Workers at Brucejack pour doré bars (a semi-pure alloy of gold and silver which are then further refined). (Pretivm photo)

Workers at Brucejack pour doré bars (a semi-pure alloy of gold and silver which are then further refined). (Pretivm photo)

Northwest B.C. mining and exploration briefs

Pretivm, Seabridge, Skeena Resources, Kutcho Copper, Couer Mining, Ascot Resources advance projects


Results from Pretivm’s resource expansion drilling indicate strong potential to extend the life of its Brucejack gold mine.

The company recently announced samples from the program yielded assays of up to 2,590 grams per tonne of gold mineralization.

“These initial results validate our view that there is exciting extension potential at the North Block Zone of the Valley of the Kings deposit at Brucejack,” said Jacques Perron, president and chief executive officer.

“In 2020 we made a commitment to significantly increase our resource expansion and exploration efforts going forward, and these results from this first phase certainly support that investment.”

The company has also released its 2020 annual financial report showing 348,000 ounces gold production for revenue of $617.6 million and end of fourth quarter cash balance of $174.8 million.

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Seabridge Gold’s KSM (Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell) project in northwest B.C. has been ranked the world’s second top gold project.

The mine, which is currently in its prefeasibility phase with 47.2 million ounces of contained gold. This is second only to Northern Dynasty Minerals’ Pebble project in the Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska.

It is questionable, however, whether that project, currently in the preliminary economic assessment phase will ever get off the ground as the US Army Corps of engineers rejected the company’s key water permit in November 2020, according to

“Should we consider only those that are actively being developed, then Seabridge’s (TSX: SEA) KSM project would move into the top spot, followed closely by the Norte Abierto project in Chile, jointly owned by mining giants Barrick (TSX: ABX) and Newmont (TSX: NGT),” said

Skeena Resources

Skeena Resources efforts to re-open the formerly producing open pit gold mine at Eskay Creek has been buoyed by discovery of a previously unknown zone of mineralization within the existing pit.

The company’s Phase 2 drilling progam was focussed on converting inferred resources to indicated resources in preparation for the release of a pre-feasibility study in mid-2021 and hopes to advance the project to full feasibility by the end of the year.

It is also continuing to do exploration drilling.

Skeena’s preliminary economic assessment reported 2.2 million ounces of contained gold and 53.4 million ounces of contained silver and projected a mine life of 8.6 years.

Kutcho Copper

Kutcho Copper has revised its resource estimate for its upcoming feasibility study scheduled for release in the second quarter of this year.

The company is now reporting it has 18.5 million tonnes of measured and indicated copper-zinc ore at average grades of 1.67 per cent copper, 2.28 per cent copper equivalent and 2.27 per cent zinc.

Kutcho also believes it now has an additional 12.5 million tonnes of inferred resource.

A 2017 pre-feasibility study based on 10.4 million tonnes of measured and indicated resource projected a 12-year mine life with 84.7 per cent copper and 75.7 per cent zinc recovery rates for 378 million pounds of copper and 473 million pounds of zinc.

Ascot Resources

Ascot Resources and the Nisga’a Nation have submitted their Mines Act/Environmental Management Act Permit Application, which, if approved will allow them to start construction on the Premier gold mine near Stewart.

“This submission is the result of a coordinated work program and process that began in 2018,” said Derek White, Ascot CEO and president. “We worked closely with the Nisga’a Nation via regular meetings regarding the process and inputs required for this comprehensive Joint MA/EMA Application.”

According to the company the underground mine has measured and indicated resources of 7.3 million tonnes with a high average grade of 7.8 grams per tonne of gold.

Ascot projects a mine life of eight years on the current reserve but anticipates further drilling will increase reserves and extend the operation.

Coeur Mining

An agressive drilling program at Couer Mining’s Silvertip property has doubled the company’s estimate of its measured and indicated resources.

As of Dec. 31, 2020, the company was reporting measured and indicated resources of 17.4 million ounces of silver and 442.1 million pounds of zince and 216.5 million pounds of lead.

Silvertip is a working mine near the Yukon border. Operations are currently suspended due to COVID-19 and low lead and zinc prices. The company aniticipates the earliest timeline for resumption of mining will be the end of 2021

In the meantime Couer says it is focussing on improving costs per unit of production, creating a more stable operating environment, extending mine life, and improving its capability to withstand market change.

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