Monday 25th September 2017

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Infographic: The Yukon, where mineral potential is coming of age

August 8th, 2017

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | August 8, 2017

In a remote corner of Canada’s north lies the Yukon—a territory that is renowned for both its legendary mineral potential and its storied mining history.

But while the Yukon only produced 2.2% of Canada’s gold in 2016, the territory’s considerable potential may finally be getting realized in a big way. In the last few years globally significant discoveries have been made and now mining giants such as Barrick Gold TSX:ABX, Goldcorp TSX:G and Agnico Eagle TSX:AEM are making their moves into the Yukon to get in on the action.

A coming of age story

This infographic comes from Strikepoint Gold TSXV:SKP and it showcases some of the reasons why the most important chapter in the Yukon’s mining story may just be beginning.

The Yukon: Where mineral potential is coming of age

 

Although the Yukon has been known for a long time to possess incredible mineral potential, it is only in the last few years that signs have been pointing towards this being realized in the form of globally significant discoveries, investment from major players and mines being built.

A new era in the Yukon

For gold to be produced, it must first be discovered. The Yukon has been home to some of Canada’s most exciting discoveries in the last 10 years. The new project pipeline contains impressive deposits but, even more importantly, it contains some impressive names.

White Gold

Famously found by prospector Shawn Ryan and Underworld Resources in 2008, the White Gold discovery triggered much of the modern interest in the Yukon. Kinross Gold TSX:K purchased Underworld Resources for $139.2 million at the height of the gold market. More recently, major Agnico Eagle has bought into the district for $14.52 million.

Coffee project

Discovered in 2010, this project is just kilometres away from the White Gold project. It too is based on Shawn Ryan’s claims. Most recently, Goldcorp bought the project for $520 million through its acquisition of Kaminak Gold.

Casino project

Currently under environmental review, this massive porphyry deposit owned by Western Copper and Gold TSX:WRN could be the largest mine in Yukon history, if constructed. Right now the deposit has reserves of 4.5 billion pounds of copper and 8.9 million ounces of gold.

Rackla

The only Carlin-style district in Canada, this project is being advanced by ATAC Resources TSXV:ATC. Recently ATAC generated headlines with an investment from Barrick, which put in $8.3 million while also committing up to a further $55 million to earn 70% of the property’s Orion project.

Eagle Gold

Eagle Gold is on track to become the Yukon’s largest gold-only mine in history. Victoria Gold TSXV:VIT, the project’s owner, expects its first gold pour in 2019. Currently the property’s Eagle and Olive deposits have 2.66 million ounces of gold in reserves.

Major arrivals

In the last year or so some of the world’s most prolific gold miners such as Barrick, Goldcorp and Agnico Eagle have set up shop in the Yukon—and it could be a sign that the territory is close to reaching its ultimate potential as a top-tier mining destination.

Here are some of the other reasons that miners and investors are looking northwards:

1. Government support

The Yukon government is well known for supporting prospectors and miners developing projects. Current programs include the Yukon Mineral Exploration Program, which provides a portion of risk capital to help explorers locate and grow deposits, as well as the Fuel Tax Exemption, which makes miners and other off-road industries exempt from fuel taxes.

2. A rich mining history

From the placer mining of the famous Klondike gold rush to the mining today in the Yukon, the territory has always welcomed mining. In fact, mining is still the most important private industry today in the Yukon by GDP share (19%).

3. First Nations approach

First Nations and the Yukon government have recently championed a new “government-to-government” relationship to ensure that industry, the territorial government and First Nations are on the same page for mineral projects.

4. Momentum

From Shawn Ryan’s discoveries to the arrival of majors in the region, it has been an eventful decade for Yukon miners. Many expect the best is yet to come.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

‘Everyone’s hiring again’

May 24th, 2017

Mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says executive recruiting presages a wave of M&A

by Greg Klein

As an executive search firm, the Mining Recruitment Group might serve as a bellwether for the industry. Founder and self-described mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says, “I put together management teams for companies, I connect people with opportunities and opportunities with people.” In that role, he experienced the upturn well before many industry players did.

To most of them, the long-awaited resurgence arrived late last year. Pollard saw it several months earlier.

Mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says executive recruiting could presage a wave of M&A

“The market came back in a huge way, at least in the hiring side, early last year when my phone started ringing a hell of a lot more,” he explains. “There was a huge volume. And what I’ve found is that the available talent pool for executives shrank in a period of about six months. In January 2016, for example, I was working on a search and there was almost a lineup out the door of some really big-name people. What I’m finding now, a year and a half later, is that the available talent has almost evaporated. It’s much harder to recruit for senior positions.”

Lately his work suggests another industry development. “The major upturn I’m seeing in the market now is a huge demand for corporate development people who can do technical due diligence on projects. Over the last few years large mining companies and investment banks cut staff almost to the bone in that regard because no one was interested in doing deals or looking at acquisitions.”

Just completed, his most recent placement was for Sprott. “They had me looking for someone with a technical background who can do due diligence for their investments. In doing so I spoke with everyone on the street, from investment banks to some big name corporate development people and they all said the same thing: Everyone’s hiring again. These are people who couldn’t get job offers a year ago, now every single candidate on the short list for this last search has multiple offers from companies looking to get them. I haven’t seen that in five years.

“So that leads me to believe companies have been staffing up their corporate development teams. I see that as a major sign that you’re going to see M&A pick up in a huge, huge way, probably over the next three to six months.”

An early example would be last week’s Eldorado Gold TSX:ELD buyout of Integra Gold TSXV:ICG—“one of my best clients over the years”—in a deal valued at $590 million.

Mining headhunter Andrew Pollard says executive recruiting could presage a wave of M&A

Andrew Pollard: Executive recruiting “leads me to believe companies have been staffing up their corporate development teams.”

“I think there’s leverage for other companies to start pulling the trigger faster because they’re adding the expertise to get these things done.”

Having founded the Mining Recruitment Group over a decade ago at the age of 20, “a snotty kid” with only a single year of related experience, he’s placed people in companies with market caps ranging from $5 million to well over $200 million. Now in a position to pick and choose his assignments, Pollard’s business concentrates on “the roles that will have the most impact on a company’s future.” That tends to be CEO, president, COO and board appointments.

Last year he placed five CEOs, as well as other positions. Among those assignments, Pollard worked with Frank Giustra on a CEO search for Fiore Exploration TSXV:F and filled another vacancy for Treasury Metals TSX:TML as it advances Goliath toward production.

But the hiring surge coincides with an industry-wide recruitment challenge. Pollard attributes that to a demographic predicament complicated by mining’s notorious cyclicality.

During the 1990s, he points out, fewer people chose mining careers, resulting in a shortage of staffers who’d now be in their 40s and 50s. Greater numbers joined up during the more promising mid-2000s, only to “get spat out” when markets went south. Now Pollard gets a lot of calls to replace baby boomers who want to retire. Too many of those retirements are coming around the same time, he says, because stock losses during the downturn had forced executives to postpone their exit.

Now, with a wave of retirements coinciding with a demographic gap, Pollard sees a “perfect storm to identify the next batch of young leaders.”

But he also sees promise in a new generation. That inspired him to assemble Young Leaders, one of two panel discussions he’ll present at the International Metal Writers Conference in Vancouver on May 28 and 29.

“By talking with some very successful executives age 35 and under, I want to show that we need to look at people one generation younger, and foster and develop this talent.”

By talking with some very successful executives age 35 and under, I want to show that we need to look at people one generation younger, and foster and develop this talent.

Well, it’s either talent or a precocious Midas touch that distinguishes these panel members. Maverix Metals TSXV:MMX CEO Dan O’Flaherty co-founded the royalty/streaming company just last year, already accumulating assets in 10 countries and a $200-million market cap.

As president/CEO of Skyharbour Resources TSXV:SYH, Jordan Trimble proved adept at fundraising and deal-making while building a 250,000-hectare uranium-thorium exploration portfolio in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. Integra president/CEO Steve de Jong raised the company from a $10-million market cap in 2012 to last week’s $590-million takeout.

And, demographic gap notwithstanding, Pollard’s second panel features three other success stories, just a bit older but with lots of potential left after guiding three of last year’s biggest M&A deals. They’ll take part in the Vision to Exit discussion, which closes the conference on May 29.

Eira Thomas burst into prominence at the Lac de Gras diamond fields where she discovered Diavik at age 24. Her most recent major coup took place last year on the Klondike gold fields with Goldcorp’s (TSX:G) $520-million buyout of Kaminak Gold.

Featherstone Capital president/CEO Doug Forster founded and led Newmarket Gold, producing over 225,000 ounces a year from three Australian mines and enticing Kirkland Lake Gold’s (TSX:KL) billion-dollar offer.

Now chairperson of Liberty Gold TSX:LGD and a director of NexGen Energy TSX:NXE, Mark O’Dea co-founded and chaired True Gold Mining, acquired in April 2016 by Endeavour Mining TSX:EDV. Three other companies that O’Dea co-founded, led and sold were Fronteer Gold, picked up by Newmont Mining NYSE:NEM in 2011; Aurora Energy, sold to Paladin Energy TSX:PDN in 2011; and True North Nickel, in which Royal Nickel TSX:RNX bought a majority interest in 2014.

“We’ll be looking at how they go into deals, what their philosophy is, what’s their current reading of the market and what they’re going to do next. They each have a big future ahead of them.”

Pollard’s two panel discussions take place at the International Metal Writers Conference on May 28 and 29 at the Vancouver Convention Centre East. Pre-register for free or pay $20 at the door.

In all, the conference brings generations of talent, expertise and insight to an audience of industry insiders and investors alike.

Read more about the International Metal Writers Conference.

Absolutely Abitibi

November 18th, 2016

BonTerra Resources gets aggressive in Quebec gold country

by Greg Klein

BonTerra Resources gets aggressive in Quebec’s gold country

A diagram shows how far the company has progressed
beyond the 2012 resource area, outlined in blue.

 

With a standout interval of 70 grams per tonne gold over 5.5 metres, BonTerra Resources’ (TSXV:BTR) November 16 batch of assays brought further evidence of a good Abitibi address. As president/CEO Nav Dhaliwal emphasizes, “This is all new drilling, well outside the resource area, and we’re going to continue expanding.” Primed with enthusiasm, financing and a better understanding of the geology, BonTerra now hopes to connect its Gladiator project’s zones across a potential strike length of 1,200 metres.

Some highlights from the most recent seven holes show:

Hole BA-16-26

  • 19.6 g/t gold over 1 metre, starting at 412 metres in downhole depth

BA-16-30

  • 4.7 g/t over 3 metres, starting at 370 metres

BA-16-38

  • 12.4 g/t over 4 metres, starting at 769 metres
  • (including 24.3 g/t over 2 metres)

BA-16-39

  • 1.5 g/t over 10 metres, starting at 723 metres

  • 70 g/t over 5.5 metres, starting at 813.5 metres
  • (including 191.4 g/t over 2 metres)

  • 3.1 g/t over 5 metres, starting at 846 metres

True widths weren’t available.

BonTerra Resources gets aggressive in Quebec’s gold country

A cold climate will complement Bonterra Resources’ drill campaign.

The drill season started on a 600-metre strike reached last May with an intercept of 137.4 g/t over 2.5 metres. This week BA-16-39 revealed its star interval at the eastern extent of the east-plunging structure, below 600 metres in vertical depth. BA-16-38 extended the zone another 50 metres deeper and 100 metres to the east. That outlines Gladiator’s zones to 650 metres in depth and 700 metres in strike. Meanwhile, assays are pending for other completed holes.

But as Dhaliwal says, “We’re not stopping there.” Now with a second rig at work, drilling will sink deeper, as well as farther east and west. Should the program succeed in connecting the eastern zones with the Rivage zone, currently over 300 metres away, the 7,563-hectare property would have the potential 1.2-kilometre strike.

With a 4 g/t cutoff, Gladiator’s 2012 resource estimate shows:

  • inferred: 905,000 tonnes averaging 9.37 g/t for 273,000 ounces gold

A resource update might arrive in late spring or early summer, Dhaliwal says. Well into a 25,000-metre 2016 program, drilling will continue through the winter. “That’s the most efficient time to work,” he points out. “This property is covered in a foot to six feet of water. Right now we’re land-based, so we’re shooting down towards it. So winter gives us an advantage, we’ll be able to get right on top of the structure.”

Describing the crew as “lean and mean,” Dhaliwal adds, “I couldn’t be prouder of our geological team, headed by a very experienced individual, Dale Ginn.” The VP of exploration’s more than 30-year career includes service with Kerr Mines, SGX Resources, San Gold, Harmony Gold Canada, Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting, and Goldcorp TSX:G, among others.

Last winter’s relative warmth limited BonTerra to about 20 holes, but Dhaliwal’s hoping this year’s temperatures favour a more aggressive campaign.

Looking southwest from Gladiator’s position on the Casa Berardi fault zone to the Cadillac-Larder Lake fault zone just inside Ontario, BonTerra holds the 2,165-hectare Larder Lake project. The property came with estimates, which BonTerra treats as historic and non-43-101, for two deposits just over a kilometre apart. Using 2.5 g/t gold cutoffs, they show:

Bear Lake

  • inferred: 3.75 million tonnes averaging 5.7 g/t for 683,000 ounces gold

Cheminis

  • indicated: 335,000 tonnes averaging 4.07 g/t for 43,800 ounces gold

  • inferred: 1.39 million tonnes averaging 5.2 g/t for 233,400 ounces

As a past-producer, Cheminis reportedly turned out 7.6 million gold ounces at an average 3.7 g/t from depths to 315 metres.

The historic estimates predate some 59 holes totalling over 25,000 metres sunk by Gold Fields NYSE:GFI. Dhaliwal says the South African miner worked the property up to 2012, when the company slashed international exploration spending. “They left just under $6 million of work—of clean work, mind you. We’ve seen the logs and core. Dale’s hired a project manager for the Ontario side and we’ll get started on a 43-101.”

The property’s Fernland area adds a third mineralized body, with all three open at depth and within a 3.2-kilometre potential strike.

While talking about either property, Dhaliwal at times can barely contain his enthusiasm. Financing suggests he’s hardly alone in his confidence. Between December 2015 and last June, the company raised over $10.38 million. “We’re fully cashed up and we’re moving forward so stay tuned—we’re going to show you more.”

See an infographic about BonTerra Resources.

Yukon Liberals break Yukon Party’s 14-year grip on Yukon power

November 8th, 2016

by Greg Klein | November 7, 2016

Press time results:

  • Yukon Liberals 11 seats, 39% of popular vote
  • Yukon Party 6, 33%
  • New Democratic Party 2, 26%

The territory’s riding names evoke mining history but repeated enticements to the sector failed to keep the Yukon Party in power. On November 7 the YP’s 14 years of majority rule came to an end as the Yukon Liberals moved from third to first place, returning to government for the first time since 2002. The red surge claimed YP leader Darrell Pasloski’s Mountainview constituency.

Liberals end Yukon Party’s 14-year grip on power

Yukon’s legislative chamber gets a new seating arrangement
as the Liberals return to power. (Photo: Yukon Legislative Assembly)

The first MLA declared elected was Klondike incumbent and Liberal leader Sandy Silver. NDP leader Liz Hanson also won re-election in Whitehorse Centre.

On mining-related issues, the month-long campaign saw the YP supporting regulatory streamlining, an exploration tax credit, funding for industry groups and support for road and power infrastructure. The party also called for “Yukon-specific curriculum for geology and earth sciences, and an experiential trades program.”

The YP castigated opposition support for the federal carbon tax, “the most significant commitment that the Liberals made with respect to the mining sector.” The incumbents said it would boost residents’ costs overall, hitting the average placer mine with more than $230,000 in additional expenses.

Liberals countered that the territory fell significantly in Fraser Institute rankings of mining jurisdictions. The most recent FI Investment Attractiveness Index places Yukon 12th of 109 jurisdictions worldwide, but last in Canada. The previous year Yukon ranked sixth worldwide. In 2012 to 2013, and 2011 to 2012, the territory scored #1 globally.

Liberals end Yukon Party’s 14-year grip on power

Former teacher and placer miner
Sandy Silver becomes Yukon’s new premier. (Photo: Yukon Liberals)

Additionally, the Liberals said the YP “botched” the S-6 amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act and created regulatory uncertainty while “legal battles with First Nation governments have resulted in huge tracts of land being off limits to mining.”

Silver argued his was the only party with “a plan to work with First Nation governments to rejuvenate the mining sector.”

A former teacher who’s worked on a placer mine, Silver joined the Yukon legislature in 2011 and became Liberal leader in 2014.

The territory hosts development, exploration, prospecting and placer mining activity, not to mention reality TV shows. But commodity prices have reduced major mines to just one operation, Capstone Mining’s (TSX:CS) Minto copper-gold-silver open pit in central Yukon.

Among the more celebrated development projects is Coffee, nabbed by Goldcorp TSX:G last May in its $520-million takeout of Kaminak Gold. Goldcorp plans to revise the project’s feasibility study, conduct further community consultations and begin initial permitting studies. The company foresees initial gold production by the end of 2020.

Victoria Gold TSXV:VIT says its Eagle gold project at the Dublin Gulch property is “expected to be Yukon’s next operating gold mine.” The two-open pit proposal reached feasibility in September and has all major permits in place, the company says.

Western Copper and Gold’s (TSX:WRN) Casino project has been sent for review to the highest level of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board. The company intends to optimize the project design to address concerns including the height of the proposed tailings dam.

Yukon’s home to about 37,500 residents.

Kapuskasing Gold drills near-surface 4.68 g/t over 1.6 metres in northern Ontario

September 27th, 2016

by Greg Klein | September 27, 2016

A brief drill program of three shallow holes confirmed significant gold mineralization on the Rollo project in northern Ontario, Kapuskasing Gold TSXV:KAP announced September 27. The 150-metre summer campaign tested continuity of the property’s Racicot gold showing. The previous summer’s channel sampling found results up to 8.82 g/t gold over 0.6 metres. Grab samples assayed 1 g/t, 1.89 g/t and 11.41 g/t gold.

Kapuskasing Gold drills 4.68 g/t over 1.6 metres in northern Ontario

Some highlights from the most recent program show:

Hole RO-16-01

  • 3.24 g/t gold over 0.7 metres, starting at 8.5 metres in downhole depth

  • 2.32 g/t over 0.5 metres, starting at 10.6 metres

Hole RO-16-02

  • 3.3 g/t over 0.9 metres, starting at 8.2 metres

Hole RO-16-03

  • 4.68 g/t over 1.6 metres, starting at 14 metres
  • (including 8.05 g/t over 0.8 metres)

True widths were unavailable.

Results support an interpretation that associates mineralization with a red syenite dyke that strikes approximately 100 degrees, the company stated

Located along a projected extension of the Destor-Porcupine fault zone, Rollo sits between IAMGOLD’s (TSX:IMG) Cote Lake gold deposit and Goldcorp’s (TSX:G) Borden gold project. Last week Richmond Minerals TSXV:RMD announced results from its Ridley Lake property about three kilometres southwest of Rollo, hitting up to 1.26 g/t gold over 33 metres, including 4.11 g/t over 7 metres.

Future plans for Kapuskasing include additional drilling and ground geophysics. The company intends to resume work this autumn.

A 10-hole, 1,000-metre program at Kapuskasing’s West Keefer property found no significant gold but did identify lithologies favourable for hosting mineralization, the company added.

Kapuskasing holds seven gold properties along extensions of the Destor-Porcupine structure or the Borden gold project. The company closed a $246,600 private placement in July.

Casino, Selwyn Chihong sign MOU to power Yukon/NWT projects with B.C. LNG

September 21st, 2016

by Greg Klein | September 21, 2016

Liquefied natural gas would be the fuel of choice to electrify two potential northern mines, according to a memorandum of understanding announced September 21. Casino Mining and Selwyn Chihong Mining said the proposed deal with Ferus Natural Gas Fuels would cut costs as well as CO2 emissions.

Casino, Selwyn Chihong sign MOU to power Yukon projects with B.C. LNG

LNG could overcome diesel dependency
in grid-less regions of the North.

Through its subsidiary, Western Copper and Gold TSX:WRN has the Casino gold-copper-molybdenum project undergoing environmental assessment. Selwyn Chihong’s Selwyn zinc-lead project currently moves towards pre-feasibility.

The plan would have Ferus build an LNG plant at Fort Nelson, in northeastern British Columbia’s Peace River oil and gas region. Ferus built and operates Canada’s first merchant LNG plant in northwestern Alberta. A related company, Eagle LNG Partners, has an LNG plant under construction in Florida. Ferus stated it provides LNG and compressed natural gas fuelling services including liquefaction, compression, storage and delivery to the oil and gas, mining, marine, rail and power generation sectors.

The plan “may also benefit neighbouring mines, industries and communities currently powered by diesel, by making the LNG more broadly available,” commented Ferus president/CEO Dick Brown.

“Neighbouring” might cover a lot of ground. Casino’s located in west-central Yukon. Selwyn straddles the Yukon/Northwest Territories border.

But for the time being the Coffee gold project, Yukon’s likeliest new mine and located only about 30 kilometres northwest of Casino, sticks to a diesel-fuelled plan. Low diesel costs ruled out “the additional $1.5-million capital expense associated with LNG storage and vaporization,” according to last January’s feasibility study. “If in the future diesel fuel costs increase, significant power generation cost savings may be realized by substituting LNG for diesel.”

Goldcorp TSX:G subsidiary Kaminak Gold hopes to begin Coffee construction in mid-2018.

Backers of the Fort Nelson proposal anticipate two phases of development to be commissioned in 2020 and 2022.

The northern enigma

September 2nd, 2016

UBC researchers help explorers better understand Yukon and Alaskan geology

by Greg Klein

They’re not necessarily the mob you’d find whooping it up in the Malamute Saloon. But the spell of the Yukon and neighbouring Alaska has attracted a unique collaboration of industry and academia with a mission—to unravel some of the geology that remains mysterious after more than a century of scrutiny. Demonstrated dramatically by Goldcorp’s (TSX:G) $520-million takeout of Kaminak Gold, the land of Robert Service, Jack London and countless TV reality shows still has considerable mineral wealth to be found.

UBC researchers help explorers better understand Yukon and Alaskan geology

Murray Allan (left), students Kathryn Grodzicki and Stephen Bartlett
take a break while mapping in Yukon’s Dawson Range.
(Photo: Murray Allan)

Joining the search are students and faculty from the University of British Columbia’s Mineral Deposit Research Unit. Catalysed by the discovery of the territory’s White Gold district, the group conducted its Yukon Gold Project from 2010 to 2012. They returned in 2014 with the current Yukon-Alaska Metallogeny project, partly inspired by the Kaminak discovery.

“We’re basically looking at everything from the Yukon-B.C. border all the way up to the Fairbanks area,” MDRU research associate Murray Allan tells ResourceClips.com. “It’s an enormous package of ground.”

The region includes Kaminak’s Coffee, Western Copper and Gold’s (TSX:WRN) Casino and Copper North Mining’s (TSXV:COL) Carmacks deposits, among other resources in the Dawson Range Mineral Belt.

Much of the work involves “digesting public information, assimilating already-existing data into coherent data sets that can be of value to companies when they’re deciding where to target,” Allan explains. “In parallel to that we’re doing our own field work, looking at areas that are poorly understood, sampling rocks, understanding the age and the controls on mineralization so companies can make much better technical exploration decisions.”

It’s “a huge, collaborative effort,” he emphasizes. “What we do relies 100% on the participation of industry sponsors and the exploration industry as a whole. Just as important is the relationship we have with the various government surveys.”

Last month the group collected a $557,670 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The project also gets $700,000 in direct and in-kind contributions from Kaminak, Sumac Mines and Copper North. The MDRU works closely with the Yukon Geological Survey and also with the national surveys of Canada and the U.S.

Kaminak president Eira Thomas credited the group with bringing “a high level of scientific rigour … to our geological understanding of the Coffee gold resource. This knowledge ultimately contributes to improved exploration and development planning.”

The region’s lack of glaciation presents challenges as well as benefits, Allan points out. There’s little rock at surface, so trenching plays a bigger role in early-stage work. On the other hand, soils have largely stayed put for an awfully long time. “For example, if a program identifies a gold anomaly in soils, almost certainly they’re very close to a bedrock source of mineralization.” That helps explain legendary prospector Shawn Ryan’s success in sparking the Yukon’s most recent gold rush.

Speaking of legendary, the Klondike gold fields sit within the project area. There, the lack of glaciation “led to very deep weathering of mineralized rock, which ultimately led to the efficient accumulation of placer gold deposits,” Allan points out. Probably 20 million ounces or more have been pulled out of Klondike creeks. Yet a bedrock source of gold that’s economic by current mining standards remains elusive.

UBC researchers help explorers better understand Yukon and Alaskan geology

Some of the Yukon-Alaska Metallogeny team
on a site visit to Kaminak’s Coffee project.
(Photo: Murray Allan)

“Up until now, despite lots of effort, there’s been no notable discoveries of gold in the ground. Either it’s a problem with the exploration methods or our understanding of what controls gold in the Klondike, or perhaps there’s a good geological reason why there might not be huge quantities of gold in economic concentrations in the ground,” he says.

“Our role is to understand what controls mineralization of any age and any style. That plays into the structural controls, whether faults of a particular orientation might be important, or whether a certain igneous rock of a particular age might play a role. We have examples of both. We’ve identified a large number of systems related to Late Cretaceous intrusions, for example, which we know are very fertile for copper and gold mineralization. But the White Gold district that kicked off in 2009, for example, has no intrusions to our knowledge that control mineralization there. The gold seems to be purely associated with faults.”

Having wrapped up 2016 field work last month, the group’s back at UBC, busy processing samples and compiling data. Their findings, often in the form of maps and data sets, go first to industry sponsors. That gives the companies a short-term advantage during a period of confidentiality. Then the info goes public, in a thesis or academic publication.

But even back in Vancouver, the spell of the Yukon remains.

“It’s an interesting role for us to play, doing modern, cutting-edge science in an area that has that industrial heritage,” Allan says. “I don’t think anyone working in that area would deny that’s part of the appeal. But the fact remains that there’s a lot of gold we know about, for example in placer creeks, but not much knowledge about the source of that gold. So there remains a huge amount of potential for hard rock explorers in that part of the world. There’s a very legitimate economic reason for investment and exploration in that part of the Yukon and Alaska.”

The MDRU returns to the field next June.

Dunnedin Ventures increases till sampling in search of Nunavut diamonds

August 31st, 2016

by Greg Klein | August 31, 2016

With a goal nearly 10 times the size of last year’s program, Dunnedin Ventures TSXV:DVI has a greatly expanded campaign of till sampling underway at its Kahuna project in Nunavut. The company hopes to process this year’s samples in time to guide a winter program on the 13,000-hectare property near Hudson Bay’s northwestern shore.

Dunnedin Ventures increases till sampling in search of Nunavut diamonds

These diamonds from Dunnedin’s Kahuna
project range between 1.18 and 1.7 millimetres.

Using techniques pioneered by Dunnedin adviser Chuck Fipke, last year’s program “identified several new targets consistent with our known diamond-bearing kimberlites, including both dyke and pipe targets, and extensions to known diamond-bearing kimberlites,” said CEO Chris Taylor. “We anticipate that this summer’s 1,000-sample program will define additional targets and will allow us to accurately prioritize sites for upcoming drilling and bulk sampling.”

This field program should cost around $350,000, a relatively low budget due to the proximity of the hamlets of Rankin Inlet and Chesterfield Inlet.

The company also keeps busy with diamond recoveries from samples taken last year at the project’s Notch, PST and Kahuna kimberlites. Previous recoveries showed 96 commercial-sized diamonds from PST and another 36 from a Notch sample that was about 40% processed.

In addition Dunnedin has last year’s till samples under evaluation for gold potential.

Having held a series of community meetings recommended by the Nunavut Impact Review Board, Dunnedin plans to submit a revised project proposal to the NIRB. The company currently holds permits to work on federally controlled lands into 2017 and on Inuit-controlled lands into 2018.

Earlier this month Dunnedin appointed two strategic advisers, John Robins and Jim Paterson. Robins’ history with Kahuna dates to early last decade when he founded the company that held the original tenure. He brings to Dunnedin access to a proprietary database of historic results. Robins has been involved in a number of mergers and acquisitions including Goldcorp’s (TSX:G) takeover of Kaminak Gold, where he served as executive chairperson. He remains a director with other companies including Kivalliq Energy TSXV:KIV.

A former director of Kaminak, Paterson serves as CEO/director of Kivalliq, which holds the Angilak uranium deposit in the same region as Kahuna. During his 19 years of experience he’s acted as an executive or director of companies that raised over $175 million.

In early August Dunnedin offered a private placement of $1.3 million.

A January 2015 estimate showed inferred resources for the Kahuna and Notch kimberlites, 12 kilometres apart:

  • Kahuna (+0.85 mm cutoff): 3.06 million tonnes averaging 1.04 carats per tonne for 3.19 million carats
  • (+1.18 mm cutoff): 0.8 ct/t for 2.45 million carats

  • Notch (+0.85 mm cutoff): 921,000 tonnes averaging 0.9 ct/t for 829,000 carats
  • (+1.18 mm cutoff): 0.83 ct/t for 765,000 carats

  • Total (+0.85 mm cutoff): 3.99 million tonnes averaging 1.01 ct/t for 4.02 million carats
  • (+1.18 mm cutoff): 0.81 ct/t for 3.22 million carats

Both dykes remain open along strike and at depth.

Read more about Dunnedin Ventures.

See Chris Berry’s report on long-term diamond demand.

Drilling begins on Kapuskasing Gold’s Rollo property in northern Ontario

July 25th, 2016

by Greg Klein | July 25, 2016

Following up on last year’s high-grade samples, Kapuskasing Gold TSXV:KAP now has a drill program underway at its Rollo project in northern Ontario. On July 25 the company announced that three or four holes, each about 50 metres’ depth, will test the property’s Racicot gold showing.

Drilling begins on Kapuskasing Gold’s Rollo property in northern Ontario

Channel sample results from the area in August 2015 included 8.82 grams per tonne gold over 0.6 metres. Grab samples assayed as high as 1, 1.89 and 11.41 g/t gold.

The Racicot showing appears to be associated with a north-bearing quartz, quartz carbonate vein system crosscutting east-west trending mafic metavolcanics and a syenite/porphyry dyke system that trends sub-parallel to the metavolcanics, the company stated. “The drill program is designed to get a better understanding of these geological relationships.”

Kapuskasing’s portfolio includes seven properties along extensions of the Destor-Porcupine structure or Goldcorp’s (TSX:G) Borden gold project. Earlier this month Kapuskasing closed a $246,600 private placement.

Diavik diamond production surpasses 100 million carats

May 19th, 2016

by Greg Klein | May 19, 2016

Canada’s largest diamond mine reached a production milestone this week as Diavik passed the 100-million-carat mark. In operation since 2003, the project’s now a 60/40 joint venture of Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO and Dominion Diamond TSX:DDC, with Rio acting as operator. The company lauded “the teams who have helped make this happen safely and responsibly in some of the harshest operating conditions in the world.” The mine sits about 220 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories’ Lac de Gras region.

Diavik diamond production surpasses 100 million carats

Despite “some of the harshest operating conditions in
the world,” Diavik continues to produce valuable gems.

Rio expects to bring a fourth pipe called A-21 online in H2 2018, spending US$350 million over a four-year period that began in 2014. A-21 would add a proven reserve of 10 million carats, helping extend Diavik’s lifespan to 2023.

The mine employs approximately 1,100 people, half of them living in the north and one-quarter aboriginal. Since 2003, operators have spent C$6.8 billion on goods and services, over 70% with local firms, many of them native-owned.

“Strong and respectful partnerships are at the heart of the way we work at Diavik and I would like to thank all of our investors, our community, business and government partners, and our workforce for their support over the past 13 years,” said Diavik president/COO Marc Cameron.

After De Beers suspended Snap Lake operations last December, the NWT was reduced to just two mines, Diavik and Dominion’s majority-held Ekati. Those two, however, produce enough diamonds to place Canada third in world production by value. Lac de Gras gains “the world’s largest new diamond mine” in H2 this year as Gahcho Kué begins production on a probable reserve totalling 55.5 million carats. A 51%/49% JV of De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds TSX:MPV, the mine was 94% complete as of last week.

Creating nearly 40% of the territory’s GDP in 2014, diamond mining provides the NWT economy’s largest private sector contribution.

The Diavik discovery followed Chuck Fipke’s 1991 Ekati find, which set off the country’s biggest staking stampede since the Klondike. Matthew Hart’s Diamond: The History of a Cold-Blooded Love Affair recounts Diavik’s dramatic 1994 discovery by Eira Thomas, then a 24-year-old project manager for Dominion-predecessor Aber Resources.

Thomas now serves as president/CEO of Kaminak Gold TSXV:KAM, which last week announced a takeover bid by Goldcorp TSX:G valued at C$520 million.