The natural endowment of British Columbia, the Yukon and Northwest Territories continues to drive mineral exploration and development. Here is a sample of eight companies active in the region.
American Creek Resources
American Creek Resources (TSXV: AMK) is exploring for gold and silver in B.C.’s Golden Triangle area. The company holds interests in three projects within this district: Treaty Creek, Electrum and Dunwell.
Treaty Creek, where American Creek Resources holds a 20% interest (60% Tudor Gold [TSXV: TUD] and 20% Teuton Resources [TSXV: TUO]) encompasses the hydrothermal system host to Seabridge Gold’s (TSX: SEA, NYSE: SA) KSM deposit and Pretium Resources’ (TSX: PVG, NYSE: PVG) Brucejack project. According to American Creek, the project could host up to 7 km of mineralization at depth. Drill highlights from the 2019 program at the property include 0.73 gram gold per tonne over 839 metres, including a section of 1.05 grams gold over 329 metres and 1 gram gold over 336 metres. The results come from the Goldstorm zone, one of four mineralization areas found on the property.
Electrum is located between the historic Silbak Premier mine (Ascot Resources [TSX: AOT]) and Pretium Resources’ (TSX: PVG, NYSE: PVG) Brucejack mine. There has been minimal exploration conducted on this property, which appears to host a low-sulphidation epithermal system, with high-grade electrum (a gold-silver alloy) in quartz veins. American Creek holds a 40% interest in the project with Tudor Gold, its joint-venture partner, at a 60% stake.
At Dunwell, located between Ascot Resources’ Premier and Red Mountain projects, the historic Dunwell mine produced a total of 45,657 tonnes between 1926 and 1937 at a head grade of 14.3 equivalent grams gold. In addition to mineralization at the historic mine site, the company has found more gold showings along a 3 km strike length.
Beyond the Golden Triangle, the company holds five other properties in its B.C. portfolio. Gold Hill is located within the headwaters of the Wild Horse River and includes an area that could source the gold recovered during historic placer mining downstream, and also features a series of underground workings. Follow-up work is also planned for the Austruck–Bonanza, Ample Goldmax, Silver Side and Glitter King projects.
American Creek has an approximate $24-million market capitalization.
Garibaldi Resources (TSXV: GGI) is focused on exploration at its properties in B.C. and Mexico.
The company’s flagship 63 sq. km Nickel Mountain project is located 6 km southwest of Eskay Creek in B.C.’s Golden Triangle district.
Nickel Mountain hosts the historic E&L deposit, which features the first nickel-copper rich massive sulphide zones found in the Eskay camp. E&L was originally discovered in 1966 and was held by SSR Mining (TSX: SSRM) between 1958 and 2014.
Drill results from the project released in December returned strong copper and precious metal grades: one hole intercepted 7.94% nickel, 5.85% copper, 0.16% cobalt, 7.05 grams palladium per tonne, 2.73 grams platinum per tonne, 1.75 grams gold per tonne and 15.81 grams silver per tonne over 4 metres within a wider 15-metre intercept grading 5.25% nickel and 3.21% copper. The results come from the upper part of the Lower Discovery Zone.
At E&L, Garibaldi has found five mineralization zones, which are open for expansion. Based on fieldwork completed up to December 2018, the company has confirmed that the Nickel Mountain gabbroic complex strikes for over 3 km and extends for at least 1 km across. Geophysical surveys show conductors across an at least 6 km trend at Nickel Mountain.
In December 2017, Garibaldi released assays from a hole drilled 200 metres east of the historic E&L deposit, which returned a 17-metre interval grading 8.3% nickel and 4.2% copper within a 40-metre interval of 3.9% nickel and 2.3% copper starting at 100 metres. According to the company, this drill hole suggests a high-quality discovery with a pure mineralization style, which is good for processing.
Garibaldi acquired an option to buy a 100% interest in the E&L deposit and surrounding claims in 2016, and began exploration efforts later that year.
In addition, the company holds the King, PSP, Red Lion and Grizzly properties in British Columbia.
In Mexico, Garibaldi holds four more exploration-stage projects in the country’s Sinaloa, Sonora and Chihuahua states.
Garibaldi Resources has a roughly $113-million market capitalization.
GT Gold (TSXV: GTT) is an explorer working on advancing the Saddle North and Saddle South discoveries at its 468 sq. km Tatogga property within B.C.’s Golden Triangle district.
Saddle North, first identified and drilled by the company in 2017, is a copper-gold porphyry with drilling to date tracing mineralization over 700 metres of strike, for 1,400 metres to 1,600 metres down-plunge, and over 200 to 560 metres thick. It is open, with GT identifying a higher-grade core zone that strikes over 200 to 400 metres, at 40 to 450 metres thick.
In December, the company released the most recent intercepts from infill work on this core area: highlights include 2.05 equivalent grams gold over 124 metres and 1.47 equivalent grams gold over 21 metres.
Saddle South is an epithermal gold-silver system that was first drill tested by the company in 2017. Drilling to date has traced mineralization over 1,300 metres of strike, over up to 300 metres wide and down to more than 600 metres’ depth. It remains open. The discovery features near-surface, high-grade mineralization over 1,000 metres of strike. Saddle South intercepts include 18.08 grams gold and 313.38 grams silver over 2 metres and 187.5 grams gold and 53.6 grams silver over 1 metre.
In November, the company announced an $8.3-million investment by Newmont Goldcorp (TSX: NGT, NYSE: NEM), whereby the major increased its stake in the company from 9.9% to 14.9%. GT’s current cash balance is $18 million.
GT is working on a geological model for Saddle North, expected to feed into a resource estimate scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2020. A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) will follow by the end of 2020.
In addition to the Saddle discoveries, the company has identified the Quash Pass target — located 7 km southwest of Saddle — that features geochemical and geophysical anomalies up to 6 km long, with a similar strike direction to the Saddle system. Initial drilling is planned in 2020.
GT Gold acquired Tatogga in 2016.
GT Gold’s current market capitalization stands at $123 million.
Metallic Minerals (TSXV: MMG) is focused on advancing its exploration-stage silver projects in the Yukon. The company’s 166 sq. km Keno Silver project, within the Keno Hill silver district, is located adjacent to and on strike with Alexco Resource’s (TSX: AXU; NYSE-AM: AXU) property, which has holdings that include four high-grade deposits.
The greater Keno Hill silver district has produced over 200 million oz. silver over the last 100 years, with eight past-producing mines at the 35 km long Keno project. The deposits in the district feature high-grade, silver-bearing veins with lead and zinc. Of the 12 mineralized trends found, 10 continue into its under-explored eastern flank, where Keno is situated.
To date, three targets at the project have been drilled with another 16 undrilled targets and prospects. Several of the targets are on extensions of trends associated with deposits at the Alexco property.
In August, Metallic provided an exploration update for the central part of the Keno property: in addition to samples from two targets yielding in excess of 1,000 grams silver, the company has found two silver-zinc-lead soil anomalies extending over kilometres. Structural analysis of local geology has also highlighted prospective corridors.
In April, the company released an update for the eastern part of the property and announced that it has found eight targets featuring silver-zinc-lead soil anomalies and high-grade silver surface samples within favourable host rock.
Diamond drill highlights from the 2017 exploration program included 3 metres of 312 equivalent grams silver as well as 2 metres of 560 equivalent grams silver from the Homestake target. Caribou intercepts included 3 metres of 972 equivalent grams silver and 2 metres of 2,851 equivalent grams silver.
Also in the Yukon, Metallic holds the 44 sq. km McKay Hill project, 50 km north of Keno Silver. It sits within a silver-lead-zinc rich belt running from Alaska to southern Yukon and includes the Keno Hill silver district. This past-producing asset features 37 vein structures found to date. Recent rock and soil sampling has revealed six targets over 1.5 by 3 kilometres.
Metallic is planning for its 2020 field season. In October, the company closed a $2.75-million, non-brokered private placement with Eric Sprott, who now holds an estimated 13% of the company’s shares.
In September, the company announced that it entered into an option agreement to acquire 100% of the La Plata silver-gold-copper property in Colorado. The property features a porphyry system rich in precious metals, with silver and gold epithermal prospects.
Metallic Minerals has an approximate $22-million market capitalization.
Nighthawk Gold (TSX: NHK) is focused on advancing the Colomac gold project, located within the company’s 899 sq. km Indin Lake property in the Northwest Territories.
Colomac has five deposits with total inferred resources of 50.3 million tonnes grading 1.62 grams gold per tonne for a total 2.6 million ounces. Six zones within the 9 km Main Sill area of the Colomac deposit contribute 48.6 million tonnes to the current resource inventory. The Main Sill unit is up to 160 metres wide at depth, with mineralization intercepted down to 800 metres so far. Colomac is situated within a 16 km, under-explored host formation, with two undrilled parallel sills.
In December, Nighthawk reported results from three of the Main Sill zones, with drilling extending mineralization at depth and increasing its width. Additional shallow high-grade intercepts suggest a new mineralization style for the project. Intercepts included 1.89 grams gold per tonne over 111 metres and 4.41 grams gold over 11 metres.
In May, the company released its best hole to date: an intercept of 13.49 grams gold over 56 metres from Zone 1.5 at Colomac.
Open-pit mining of the Colomac deposit took place between 1989 and 1991, as well as between 1994 and 1997. Nighthawk resumed exploration at the property in 2009.
Beyond Colomac, Nighthawk has found a number of targets at Indin Lake: four along the northwestern edge of the property, and three along its southeastern boundary.
Four gold deposit settings have been identified at Indin Lake: Colomac Main is hosted by a differentiated mafic sill, while three other targets appear to be structure-related, lode gold deposit types. Three more targets are iron-formation hosted, while one target is hosted in a brecciated intrusion.
Nighthawk has drawn parallels between the setting of the Colomac deposit and the 10 km strike of prospective host rock at the Kalgoorlie gold camp in Australia: both are of Archean age, with gold hosted by mafic intrusions and occurring in more silica-rich fractions. The company uses this analogy in generating drill targets.
The company has found targets beyond Colomac for follow-up that could help supplement a future Colomac mill, or grow as stand-alone projects.
Nighthawk’s shareholders include Kinross Gold (TSX: K, NYSE: KGC) with a 9.9% interest, and Osisko Gold Royalties (TSX: OR, NYSE: OR) with an 8.6% stake in the company.
An updated resource for Colomac is expected in 2020, and will incorporate 50,000 metres of drilling completed in 2018 and 2019.
The company has an approximate $107-million market capitalization.
Seabridge Gold (TSX: SEA, NYSE: SA) holds the KSM, Iskut and Courageous Lake projects in B.C. and the Northwest Territories.
The KSM deposit, located within B.C.’s Golden Triangle, is the world’s largest undeveloped gold-copper project by reserves. Reserves for the asset total 2.2 billion tonnes grading 0.55 gram gold per tonne; 0.21% copper; 2.6 grams silver per tonne, with additional molybdenum for a total 38.8 million oz. gold; 10.2 billion lb. copper; and 183 million oz. silver.
In March, Seabridge released updated resources for the Iron Cap deposit at KSM, which is closer to infrastructure than the other deposits at the site. The company sees potential to include Iron Cap early in the mine plan. It plans to complete an updated PEA for the project.
Preliminary feasibility study results for the project were released in September 2016 and outlined an open-pit and block cave operation extracting ore from the Mitchell, Iron Cap, Sulphurets and Kerr zones. Over a 53-year mine life, the first seven would see average annual production of 933,000 oz. gold and 205 million lb. copper, with additional silver and molybdenum. The analysis suggested a $1.5-billion, base-case net present value (NPV) estimate at a 5% discount rate. Total costs were an estimated US$673 per oz. gold produced with a US$5-billion capital outlay.
Seabridge also released the results of a PEA in October 2016, which examined the option of developing inferred resources at the Deep Kerr and Iron Cap Lower zones. The PEA focused on block-cave mining with reduced surface impacts from the open pits. This iteration would see total costs of US$358 per oz. with higher peak throughputs, US$5.5 billion in initial capital and a resulting US$3.4-billion, base-case NPV at a 5% discount rate.
The company also holds the Courageous Lake property in the Northwest Territories, with reserves of 91.1 million tonnes grading 2.2 grams gold for a total of 6.5 million oz. gold. A preliminary feasibility study completed on the project in 2012 outlined an open-pit producing an average 385,000 oz. gold annually at cash-operating costs of US$780 per ounce. The associated capital cost stands at US$1.5 billion. Exploration is ongoing at the site.
In 2017, Seabridge acquired the Snowstorm gold project in Nevada. It is located at the intersection of three gold belts in the district and on strike with several gold mines. A drill program is upcoming for this property.
In June of 2016, Seabridge acquired SnipGold, adding the Iskut project to its holdings. Iskut is located 30 km from KSM and features measured and indicated resources of 187 million tonnes grading 0.12% copper, 0.36 gram gold and 2.19 grams silver. Additional inferred resources stand at 5 million tonnes. Exploration is ongoing at this past-producing site.
Seabridge Gold has a market capitalization of approximately $1.1 billion.
Skeena Resources (TSXV: SKE) is focused on advancing its project portfolio in B.C.’s Golden Triangle district.
Its flagship Eskay Creek project is located 83 km northwest of Stewart and covers an area of 51 square kilometres. In November, Skeena released PEA results for Eskay. The study suggested an open-pit operation producing gold and silver-in-concentrate that would sell to third-party smelters. The study outlined life-of-mine average annual gold-equivalent production of 306,000 oz. at all-in sustaining costs of US$757 per oz., with pre-production capital outlays of $303 million. The associated after-tax net present value estimate, at a 5% discount rate, came in at $638 million with a 51% internal rate of return.
Current Eskay Creek pit-constrained resources, released in February 2019, stand at 12.7 million tonnes in the indicated category at a head grade of 5.8 equivalent grams gold for a total of 2.3 million equivalent oz. gold. Inferred resources total 14.4 million tonnes at 2.9 equivalent grams gold for another 1.3 million equivalent oz. gold. Underground resources add 218,000 indicated and 78,000 inferred equivalent oz. gold.
Eskay Creek produced 3.3 million oz. gold and 160 million oz. silver between 1994 and 2008 from underground operations, with average head grades of 45 grams gold and 2,224 grams silver.
In December 2017, Skeena signed an option agreement with Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX, NYSE: GOLD) to acquire a 100% interest in Eskay Creek by spending a minimum of $3.5 million on exploration, paying $10 million and reimbursing Barrick for reclamation costs and a bond for up to $7.7 million. Under the agreement, Barrick has a back-in right to purchase a 51% interest in the property, exercisable for a 12-month period after announcing a resource of at least 1.5 million equivalent oz. gold on the property.
In addition, Skeena holds the Snip property in its portfolio, acquired from Barrick in 2017. The 19 sq. km property hosts the historic Snip mine, which produced 1 million oz. gold between 1991 and 1999 at a head grade of 27.5 grams gold.
The company’s GJ project is 30 km west of Imperial Metals’ (TSX: III) Red Chris mine and features two porphyry deposits located 14 km apart. A PEA for the project released in April of 2017 outlined an open-pit operation with a 25-year life and a $216-million capital outlay returning a pre-tax net present value estimate of $546 million, at an 8% discount rate. Skeena is seeking a partner to advance the asset to the prefeasibility stage.
Skeena Resources has a current $76-million market capitalization.
Stratabound Minerals (TSXV: SB) is focused on its 84 sq. km Golden Culvert project within the Hyland gold belt in the Yukon. The belt also hosts Golden Predator Mining’s (TSXV: GPY) 3 Aces project and Goldstrike Resources’ (TSXV: GSR) Plateau gold project.
Golden Culvert features a 24 km long mineralized trend. Soil sampling has identified a 3 km long, 250-metre-wide anomaly, with gold grades in excess of 30 parts per billion.
Within the soil anomaly, exploration work to date has traced gold mineralization along a 570-metre strike. Mineralization appears to consist of quartz vein and breccia structures that control the gold emplacement. Gold may be localized in shoots within the veins.
Over its 2019 exploration program, the company traced the Main Vein structure along 1.9 km of strike within the 3 km soil anomaly. It remains open. Stratabound also found a structure 7.1 km north of the Main Vein that outcrops at surface. The vein features a similar dip and strike as the Main zone structures to the south, and is located at the edge of a historic gold-in-soil anomaly. The 7.1 km strike length between the veins remains unexplored.
In October, Stratabound released trenching results from Golden Culvert that returned 24.41 grams gold over 6 metres and included a higher-grade section of 95 grams gold over 2 metres. The intercept comes from a newfound parallel vein structure at the Main zone. The 2019 exploration efforts at the Main zone widened the mineralized corridor to 130 metres from 50 metres, by identifying four gold-bearing veins.
Stratabound has the option to acquire a 100% interest in Golden Culvert by making $1.72 million in payments over five years and spending $700,000 on exploration. It has now met the spend requirement. In December, the company announced a restructuring of the option agreement payments, deferring some payments to later years. Half of the payments may be made in shares.
Also in December, the company closed a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $200,000 with Jerritt Canyon Canada, a private company that operates the Jerritt Canyon mine in Nevada.
In New Brunswick, Stratabound holds a 100% interest in the Captain copper-cobalt deposit. In addition, in December, the company announced that it has signed an option agreement to acquire a 100% interest in the McIntyre gold project located 80 km west of Bathurst. There are two gold occurrences at the site located 1.5 km apart. Diamond drilling has started with a focus on testing previously identified gold mineralization along 300 metres of strike.
Stratabound has a current $5.7-million market capitalization.