Braveheart Resources Inc. (TSXV: BHT) is pursuing an ambitious three year exploration and development plan for its 100% owned Alpine Mine gold project, 20 km northeast of Nelson in southeastern British Columbia. The Company intends to carry out bulk sampling and additional drilling this year as it looks to expand on the resource estimate it tabled in early January.
In the 1930s and ’40s, government files report that 16,800 tonnes were mined from the Alpine property grading 21 g/tonne gold. However, the project was largely abandoned after the Second World War. Combining these past reports with Braveheart’s own drilling has allowed for the calculation of a new, NI 43-101-compliant resource estimate of 268,000 inferred tonnes grading 16.5 g/tonne gold for 142,000 oz. gold at a 5 g/tonne gold cut-off grade.
“Chance favours those with a prepared eye,” Braveheart President and CEO Phil Keele says in an interview. “We looked at historical records, government reports and metallurgical reports all of which supported a strong mining history at the Alpine. The diamond drilling performed this past summer together with some current panel sampling conducted in the existing mine workings only support this rich history.”
Keele retired from an oilsands project in Fort McMurray, Alta., in 2016 before getting involved with Braveheart in a technical position.
“I got so turned on by the history I ended up joining the company as their president,” he says.
Keele notes that Braveheart still has a lot of work to do. The Company’s aggressive three year plan is to outline a reserve estimate and obtain regulatory approval for a small mine by the fourth quarter of 2019, with gold production taking place by mid-2020.
Braveheart acquired the Alpine Mine property in late 2016 and raised $800,000 that funded its summer 2017 diamond drill campaign.
“We had to fly components to the mountain, erect the drill there, and then with the helicopter physically relocate the pads and equipment in order to drill into the side of the mountain,” Keele recalls. “It’s not for the faint of heart — I guess that’s why we call ourselves Braveheart.”
Braveheart fanned up the side of the mountain, drilling 11 holes over 1,600 meters. Three of the holes returned grades higher than 11.8 g/tonne gold over 1.4 meters with one hole over 37 g/tonne gold over 1.4 meters. Almost all of them intersected mineralized material.
“What was exciting about the drilling program,” says Keele, “is we intersected the quartz vein consistently in the majority of the holes.”
Intercept thicknesses ranged from 0.5 to 1.5 meters, with what he calls “some really substantial intersections.”
Keele says Braveheart plans to develop Alpine as a small stand-alone mine.
“That is our mandate,” he explains. “We want to be a small gold producer and have a stable system for producing in that level — efficiently, safely and cost effectively.”
To that end Braveheart is exploring opportunities to incorporate robotic solutions to mine Alpine’s narrow vein system. It’s been talking to Dr. Greg Baiden, Chairman and CTO at Penguin Automated Systems Inc., a Naughton, Ont.-based company leading the way in the development of robotic mining systems. Baiden formerly served as General Manager Mining R&D at Inco leading the company’s efforts globally in the development and application of robotics mining systems before it was bought by Vale in 2006.
The Alpine is just one property in Braveheart’s seven property Big Strike gold-silver land package. All the other properties are within a 60 km radius of Alpine.
“That’s what’s really powerful,” says Keele. “We’re focused on the Alpine, but we have a lot of upside opportunity in terms of exploration potential with our other areas on the lease.”
He’s cautious though not to expand Braveheart’s operations too quickly. He says the Company will continue to collect grab samples and review historical information on the other sites.
“Right now we’re focused on the Alpine as our flagship mine. Let’s bring that into production and then we can start to expand some of the other jewels in the crown,” says Keele.
This year Braveheart wants to double last year’s drill program. It aims to raise $3.5 million, part of which would go to developing better access to the property, a 2,000 tonne bulk sample later this year, as well as exploration drilling on Alpine. It then wants to bulk sample upwards of 10,000 tonnes in 2019 while further developing access up the side of the mountain.
“Right now we can get up there through the use of ATV’s,” Keele says. “But there has to be some development of that access, obviously in an environmentally sensitive way.”
Shares of Braveheart are valued at 10¢, with a 52-week range of 3¢ to 12¢. The Company has a market capitalization of $4.5 million.
— The preceding Joint Venture Article is promoted content sponsored by Braveheart Resources Inc. and written in conjunction with The Northern Miner. Visit www.braveheartresourcesinc.com to learn more.