BCGold Corp TSXV:BCG announced its first sale of gold concentrate from its Engineer Mine in northwest BC. The company received US$107,000 from the sale of 67.9 ounces at US$1,608 per ounce recovered from 0.8 dry metric tonnes of gold-rich gravity concentrate produced during its 2011 bulk-sampling program.
The Engineer Mine property comprises 2,200 hectares located 32 kilometres west of Atlin, BC and 140 kilometres south of Whitehorse, Yukon. BCGold owns 75% of the property and expects to earn the remaining 25% by 2013. It has a 2011 43-101 inferred resource of 41,000 tonnes grading 19 grams per tonne gold for 25,000 contained ounces.
President/CEO Brian Fowler tells ResourceClips.com, “In its day, the mine was a world-class underground operation. It shut down in the late 1920s and has been dormant ever since. BC Gold acquired it in 2006, and we’ve got $4 million in expenditures in the property to date. We’re taking a look at the exploration and trying to expand.
“This past year we spent $1.1 million on the property, and a component of that exploration program was bulk sampling, test mining and an onsite milling program of bulk-sample material that we obtained primarily from the Engineer vein underground but also some surface materials. That was a big endeavour for us, and we ended up milling about 246 tonnes of material and demonstrated that we got a mining head grade from this material of 16.9 g/t gold.
“We’re pretty pleased with the results. I think we demonstrated that we can develop a marketable product at Engineer easily. We think with some mill modifications we’ll be able to process larger sample blocks from the underground to generate a fairly significant revenue stream.”
Does BCGold intend to employ further bulk sampling to fund Engineer expansion? “Ultimately, yes, that’s the idea,” Fowler responds. “We’re kind of unique among our peers in that we can do this. Mind you, we’re fully permitted to mine and mill on the property under bulk sampling. We’re at the point where we’re going to need a certain amount of capital infusion to be able to upgrade the mill to specifications that would make this endeavour worthwhile.
“We need to install a hoisting mechanism at the mine to be able to access the high-grade mineralization. Part of the results of the bulk sampling program last year was that we defined two accessible high-grade ore shoots and immediately below the fifth level, which is the main access level where we obtained our bulk samples. The upside is that we defined two targets there that contain between 6,000 and close to 9,000 tonnes grading between 30 g/t and 60 g/t gold for anywhere between 6,000 and 17,000 ounces of gold.
“Our objective this year is to dewater. We have permits in hand to dewater Levels 6 and 7 of the mine to gain access to these shoots. There is predevelopment production on Engineer vein on those two levels. Basically, no one has been down there since the 1920s. So we’re anxious to get down there and take a look at it and do some more work on these shoots. We are looking for a partner or source of financing to provide us the capital required to mine and mill this material and pay for a hoist and upgrade the mill so we can mill year round. We feel quite confident that with a modest cash infusion we’ll be able to achieve that within a few years. All this, at the end of the day, means we’d end up with a fairly positive cash balance which would be used to further advance the property and support more exploration drilling and enlarge the resource. That is the idea at Engineer.”
Fowler concludes, “In this business you have to have a lot of irons in the fire. I joked at the initial stages of BCGold when we acquired Engineer that I always looked at it as our Armageddon property. That is, if the world goes to hell in a hand basket, which it’s well on its way to right now, that I felt strongly even then that we’d be able to somehow produce a product, and if we had a mine and mill we could do that.”
by Kevin Michael Grace