Tuesday 23rd May 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘british columbia’

PwC numbers support B.C. mining’s resurgent mood

May 17th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 17, 2017

Not just shareholders but governments, employees and communities all benefit from the upturn in mining, according to British Columbia data. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ annual report on B.C. mining credits the industry’s “cautiously optimistic” mood on stabilized or improving commodity prices, continuing progress on development projects and new mines to come. The survey gleaned its findings from 28 companies whose main assets comprise 14 operating mines, one on care and maintenance, three exploration projects, nine projects undergoing permitting or environmental assessment and a smelter.

Year-over-year numbers help explain the optimism.

The participating companies drew gross mining revenue of $8.7 billion last year, compared with $7.7 billion in 2015, “driven by higher revenue at Teck’s [TSX:TECK.A and TSX:TECK.B] B.C. coal mines as well as Imperial Metals’ [TSX:III] Red Chris and Mount Polley operations.”

Net mining revenue for the participants totalled $7.3 billion, compared with $6.3 billion in 2015, “driven by an increase in gross mining revenue and a decrease in smelting and refining charges and freight costs.” Cash flow from operations rose to $2.6 billion in 2016 from $1.7 billion the previous year.

Participants’ exploration and development spending, however, fell from $320 million in 2015 to $102 million last year. But PwC attributed the decrease largely to Pretium Resources’ (TSX:PVG) Brucejack graduating from exploration and evaluation into construction, helping push 2016 capex for the 28 companies up to $1.37 billion, compared with $1.24 billion in 2015.

And those companies’ shareholders reaped rising returns—13.5% last year, compared with 6.3% in 2015 and 2.4% in 2014. With the 2016 figure slightly above 2013 results, “the hope is that it will continue to climb towards 2012 levels as we move into 2017.”

Governments did alright too, getting total payments of $650 million from the participants last year, up from $476 million in 2015. Last year saw the participants’ highest such payments since 2011.

Direct employment rose slightly to 9,329 jobs, compared with 9,221 in 2015.

Of all those numbers, of course, job figures have the most obvious impact on people and their communities. Even PwC’s beancounters appear moved by the intangible effects of the Tumbler Ridge coal mining revival. The inspirational story began last autumn when Conuma Coal Resources rescued some B.C. assets of bankrupt Walter Energy and reopened the Brule mine.

An “extreme and effective collaboration” of industry, government and First Nations helped Conuma put Brule back in operation quickly, Karina Briño told PwC. Briño, who stepped down as B.C. Mining Association president/CEO on April 30 to take on a mining role in her native Chile, added, “Mining really is a community-based activity that is not only valued but appreciated by the community.”

Conuma CEO Mark Bartkoski echoed those comments. “We felt really good about the properties and the spirit of the people in the community. It has truly been a testament to positive collaboration.”

Looking at the B.C. industry overall, PwC concluded, “While it may be too soon to call it a recovery, the outlook is brighter today than it has been in recent years…. While several challenges remain—including the volatility of commodity prices, keeping costs down, and attracting more investment in the short and long term—the future looks promising.”

Download Building for the Future: The Mining Industry in British Columbia 2016.

Edie Thome takes the helm at the Association for Mineral Exploration

May 16th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 16, 2017

A new leader from outside mining but with a highly complementary background nonetheless, Edie Thome joins the Association for Mineral Exploration as president/CEO on June 19.

Edie Thome takes the helm at the Association for Mineral Exploration

Edie Thome

She “brings a wealth of experience in government relations, permitting and public affairs as well as on-the-ground experience working with stakeholders, First Nations, elected officials and land owners on projects in the resource sector,” AME announced. “Through her work, she is familiar with advocacy efforts at both the provincial and federal levels and, specifically, how the legislative and regulatory framework can support or hinder productive, responsible resource development within British Columbia and Canada.”

Most recently she’s been BC Hydro’s director of environment, permitting and compliance, aboriginal relations and public affairs, holding those responsibilities for the Site C dam megaproject. Previous roles included risk management, environment, operations and customer service for BC Hydro, as well as VP of customer service, airport operations and corporate communications for Harmony Airways. Since 2014 Thome has chaired the non-profit Canadian Hydropower Association.

Welcoming her, AME chairperson Diane Nicolson said, “With her experience in stakeholder engagement and government affairs as well as association management, she is well-positioned to lead AME as it continues to work with First Nations, local communities and government in ensuring mineral discoveries can be advanced and developed into new mines, providing important economic opportunities here in British Columbia and around the world.”

Thome replaces Gavin C. Dirom, who leaves to pursue other opportunities. In a February statement announcing his departure, Nicolson thanked him for eight years of service, “especially through the prolonged downturn and into the current recovery in the industry. Under Gavin’s leadership, AME has been a stabilizing factor and a strong advocate for mineral exploration and development.”

AME represents over 415 corporate and 4,200 individual members active in B.C. and internationally.

B.C. election: Inconclusive result puts focus on Green Party

May 10th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 10, 2017

What looks like British Columbia’s first minority government since 1952 will evoke plenty of speculation, not the least from miners. As cliff-hanger metaphors competed with seesaw comparisons throughout the night of May 9, the B.C. election came to an inconclusive result by ResourceClips.com press time. While the B.C. Elections website took most of the day and night off, CBC pegged the post-midnight results at 43 Liberals elected, 41 New Democrats elected and three Greens in the upper echelons (two elected and one leading, compared with just one seat last time).

B.C. election: Inconclusive result puts focus on Green Party

During the campaign all three parties professed support for mining, especially the continuation of flow-through tax credits. But the much more vexatious issue of permitting drew largely euphemistic responses.

Quoted by the Association for Mineral Exploration, NDP leader John Horgan pledged his party would address the uncertainty of permitting by working with Geoscience B.C., the B.C. Geological Survey and First Nations “to develop comprehensive mineral land use plans.”

In the same publication Green leader Andrew Weaver professed his commitment to fix B.C.’s “structurally broken” environmental review process, in which the “professional reliance model” has lost the confidence of First Nations and the general public.

Former mines minister Bill Bennett, who retired as the writ was dropped, reminded AME about his government’s inducements to native support, including royalty sharing and training programs.

But the mining-related issue that unexpectedly gained most prominence was thermal coal and its trans-shipment from the U.S. to Asia via B.C. The stuff “fouls the air. It fouls the oceans. It’s terrible for the environment,” Canadian Press quoted BC Liberal leader Christy Clark.

She spoke in response to the U.S. president’s 20% tariff on softwood lumber imports, most of which come from B.C.

Her proposed $70-a-tonne penalty would not only cripple thermal coal exports from the U.S., but also from Alberta, to the detriment of that province’s mines and this province’s ports. Clark’s comments didn’t acknowledge B.C.’s reliance—notwithstanding its hydro resources—on Alberta’s coal-generated electricity. That’s not to mention B.C.’s dependency on nuclear-generated power from Washington state. B.C . has banned uranium exploration.

Additionally Clark’s proposal would hammer the final nail in the coffin of Quinsam, B.C.’s last thermal coal mine. Hillsborough Resources suspended the Vancouver Island underground operation in January 2016 due to low prices.

A coal mining topic unacknowledged in the campaign was the election’s coincidence with the 25th anniversary of Nova Scotia’s Westray disaster, which killed 26 miners. Down Easterners marked that anniversary as a former director of mine-owner Curragh Inc, 83-year-old BC Liberal Ralph Sultan, swept to his fifth straight victory in the affluent riding of West Vancouver-Capilano.

Meanwhile preliminary results offer the Greens potential power that’s unprecedented for their party in Canada. All three projected Green seats are on southern Vancouver Island, also home to Canada’s sole Green MP, Elizabeth May. Apart from B.C., only New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have Green MLAs, one each in those two provinces.

However B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver stands apart from the other parties’ undistinguished professional politicians. A University of Victoria professor, he shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his participation in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

His influence, with maybe two other Greens, could be formidable. That might be especially true since this election will mark the first new government after the 2014 Mount Polley tailings dam disaster that challenged public support for mining.

Margaret Lake, Arctic Star begin geophysical search for NWT diamonds

May 9th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 9, 2017

Modern geophysics and a new approach come to a property with diamondiferous kimberlites in the Northwest Territories’ prolific Lac de Gras region, as Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA and Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD start work on their Diagras JV. Expected to finish in mid-May, the program consists of ground gravity, magnetics and Ohm Mapper EM.

Margaret Lake, Arctic Star begin geophysical search for NWT diamonds

Margaret Lake and Arctic Star hold a 60% and 40% stake respectively, with Margaret Lake acting as project operator.

The companies hope to find non-magnetic evidence that was missed in the 1990s when De Beers flew airborne surveys that identified the property’s magnetic kimberlites.

Diagras hosts 13 known kimberlites, most of them diamondiferous, according to historic data. The property’s Jack Pine kimberlite shows “multiple phases with different geophysical responses,” the JV stated. “It is hoped that our planned surveys will reveal similar geology around the other pipes. There is also a good chance to find new kimberlites using these new ground geophysical techniques.”

In November the JV attributed those techniques to Kennady Diamonds’ (TSXV:KDI) progress at Kennady North, Lac de Gras’ most advanced exploration project.

Results of the Diagras program will be considered for follow-up drilling.

In January Arctic Star applied for a drill permit for its 100%-held CAP niobium-tantalum-REE property in north-central British Columbia. The company raised over $1.47 million in private placements that closed late last year.

B.C. and Nova Scotia commemorate coal mining disasters

May 7th, 2017

by Greg Klein | May 7, 2017

Two anniversaries six days apart serve as grim reminders of the sometimes deadly work of extracting resources often taken for granted. May 3 marked 130 years since the No. 1 Esplanade coal mine explosion in Nanaimo, British Columbia that left a death toll estimated between 148 and 153 men. May 9 marks the 25th anniversary of Plymouth, Nova Scotia’s Westray disaster, which killed 26 workers.

The 1887 Esplanade disaster ranks as Canada’s second-worst, after the June 1914 explosion at a Hillcrest, Alberta coal mine that killed 189 men. Esplanade was just one of many disasters that gave the Vancouver Island coal fields international notoriety for deadly working conditions. The loss of so many breadwinners devastated a population estimated between 2,000 and 6,500.

B.C. and Nova Scotia commemorate coal mining disasters

A monument to Westray displays 26 names as rays of light under
a stylized miner’s lamp. (Photo: Nova Scotia Federation of Labour)

“There would have been not one living soul in Nanaimo at the time who didn’t lose a family member, in-law, workmate or a friend,” local historian Tom Paterson told NanaimoNewsNOW.

In parallel with Esplanade and Vancouver Island, the 1992 carnage at Westray was one of a number of Pictou County coal mining disasters. Although not as lethal as many of its predecessors, Westray took place under supposedly modern conditions and enlightened attitudes.

The mine was owned by privately held Curragh Inc, whose board of directors included former federal cabinet minister and short-term Liberal prime minister John Turner, and Ralph Sultan, now running for re-election as a BC Liberal MLA in a vote coinciding with the anniversary. A five-year inquiry brought a report entitled The Westray Story: A Predictable Path to Disaster.

Curragh declared bankruptcy in 1993. As CBC reported, criminal charges against two mine managers, as well as 52 non-criminal charges against the company, went nowhere.

The disaster did bring about the 2004 federal Westray Act, which “provided new rules for attributing criminal liability to corporations and representatives when workers are injured or killed on the job,” CBC added.

Every May 3rd Nanaimo City Hall flies flags at half mast. Among May 9th events near Plymouth will be a morning vigil and evening memorial service at Westray Memorial Park in Stellarton.

Golden Dawn Minerals reports up to 246 g/t silver, 2.69 g/t gold over 3.71 metres at B.C.’s Greenwood camp

April 26th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 26, 2017

Once again confirming mineralization beyond the former May Mac mine’s #7 level, Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM boasts silver and gold 70 metres northwest, 20 metres above and up to 120 metres below the adit. Assays released April 26 follow a batch released in early March, part of 31 underground holes totalling 3,834 metres sunk since late last year to test the Skomac and parallel veins.

Golden Dawn Minerals reports assays from B.C.’s Greenwood camp

Located 15 kilometres from May Mac, Golden Dawn’s Greenwood
gravity-flotation mill has a 200-tpd capacity expandable to 400 tpd.

May Mac comprises one of several southern British Columbia past-producers that Golden Dawn hopes to resurrect, all within range of the company’s Greenwood mill. Golden Dawn has a 43-101 technical report underway on the entire portfolio, including an updated PEA for its Lexington and Golden Crown projects.

Some standout assays from May Mac’s current crop include:

Hole MU 17-12

  • 335 g/t silver, 7.53 g/t gold, 0.2% lead and 0.5% zinc over 0.46 metres, starting at 30.93 metres

MU 17-14

  • 252.6 g/t silver, 0.93 g/t gold, 9.9% lead, 4.3% zinc and 0.1% copper over 2.57 metres, starting at 105.92 metres
  • (including 494.5 g/t silver, 1.21 g/t gold, 19.6% lead, 8% zinc and 0.1% copper over 1.29 metres)

  • 49.5 g/t silver, 12.55 g/t gold, 1.4% lead, 2% zinc and 0.1% copper over 0.56 metres, starting at 129 metres

MU 17-16

  • 246 g/t silver, 2.69 g/t gold, 1.3% lead, 0.9% zinc and 0.1% copper over 3.71 metres, starting at 70.76 metres
  • (including 472 g/t silver, 4.42 g/t gold, 11.3% lead, 4.7% zinc and 0.1% copper over 0.35 metres)
  • (and including 911 g/t silver, 9.53 g/t gold, 1.1% lead, 1% zinc and 0.2% copper over 0.55 metres)

MU 17-21

  • 58.8 g/t silver, 16.17 g/t gold, 2.3% lead, 3.3% zinc and 0.1% copper over 0.56 metres, starting at 15.84 metres
  • (including 90.5 g/t silver, 23.7 g/t gold, 3.7% lead, 5.5% zinc and 0.1% copper over 0.31 metres)

True widths weren’t available.

Having transferred the rig from underground drill station #3 to #2, work continues before moving to station #1. Subject of focus are the Skomac, Rose and West veins in a campaign expected to finish next month.

Other May Mac work awaits permit approvals. One application concerns additional surface drilling northwest along strike of the mine, where the company sees potential for mineralization up to another kilometre on the Skomac and parallel structures. The company also seeks approval to extend the #7 level northwest for additional drilling and a bulk sample of up to 10,000 tonnes.

Metallurgical tests have taken place on a May Mac composite core sample, with additional tests of tailings now underway to support processing at the mill, 15 kilometres from the mine.

Also proximal to the mill is Golden Dawn’s Golden Crown property, which has an application pending for surface drilling up to 10,000 metres. The company has preparations underway for field work at the recent Kettle River acquisition, which hosts 70 showings including 29 historic mines.

Golden Dawn also plans to begin dewatering its Lexington mine once spring weather allows.

Along with the mill, the former May Mac, Golden Crown and Lexington mines constitute the focal points of Golden Dawn’s Greenwood portfolio. Given the infrastructure in place, the company might decide to undertake trial mining and processing without the de-risking of a feasibility study.

In February Golden Dawn received a US$4-million advance on a gold purchase agreement.

Vote Mining brings industry awareness to B.C. election discourse

April 24th, 2017

by Greg Klein | April 24, 2017

With a British Columbia election underway, the province’s Vote Mining campaign spotlights a key industry. A non-partisan program, its backers maintain, it’s a way to raise awareness of mineral exploration and extraction by three advocacy groups: the Mining Association of B.C., the Association for Mineral Exploration and the Mining Suppliers Association of B.C.

Jobs became an election focus as soon as the writ dropped. Hoping to avoid a 2013 replay, the NDP this time seems determined to match the incumbent BC Liberals’ attention to the issue. That would make mining and exploration all the more prominent when, according to the Mining Suppliers Association, over 30,000 direct and indirect B.C. jobs stem from the sector.

As MABC president/CEO Karina Briño pointed out, “Mining contributed $7.78 billion to the B.C. economy in 2015 and contributed $476 million in payments to government, supporting important social programs such as schools and hospitals.”

VoteMining.ca provides plenty of digestible info on mining’s contribution to B.C.’s economy and revenues, the wide range of jobs, skills and professions involved, the sector’s importance to First Nations and virtually every region of the province, as well as the province’s importance to global mining.

The website also offers a list of suggested questions to ask candidates and links to four party platforms. Infographics by Visual Capitalist provide, for example, a crash course in mining equity financing and some examples of our dependency on mined commodities.

“B.C.’s mineral exploration and mining industry remains a major driver for the provincial economy,” noted AME president/CEO Gavin C. Dirom. “As partners in the Vote Mining campaign, we wish to provide British Columbians with factual information that will showcase how important it is for candidates and voters to support such a critical industry that creates local opportunities for people living in every region of the province.”

Follow Vote Mining on Twitter: @VoteMining

92 Resources president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux notes the advantages of southeastern British Columbia’s relative proximity to oil and gas plays

April 20th, 2017

…Read more

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

April 20th, 2017

With a provincial election weeks away, Peter Caulfield asked sources in three British Columbia regions to comment on the importance of mining for the Association for Mineral Exploration’s quarterly magazine, Mineral Exploration. In general terms, the responses differ from views commonly heard in cities geographically removed but hardly independent of resource economies and the commodities they produce. In that respect, the relevance of Caulfield’s article applies far beyond B.C. The article is posted here with the permission of AME.

 

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

by Peter Caulfield

In a province that is as large and diverse as British Columbia, it’s natural that opinions on most topics—including mineral exploration and development—will be diverse too.

What the average person in Oak Bay or Yaletown thinks about a new mine or pipeline will be very different from what’s going through the head of somebody who lives in the northwestern corner of British Columbia or in the Kootenays in southeastern B.C.

As the province’s May 9 election approaches, Mineral Exploration wanted to know what’s on the mind of voters who live in the parts of the province that are most dependent on resource development. We talked to three well-connected observers of local politics in four provincial constituencies: Kamloops-North Thompson and Kamloops-South Thompson, Stikine and Kootenay East. We asked each of them what the hot-button issues are in their respective constituencies and whether mineral exploration and mine development is important to their fellow voters.

The following interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.

 

Stikine

Maria Ryder, District of Stewart councillor for 2.5 years, chief of the volunteer fire department and 25-year Stewart resident

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

(Photo: Carl Ryan/AME)

The main projects in the Stewart region are Brucejack (Pretium Resources TSX:PVG), the Premier mine (Ascot Resources TSXV:AOT), Red Mountain (IDM Mining TSXV:IDM) and the Red Chris mine (Imperial Metals TSX:III).

Along with Terrace and Kitimat, Stewart is one of the largest communities in the district. We are growing in population, especially in the summer, when workers and their families descend on the town, drawn by mineral exploration and hydro projects and by Stewart’s two ports.

It’s very different here from urban British Columbia, and the people from down south who come up here to work find out just how different it is. And some of them discover how different some of our opinions and concerns are from theirs.

Because we get a lot of snow in the winter, much of the employment in Stewart is seasonal and the people who live here adjust their lives accordingly. Every year between March and November we’re busy, and between November and March things are pretty slow. But we’re used to it and we adjust.

The main election issue here is sustainable job creation through industrial development. We want jobs that stay and that provide stability to Stewart.

 

Kootenay East

Lois Halko, District of Sparwood second-term councillor and former mayor, born and raised in Sparwood

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

(Photo: Malcom Lennox/AME)

The main economic drivers of the region are the mining of metallurgical coal, which is B.C.’s single biggest export, and the activities of the local suppliers to the coal industry.

There are five Teck [Teck Resources TSX:TECK.A and TSX:TECK.B] metallurgical coal mines in the region: Coal Mountain, Elkview, Fording River, Greenhills and Line Creek. In addition, there are four mining companies that are interested in developing mines in the Elk Valley area: CanAus Coal, Centermount Coal, NWP Coal Canada and Riversdale Resources.

The five Teck mines have a total of 3,600 full-time employees, of whom 2,400 live in four communities in the Elk Valley area.

Because it is used to make steel, and because steel is such an essential product in everyone’s life, metallurgical coal should be recognized as a critical resource. It’s certainly critical to the people who live in Sparwood.

Teck has earned its social licence to continue mining here. The public has accepted the company’s efforts to mitigate any of the effects of coal mining, such as contaminants leaching into the water supply. Teck has done a lot of work to reduce the problem.

At the same time, we know that we need to diversify our economy. It’s something the local municipalities talk about a lot. The Sparwood regional economy is one of the least diversified in the province, which has made us very vulnerable to a cycle of boom and bust. The region has lots more to offer than just coal deposits, and we’re trying to leverage our mountains and natural beauty to build a thriving tourist industry.

 

Kamloops-North Thompson and Kamloops-South Thompson

Ryan Scorgie, president of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce

The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce and its 850 members take a great deal of interest in all kinds of resource development, including mineral development in Kamloops-North Thompson and Kamloops-South Thompson.

The main mineral projects in the area are the Ajax project (KGHM International), the New Afton mine (New Gold TSX:NGD) and Highland Valley Copper (Teck).

Opinions about resource development are mixed in Kamloops. Most of the working people here are for it, but many of the academics at Thompson Rivers University are against, so the Chamber of Commerce hears both sides of the argument. Our position is that if a project goes through the appropriate review process and passes it, then we support it.

In fact, the Chamber thinks process is so important that our Policy Development Committee developed a policy regarding resource development in 2016 called Supporting Canada’s Responsible Resource Development.

The policy statement is more important than its brevity might indicate, because it was adopted provincially just a few months after it was written.

Opinions vary by region when it comes to mineral exploration and mine development

(Photo: Neil Leonard/AME)

The committee writes, in part: “The Chamber believes that it is critical that B.C. maintains its reputation as a jurisdiction open to investment. Achieving the investments needed to ensure Canada’s competitiveness will require an efficient regulatory review process that ensures continued health and environmental protection of Canadians while generating jobs, economic growth and prosperity.

“A streamlined process will encourage investment by providing businesses with a clear and predictable process to protect the environment while making the best use of limited government resources.

“Inefficient and unpredictable processes may turn away potential investors and prevent businesses from being able to make informed location and logistic decisions. For example, the World Economic Forum has cited inefficient government bureaucracy as one of the biggest impediments to improving Canada’s economic competitiveness.

“We need to make sure that the regulatory review process is efficient and has a clear scope, reasonable timelines and the flexibility to address unforeseen circumstances.”

Originally published in the spring 2017 edition of Mineral Exploration. Posted here with the permission of the Association for Mineral Exploration.

Visual Capitalist: The re-awakening of the Golden Triangle

April 6th, 2017

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | April 6, 2017

The re-awakening of the Golden Triangle

 

Many years ago, a remote and mountainous region in northwestern British Columbia gained considerable attention as an emerging mineral district. With a rich mining history, one of the world’s largest silver mines (Eskay Creek, discovered in 1988) and million-ounce gold deposits, this area of incredible wealth became known as the Golden Triangle.

However, despite its obvious potential, the vast majority of land in this highly prospective region has been left mostly untouched by humans. A combination of factors, including low gold prices and a lack of infrastructure, led to the area lying dormant for decades.

Today, things are changing dramatically. The Golden Triangle is a new hotbed for mineral discovery, where over 130 million ounces of gold, 800 million ounces of silver and 40 billion pounds of copper have been found. The amazing part is that this is only scratching the surface of the region’s ultimate potential.

Skeena Resources TSXV:SKE and IDM Mining TSXV:IDM have generously helped put together the story on the re-awakening of the famed Golden Triangle.

The new gold rush

Why is the Golden Triangle at the centre of attention again? There are five main reasons:

1. New deposits found

The old adage is that the best place to find a new mine is near an existing one. Here are three major deposits in the Golden Triangle that have geologists and financiers buzzing:

KSM

Seabridge Gold’s (TSX:SEA) KSM project is the largest gold project in the world. In 2014 it received the green light from Canada’s federal government to go ahead. A porphyry-style deposit, it has reserves of 38.8 million ounces of gold, 10.2 billion pounds of copper and 183 million ounces of silver.

Red Chris

This $700-million copper and gold mine entered production in 2015. Owned by Imperial Metals TSX:III, it will be in production until 2043 based on current mine life estimates. In 2016 alone, it produced 83 million pounds of copper, 47,000 ounces of gold and 190,000 ounces of silver.

Valley of the Kings

The latest, and perhaps most interesting, discovery in the Golden Triangle is slotted to reach commercial production in 2017. The Valley of the Kings, unlike the above porphyry-style deposits, contains extremely high-grade gold. With 15.6 million tonnes grading 16.1 g/t gold, this deposit has some of the richest ore in the world.

2. New Infrastructure

In recent years, the Golden Triangle has received three massively important infrastructure upgrades:

  • Paving of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway (north from Smithers)

  • Opening of ocean port facilities for export of concentrate at Stewart

  • Completion of a $700-million high-voltage transmission line to bring power into the Golden Triangle

3. Declining snow cover

Glacial ice and snow have been retreating in many parts of the region, revealing rocks never seen before by human eyes. Especially in a mineral-rich region such as the Golden Triangle, this is a very exciting prospect for mineral geologists.

4. A new geological explanation

The Golden Triangle region has complex geology that had befuddled explorers for decades—but recent work has made the picture much clearer. Geologist Jeff Kyba has put forth the following theory: Geological contact between Triassic-age Stuhini rocks and Jurassic-age Hazelton rocks is the key marker for copper-gold mineralization.

Most of the Triangle’s copper-gold deposits, whether they are large-scale porphyry and intrusion-related, are found within two kilometres of this contact. It’s been named the Red Line, and this new interpretation of the region’s geology could contribute to B.C.’s next mega deposit.

5. Gold price recovery

Since the “sleepy” days of the Golden Triangle, gold prices have increased three times, even after adjusting for inflation. Combined with new infrastructure, exciting projects and world-class mineral potential, the Golden Triangle is awake again.

What’s happening today?

Today, the Golden Triangle is buzzing with activity.

  • The Red Chris mine is now in operation

  • Valley of the Kings is entering production in 2017

  • KSM, the world’s largest gold deposit, is nearing potential construction

  • Historic mines like the Snip Mine and Granduc are being explored using modern methods

  • New high-grade gold is being found. Red Mountain and the old Premier gold mine are the sites of some of these discoveries

  • Dozens of companies are on the ground performing all phases of exploration

Many types of mineral deposits are being tested for, including high-grade gold veins, large-scale porphyries and VMS (volcanogenic massive sulphide) deposits. The Golden Triangle is once again a centre of attention and it could be poised to become one of the world’s most prolific concentrations of mineral wealth.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

See an infographic about the Golden Triangle’s mining history.