Vancouver-based explorer Brixton Metals (BBB-V) can barely contain its excitement over the silver-equivalent grades it has been cutting at its Thorn pollymetallic project, 130 km southwest of Atlin in northwestern B.C. The company followed up the discovery of the Oban breccia zone in late 2011, with a 26-hole drill program in 2012 that focused 3,000 metres on defining high-grade, silver-equivalent mineralization at Oban.
Brixton is fulfilling an earn-in requirement with Kiska Metals (KSK-V) that could see Brixton acquire a 65% interest in the Thorn land package. Under the agreement, Brixton needs to spend $5 million on exploration to earn its 51%. At that point, Kiska would retain an option to joint-venture the project; otherwise, Brixton could bump its stake to 65% by spending another $10 million in exploration.
According to chairperson and CEO Gary Thompson, Brixton is $900,000 away from earning 51% in Thorn.
“When we first went in there last year, we had a whole list of targets . . . it is a really big package. We whittled those down and were quite excited by the Talisker zone, because of broad intervals at fairly high grades in the central part of what we think is a sub-porphyry alteration zone,” Thompson says during an interview. “As it goes into the mountain it goes underneath this unconformity, so we wanted to test that in a few spots,” he says, adding that the company also used a first-drill campaign to confirm historic drilling and extend the site’s strike length.
Brixton’s inaugural drill campaign culminated with hole 11-60, which hit the Oban zone from surface and cut 95 metres grading 1.7 grams gold per tonne, 628 grams silver per tonne, 2.4% zinc and 3.31% lead. Thompson says that Oban’s high grades led to a 13-hole program at the target at depths ranging from 50 metres to 100 metres in early 2012.
Brixton finished up its first phase of drilling in mid-July, having drilled 1,151 metres. The company reported that all 13 core holes encountered semi-massive sulphides and sulphosalts, with breccia-matrix infill mixing between fragments of disseminated and veinlet to crackle breccias-style mineralization.
Brixton encountered strong grades from near-surface, with highlights from its first phase including: 13 metres grading 1.72 grams gold, 513 grams silver, 1.54% zinc and 4.24% lead in hole 12-65; and 53 metres averaging 1.57 grams gold, 127 grams silver and 1.09% lead in hole 12-72.
Brixton started up a second program in October, drilling 1,700 metres at Oban to upgrade its geological model and test mineralization to depths reaching 300 metres.
Oban yielded promising intercepts during Brixton’s second drill phase, including two of the company’s widest sections to date. Assays from the program were released in November, with highlights including: 123 metres grading 1.19 grams gold, 191 grams silver, 3.25% zinc and 1.74% lead from a 44-metre depth in hole 12-84; and 150 metres averaging 1.37 grams gold, 165 grams silver, 1.25% zinc and 0.92% lead from a 24-metre depth in hole 12-83.
“The bulk of the exploration dollars next year will likely focus on expanding Oban. Our goal is to get a maiden resource there, and we’re targeting 100 million equivalent oz. silver,” Thompson says, pointing out that the 2012 intercepts have led to estimates that the Oban zone has a thickness of up to 140 metres and runs to depths in excess of 325 metres.
“We’ve had a fairly successful return on our exploration dollars there, so we think we can get to that initial resource quite quickly, and at relatively low costs. Our plan is to complete additional geophysics first to help vector our deeper drilling. We’ll also continue to march down the structure,” he adds.
Brixton is continuing scout work on the remainder of the Thorn land package. Thompson mentions the Amarillo Creek area, which has returned the highest-grade surface material on the property, but has yet to see any systematic exploration.
Late in the field season, the company soil sampled in the upper Amarillo Creek drainage area.
The company has 63 million shares outstanding and was trading at 17¢ at press time, with a $10.7-million market capitalization. According to Thompson, Brixton had roughly $1 million in cash to start December and is aiming to get back into the field at Thorn by early April.