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Posts tagged ‘Western Copper and Gold Corp (WRN)’

Open and shut cases: North

December 18th, 2019

How do the territories’ mine openings compare with closures for 2019 and 2020?

by Greg Klein

This is Part 1 of a four-part series.

  • See Part 2, covering the western provinces.
  • See Part 3, covering Ontario.
  • See Part 4, covering Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
  •  

    One indication of the state of mining involves the vital statistics of births and deaths—the new mines that arrived and the old mines that left. To that end we survey each Canadian region for some of the major gains and losses that occurred over the past year or are expected for the next. The first of this multi-part series looks at the country’s three northern territories, with each distinct jurisdiction contributing to a study in contrasts.

    Yukon

    Yukon without mining? That might surprise people better acquainted with the territory’s past than its present. But such was the case for nearly a year, following the suspension of Minto, Yukon’s sole remaining hardrock mine up to 2018. Nevertheless operations returned to this fabled mining region in September as Victoria Gold TSXV:VIT celebrated Eagle’s debut. By late November the company reported 10,400 ounces of gold and 1,600 ounces of silver from the heap leach operation.

    How do Canada’s mine openings compare with closures in 2019 and 2020?

    Victoria Gold finished construction a month early on
    Yukon’s largest-ever gold mine. (Photo: Victoria Gold)

    Less than two weeks later the company unveiled an updated feasibility study raising the annual production target for the territory’s largest-ever gold mine from 200,000 to 220,000 gold ounces, based on a 20% increase in proven and probable reserves for the Eagle and Olive deposits. Victoria expects to reach commercial production in Q2 2020.

    By mid-October Minto came back to life under LSE-listed Pembridge Resources. Capstone Mining TSX:CS had placed the underground mine on care and maintenance in 2018, after about 11 years of continuous operation, as acquisition negotiations with Pembridge stalled. But the companies sealed the deal last June. Within weeks of restart Pembridge reported 1,734 dry metric tonnes of copper-gold-silver concentrate. Proven and probable reserves totalling 40,000 tonnes copper, 420,000 ounces silver and 45,000 ounces gold give Minto an estimated four more years of production.

    Among the most advanced Yukon projects is BMC Minerals’ Kudz Ze Kayah, a zinc deposit with copper, lead, gold and silver. The privately owned UK-based company reached feasibility in June and hopes to begin at least nine years of mining in 2021.

    Environmental/socio-economic reviews continue into Newmont Goldcorp’s (TSX:NGT) Coffee gold project and Western Copper and Gold’s (TSX:WRN) Casino polymetallic project. Should Casino make it into operation, the copper-gold-silver-molybdenum operation would be by far the territory’s largest mine.

    Read more about Yukon mining.

    Northwest Territories

    Confidence in the territorial economy fell last October when Moody’s downgraded a $550-million bond issued by Dominion Diamond. “There’s no plan in place to extend the mine life at a time when the debt is coming closer and closer to coming due,” the credit ratings agency’s Jamie Koutsoukis told CBC. “We continue to see a contraction in the time they have to develop this mine plan.”

    Part of the Washington Group, Dominion holds a majority stake in Ekati and 40% of Diavik, where Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO holds the remaining 60%. Along with De Beers’/Mountain Province Diamonds’ (TSX:MPVD) Gahcho Kué, the three diamond operations comprise the territory’s largest private sector employer.

    How do Canada’s mine openings compare with closures in 2019 and 2020?

    Agnico Eagle once again laid claim to Arctic riches with the
    Amaruq satellite deposit, over 300 kilometres west of Hudson Bay.
    (Photo: Agnico Eagle)

    In an October presentation before the territory’s newly elected legislative assembly, the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines urged the government to safeguard the economy by improving investor confidence in the mining industry.

    An election year in the NWT and Canada-wide, 2019 brought optimistic talk and initial funding for the NWT’s Slave Geological Province Corridor and Nunavut’s Grays Bay Road and Port, two transportation proposals that would offer enormous potential for mineral-rich regions in both territories.

    Nunavut

    “Whispers could be heard throughout the room as intervenors turned to their colleagues. Members of the audience turned their heads, looking for Baffinland’s reaction to what was unfolding. Baffinland officials sat stone-faced, sometimes crossing their arms and looking down at the table as [Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki] Kotierk spelled out the motion.”

    That was the scene described by the Nunatsiaq News as the Nunavut Impact Review Board abruptly suspended hearings into Baffinland Iron Mines’ $900-million Phase II expansion plans for Mary River. The proposals, already accepted by Ottawa, include building a railway to replace a 100-kilometre road north to the company’s Milne Inlet port and doubling annual production to 12 million tonnes iron ore. The new railway proposal comes in addition to a previously approved but un-built 150-kilometre southern rail link to a harbour that had been planned for Steensby Inlet.

    The company maintains that expanded production and a northern rail line will be crucial to the existing operation’s viability. Responses at public hearings ranged from support to skepticism and outright opposition. Within weeks of the hearings’ suspension and a month ahead of a scheduled layoff, Baffinland let go 586 contractors who had been working on expansion preparations.

    How do Canada’s mine openings compare with closures in 2019 and 2020?

    About 290 kilometres southeast of Meadowbank, Agnico
    Eagle celebrated Meliadine’s first gold pour in February.
    (Photo: Agnico Eagle)

    Despite all that, operations continue at Mary River and Nunavut remains a bright spot in Canadian mining.

    That’s largely due to Agnico Eagle TSX:AEM, which brought two new operations to the territory. Meliadine began commercial production months ahead of schedule in mid-May, followed by Amaruq in late September.

    As a satellite deposit, Amaruq brings new life to the Meadowbank mine and mill complex 50 kilometres southeast. With the latter mine wrapping up its ninth and last year of operation, Amaruq’s open pit offers an estimated 2.5 million ounces up to 2025. Should hoped-for permitting come through in late 2020, a Phase II expansion could broaden the lifespan. Meanwhile drilling seeks to upgrade the project’s underground resource.

    Meliadine began with underground production but has an open pit scheduled to come online by 2023. Combined open pit and underground reserves of 3.75 million gold ounces give the operation a 14-year life.

    TMAC Resources’ (TSX:TMR) expansion plans moved forward in October as construction began on an underground portal to Madrid North, a fully permitted deposit that could enter production by late 2020. The new operation’s probable reserves of 2.17 million gold ounces far overshadow the company’s other three Hope Bay deposits, which total 3.59 million ounces proven and probable.

    By comparison, the current Doris operation hosts 479,000 ounces proven and probable. Hope Bay has updated resource/reserve and prefeas studies scheduled for Q1 2020.

    This is Part 1 of a four-part series.

  • See Part 2, covering the western provinces.
  • See Part 3, covering Ontario.
  • See Part 4, covering Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
  • Mining returns to the Yukon

    September 20th, 2019

    Advanced projects prepare to follow Victoria Gold into production

    by Greg Klein

    Advanced projects prepare to follow Victoria Gold into production

    Rich geology trumps challenging geography in Yukon’s appeal to miners.
    (Photo: Victoria Gold)

     

    If John McConnell seemed a tad tipsy it might have been due to giddiness, not the super-sized wine goblet he brandished. Either way, celebration was in order as the president/CEO of Victoria Gold TSXV:VIT took the podium at the Denver Gold Show this week to preside over a ceremonial first doré bar at Yukon’s new Eagle operation. The event marked not only the resumption of mining in one of the world’s most fabled mining regions, but the beginning of Yukon’s largest-ever gold mine. Meanwhile other companies vie to expand the industry’s territorial presence.

    The festivities took place one month ahead of schedule and within a revised budget intended to address a capex miscalculation that marked one of the low points during what McConnell called a decade of ups and downs. Expected to produce an average 200,000 gold ounces annually for 10 years, Eagle currently employs about 230 people, half of them Yukoners.

    Advanced projects prepare to follow Victoria Gold into production

    Minto’s suspension left Yukon without a mine for
    nearly a year, but a new owner plans a Q4 restart.
    (Photo: Pembridge Resources)

    The territory lost its last mining operation in October, but a new owner plans to bring that one back to production by Q4 this year. Capstone Mining TSX:CS put Minto on care and maintenance as acquisition negotiations faltered, but LSE-listed Pembridge Resources closed the purchase in June. Proven and probable reserves totalling 40,000 tonnes copper, 420,000 ounces silver and 45,000 ounces gold give Minto an estimated four more years of production.

    Pembridge hopes to extend that, however, noting that “Minto had successfully replaced and grown reserves by 103%, adding new discoveries each year up until 2013.” That’s when Capstone suspended Minto exploration, after buying the much larger Pinto Valley copper mine in Arizona from BHP Billiton NYSE:BHP.

    The central Yukon combined open pit/underground mine began operation in 2007. Pembridge wants its new cornerstone asset to achieve annual production of about 40 million pounds copper in concentrate, along with silver-gold byproducts.

    Waiting in the wings with a project comparable to Eagle, Newmont Goldcorp’s (TSX:NGT) Coffee now has a territorial environmental/socio-economic review underway. Like Eagle, this would be an open pit, heap leach operation. The 2016 feasibility study by previous operator Kaminak Gold projected 10 years of mining, averaging 202,000 gold ounces annually based on a probable reserve of 2.16 million ounces. But last year, following Goldcorp’s 2016 acquisition of Kaminak, the new owner slashed that number to 1.67 million ounces.

    Goldcorp cited different standards for drill spacing, geological modelling and other criteria but expected to rebuild the reserve with an 80,000-metre infill drill program scheduled for this year. More recently, however, the merged Newmont Goldcorp has talked about divesting some assets, casting uncertainty over Coffee’s near-term agenda.

    But by far the territory’s biggest proposed mine would be Western Copper and Gold’s (TSX:WRN) Casino, in west-central Yukon. A 2013 feasibility report foresaw a combined heap leach and milling operation with 22 years of annual output averaging 171 million pounds copper, 266,000 ounces gold, 1.43 million ounces silver and 15.5 million pounds molybdenum.

    Advanced projects prepare to follow Victoria Gold into production

    Even with a recent feasibility in hand, BMC Minerals
    wants to build its Kudz Ze Kayah polymetallic reserve.
    (Photo: BMC Minerals)

    Although the report boldly envisioned construction beginning in 2016 and commercial production in 2020, the company currently has environmental and engineering studies underway prior to submitting an application for an environmental/socio-economic review. Capex was estimated at $2.456 billion.

    Meanwhile Western has two rigs drilling a $3.3-million, 10,000-metre program, with a resource update planned for this year and, coming later, a revised feasibility that the company hopes will extend the mine life.

    Operating under the stock market’s radar, privately held BMC Minerals brought its Kudz Ze Kayah polymetallic project in south-central Yukon to full feasibility last July. The report sees a $587-million capex and 20-month construction period for a combined open pit and underground operation producing an annual average of 235 million pounds zinc, 32 million pounds copper, 56 million pounds lead, 7.8 million ounces silver and 56,500 ounces gold.

    BMC hopes to lengthen the nine-year mine life by adding reserves and exploring new targets beyond the two zones considered in the feasibility study.

    Sharing with Coffee a White Gold district address and a progenitor in legendary prospector Shawn Ryan, White Gold TSXV:WGO holds 35 properties covering some 439,000 hectares. Last June the company released resource updates for its two most advanced deposits. Golden Saddle hosts an open pit resource of 1.01 million gold ounces indicated and 259,600 ounces inferred, along with an underground resource of 12,200 ounces indicated and 54,700 ounces inferred. The Arc deposit adds an open pit resource of 17,700 ounces indicated and 194,500 ounces inferred.

    With money from Agnico Eagle Mines TSX:AEM and Kinross Gold TSX:K, each holding 19% of White Gold, the company has a $13-million drilling, trenching and sampling campaign now targeting Golden Saddle and the new Vertigo discovery, along with other areas. Among noteworthy intercepts was 3.59 g/t gold over 68 metres starting from 73 metres at Golden Saddle. Using a method integral to Ryan’s successes, soil sampling surpassed 100,000 ppb gold at the new Titan discovery, the highest value on the company’s database of over 400,000 soil samples.

    Taking advantage of a past producer with all permits in place, Golden Predator Mining TSXV:GPY last month stated it began site re-development work and “provided formal notice to the Yukon government to move the Brewery Creek mine into the production phase.” The company has also stated it plans a feasibility study before making a production decision. Located about 55 kilometres east of Dawson City, the open pit and heap leach operation produced about 279,000 gold ounces between 1996 and 2002. The company plans at least 6,000 metres of drilling this year to build on a 2014 PEA.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Up north and Down East

    February 20th, 2013

    NSGold drills Nova Scotia, Northern Freegold reaches PEA in Yukon

    by Greg Klein

    Next Page 1 | 2

    News from Nova Scotia shows open pit potential for the province’s oldest known gold mine, the Mooseland project. On February 20 NSGold Corp TSXV:NSX released a batch of assays from a 15-hole, 948-metre, near-surface West zone campaign. Some highlights include:

    NSGold drills Nova Scotia, Northern Freegold reaches PEA in Yukon

    Earlier core samples came from deeper drilling, while
    Mooseland’s most recent campaign stayed above 75 metres.

    • 36.8 grams per tonne gold over 0.6 metres
    • 15.21 g/t over 1.7 metres
    • 9.93 g/t over 1 metre
    • 7.1 g/t over 1 metre
    • 6.25 g/t over 1 metre
    • 11.49 g/t over 1 metre
    • 8.44 g/t over 1 metre
    • 9.44 g/t over 1 metre
    • 18.76 g/t over 1 metre.

    A 0.5 g/t cutoff grade was applied. True widths were estimated between 91% and 93%. The top-most interval started at 5 metres from surface while the deepest stopped at a down-hole depth of 79.4 metres.

    Two of the 15 holes were abandoned after hitting historic workings. The other 13 “all encountered the expected, relatively sulphide-rich, quartz-bearing argillite zones,” NSGold stated. The West zone’s relatively shallow overburden and the geometry of the near-surface saddle veins are “of particular significance from a potential open pit mining perspective,” the company added. The West zone extends about a kilometre along strike. Unlike the most recent campaign, the zone was previously drilled at deeper depths.

    Mooseland’s June 2012 resource estimate uses a 2.6 g/t gold cutoff showing:

    • a West zone inferred estimate of 1.46 million tonnes averaging 5.52 g/t gold for 259,000 gold ounces
    • an East zone inferred estimate of 1.06 million tonnes averaging 5.72 g/t for 195,000 ounces
    • a total inferred resource of 2.52 million tonnes averaging 5.6 g/t for 454,000 ounces.

    Apart from drilling its flagship Mooseland project, NSGold last December announced gold-silver-polymetallic sampling at its Cheticamp property, also in Nova Scotia. In January the company optioned the Silver Hill property, a potential gold or gold-silver project in Nevada. The same month Phase II drilling began at the Dios Padre silver project in Sonora state, Mexico, by NSX Silver TSXV:NSY. A spinout of an NSGold subsidiary, NSX Silver holds Dios Padre under option from NSGold.

    NSGold’s chart had flattened out at $0.085 since February 12, but slipped to $0.075 on February 20 before closing on $0.085 again.

    Next Page 1 | 2

    The maturing Yukon

    January 9th, 2013

    Northern Freegold approaches PEA while Western Copper and Gold achieves feasibility

    by Greg Klein

    Next Page 1 | 2

    No longer an early-stage gold play, the Yukon might have lost much of its excitement. But more advanced work continues to command interest, as shown by recent announcements from Northern Freegold Resources TSXV:NFR and Western Copper and Gold TSX:WRN.

    Aurora borealis provides an awe-inspiring backdrop to Northern Freegold’s gold-silver-copper project

    Aurora borealis provides an awe-inspiring backdrop
    to Northern Freegold’s gold-silver-copper project.

    Northern Freegold’s January 9 resource update enhances a potential gold-silver-copper open pit at its Freegold Mountain Project. Based on 322 holes totalling over 50,000 metres on the Nucleus deposit, the estimate uses a cutoff of 0.25 grams per tonne gold-equivalent. The indicated category shows:

    • 71.9 million tonnes averaging 0.57 g/t gold, 0.85 g/t silver and 0.06% copper for 1.31 million gold ounces, 1.97 million silver ounces and 89 million copper pounds.

    The inferred category shows:

    • 60.4 million tonnes averaging 0.41 g/t gold, 1.48 g/t silver and 0.04% copper for 801,235 gold ounces, 2.9 million silver ounces and 52 million copper pounds.

    The resource begins at surface and is open to expansion laterally and at depth, the company stated.

    Northern Freegold added that two-thirds of the indicated resource falls within “a significant zone of higher-grade mineralization” in the centre of the Nucleus deposit. Using a cutoff of 0.5 g/t gold-equivalent, this zone shows:

    • 25.9 million tonnes averaging 1.02 g/t gold, 1.11 g/t silver and 0.07% copper for 851,603 gold ounces, 924,040 silver ounces and 38 million copper pounds.

    The nearby Revenue deposit has a January 2012 inferred resource. Using a 0.5 g/t gold-equivalent cutoff, the estimate shows:

    • 101 million tonnes averaging 0.34 g/t gold, 3.14 g/t silver, 0.13% copper and 0.04% molybdenum for 1.12 million gold ounces, 10.19 million silver ounces, 286.87 million copper pounds and 89.61 million molybdenum pounds (or 3.66 million gold-equivalent ounces).

    A Q1 2013 PEA is expected for both Nucleus and Revenue, which are open in all directions, Northern Freegold president/CEO John Burges stated. “We believe these deposits form part of a much larger continuous district-scale gold-copper system as evidenced by an eight-kilometre-long geophysical anomaly and largely coincidental gold-and-copper soil anomalies.”

    The project has road access to Whitehorse, 200 kilometres southeast. Yukon’s electrical grid reaches the town of Carmacks, 70 kilometres away.

    Northern Freegold stock opened January 9 at $0.12, half a cent below the previous close, then ended the day at $0.145.

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