continuing structural and surface studies are planned to enhance geological knowledge to use as a predictive tool for discovering ore extensions, new mineralized zones, and regional continuity.
Kodiak Copper Corp. [KDK-TSXV], formerly Dunnedin Ventures Inc., is focused on porphyry projects. Its most advanced asset is the MPD copper-gold porphyry project in the Quesnel Trough in south-central BC where high-grade mineralization was discovered in 2020. In early February the company announced a private placement of $3 million and a planned name change to Kodiak Copper.
The company has reported results from the first drill program on the MPD Project that returned 102 metres grading 0.68% copper equivalent. Neighbouring operations have average grades ranging between 0.25 and 0.30% copper. The large porphyry system at MPD is wide open and the 2020 exploration program will focus on defining established drill targets.
The New Destiny Mining Corp. [NED-TSXV] Treasure Mountain property 30 km east of Hope covers geologically prospective ground adjacent to the historic Treasure Mountain silver-lead-zinc mine. The claims cover eight mineral occurrences including silver, gold, lead, zinc and copper, and numerous historic mine adits and trenches. The prospect was drilled last year and future work will be subject to financing.
Gold and copper producer, New Gold Inc. [NGD-TSX; NYSE American], owns the New Afton Mine 10 km west of Kamloops which began commercial production in July 2012. The underground operation is expected to produce on average 85,000 oz gold and 75 million lbs of copper per year over its mine life. The mine occupies the site of the historic Afton Mine and includes an open pit, underground workings, historic support facilities, a new concentrator and recently constructed tailings facility.
With a portfolio of gold projects in Burkina Faso, Nexus Gold Corp. [NXS-TSXV; NXXGF-OTCQB; N6E-FSE] also holds the New Pilot gold-copper property located in the Bridge River Mining Camp approximately 180 km north of Vancouver. The project is relatively close to the past producing Bralorne Pioneer Mine 18 km to the southeast. For the moment, the company’s activities have been confined to the Red Lake mining camp and Burkina Faso.
Nicola Mining Inc. [NIM-TSXV; HUSIF-OTC is focused on its wholly-owned Treasure Mountain Property in the Merritt area which includes a fully-permitted high-grade silver mine located approximately 90 minutes from the former Craigmont mill. Recent work included soil sampling and rock sampling, with one sample returning 813 g/t Ag and 0.518 g/t Au along with 19% zinc and 4.66% copper. The sample appears to be from the same Cal Vein system that was tested in 2010 and 2013 which also provided high-grade assays.
Nicola is also exploring the 100%-owned, past-producing Craigmont copper mine ground – now named New Craigmont – that has returned encouraging drill results. Historic resource calculations of the No. 3 mineralized body calculated a probable reserve of 1,290,000 tonnes grading 1.53% copper. The company operates a gold mill nearby on a custom milling basis for its clients.
Integrated mining company Nyrstar NV [NYRSF-OTC; NYR-Brussels] owns the currently dormant and historic Myra Falls zinc-copper-lead-silver mine in a provincial park in central Vancouver Island. The Myra Falls mineral deposits are comprised of complex metalzoned Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide deposits. The company had previously announced a resumption of operations which appears to have been delayed by declining metal prices.
Omineca Mining and Metals Ltd. [OMM-TSXV; OMMSF-OTC] is focused on commercial extraction of alluvial gold that has been trapped underneath a portion of Lightning Creek in south-central BC. Utilizing a freeze technology to safely access the placer channel below the river, gold will be extracted from the gravels by wash plant and gravity separation using an existing, reusable water supply. The extraction process will use no chemicals, no leaching, no mill and no waste or tailings will be produced. Omineca has become one of the dominant placer development and lode gold exploration companies in the heart of the historic Cariboo Mining District of BC.
With a name befitting its business, Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. [OR-TSXV; NYSE] holds a North American focused portfolio of over 135 royalties, streams and precious metal offtakes. Osisko’s portfolio is anchored by its 5% NSR royalty in the Canadian Malartic Mine which is the largest gold mine in Canada. Last September, Osisko announced the takeover of Barkerville Gold Mines and its Cariboo gold project which has measured and indicated resources of 2.4 million ounces gold (13.2 million tonnes grading 5.6 g/t gold). In 2020, one of Osisko’s primary objectives will be to obtain third-party funding for the Cariboo Project while concurrently using the company’s expertise in exploration, permitting, mine development, and mine finance to keep advancing the project.
Pinnacle North Gold Corp. [PGG-CSE] has filed a prospectus with regulators and intends to explore its Donna property within the Intermontane Belt of south-central BC. The property was drilled by Eagle Plains Resources in 2019, with the hole stopping in a zone of alteration that demonstrated the potential for intersecting deeper intrusion-skarn and/or a source for the mineralized quartz veining open at depth. The Donna property is considered highly prospective for epithermal vein and intrusion-related, precious-base metal mineralization.
PJX Resources Inc.’s [PJX-TSXV] primary exploration projects are located in the historical mining area of Cranbrook and Kimberley, a region that hosts the historic and famous Sullivan lead-zinc mine which produced zinc, lead and silver for 90 years. PJX owns mineral title to eight properties aggregating over 50,000 hectares in the camp.
The company plans to continue drilling the recently identified new massive sulphide zone with zinc-lead-copper-silver mineralization on the Vine property in addition to testing high-grade gold zones on its Gold Shear prospect. Multiple targets exist on other properties that will also be followed up.
Rokmaster Resources Corp. [RKR-TSXV; RKMSF-OTC] is primarily focused on developing its new massive sulphide gold and polymetallic Revel Ridge Project, formerly named the J&L property, along with its zinc-lead-silver Duncan Lake Project, both of which are located in south-central BC.
The company can earn 100% from Huakan International Mining in Revel Ridge, host to one of the largest undeveloped precious and polymetallic deposits in the province.
The Revel Ridge Mineral Resource Estimate comprises: Main Gold Zone M&I: 4,200,000 MT for 1,089,000 oz AuEq at 8.07 g/t AuEq. Main Zone Inferred: 4,562,000 MT for 961,000 ounces AuEq at 6.55 g/t AuEq (excludes both Hanging Wall and Foot Wall Zones). Yellowjacket Zone Indicated Resources: 764,000 MT of 9.98% zinc + 2.61% lead + 62.8g/t silver.
The property includes mineral claims, surface lands, Crown grants, equipment (including underground mining fleet and supplies), results from 315 diamond drill holes with >41,000 metres of drill core, a fully functional 40 person all-weather camp, offices and maintenance shop, and all associated assets including a CP rail siding and concentrate load out facility at Revelstoke.
The Sego Resources Inc. [SGZ-TSXV] Miner Mountain copper-gold project is in Quesnel-Stikine Terrane that hosts three copper-gold porphyry projects approaching production. Located immediately east of Princeton and 16 km north of the Copper Mountain Mine, the project has immediate access to highways, hydro power, communications and is accessible year-round. A total of 4,159m of diamond drilling and 9,044 metres of percussion drilling have been completed by Sego to date, along with extensive geophysics with at least six targets identified for follow-up work.
Spanish Mountain Gold Ltd. [SPA-TSXV; SPAZF-OTC; S3Y-FSE] is advancing its 9,319-hectare flagship Spanish Mountain gold project in the Cariboo region, 66 km northeast of Williams Lake. The Spanish Mountain gold deposit is classified as a sediment-hosted vein deposit. The company has prioritized the development of the first phase of the project in which the pitdelineated high-grade core of the deposit is expected to sustain a stand-alone operation of 11 years. A Preliminary Economic Assessment has been completed that assumes a 10,000 tpd throughput and a base case gold price of US $1,275/oz. Plans are being completed for a field work and cost study program that will be executed this summer in order to further de-risk the project.
An associate company of Osisko Gold Royalties, Strongbow Exploration Inc. [SBW-TSXV; SBWFF-OTC], is building a portfolio of metal assets in North America and the United Kingdom. With Osisko owning a 32.7% interest in the company, Strongbow has exposure to Osisko’s Cariboo gold project which has measured and indicated resources of 2.4 million ounces of gold (13.2 million tonnes grading 5.6 g/t gold).
The exploration holdings of Talisker Resources Ltd. [TSK-CSE; TSKFF-OTCQB] include an advanced stage project with significant exploration potential in south-central BC: the former high-grade Bralorne gold mine. In addition, the company has property in the Spences Bridge region and holds ~85% of the emerging gold belt in addition to several other early stage projects.
With property holdings comprising 270,605 hectares over 288 claims, three leases and 154 Crown grants, Talisker is a dominant exploration player in the south-central BC. In early February, the company began a Phase 1 drilling program at Bralorne consisting of 2,700 metres of diamond drilling in five holes, part of an overall 11,200-metre program. The complete program will be executed in the first and second quarters of 2020.
Taseko Mines Ltd. [TKO-TSX; TGB-NYSE American] is the 75% owner and operator of the Gibraltar Mine – the second largest open pit copper-molybdenum mine in Canada. Taseko’s Aley niobium project and New Prosperity gold-copper project are all advanced-staged projects, providing the company with a diverse commodity pipeline. The Prosperity deposit is a gold-copper porphyry with a one billion tonne Measured and Indicated Resource containing 5.3 billion lb copper and 13.3 million oz gold. Development of the project has been delayed by long term permitting issues.
Teck Resources Ltd.’s [TECK.A; TECK.B-TSX; TECK-NYSE] wholly owns Highland Valley Copper which has been producing both copper and molybdenum concentrates from mine operations near Logan Lake for decades. Copper production is anticipated to average about 150,000 tonnes per year after 2022 through to the end of the current mine plan in 2028.
With a focus on copper, the Troubadour Resources Inc. [TR-TSXV] strategically located Amarillo Project consists of nine mineral claims 20 km west of Peachland which was previously the home to the Brenda Copper Mine. The multi-element signature of the Amarillo copper project area is consistent with a large multi-phase mineralizing system and is similar to some of the neighbouring world-class mining operations. Plans for 2020 include 2,000 metres of drilling focused on an extensive trench anomaly and following up on the 2019 drill discovery of 0.14% CuEq over 11.5 metres and other high priority targets.
Westhaven Ventures Inc. [WHN-TSXV; WTHVF-OTC] owns a 100%-interest in four properties covering over 35,000 hectares in the Spences Bridge Gold Belt. The company has identified numerous high-priority drill targets at its 17,623-hectare Shovelnose gold property, and recently added a second drill rig. In 2019, the company completed property-scale airborne geophysics, 327 line-km of ground magnetic surveys, DC Resistivity, collected over 5,500 soil samples, and completed property-scale mapping and prospecting, defining numerous targets for followup.
Ximen Mining Corp. [XIM-TSXV; XXMMF-OTCQB; 1XM-FSE] owns a 100% interest in three precious metals projects in southern BC: the Gold Drop Project and the Brett Epithermal Gold Project. In addition, Ximen owns the Treasure Mountain Silver Project, adjacent to the past-producing Huldra Silver Mine. The company also has an option to acquire the former Kenville Gold mine in the Nelson area.
Complementing its exploration portfolio in the region, Ximen recently secured an agreement to acquire a total of 107 mineral claims covering approximately 4,276 hectares near the Kenville Mine.