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Site visits for sightseers

July 19th, 2019

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

by Greg Klein

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

A fun but informative underground tour brings B.C.’s former
Britannia copper mine to life. (Photo: Britannia Mine Museum)

 

Follow this industry closely enough and you’ll likely want to visit one or more mines yourself. One way to do that would be to get a job as a miner, although that’s an occupation requiring competence, a capacity for hard work and at least rudimentary English or French. People lacking those qualifications, however, need not despair. They might still find employment writing up sponsored site visits for investor newsletters and mining publications. Still a third approach involves touring historic sites.

Of course they emphasize mining’s past, but that puts perspective on the present. These endeavours helped build our country economically and socially, while inspiring lots of romantic lore and providing stuff that we consider essential. But they also brought about dangerous, sometimes disastrous working conditions, bitter labour conflicts and some primitive environmental standards.

That said, family visits can be entertainingly informative without abjuring history’s serious side.

In this first installment, we provide a list of historic Yukon and British Columbia mines and mining museums open this summer. Also included are a few operating mines that offer public tours. Generally not included, however, are museums of mineralogy and museums not entirely dedicated to mining. The latter category, omitted for space reasons, includes some excellent exhibits and should be considered by mining enthusiasts when visiting any current or former mining region.

Use the links to confirm opening times and other info. Also check tour requirements for footwear and other clothing.

See Part 2 about the prairie provinces, Part 3 about Ontario and Quebec, and Part 4 about the Atlantic provinces.

 

Yukon

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

For some Dawson visitors, gold’s allure overpowers
that of the theme park. (Photo: Parks Canada)

Putting aside the fact that the lack of a gold rush would have meant far fewer tourists, tourism has far outshone the gold rush’s economic importance to Dawson City. The town and its environs abound in Klondike references, real and imagined, from the goldfields themselves to the Dawson City Museum, Dredge #4, a gaudy streetscape (arguably authentic in spirit if not accuracy) and the bard of the Yukon’s log home. (Overheard from an American in Dawson’s visitor info centre: “We’ve heard about your Robert Service. Is he any relation to Robert Frost?”)

A variety of sites and activities can be previewed here, here and even here. And if a can-can dancer hauls you onto the stage at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s, just consider it an act of revisionist history.

 

Only a few kilometres outside Whitehorse, the MacBride Copperbelt Mining Museum focuses on a base metal play overshadowed by Klondike mania. Attractions include an interpretive train ride along 2.5 kilometres of narrow-gauge track. Back in town, look for the MacBride Museum’s other location, right by Sam McGee’s cabin.

Mile 919.28 Alaska Highway. Open Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., until August 31. More info.

 

About 290 kilometres east of Dawson City, in a former boom town now down to maybe 20 people, the Keno City Mining Museum displays tools, equipment and memorabilia about local gold-silver mining from the early 1900s.

Located at the end of the Silver Trail, Main Street. Open daily 10:00 to 6:00 until mid-September and “by chance/appointment” during the off-season. More info.

 

British Columbia

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

Britannia’s multi-storey mill strikes an industrial presence
amid spectacular natural beauty. (Photo: Greg Klein)

Amid stunning scenery halfway between Vancouver and Whistler, the Britannia Mine Museum comprises B.C.’s top such attraction. In operation from 1904 to 1974, this was for a while the British Commonwealth’s biggest copper producer. Now a National Historic Site, its features include 45-minute tours with a short underground train ride, entertaining and knowledgeable guides, gold panning, interactive exhibits and, in a multi-storey mill along the mountainside, a light, sound and special effects show “unlike anything else in North America.” Just outside the museum, early- and mid-20th century buildings remain from what was once an isolated company town.

Located on the Sea-to-Sky (#99) Highway, 45 minutes north of Vancouver and the same distance south of Whistler. Open seven days 9:00 to 5:30. More info.

 

South of Nanaimo, the four-hectare Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park hosts the only substantial remnants of a coal industry that predominated on Vancouver Island starting in the 1850s. This mine operated between 1913 and 1921, and features a 22.5-metre concrete reinforced headframe and a coal-tipping structure that’s one of just two of its kind left in North America. While in town, stop by the Nanaimo Museum for a small but excellent coal mining exhibit.

Directions: On Highway 1 about nine kilometres south of Nanaimo, turn east on Morden Road and follow it for one or two minutes. Long-overdue restoration work might cause temporary closures. Try BC Parks’ website for more info.

 

In the upper altitudes of southern B.C.’s east Kootenay district, an open-air train escapes downtown Kimberley’s “Bavarian” kitsch to take visitors through a scenic valley and into Sullivan, a 1909-to-2001 operation that once boasted itself the world’s largest lead-zinc mine. Guides from the Kimberley Heritage Museum and Kimberley Underground Mining Railway present demonstrations at the underground interpretive centre and the powerhouse. Other displays include a core shack.

Buy tickets at the train station 200 metres west of Kimberley’s pedestrian mall. Mining tours leave daily at 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00. Sightseeing train trips that bypass the mine leave at 10:00 on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays. More info.

 

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

Barkerville crowds notwithstanding, there’s history
in them thar theme parks. (Photo: Barkerville Heritage Trust)

More social history than mining history and with a focus on family fun, Barkerville Historic Town and Park offers entertaining interpretations of the gold rush boom town founded in 1862. Costumed actors lead tours along streets lined with reconstructed period buildings and displays of 19th century mining infrastructure. Plays, concerts and variety shows at the Theatre Royal continue the theme park ambience, while the “immersive experience” offers activities ranging from gold panning to heritage cooking lessons and a blacksmithing workshop. Accommodation in and around the park includes a small hotel, B&Bs, cottages and campgrounds.

Located at the end of Highway 26, 204 kilometres northeast of Williams Lake and 86 kilometres east of Quesnel, all towns on B.C.’s Gold Rush Trail driving route. Open 8:00 to 8:00 until September 2. Museum exhibits close during the off season but the town’s main street remains open for parts of the year. Check the schedule for dates and times. More info.

 

Another historic theme park, although not directly related to mining despite being borne of a gold rush, Fort Steele Heritage Town got its name from Sam Steele, a Mountie whose exploits would have made him a frontier legend in the U.S. or Australia. The reconstructed town’s extensive attractions focus on town life and offer insights into a number of skills including gold panning. About six kilometres away and part of the provincial heritage site sit a few remains of Fisherville, where an 1864 discovery sparked the Wildhorse Creek rush. Self-guided brochures are available.

Located off Highway 93 (for some reason aka Highway 95), 16 kilometres northeast of Cranbrook. Open 10:00 to 5:00 until September 1, with some attractions open during the off season. More info.

 

Mining history offers additional destinations for summer road trips

Teck Resources digs deep while a tour group looks on.
(Photo: Kootenay Rockies Tourism)

Step back into the present with tours of actual working mines in B.C.’s east Kootenays operated by Teck Resources TSX:TECK.A/TECK.B. Three of the company’s open pit metallurgical coal operations welcome the public this summer. Saturday bus tours leave the town of Elkford during July for two-hour trips to Greenhills and during August for two-and-a-half-hour trips to Fording River. Bus tours from the town of Sparwood leave Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for two-hour trips to the Elkview mine.

Elkford and Sparwood are about 34 kilometres apart on opposite ends of Highway 43. For further info and reservations, call the Elkford Visitor Centre at 1-855-877-9453, and the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce at 1-877-485-8185. Last trips leave Elkford August 31 and Sparwood August 29. Sparwood’s CoC also hosts a Mining History Walking Tour that points out mining machinery and other memorabilia around town.

See Part 2 about the prairie provinces, Part 3 about Ontario and Quebec, and Part 4 about the Atlantic provinces.

Ximen Mining gold acquisition continues southern B.C. expansion

June 4th, 2019

by Greg Klein | June 4, 2019

Adding to its portfolio of southern British Columbia past-producers, Ximen Mining TSXV:XIM announced the 100% acquisition of the former Amelia gold operation. Amelia’s 199.46 hectares cover the Cariboo-Amelia mine, which underwent intermittent operation from 1894 to 1962. During that time it produced 124,452 tonnes for 81,602 ounces of gold, 32,439 ounces of silver and, since 1940, 113,302 pounds of lead and 198,140 pounds of zinc, according to B.C. government data cited by Ximen. Gold grades averaged 24.68 g/t.

Ximen Mining gold acquisition continues southern B.C. expansion

On TSXV approval, Ximen gets the Kootenay-region property for 212,888 shares.

The company’s southern B.C. holdings include a 100% stake in the Brett property about 29 kilometres west of Vernon. The 20,025-hectare epithermal gold project features historic grades as high as 168 g/t gold over 1.3 metres, as well as surface trench samples of 291 tonnes averaging 28 g/t gold and 64 g/t silver. Epithermal deposits provide some of the world’s largest and highest-grade gold mines, Ximen states.

In B.C.’s historic Greenwood camp, Ximen has optioned its Gold Drop project to GGX Gold TSXV:GGX, which began spring drilling in April. (Update: On June 6 Ximen and GGX announced the program had finished, with assays pending for 20 holes totalling 1,217 metres. Further drilling is planned.) An extensive campaign last year found high-grade, near-surface gold-silver intercepts, along with tellurium.

Also in April Ximen staked the Providence claim, another 12,900 hectares surrounding Gold Drop and bordering other active projects in this busy camp dotted with former workings. The company has rock and soil sampling, along with trenching planned for Providence.

A few days after that acquisition, Ximen optioned a numbered company whose chief asset is an option on another Greenwood property, the Kenville project.

Last month a program of sampling, trenching and drilling began on Ximen’s Treasure Mountain silver property by option partner New Destiny Mining TSXV:NED. Located about four hours northeast of Vancouver, the 10,700-hectare property is proximal to Nicola Mining’s (TSXV:NIM) Treasure Mountain silver project, where underground mining most recently took place in 2008 and 2013.

On April 16 Ximen closed a private placement of $405,000.

Belmont Resources announces Nevada lithium results

May 2nd, 2019

by Greg Klein | May 2, 2019

Reporting from the Kibby Basin project in Nevada, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA released assays from the most recent hole on the 2,056-hectare property. After reaching a depth of 256 metres into lakebed sediments, the hole averaged 100 ppm lithium, ranging from 38 ppm to 127 ppm.

Belmont Resources announces Nevada lithium results

With only four holes sunk so far, most
of the 2,056-hectare Kibby Basin project
remains unexplored.

Groundwater samples showed the presence of saline, rather than fresh water that’s rich in sodium and magnesium but low in lithium, the company stated. “The presence of shallow aquifers containing saline groundwater with chemical composition similar to, but lower than that of lithium brines is encouraging for the discovery of lithium brines deeper in the basin.”

Results from previous drilling indicate continued potential for lithium brines in unexplored areas of the property, Belmont added. A 2018 hole about 2,300 metres southwest brought intervals of 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres, reaching a high of 580 ppm.

MGX Minerals CSE:XMG has spent $300,000 on exploration so far to earn 25% of the project. The company may increase its interest to 50% with another $300,000 of work.

In March the companies announced a “milestone” water rights permit that might be the first of its kind for Nevada. The permit allows extraction of up to 943.6 million U.S. gallons of water annually for brine processing and potential production of lithium compounds. About 91% of the water would be returned to the source, the companies stated.

Also last March, Belmont announced a foray into southern British Columbia’s busy Greenwood camp with the acquisition of a 253-hectare property in a region of historic gold, copper, silver, lead and zinc mining. The company has historic data under review to prepare for exploration this year.

In northern Saskatchewan, Belmont shares a 50/50 interest in two uranium properties with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

Pistol Bay Mining branches out to Nevada with vanadium acquisition

April 10th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 10, 2019

Despite historic reports of what’s now a sought-after energy metal, this former mining region has never been systematically explored for vanadium. Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST hopes to change that by purchasing a new property in Clark County, Nevada.

Pistol Bay Mining branches out to Nevada with vanadium acquisition

Known collectively as the Vanadium Claims Group, the 397-hectare property covers two groups of claims, each about one by 1.6 kilometres hosting former mines and historic reports of vanadium. U.S. Geological Survey info from the 1920s states that one of the former mines shipped 14 tons of material to the American Vanadium Company, although no data on content or grade was available. The USGS also stated that outcrops within the current VCG project showed vanadium mineralization. 

Other occurrences of vanadium mineralization noted by the USGS suggest the potential for district-scale, low-cost exploration, as well as lead-zinc-silver byproduct potential, commented Pistol Bay president/CEO Charles Desjardins.

“We’re very excited about this new project and look forward to getting boots on the ground this month for sampling and other field work,” he said.

The price comes to an initial $15,000 (all amounts in U.S. dollars), $50,000 and eight million shares on TSXV approval and another $100,000 six months later. The vendor retains a 2% royalty, 75% of which Pistol Bay may buy for $1 million.

In northwestern Ontario, the company holds the largest land package in the Confederation Lake greenstone belt. The claims host several historic estimates as well as a 2017 43-101 resource for the Arrow zone. Using a base case 3% zinc-equivalent cutoff, the estimate outlines an inferred category:

  • 2.1 million tonnes averaging 5.78% zinc, 0.72% copper, 19.5 g/t silver and 0.6 g/t gold, for a zinc-equivalent grade of 8.42%

Contained amounts come to:

  • 274 million pounds zinc, 34.3 million pounds copper, 1.33 million ounces silver and 41,000 ounces gold

Results from last year’s three-hole 1,555-metre drill program “confirm the consistent nature of mineralization in the Arrow zone and give us more confidence in the existing mineral resource estimate,” Desjardins stated at the time. Assays reached as high as 5.15% zinc-equivalent over 12.85 metres.

Ximen Mining to do due diligence on B.C.’s first underground gold mine

April 8th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 8, 2019

Ximen Mining to do due diligence on B.C.’s first underground gold mine

Connected to power and paved road, the Kenville property has mining
equipment, offices, mechanic shop, core storage and accommodation on site.

 

Just days after picking up additional land in one historic southern British Columbia camp, Ximen Mining TSXV:XIM turned its attention to another former mine. A new option agreement would give the company a stake in another company whose chief asset is another option—to acquire the site of B.C.’s first underground lode gold operation.

Located eight kilometres west of the city of Nelson in southeastern B.C.’s Kootenay region, the Kenville gold mine operated intermittently between 1889 and 1954, extracting 181,395 tonnes containing 2,029 kilograms of gold, 861 kilograms of silver, 23.5 tonnes of lead, 15 tonnes of zinc, 1.6 tonnes of copper and 37 kilograms of cadmium, Ximen stated.

Ximen Mining to do due diligence on B.C.’s first underground gold mine

An historic, non-43-101 estimate gives Kenville’s
257 level 16,289 gold ounces measured and indicated.

Some 13,000 metres of drilling between 2007 and 2008 targeted previously untested areas southwest of the former mine, the company added. Detailed sampling also took place on the 257 level, which alone of the mine’s seven levels remains accessible. In 2009 an historic, non-43-101 resource for the 257 level used a 1.1 g/t cutoff to estimate:

  • measured: 3,312 tonnes averaging 31.72 g/t gold for 3,377 gold ounces

  • indicated: 21,312 tonnes averaging 18.84 g/t for 12,912 ounces

  • inferred: 522,321 tonnes averaging 23.01 g/t for 356,949 ounces

Further drilling took place between 2009 and 2012, finding at least four new veins with potential strike lengths of over 700 metres, according to historic, non-43-101 reports.

Historic accounts of soil surveys and drilling suggest potential for porphyry-type copper-molybdenum-silver-gold mineralization elsewhere on the property, Ximen stated.

Pending due diligence and TSXV approval, the acquisition would take place by optioning an interest in a company that holds an option to acquire Kenville. According to the terms, Ximen would option a promissory note to the vendor amounting to $780,000 plus interest, another promissory note to the vendor amounting to $1 million plus interest convertible into shares of 0995237 B.C. Ltd, mining equipment located in Alberta, and 5,333,334 shares in 0995237 B.C. Ltd.

“The principal asset of 0995237 is its option to acquire the Kenville gold mine,” Ximen stated.

The combined assets would cost Ximen 1,408,333 shares at a deemed price of $0.80, $1.38 million payable in installments and settling of the vendor’s $270,000 debt to arm’s length third parties.

Last week Ximen announced its acquisition of over 12,900 hectares in B.C.’s historic Greenwood camp. The new turf surrounds the company’s Gold Drop project, now optioned to GGX Gold TSXV:GGX. Last year’s Gold Drop drill program found near-surface, high-grade intervals of gold and silver, along with tellurium.

Ximen’s southern B.C. portfolio also includes the Treasure Mountain property under option to New Destiny Mining TSXV:NED and the Okanagan-region Brett gold project.

Ximen closed private placements of $540,000 in December and $250,000 in February. In March the company arranged a private placement of $405,000 subject to TSXV approval.

Read more about Ximen Mining here and here.

Belmont Resources moves into B.C.’s historic Greenwood mining camp

March 28th, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 28, 2019, updated April 2

A company drilling for Nevada lithium has taken on new turf in a storied southern British Columbia gold-copper district. The acquisition brings Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA a 253-hectare property that formed part of the former Pathfinder project, about 18 kilometres north of Grand Forks and 500 klicks by highway east of Vancouver. The location sits on the northeastern edge of the Boundary mining camp, also known as the Republic-Greenwood gold district.

Belmont Resources moves into B.C.’s historic Greenwood mining camp

Greenwood-area mining dates back to the late 1880s. Approximately 26 former mines produced more than 1.2 million ounces of gold and over 270,000 tonnes of copper, as well as silver, lead and zinc, according to Geoscience BC. Among the past-producers are some workings on the former Pathfinder property. More recent prospecting, sampling, drilling and a magnetic survey on Pathfinder have provided historic data to help Belmont plan a 2019 exploration program.

Kinross Gold TSX:K subsidiary KG Exploration holds property bordering three sides of the Belmont acquisition. The Kinross subsidiary has so far spent $1.28 million towards a 75% earn-in on Grizzly Discoveries’ (TSXV:GZD) Greenwood project and plans further work this year. Ximen Mining TSXV:XIM and GGX Gold TSXV:GGX have recently reported near-surface gold, silver and tellurium assays from their Greenwood-area Gold Drop project. Other companies in the district include Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM and Quebec niobium-tantalum explorer Saville Resources TSXV:SRE.

To close the acquisition Belmont pays each of two vendors 625,000 shares and 625,000 warrants on TSXV approval, along with another 125,000 shares and 125,000 warrants each within a year. Together, the vendors retain a 1.5% NSR, half of which Belmont may buy for $1 million.

Reporting from their Kibby Basin lithium project in Nevada last week, Belmont and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG announced a “milestone” permit to extract up to 943 million U.S. gallons of water annually for brine processing and potential production of lithium compounds. Assays are pending from last winter’s drilling, which tested a potential fault about 2,300 metres from a previous target that averaged 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres.

Belmont’s portfolio also includes an interest in two northern Saskatchewan uranium properties held 50/50 with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

Subject to exchange approval, Belmont expects to close a private placement first tranche of $67,500. The company closed a private placement totalling $375,000 in July.

Ximen Mining/GGX Gold examine tellurium potential of B.C. gold-silver project

March 7th, 2019

This story has been updated and moved here.

Niobium-tantalum in Quebec

December 5th, 2018

Successful sampling readies Saville Resources to drill for critical metals

by Greg Klein

“Building momentum” is the way Saville Resources TSXV:SRE president Mike Hodge puts it. Steady progress, shown most recently through another encouraging sampling program, puts the company’s early-stage niobium-tantalum project in Quebec on track for drilling this winter. Assays so far have the company hopeful about proving up a maiden resource in this mining-friendly jurisdiction next door to a country increasingly concerned about sourcing critical metals.

Successful sampling readies Saville Resources to drill for critical metals

Conducted by Dahrouge Geological Consulting, the fall
program brought the Niobium claim group to drill-ready status.

The autumn field program met all of its objectives, Hodge enthuses. Twenty-two boulder samples surpassed 0.7% Nb2O5, with 14 of them exceeding 0.8% and one peaking at 1.5%. Tantalum made its presence known too. Those same 14 niobium samples also graded between 160 ppm and 1,080 ppm Ta2O5.

The project gained yet another target, where boulders reached 0.88% and 1.28% Nb2O5. A ground magnetics survey highlighted the prospectivity of the Moira area, already the location of exceptionally high-grade samples. In all, the results show a drill-ready project that should see action this winter.

Saville holds a 75% earn-in from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE on the Niobium claim group, a 1,223-hectare package on the latter company’s Eldor property in Quebec. Just a few kilometres from the Niobium project and with obvious synergistic potential for Saville, Commerce has its Ashram rare earths deposit moving towards pre-feasibility. All this takes place in a province that demonstrates its support for mining through a number of initiatives, including direct investment and the Plan Nord infrastructure program. The northeastern Quebec region has two treaties in place that clearly define procedures for native consultation. Saville’s three-quarters stake in the Niobium claim group calls for $5 million in work over five years.

A 43-101 technical report filed in September followed field programs by previous companies including 41 holes totalling 8,175 metres drilled by Commerce. In addition to niobium-tantalum, the report noted phosphate and fluorspar as potential secondary commodities.

Some of the standout results from previous sampling came from the property’s as-yet undrilled Miranna area, where boulder samples graded as high as 2.75%, 4.24%, 4.3% and an exceptional 5.93% Nb2O5.

Other locations have been drilled, but not since 2010. Some 17 holes and 4,328 metres on the Southeast area brought near-surface highlights that include:

  • 0.82% Nb2O5 over 21.89 metres, starting at 58.93 metres in downhole depth

  • 0.72% over 21.35 metres, starting at 4.22 metres
  • (including 0.9% over 4.78 metres)

  • 0.72% over 17.35 metres, starting at 70 metres

  • 0.71% over 15.33 metres, starting at 55.1 metres

True widths were unavailable. Southeast results also showed tantalum and phosphate, as well as suggesting a possible fluorspar zone.

A wide, near-surface interval from the Northwest area showed:

  • 0.46% Nb2O5 over 46.88 metres, starting at 30.65 metres
  • (including 0.61% over 11.96 metres)
Successful sampling readies Saville Resources to drill for critical metals

Surface outcrops and near-surface core
produce encouraging grades for Saville Resources.

As in the Southeast, the Northwest area showed encouraging signs of tantalum and phosphate. But tantalum came through most strongly in the property’s Star Trench area, with results as high as 1,810 ppm Ta2O5 (with 1.5% Nb2O5) over 0.52 metres, as well as 2,220 ppm Ta2O5 (with 1.69% Nb2O5, and phosphate grading 20.5% P2O5) over 0.31 metres.

Another area gains greater prominence too, thanks to this autumn’s ground magnetics survey. A strong anomaly at the Moira target, about 250 metres north of Miranna, coincides with several overlapping boulder trains that suggest Moira could be one of several possible sources of mineralization.

And a new, yet-to-be-named area gave up two of the fall program’s best assays. About 400 metres south of the drill area, the new target produced boulder samples hitting 1.28% Nb2O5 and 260 ppm Ta2O5, along with 0.88% Nb2O5 and 1,080 ppm Ta2O5.

Intriguingly, glacial ice suggests the two rocks, found about 100 metres apart, originated in an area farther southeast that’s had very little attention so far.

Saville also holds the 3,370-hectare Covette project in Quebec’s James Bay region, where last summer’s field program found surface samples including 1.2% zinc and 68.7 g/t silver. Three other samples returned nickel values ranging from 0.13% to 0.19%.

Work focused on a highly conductive area identified by a 2016 VTEM survey. Samples gathered in 2017 included grades of 0.18% nickel, 0.09% copper and 87 ppm cobalt. One historic, non-43-101 grab sample brought 4.7% molybdenum, 0.73% bismuth, 0.09% lead and 6 g/t silver, while another historic sample returned 1.2 g/t silver and 0.18% copper.

As for niobium, it’s considered a critical metal by the American government for its use in steels and super-alloys necessary for jet engine components, rocket sub-assemblies, and heat-resisting and combustion equipment, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Almost 90% of last year’s world production came from Brazil, where new president Jair Bolsonaro has expressed concern about increasing Chinese ownership of resources.

Also a component of military super-alloys, tantalum additionally plays a vital role in personal electronics including phones and computers. The U.S. imports its entire supply of tantalum. About 60% of last year’s world production came from the troubled countries of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

With the advantages of markets, jurisdiction and geology, Hodge looks forward to winter drilling. “We’ve now got about 20 targets that we can go after,” he says. “One priority would be to define the Southeast area because we’ve got such good niobium numbers there. On getting a potential inferred resource, we’d go after Miranna or Moira and the untested targets. We’re looking forward to a busy, productive season.”

Read more about U.S. efforts to secure critical minerals here and here.

Out crops opportunity

October 31st, 2018

Outcrops, pegmatites and spodumene mean lithium and tantalum for 92 Resources

by Greg Klein

Outcrops, pegmatites and spodumene mean lithium for 92 Resources

92 Resources’ James Bay-region Corvette property features
drill-ready targets as well as 15 kilometres of potential strike to evaluate.

 

Update: On October 17, 2019, 92 Resources began trading under a new name and stock symbol: Gaia Metals Corp TSXV:GMC.

An early-stage but steadily advancing project shows 92 Resources TSXV:NTY focusing firmly on northern Quebec’s lithium. Successful field work so far has inspired two large property expansions, one in a deal with Osisko Mining TSX:OSK. Now with about 15 kilometres of potential strike length in one package, 92 hopes to prove up grade and tonnage to bring its Corvette property to an advanced level.

A series of outcrops reveals lithium along with tantalum occurring in spodumene-bearing pegmatite over at least two sub-parallel structures, explains Darren Smith. “We have drill-ready targets as well as lots of highly prospective ground to explore.” Having worked with the company for about two years through Dahrouge Geological Consulting and been a 92 advisory board member since July, he’s obviously enthusiastic about the project.

Outcrops, pegmatites and spodumene mean lithium for 92 Resources

Surface showings have 92 Resources
optimistic about Corvette’s deeper potential.

And as a resident of Quebec City, he likes the jurisdiction too. “Quebec offers a lot of provincial support for mining,” Smith points out. “Also our Quebec projects fall within the James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement, which has structures in place for First Nations engagement and resource management.”

Corvette marked a change of direction for the company, after 92 optioned its Hidden Lake lithium property in the Northwest Territories to Far Resources CSE:FAT last January. Despite that project’s favourable sampling and metallurgical results, 92 saw even greater potential in its Quebec acquisitions. The theory found support from subsequent channel sampling grades and widths.

In September 92 released assays from 40 channel samples taken on the property’s CV1 pegmatite that averaged 1.35% Li2O. Tantalum showed up too, grading an average 109 ppm Ta2O5. Some highlights revealed:

  • 2.28% Li2O and 471 ppm Ta2O5 over 6 metres

  • 1.54% Li2O and 136 ppm Ta2O5 over 8 metres

  • 1.77% Li2O and 54 ppm Ta2O5 over 6 metres

  • 1.36% Li2O and 128 ppm Ta2O5 over 11 metres

  • 1.2% Li2O and 128 ppm Ta2O5 over 4 metres

  • 1.02% Li2O and 95 ppm Ta2O5 over 11 metres

About 50 metres north, the CV2 pegmatite showed:

  • 0.73% Li2O and 140 ppm Ta2O5 over 4 metres

  • 0.55% Li2O and 136 ppm Ta2O5 over 4 metres

True widths weren’t known.

Another promising development was the discovery of two more spodumene-bearing pegmatites. A grab sample grading 1.61% Li2O came from CV3, about 250 metres south of CV1. A 0.74% grab sample marked CV4, about three kilometres northeast and along strike of CV1.

Outcrops, pegmatites and spodumene mean lithium for 92 Resources

Corvette outcrops can host a helicopter
as well as spodumene-bearing pegmatite.

“We’re looking for tonnage and grade, and the grade has been demonstrated to be quite favourable,” Smith says. “The program added more tonnage potential through the CV3 and CV4 pegmatites, which show there might be multiple parallel structures. Because we have large occurrences over a three-kilometre strike length, it is inferred that it could be decent depth and that’s how to build tonnage. So now we have a structure over three kilometres along strike with mineralized spodumene-bearing pegmatite at either end. This is very positive because pegmatites tend to occur in swarms and congregations.”

The potential strike could be much greater yet, thanks to recent property expansions. In August the company staked another 4,918 hectares, more than doubling Corvette’s size. The following month 92 announced a 75% earn-in on Osisko’s neighbouring FCI claims, adding 14,034 hectares to the project and putting a potential strike of 15 kilometres into one package.

“Satellite imagery suggests favourable-looking outcrops there as well, so we’re pretty excited about that. We now have a lot of strike length that remains to be evaluated on the joint venture with Osisko, as well as drill-ready targets on the CV1 and 2 pegmatites.”

With a $250,000 work commitment for year one, FCI might take precedence over CV1 and 2. Plans will be determined shortly by a committee made up of two reps from each company. Osisko will act as operator on FCI in accordance with a previous ownership agreement.

Outcrops, pegmatites and spodumene mean lithium for 92 Resources

An earn-in with Osisko Mining
expands Corvette’s size and potential.

Gold and base metals possibilities also merit attention. An earlier grab sample from FCI reported by Virginia Mines brought historic, non-43-101 results of 38.1 g/t gold, while another graded 0.3 g/t gold, 150 g/t silver, 1.89% copper, 11.15% lead and 1.45% zinc.

Interestingly, that was the report that tipped off 92 about Corvette’s lithium potential. Not focused on the energy metal, Virginia just briefly noted the presence of pegmatite. Intrigued, 92 made an initial one-day visit in October 2017 “and saw massive spodumene sparkling on this big outcrop,” remembers Smith. Grab samples revealed 0.8%, 3.48% and 7.32% Li2O from the then-unnamed CV1 pegmatite and 1.22% from CV2, which also returned 90 ppm Ta2O5.

Currently helicopter-accessible, the exploration area sits about 15 kilometres south of the all-season Trans-Taiga Road and transmission line.

92’s also been busy with lithium-bearing pegmatite on its Pontax project, roughly 260 crow-flying kilometres southwest of Corvette. A week of work curtailed by last summer’s forest fires brought one grab sample grading 0.94% Li2O and 520 ppm Ta2O5, while another taken 600 metres away showed 0.72% Li2O and 87 ppm Ta2O5. A third sample taken another 1.3 kilometres along strike assayed 631 ppm Ta2O5 and an anomalous 0.02% Li2O.

“The samples come from an area of large outcrops that likely connect. The samples are random and separated by a decent distance, so they’re probably representative,” says Smith. “It’s a very good secondary project that complements Corvette.”

The company holds two other James Bay-region properties hosting pegmatite, Eastmain and Lac du Beryl. Looking at an entirely different energy-related commodity, 92 filed a 43-101 technical report for the Golden frac sand project in southern British Columbia last April. Located adjacent to the Moberly silica mine where Northern Silica restarted operations last year, Golden “hits the criteria for grade, rail and other infrastructure, proximity to markets and commodity demand,” says Smith.

As for Corvette, “I think it has enormous potential. It has a lot of tonnage potential, it’s in a new area, the geology works and the next program could really make the difference. So it’s positioned with a maximum amount of upside. The Osisko deal is very positive too and they’re a good partner to have, so I think 92 is well-positioned to really maximize the value of this asset.”

Geoscience BC maps Greenwood’s mineral potential

September 28th, 2018

by Greg Klein | September 28, 2018

An historic British Columbia mining camp comes under additional scrutiny with new research released September 28. Geoscience BC’s latest report and 1:50,000-scale map focus on the province’s south-central Greenwood district, about 500 kilometres east of Vancouver.

Mining on the 800-square-kilometre area dates back to the late 1880s. Some 26 past-producers have given up more than 1.2 million ounces of gold and over 270,000 tonnes of copper, along with silver, lead and zinc, according to the independent non-profit organization. With a number of juniors currently working to find more mineralization, this research “should bolster the recent revival of mineral exploration activity in the Greenwood area,” said Geoscience BC VP of minerals and mining Bruce Madu.

Geoscience BC maps Greenwood’s mineral potential

Mining may one day return to the once-busy Greenwood camp.
(Photo: Geoscience BC)

Among the active companies is Grizzly Discoveries TSXV:GZD, which holds about 72,840 hectares of Greenwood turf. Under a 75% earn-in, Kinross Gold TSX:K has been drilling for gold in the Midway area of Grizzly’s holdings. Grizzly has been conducting geophysics and surface exploration on its Robocop cobalt-copper-silver claims and plans drilling for three other Greenwood targets.

Just across the international border, Kinross operated the Kettle River-Buckhorn gold mine until last year, extracting 1.3 million ounces over nine years.

Another of Greenwood’s large landholders is Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM, which attributes 31 historic mines to its 15,400-hectare portfolio.

The Greenwood report might help illuminate other parts of B.C. as well. “This area could hold the key to a better understanding of mineral deposits that formed during key geological events that span almost 200 million years,” Madu added.

Working with First Nations, local communities, governments, academia and the resource sector, Geoscience BC opens its research to the public “with the aim of encouraging exploration, economic activity and informed land use decisions.” Most funding comes from the provincial government.

The organization’s other mapping projects in the area include:

See Geoscience BC’s Earth Science Viewer.