Vancouver-based Silver Range Resources (TSX Venture: SNG) has been taking advantage of the prolonged slump in mineral exploration to stake several properties in North America with high-grade gold and silver potential.
“We launched an extensive, wide-ranging research program to identify prospective targets that came open during the downturn, or properties that have unrecognized potential because of developing deposit models,” says Silver Range President and CEO Mike Power, a seasoned geoscientist with extensive experience working in Canada’s north and elsewhere.
As a result, the project generator currently holds 38 projects — of which 34 have been added since mid-2016 — in stable jurisdictions in Canada’s north and Nevada that will be optioned to partners or sold as they reach drill-ready status. The focus is on grade: only targets with the potential for average grades of at least five grams gold per tonne equivalent are eligible.
“It’s easier to focus on size in the exploration business because larger deposits have bigger footprints and alteration haloes,” says Power. “But high grade deposits command a higher price per tonne, are easier to engineer, and are, on the whole, more likely to succeed. They’re tougher to find but that’s the kind of challenge we like.”
With more than $1 million in the treasury, Silver Range further sets itself apart from a crowded field of juniors by running a lean operation. The Strategic Exploration Group — a junior exploration collective in Vancouver — handles Silver Range’s routine administration and keeps its growing portfolio of projects in good standing.
All-season exploration with activity in Canada’s northern territories during the warmer months and in Nevada in winter also builds in efficiencies. And harnessing the expertise of two of the most successful consulting firms in the north, Aurora Geosciences and Archer Cathro & Associates, keeps Silver Range’s costs to a minimum while ensuring the best exploration approach.
“Northern logistics are difficult if you don’t have the know-how,” says Power. “Having access to people with experience in the north is key to keeping costs manageable.”
As the industry returns to health, Silver Range is beginning to generate a revenue stream from option and joint venture agreements that the company can use to advance projects to the drill-ready stage without having to rely too much on dilutive public financings.
Currently, resources are directed at four initiatives ranging from district-scale prospecting along belts with proven gold reserves in Canada’s north, to specific drill targets in Nevada. Favoured deposit models include Archean lode and iron formation-hosted gold in Canada and epithermal, mesothermal and carbonate-hosted gold in Nevada.
In Nunavut, Silver Range has assembled a portfolio of seven projects along the South Kitikmeot belt — an emerging gold district between the Lupin mine and the advanced Back River gold project, where mine construction could begin as early as 2018. Six of the seven targets have high grade gold occurrences similar in style to the iron formation-hosted mineralization at Lupin and Back River, while the seventh is undergoing reconnaissance prospecting. Geophysical surveys are identifying potential drill targets within the package.
In southern Nunavut, the company is exploring the Ennadai-Rankin greenstone belt where Agnico Eagle Mines is developing the Meliadine gold mine. Of Silver Range’s five projects there, two named Yandle and Hard Cash are close to drill-ready status. Results from Hard Cash, a high-grade Archean lode gold prospect, are particularly encouraging with the delineation of a 1,400-metre trend of bedrock and float samples grading up to 174 gpt gold and 1,192 gpt silver.
In the Northwest Territories, Silver Range is focusing on a large property along the Providence gold belt, 250 km northeast of Yellowknife. The PGB project — recently optioned from GGL Resources — covers 40% of the belt and more than 90% of its known mineral occurrences. This prospective yet relatively unexplored property has several drill-ready gold targets that could kick-start a sustained exploration drive in the region.
And in Nevada, the company is investigating the potential for granite-hosted gold deposits along the Walker Lane belt near the border with California. Geophysical anomalies associated with surface gold mineralization at the Strongbox property are ready to drill, while sampling has identified a 1,500-metre-long corridor of quartz veins and breccia zones grading up to 73 gpt gold at the Enigma property.
As the industry emerges from a 5-year downturn and turns its attention to higher grade projects that stand a better chance of withstanding metal price fluctuations, Silver Range is well positioned to capitalize on the upswing without the risk of excessive share dilution. The prospect generator also stands to benefit from new infrastructure being built in Canada’s north as mines such as Agnico’s Meliadine, Sabina Gold and Silver ’s Back River and TMAC Resources’ Hope Bay are developed.
“Our exploration expenditures are directed at advancing our most favourable projects to option with little or no drilling,” says Power. “Our strategy is to minimize our requirements for additional capital and to finance selectively to preserve shareholder value.”
— The preceding Joint Venture Article is promoted content sponsored by Silver Range Resources Ltd. and written in conjunction with The Northern Miner. Visit silverrangeresources.com to learn more.