Eastmain Advances Quebec Gold Projects
By Greg Klein
“What sets this project apart from many others is the grade of the open pit,” says Eastmain Resources TSX:ER President/CEO Donald Robinson of his flagship Clearwater Gold-Tellurium Project in the James Bay region of Quebec. “Right now, it’s 5.7 grams gold per tonne, which is three to five times higher than many of the projects out there. So our No. 1 goal is to make the resource bigger. We’ve been doing that over the last five months.”
As of April, the open-pit resource estimate for Clearwater’s Eau Claire Deposit came to 2.73 million tonnes grading 5.72 g/t for 502,000 gold ounces measured and indicated and 1.4 million tonnes grading 2.83 g/t for 127,000 gold ounces inferred. Eau Claire’s underground resource came to 630,000 tonnes grading 6.46 g/t for 130,000 gold ounces measured and indicated and 3.92 million tonnes grading 7.21 g/t for 910,000 gold ounces inferred.
“It was clear that the greatest potential would come by expanding the near-surface, open-pittable resources,” Robinson reports. “We’ve outlined an area immediately to the west of the defined resource that’s at least 500 metres long. We’ve got about 60 drill holes into it so far. The best hole is just under 18 grams across 12 metres. There’s more than two dozen holes that have visible gold in quartz-tourmaline veins. The footprint of the pit looks like it’ll grow at least twice as big as it was.”
Assays released November 7 include
- 5.82 g/t gold and 12.3 g/t tellurium over 16.5 metres
(including 25.1 g/t gold and 54.2 g/t tellurium over 3.5 metres)
- 15.5 g/t gold and 19.9 g/t tellurium over 3.5 metres
- 3.38 g/t gold and 4.08 g/t tellurium over 13 metres
(including 35.6 g/t gold and 51.9 g/t tellurium over 1 metre)
- 19.2 g/t gold and 88.8 g/t tellurium over 2 metres
- 2.24 g/t gold and 1.53 g/t tellurium over 12 metres
Robinson hopes to have an updated resource by June 2012, this time including tellurium. Exploration Manager Catherine Butella explains, “Tellurium has been a by-product of the copper-refining process, but now with the new leach methods, it’s no longer extracted that way. Right now tellurium is sold on base-metals spot prices, but it’s perceived to have a lot more worth. There are certain experts who think it’s going to be priced like a precious metal. It’s used in passive solar power, as a coating on windows, the coating on the back of DVDs and CDs, and it’s going to be used as the new phase change technology [used in rewritable DVDs and CDs]. It’s got a lot of uses, and there’s very little around. It’s one of the rarest metals out there.”
Robinson waxes optimistic about the possible production scenario. “At these kinds of grades, a mill at 2,000 tonnes a day will generate 100,000 ounces annual production. The capital cost of this project has advantages, not only because you don’t have to build a 60,000-tonne-a-day mill, but because we’re two kilometres from a road and five kilometres from the cheapest power in the world. It gets even more exciting—our largest stockholder is building the first mine in the district, 50 kilometres to the north.” Goldcorp TSX:G, which holds 8% of Eastmain, has slated its Éléonore Gold Mine for 2014 production.
Next in importance after Clearwater is the company’s self-titled Eastmain Gold-Silver-Copper Project, which has an historic, non-43-101 resource estimate of 800,000 tonnes grading 9.95 g/t gold for 255,750 gold ounces.
“We just completed 14,000 metres of drilling at Eastmain.” Robinson says. “The property comes with 100 square kilometres, and the mine trend is at least 10. There are underground workings and there’s a ramp into the property. There’s a mine camp that was built; it’s permitted; there’s an airstrip, fuel farm and—God love the Quebec government with their Plan Nord—they’re now converting the old winter road that services the property into a permanent road.”
The company also acts as project operator on Éléonore South, holding 36.8% in the JV with Goldcorp (36.8%) and Azimut Exploration TSXV:AZM (26.4%). The early-stage gold project lies adjacent to Goldcorp’s Éléonore development.
This year we’ve had the largest program in the history of the company, 46,000 metres of drilling and a $10-million budget. We’ll do it again, at least as big, in 2012 —Donald Robinson
Last August, Eastmain JV’d with Honey Badger Exploration TSXV:TUF, granting it an option to earn an initial 50% in the Radisson Gold Project. Eastmain holds 12 properties altogether, all in Quebec’s James Bay region, some of which are also available for options.
“This year we’ve had the largest program in the history of the company, Robinson says, “46,000 metres of drilling and a $10-million budget. We’ll do it again, at least as big, in 2012.”
At press time, Eastmain had 95 million shares trading at $1.26 for a market cap of $119.7 million. Analysts believe the share price will rise higher. Robinson explains, “Casimir Capital have a target of $2.25, Macquarie have just upped their target to $2.75, and Rodman & Renshaw out of New York have a target of $2.82.”
Robinson concludes, “We’re in the best mining district in the world; we have mine-ready infrastructure and two high-grade gold deposits. They look like they’re mineable using open pit methods, and Clearwater is going to be a mine. We’ve been endorsed by one of the largest gold miners in the world, and a number of research firms follow us. There’s a lot of third-party scrutiny on us, and so far they like what they’ve seen.”