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Posts tagged ‘Probe Mines Limited (PRB)’

Undaunted by dogma

April 25th, 2014

Kapuskasing Gold wants to prove, once again, that Mike Tremblay’s right about Ontario’s newest gold district

by Greg Klein

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He might have spent over 20 years as a voice crying in the Kapuskasing wilderness, but prospector Mike Tremblay saw his theories validated by a 2010 discovery on property he staked. That was the Borden Lake project in what Probe Mines TSXV:PRB calls Ontario’s newest gold district, the Kapuskasing structural zone. Now as an adviser to Kapuskasing Gold TSXV:KAP, Tremblay wants to open up more of this almost unexplored region.

The Kapuskasing zone sits tantalizingly close to a number of gold camps. Yet it’s received surprisingly little attention. Having grown up in the nearby town of Chapleau, Tremblay says locals often asked, “Why do we have mines all around us but there’s no mines here?” His response: “It was because of this great big Kapuskasing structure that nobody was exploring in.”

Kapuskasing Gold wants to prove, once again, that Mike Tremblay’s right about Ontario’s newest gold district

Tremblay says he was “lucky enough to learn from really smart people, the kind of people who would take you under their wing and teach you.” But something about the region close to home intrigued him. “I always had that contrary, stubborn streak in me, so you couldn’t tell me that something wasn’t possible.”

While working with Noranda Mines he learned about a VMS target that the company walked away from. Tremblay staked it in 1987, lost it at one point, re-staked it and, along with partner Jack Robert, finally sold it to Probe.

That was in March 2010. By June of that year the company had flown a VTEM survey. That summer they hit, eventually announcing a 91-metre intercept averaging two grams per tonne gold from one of six near-surface mineralized holes over a potential 250-metre strike.

Vindicated, Tremblay and his collaborators sought new turf in the Kapuskasing. Meanwhile by January 2013 Probe revealed a global resource of 5.19 million ounces indicated and 1.18 million ounces inferred. In May of last year Agnico Eagle TSX:AEM took a 9.9% stake in Probe. Then in November Tremblay, Robert and Probe won the 2013 Ontario Prospectors Association Award. The OPA credited the “new and unique discovery” to the fact that Tremblay and the others showed themselves “undaunted by dogma.”

Early this year Tremblay and his staking team sold two more properties, “my dream concepts in the area,” to Olympic Resources. He also joined as an adviser, helping transform the company into Kapuskasing Gold.

The acquisitions are Borden North, two claim blocks totalling 6,800 hectares by the Kapuskasing zone’s eastern margin about 60 kilometres north of Probe’s resource, and Rollo, a 7,136-hectare property just east of the zone.

“On Borden North there’s a big S-fold up in the mafic volcanics, so if there was anything it would fatten out in the fold, it would be a structural trap,” Tremblay explains. “When KAP got involved, we staked ground around it to cover all the potential.”

“Rollo was another one that I generated,” he adds. “I once worked with a prospector in his 80s. He was 18 years old in 1933, when they made some big discoveries in the region. So he had intimate knowledge of the area and he told me about this gold showing on a portage on what is now the Rollo project. So when that ground came open, 20 years after he passed on, I remembered he talked about a porphyry on that portage where he panned gold. That was the enticement to get the other guys to put in money.”

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Grade expectations

June 18th, 2013

Klondex and Probe drill high-grade gold in Nevada and Ontario

by Greg Klein

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June 18 saw bonanza-grade gold assays from Klondex Mines TSX:KDX in Nevada and, less spectacularly but with wider intervals, high grades from Probe Mines TSXV:PRB in Ontario. Klondex found its results in underground infill drilling from a 1,113-metre decline at its Fire Creek flagship. Some highlights include:

  • 767 grams per tonne gold over 0.58 metres
  • 166.8 g/t over 1.65 metres
  • 570.31 g/t over 0.4 metres
  • 505 g/t over 0.43 metres
  • 61.27 g/t over 1.89 metres
  • (including 69.8 g/t over 0.43 metres)
  • (including 144 g/t over 0.52 metres)
  • 70.6 g/t over 1.52 metres.

No topcut was applied to grades. True widths were unavailable. The infill holes further demonstrate continuity of the Joyce and Vonnie veins, the company stated, also finding a new mineralized structure parallel to and west of Joyce. Both veins remain open along strike and at depth.

This year’s program has so far completed 27 underground holes for a total of 3,523 metres. To incorporate the new results, the company now plans to delay its resource update from June to July or later.

A May 2011 resource used a 4 g/t cutoff to show:

  • an indicated category of 5.18 million tonnes averaging 9.9 g/t gold for 1.65 million gold ounces
  • an inferred category of 1.73 million tonnes averaging 8.2 g/t for 458,084 ounces.
Klondex and Probe drill high-grade gold in Nevada and Ontario

Following its Fire Creek surface program, Klondex began
an underground campaign of both expansion and infill drilling.

With metallurgical testing underway, underground infill drilling continues. The timeline includes a preliminary economic assessment in Q1 2014. Klondex has a toll milling agreement with Veris Gold TSX:VG, operator of the Jerritt Canyon mine.

Klondex shares opened June 18 on their previous close of $1.24. They then touched $1.29 before wrapping up the day on $1.27. With a 52-week high and low of $1.72 and $0.91, the company’s market cap came to $81.82 million.

Also on June 18, more high-grade gold results came from both step-out and infill drilling at Probe Mines’ Borden project about 200 kilometres southwest of Timmins, Ontario. Highlights from expansion drilling of the project’s high-grade zone include:

  • 5 g/t gold over 39 metres, starting at 394 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 11.2 g/t over 13 metres)
  • (which includes 15.7 g/t over 6.9 metres)
  • 6.4 g/t over 27.1 metres, starting at 396 metres
  • (including 11.1 g/t over 9.2 metres)
  • 4.7 g/t over 10.7 metres, starting at 378 metres
  • 1.2 g/t over 24.2 metres, starting at 372 metres.

Intervals are approximate true widths. Vertical depths fell between 255 and 431 metres. The results expand the zone 200 metres to the southeast, the company stated. Infill drilling is planned to bring the new results into a resource update.

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Which way to the Ring of Fire?

June 13th, 2013

As Cliffs stands down, Noront and KWG propose alternate transport routes

by Greg Klein

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As Cliffs stands down, Noront and KWG propose alternate transport routes

Left: KWG Resources’ rail proposal. Right: A north-south route from the
Eagle’s Nest vicinity shows Cliffs’ road proposal, while Noront’s plan veers southwest.


It’s a suspension, not a cancellation. Yet the June 12 announcement from Cliffs Natural Resources dumped cold water all over Ontario’s Ring of Fire. By putting the region’s largest project on hold, the company has also shelved plans for an all-weather road to the south, a vital link some other companies were counting on to develop the McFaulds Lake area about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. But Noront Resources TSXV:NOT quickly responded that its own projects are “still good to go” thanks to a proposed east-west road. Not to be outdone, KWG Resources TSXV:KWG pursues the feasibility of north-south rail.

Seemingly a Plan B, Noront’s east-west corridor was actually the company’s first idea. It would link the Eagle’s Nest project to Highway 808, roughly 230 kilometres southwest. But in May 2012, the Ontario government conditionally agreed to help finance the north-south route, part of Cliffs’ $3.3-billion proposal to build the Black Thor mine with road access to a new processing facility near Sudbury. On that basis, Noront used the north-south route in the base case for the September 2012 Eagle’s Nest feasibility study. Noront retained the east-west route as back-up.

A mining and exploration retrospect

Northern Ontario’s muskeg poses development challenges, as this photo from Noront Resources shows.

Prudently, it now seems. Explaining the suspension of what would have been North America’s first major chromite mine, Cliffs’ senior vice-president of global ferroalloys Bill Boor said, “Certain critical elements of the project’s future are not solely within our control and require the active support and participation by other interested parties such as government agencies and impacted first nation communities.”

Reacting to Cliffs’ suspension, Noront chairman/interim CEO Paul Parisotto said his company’s east-west proposal “balances first nations objectives, the environment and job growth. We’re confident this alternative will be attractive to each level of government, the local communities and the people who will benefit from this sensible approach.”

The route would upgrade an existing winter road to all-weather status. Among its advantages, it “avoids provincial parks, avoids areas of special interest to aboriginal groups and provides the greatest benefit to first nation communities,” the feasibility report stated. The native bands are currently served by air travel and winter road.

With Cliffs temporarily out of action, Noront emerges as the regional bigshot. Its Eagle’s Nest project achieved feasibility last September, using an 8% discount rate to calculate an after-tax net present value of $543 million and a 28% internal rate of return. With initial capital costs of $160 million, payback would come after three years of the 11-year mine life for a project showing:

  • proven reserves of 5.26 million tonnes averaging 2.02% nickel, 1.04% copper, 1.01 grams per tonne platinum, 3.45 g/t palladium and 0.19 g/t gold
  • probable reserves of 5.87 million tonnes averaging 1.38% nickel, 0.72% copper, 0.78 g/t platinum, 2.76 g/t palladium and 0.18 g/t gold.

Less than two kilometres away, the company’s Blackbird project has a March 2012 resource showing:

  • a measured category of 9.29 million tonnes averaging 37.44% chromite with a chromium-to-iron ratio of 2
  • an indicated category of 11.17 million tonnes averaging 34.36% with a Cr:Fe ratio of 1.95
  • an inferred category of 23.48 million tonnes averaging 33.14% with a Cr:Fe ratio of 1.97.

Noront PR rep Janice Mandel tells ResourceClips two levels of government know about the company’s east-west proposal. “Noront’s been talking to the provincial government and the federal government, and the environmental assessment has been underway for a while, so there have been lots of discussions. But [Ontario’s] formal proposal had been made with Cliffs.”

She added that Goldcorp TSX:G has shown interest in Noront’s proposal as a route for transmission infrastructure. The major’s fly-in/fly-out Musselwhite mine lies roughly 130 kilometres southwest of Eagle’s Nest and Blackbird.

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Probe President David Palmer on Ontario gold assays of 1 g/t over 95.6m

March 14th, 2012

Resource Clips - essential news on junior gold mining and junior silver miningProbe Mines Ltd TSXV:PRB announced results from its Borden Lake Gold Project in northern Ontario. Assays include

0.8 g/t gold over 126 metres
(including 1.4 g/t over 16.5 metres)
1 g/t over 95.6 metres
(including 2.4 g/t over 19 metres)
1 g/t over 94.7 metres
(including 3.8 g/t over 9.1 metres)
0.8 g/t over 81 metres
(including 1.6 g/t over 24 metres)
0.6 g/t over 102 metres
(including 1.3 g/t over 14 metres)
0.7 g/t over 87 metres
(including 1.4 g/t over 17 metres)

President David Palmer tells, “The company has always been very technically focused, so we’ve been systematically testing Borden Lake [to] increase our comfort level in the deposit. A lot of these holes are actually step-outs—where we’re testing it deeper—but we’re also testing it along strike. Interestingly enough, as we move from the discovery zone to the southeast, what we’re finding is that the zone is actually improving with depth. We are getting thicker, higher-grade sections at depth. So a lot of those step-out holes have improved the deposit.

Borden Lake has pleasantly surprised me at every turn. It always seems to do what it needs to do to move forward—David Palmer

“I think the results were actually really good. Our program to increase confidence and increase the quality of the deposit by basically taking a very methodical approach is paying off for us. The updated resource is going to be out before the end of the month, and we’re expecting [it] to show that we have upgraded a lot of the deposit from inferred to indicated, basically increased the confidence in it, as well as expanding it to look at that high-grade core. You can see in today’s results that we do have this very consistent high-grade zone that we still see as we move to the southeast. Overall, they were really positive drill results.

“Last month we submitted for the second-phase metallurgical testing,” Palmer continues. “We’re probably going to start to optimize the flow sheet; we’re increasing the spectrum of samples we’re looking at. I would say that probably towards the end of summer we’ll be looking at something like that. The updated resource is going to be interesting because we’re going to be much more rigorous. We’re going to look a lot at grade distribution and at the high-grade core, so it’s going to start to point us in a direction of potential development scenarios. Borden Lake is interesting because it does have that higher-grade centre all along the deposit. It lends itself to, potentially, looking at it as in the low-grade space, but at the higher end of the low-grade space. So the updated resource is really going to help point the way towards the preliminary economic assessment and what kind of scenario is more economically robust for Borden Lake. It might be surprising. It might be something where we are looking at a smaller operation—25,000 to 30,000 tonnes a day—but at higher grades, [so] potentially less sensitive to a lot of the things that the low-grade deposits are sensitive to.”

Does Probe intend to take Borden Lake to production? “To me, the value is in the ground,” Palmer replies. “To unlock that value, the only direction to push this thing is towards development. So my focus is eventually producing Borden Lake.”

Palmer reports that the company has $33 million in the treasury and that the budget for 2012 is $15 million. “So we’re doing well.”

“The market has its fluctuations, but given the updated resource, and especially if you’re looking at a lot of our peers, I would say we’re severely undervalued.”

Palmer concludes, “Borden Lake has pleasantly surprised me at every turn. It always seems to do what it needs to do to move forward. From the orientation of it, from its proximity to infrastructure, and we just keep showing positive results from new drilling. It’s expanding, in some cases I would say improving in quality, so I’m really pleased. It’s one of these things that makes you nervous because you’re always on the edge of your seat waiting for something bad to happen, but Borden Lake has always come up very well in everything it does.”

View Company Profile

Read feature story on Probe Mines

David Palmer

or Karen Willoughby
Investor Relations

by Greg Klein and Ted Niles

Three Companies In One

September 27th, 2011

Probe Has Gold, Chromite and an AEM NSR

By Ted Niles

Between Probe Mines Limited’s TSXV:PRB Borden Lake gold project, its Black Creek chromite project, and a 5% Net Smelter Royalty on a portion of Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd’s TSX:AEM Goldex Mine, David Palmer considers the company to be something of a steal at its current share price. “There’s probably a bit of a disconnect because we have disparate commodities. You never see chromite-gold companies,” Probe’s President and CEO says. “We’ve got these three very valuable assets, and I don’t know if the market values them all together. In terms of our market value now, it’s almost like you’re getting Borden Lake for free.”

It might also be that the market hasn’t quite caught up with Probe’s progress at Borden Lake. The company acquired the project as recently as March 2010, but by August 2011 it already had an NI 43-101 resource estimate of 300,000 ounces gold and 320,000 ounces silver indicated, as well as inferred resources of 3.8 million ounces gold and 5 million ounces silver. Palmer declares, “The first results we got back were phenomenal. It was top to bottom gold in that first phase drilling. Within nine months of making that discovery we took it to a resource estimate of 4 million ounces.”

Probe Has Gold, Chromite and an AEM NSR

Borden Lake is located in an unexplored part of the Kapuskasing Structural Zone in northeast Ontario—12 kilometres by highway from the town of Chapleau. Palmer describes it as “the easiest project I’ve ever had in terms of access,” and notes that Chapleau is industrially equipped, providing infrastructure advantages that should boost project economics. Borden Lake’s geological setting consists of Timiskaming sediments associated with the Timmins, Kirkland Lake and Red Lake mining districts. Palmer remarks, “The beauty of Borden Lake is that nobody’s been there before. It’s a brand new gold discovery. It’s not part of the Abitibi. What we have is a kind of a blank canvas, so the upside potential is really good. We’ve got about 17 kilometres of the belt; the first exploration and discovery on it.”

Probe is currently in the midst of its Phase 2 drill program at Borden Lake. September 19 assays include

  • 2.3 grams per tonne gold over 17.7 metres (including 9.2 g/t over 3.7 metres)
  • 0.6 g/t over 100.5 metres (including 1.2 g/t over 17.5 metres)
  • 10.9 g/t over 6.6 metres (including 57 g/t over 1 metre)
  • 0.6 g/t over 93.9 metres
  • 0.8 g/t over 129.9 metres (including 1.8 g/t over 38.3 metres)
  • 0.6 g/t over 113 metres
  • 0.6 g/t over 130 metres

Palmer comments, “I think we’re up to Hole 115, and it’s still open in all directions. Because we are the first to be drilling here, we’re on a bit of a steep learning curve. So we don’t know what to expect. Borden Lake is in that low-grade bulk-tonnage model, so to be seeing some of these higher-grade zones is really nice. All we know right now is that it’s big and consistent. Getting these high-grade zones raises expectations, and hopefully we’ll get more.”

Less than a year after discovery to be at the stage where we have a 4-million-ounce gold resource, open in all directions, I think is really promising —David Palmer

The next steps will be to complete metallurgical testing and update the resource. While admitting that it is a best-case-scenario target, Palmer hopes to have a preliminary economic assessment completed as early as January 2012.

Probe is not yet earning from its 5% net-smelter royalty at the Goldex Mine in Quebec’s Abitibi region, but Agnico-Eagle’s 2011 exploration drilling at the mine has been focusing on a number of targets within the royalty boundary. Also, an independent valuation of the NSR is being undertaken.

Probe’s Black Creek chromite project is located in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire and is one of four projects comprising the company’s McFauld’s Lake property, totalling 14,000 hectares. Situated between Cliffs Natural Resources’ Black Thor deposit—the largest chromite deposit in North America—and KWG Resources Inc’s TSXV:KWG Big Daddy property, Black Creek has measured and indicated resources of 8.65 million tonnes averaging 37.4% chromite and inferred resources of 1.6 million tonnes averaging 37.8%. “We could continue drilling it to depth,” Palmer relates, “but I think at this point we’re waiting to see what happens in terms of infrastructure. A major hurdle to the Ring of Fire is the lack of infrastructure. So what we’d like to do is see how the other companies are progressing up there.”

He concludes, “We’re a small company, so our resources are all focused on Borden Lake right now. Borden Lake has done phenomenally well. It’s still early stage and we’ve got a lot left to do on it, but less than a year after discovery to be at the stage where we have a 4-million-ounce resource, open in all directions, I think is really promising. We’ve probably only scratched the surface of the potential on Borden Lake.”

Probe Mines Limited TSXV:PRB has two other Ontario gold projects, Cree Lake and West Timmins—the latter a joint venture with Lake Shore Gold Corp TSX:LSG. At press time, Probe had 56.7 million shares trading at $1.62 for a market cap of $91.8 million.