Canada’s westernmost province and two territories have long attracted mineral explorers and developers lured by the region’s rich natural endowment, substantial infrastructure and pro-mining government policies. The following is a look at eight such juniors active in B.C., the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Colorado Resources (TSXV: CXO; US-OTC: CLASF) is a technically oriented junior explorer best known for its KSP and North ROK gold-copper properties in the southern portion of the Golden Triangle region of northwest B.C. between the Eskay Creek and Snip mine properties. It also has its Kinaskan-Castle and Kingpin properties in the area, plus an option on the Green Springs property in Nevada from Ely Gold & Minerals.
Overall the junior holds 1,200 sq. km of claims in the Golden Triangle.
Colorado completed over 200 sq. km of geology mapping in the area between 2014 and 2017, and developed better understanding of the regional stratigraphic and structural setting.
Colorado drilled 68 holes at KSP in 2017 for a total of 11,800 metres of NQ diamond drill core that tested multiple target areas within the Inel-Khyber zone, as well as the new Tami copper-gold zone, 5 km southeast of Inel-Khyber, with 11 drill holes.
The company is analyzing the results to plan for 2018’s fieldwork.
Vancouver-based, Gregory Beischer-led Millrock Resources (TSXV: MRO; US-OTC: MLRKF) bills itself as a prospect generator, and has 25 active projects, including five in Alaska, three in B.C., 16 in Mexico and one in New Mexico.
Its emphasis has been on gold and copper, focusing on porphyry and high-grade, vein-style deposits.
Millrock’s B.C. projects are Oweegee Dome, Todd Creek and Willoughby.
Oweegee Dome is an early-stage partnership with Sojourn Ventures (TSXV: SOJ) in the Golden Triangle that encompasses multiple hydrothermal-related polymetallic prospects.
Todd Creek is in a similar geological setting in the Golden Triangle, and Millrock seeks to bring in an option partner to carry out more grassroots work.
The nearby Willoughby property is also subject to an option agreement with Sojourn.
Millrock notes that exploration expenses on its properties in 2017 exceeded US$5 million, of which 90% was funded by partners through earn-in option agreements. Exploration work was completed on nine projects and two new earn-in partners were brought in. Millrock says revenue from property payments and exploration management fees helped offset its overhead costs.
Walter Storm’s Tudor Gold (TSXV: TUD; US-OTC: TDRRF) is active in B.C.’s Golden Triangle region within the Mctagg anticlinorium mineralized belt where Pretium Resources (TSX: PVG, NYSE: PVG) and Seabridge Gold (TSX: SEA; NYSE: SA) also have advanced projects. Tudor says the emerging area is “similar historically to the early days of other significant global discoveries and may become one of the premiere metal-producing areas in the world.”
It notes that recent glacier abatement has “opened up previously covered areas revealing exposed mineralization never seen before,” and that infrastructure improvements in the mining-friendly jurisdiction add to the project’s appeal.
Tudor’s flagship 171 sq. km Treaty Creek project in the area borders Seabridge’s KSM property to the southwest and Pretium’s Valley of the Kings project to the southeast. From 2007, Tudor notes that 20 drill holes comprising 5,400 metres were reported at Treaty Creek’s GR2 zone, with 18 returning “significant” values.
In mid-January, Tudor reported another 17 holes from its 27-hole, 2017 drill program on the Copper Belle zone of the Treaty Creek property, and what it calls the “most promising gold intersections reported to date,” including hole 17-26 that returned 149 metres grading 1.78 grams gold per tonne from 98 metres.
So far, Tudor says, 15 of the 16 holes drilled in the Copper Belle zone contain prominent mineralization, which continues to expand the size of this potential deposit and increases the zone’s resource estimate area.
NICKEL CREEK PLATINUM
Nickel Creek Platinum (TSX: NCP; US-OTC: NCPCF) is the new name for the well-known junior Wellgreen Platinum, with the name change taking effect Jan. 8.
What hasn’t changed is the company’s focus on advancing its 100% owned Nickel Shaw project in the southwest corner of the Yukon towards becoming “Canada’s next world-class nickel sulphide mine.”
The assets hosts over 2 billion lb. nickel, 1 billion lb. copper, 6 million oz. platinum group metals and 120 million lb. cobalt in the measured and indicated categories.
The company emphasizes that a new management team was assembled in 2016–17 (including bringing in former Romarco Minerals exec Diane Garrett as president and CEO), and that over the past year its technical team has reanalyzed the entire deposit.
Some of its key shareholders include the Electrum Fund (26%), Resource Capital Funds (11%), Drake Private Investments (9%) and Tocqueville Gold Fund (5%).
Stratabound Minerals (TSXV: SB) shifted gears in 2017 by putting its long-held New Brunswick base metals properties on the back burner and jumping headlong in October into the new Yukon gold rush, as well as relocating its head office from Toronto to Calgary and hiring R. Kim Taylor as president and CEO.
In December Stratabound closed its acquisition of an option on the Golden Culvert gold project in the Upper Hyland Valley in southeastern Yukon from South Shore Partnership Inc., in return for 12 million shares, 6 million warrants and $200,000 in cash.
Fully exercising the option will require payments of $1.6 million and work commitments of $700,000 over five years, with underlying net smelter return royalties aggregating to 2.5% payable to the optionors and South Shore.
Stratabound intends to carry out work on the property in the coming 2018 field season.
After many years, Victoria Gold (TSXV: VIT; US-OTC: VITFF) has graduated from exploration company to budding mine developer at its Eagle Gold project in the Yukon, where reserves stand at 123 million tonnes grading 0.67 gram gold per tonne, or 2.7 million oz. gold.
Victoria describes Eagle Gold as “shovel-ready” with permits in hand for construction and operations, and notes that when in production, the mine could produce 200,000 oz. gold annually at an operating cost of US$550 per oz. gold from a large open pit operating at 33,700 tonnes per day.
Victoria says its shareholders are “well positioned to participate in a highly leveraged gold play and construction of the largest gold mine in Yukon history.”
The company has a US$220-million debt facility and last spoke of US$40 million in its treasury. With mine construction set to cost US$300–320 million, a US$40–60 million shortfall is in order, with Victoria examining its options.
A $40-million first phase of mine building got underway in mid-2017, with the next phase of construction set for 2018–2019, and first gold pour due in the second quarter of 2019.
ARCTIC STAR EXPLORATION
Diamond explorer Arctic Star Exploration (TSXV: ADD; US-OTC: ASDZF) was founded in 2002 and has prospects in the Northwest Territories (Diagras and Redemption), Nunavut (Stein), Saskatchewan’s Athabasca basin, B.C. (Cap for rare metals) and in Finland (the newly acquired Timantti project near Kuusamo).
Arctic Star boasts that its exploration is overseen by world-class diamond geologists including Buddy Doyle as vice-president of exploration and Roy Spencer as Finland country manager, who have a track record of finding the billion-dollar diamond mines Diavik in northern Canada and the Grib mine in Russia.
Meanwhile, Patrick Power serves as executive chairman and Scott Eldridge as president and CEO.
In November, Arctic Star completed the second and final tranche of a non-brokered private placement that raised a total of $1.7 million, with money to be earmarked for work in Finland and for general corporate purposes.
Arctic Star calls the region around Timantti “one of the last known district-scale diamond fields in the world that’s near infrastructure.”
Toronto-based Nighthawk Gold (TSX: NHK; US-OTC: MIMZF) says it is developing “Canada’s next gold camp,” having under control over 90% of the prospective and historic Indin Lake greenstone, 200 km north of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.
Its assets in the belt include an inferred resource at the Colomac project of 40 million tonnes grading 1.64 grams gold per tonne for 2.1 million oz. gold at a 0.6 gram gold cut-off grade.
Nighthawk carried out 27,000 metres of drilling at Colomac in 2017, and expects to table a new resource in early 2018.
In September, Nighthawk had $33 million in cash, and said it was funded for the next 24 months of work. Its shareholder base includes Kinross Gold, Osisko Royalties and McEwen Mining.