There’s been a buzz of activity in La Belle Province throughout 2018, with junior and mid-level gold explorers and developers taking the lead. Here is a look at eight companies now advancing gold and base metal projects.
Bonterra Resources (TSXV: BTR; US-OTC: BONXF) says it is fast-tracking four gold deposits in Quebec to create “one of the highest-grade gold projects in Canada.”
The project is its wholly owned, high-grade Gladiator gold project in the Urban-Barry greenstone belt, 170 km northeast of Val-d’Or, which is comprised of two next-door properties named Arena and Coliseum.
The Gladiator gold deposit has an inferred resource of 905,000 tonnes grading 9.36 grams gold per tonne for 273,000 contained oz. gold, according to a 2012 study.
A new resource estimate is due before year-end, and it will incorporate 60,000 metres drilled in 2017 and 70,000 metres planned for 2018.
Drill results released in April 2018 show a sixth parallel gold zone at Gladiator, while infill drilling confirms the continuity of the deposit’s other zones.
Preliminary metallurgical studies at Gladiator from earlier in 2018 show total gold recoveries of up to 99.4%, including 76.1% from a gravity circuit.
Bonterra’s major shareholders include Eric Sprott, VanEck Gold Fund and Kirkland Lake Gold.
In September 2018, Bonterra closed its all-share acquisition of Metanor Resources —first announced in July — which brings Metanor’s fully permitted Bachelor mill into the Bonterra fold, to likely process future ore from Gladiator.
Bonterra will spin off its Larder Lake high-grade gold project across the border in Ontario — where resources in all categories are just shy of 1 million oz. gold — into a new company to be called “Gatling Exploration,” which will launch with $7 million in its treasury.
Don’t be misled by the name: Vancouver-based Durango Resources (TSXV: DGO; US-OTC: ATOXF) is all about exploring for minerals in Canada. Its flagship project is the NMX East lithium property in northern Quebec, which Durango describes as being “adjacent and within a few kilometres of one of the world’s most important spodumene lithium hard rock deposits” — Nemaska Lithium’s (TSX: NMX; US-OTC: NMKEF) Wabouchi deposit and hydrometallurgical plant.
Durango has discovered lithium-bearing pegmatites at NMX with what it calls “anomalous lithium values, which suggest discovery potential.”
Durango’s other assets include limestone projects in northern B.C., the Trove gold property in the Quebec Windfall Lake area and the Dianna Lake silver project near Uranium City, Saskatchewan.
Durango’s board is composed only of women: CEO Marcy Kiesman, chief financial officer Veronica Liu; Twila Jensen and Thea Koshman.
Toronto-based Eastmain Resources (TSX: ER; US-OTC: EANRF) has been exploring for high-grade gold in Quebec’s James Bay region for decades, but has come up with a new tagline for its assets: the “Triangle of Success.”
Within the triangle are Eastmain’s three main assets: the Clearwater project, host of the high-grade Eau Claire resource, amenable to open-pit and underground mining; the Eastmain Mine project, a past-producer with updated resources and growth potential; and the Éléonore South Joint Venture with Goldcorp (TSX: G; NYSE: GG) and Azimut Exploration (TSXV: AZM) on a large land package next to Goldcorp’s Éléonore mine — the region’s largest gold mine.
As of February 2018, measured and indicated resources at Eau Claire total 4.3 million tonnes at 6.18 grams gold for 193,000 contained oz. gold, plus there are 2.4 million inferred tonnes at 6.53 grams gold for 500,00 contained oz. gold.
The Eastmain mine project hosts 899,000 indicated tonnes at 8.19 grams gold per tonne for 237,000 contained oz. gold, plus 579,000 inferred tonnes at 7.48 grams gold. The resource also has minor copper and silver.
At the joint-venture property, Eastmain is exploration manager and has presented its partners with a $2.5-million budget for 2,000 metres of trenching and 5,800 metres of drilling on two gold targets.
Globe-trotting, mid-tier gold and base metals producer Eldorado Gold (TSX: ELD; NYSE: EGO) finally has a mining asset in its home country of Canada, thanks to its acquisition of Integra Gold and its Lamaque underground gold mine in Val-d’Or, Que., where commercial operations are to begin in 2019.
In March 2018 Eldorado declared a maiden reserve of 893,000 oz. gold for Lamaque’s Triangle zone, with measured and indicated resources of 1.3 million oz., and 1.3 million oz. of inferred resources.
Eldorado plans on an initial seven-year mine life at Lamaque, with production averaging 117,000 oz. gold per year.
For 2018 at Lamaque, exploration is budgeted at $7 million and capital expenses are forecast at $120 million, including $20 million of capitalized mine-operating costs. The company says it expects to extract 200,000 tonnes of ore grading 8.03 grams gold per tonne containing 40,000 oz. gold, and anticipates toll milling part of the ore and producing 25,000 to 35,000 oz. gold.
Eldorado also has assets in Romania, Greece, Turkey and Brazil — including four operating mines.
Toronto-based Galway Metals (TSXV: GWM; US-OTC: GAYMF) has its flagship Clarence Stream gold project in New Brunswick, but it is also active at its past-producing, high-grade Estrades polymetallic project in northwestern Quebec, 95 km north of the town of La Sarre.
Galway argues that it has a “new vision for two previously misunderstood projects” that present it with a “golden opportunity.”
Estrades is a volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit with a resource that’s been newly revised upwards to 1.5 million indicated tonnes grading 3.55 grams gold per tonne, 122.9 grams silver per tonne, 7.20% zinc, 1.06% copper and 0.60% lead. Another 2.2 million tonnes stand in the inferred category at 1.93 grams gold, 72.9 grams silver, 4.72 % zinc, 1.01% copper and 0.29% lead.
This adds 1.2 million tonnes to the resource at similar grades, compared to the resource calculated in mid-2016.
Breakwater Resources spent $20 million at Estrades in 1990, including building a ramp to 200 metres deep, a ventilation raise and associated infrastructure. Some 94,000 metres of historic drilling has been carried out at the site. Production at Estrades from 1990–1991 totalled 175,000 tonnes grading 6.4 grams gold, 172.3 grams silver, 12.9% zinc and 1.1% copper.
Galway plans to conduct a downhole geophysical survey on deep-hole 21, located below the Main Zone (west of the cross fault and below the mine workings), with follow-up drilling in January. Galway will also expand the best high-grade area east of the ramp and cross fault, as defined by the four strong drill holes, below and to the west.
MAPLE GOLD MINES
Vancouver-based Maple Gold Mines (TSXV: MGM; US-OTC: MGMLF) is redeveloping the 377 sq. km Douay gold project in the Abitibi region of Quebec.
Maple Gold describes Douay as having an “established gold resource that remains open in multiple directions, with excellent infrastructure and several large-scale, operating mines within this prolific mining district.”
Maple says it is focused on expanding the known resource areas and testing discovery targets within the company’s 55 km of strike along the gold-rich Casa Berardi deformation zone.
The company’s early 2018 drilling campaign included 21,100 metres of diamond drilling from 52 holes and 1,500 metres from 57 short, top-of-bedrock, reverse-circulation holes. It hopes to update the resource estimate at Douay during the first quarter of 2019.
According to a March 2018 study, Douay holds open-pit resources at a 0.45 gram gold per tonne cut-off grade of 9.4 million indicated tonnes at 1.59 grams gold (479,000 contained oz. gold), plus 84.2 million tonnes at 1.02 grams gold (2.8 million oz. gold).
Toronto-based Probe Metals (TSXV: PRB; US-OTC: PROBF) is exploring for gold in Quebec’s Abitibi region, with its flagship being its Val-d’Or East gold project outside the city of Val-d’Or.
Probe is led by president and CEO David Palmer and chairman Jamie Sokalsky — a former president and CEO of Barrick Gold, with Probe Metals having been formed as a spinoff after Probe Mines Ltd. was bought by Goldcorp in 2015. Goldcorp still owns a 13.7% stake in the Toronto-based junior.
Combining open-pit and some underground material, total indicated resources at Val-d’Or East stand at 9 million indicated tonnes grading 2.35 grams gold per tonne for 682,400 oz. gold, plus 9.3 million inferred tonnes at 2.41 grams gold for another 722,100 oz. gold.
Probe has a $12-million exploration budget for 2018, which will include 85,000 metres of drilling for resource expansion and discoveries, plus engineering studies, environmental baseline studies and regional target generation. Last year’s drilling campaign totalled 83,000 metres. Probe says it is well-funded, with a cash position exceeding $35 million.
Yorbeau Resources (TSX: YRB; US-OTC: YRBAF) is based in Montreal and led by Gérald Riverin. Its primary asset is its wholly controlled, 27 sq. km Rouyn gold property, which is located 4 km south of Rouyn-Noranda and covers a 12 km long stretch of the gold-rich Cadillac-Larder Lake break, for a total 27 square kilometres. The property is divided into seven blocks: Augmitto, Cinderella, Durbar, Lake Gamble, Wright-Rouyn, Astoria and Lake Bouzan.
In 2015, the company acquired several base metal properties in the Abitibi belt of Quebec and Ontario favourable to mine development. These base metal properties include the Scott Lake zinc-copper-gold-silver project near Chibougamau, Que., where Yorbeau completed a positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA) in December 2017 that shows a 16.6% pre-tax internal rate of return, with a net present value of $146 million at an 8% discount rate for a 2,500-tonne-per-day operation. The PEA proposes production of 12 million tonnes at grades of 4.14% zinc, 0.81% copper, 27 grams silver and 0.24 gram gold over a 15-year mine life.