Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

Skeena Resources and the Tahltan Central Government (TCG) president are excited about a new deal that could advance the reopening of the Eskay Creek gold mine.

The B.C. junior exploration company announced this week it will acquire 100 per cent of the project, which Skeena CEO Walter Coles Jr. described as “the former highest-grade, past-producing gold mine in the world,” from Barrick Gold.

In the deal, Barrick becomes a significant shareholder in Skeena Resources picking up 22.5 million units (each being one common share and one half warrant). The shares give the gold mining giant a 12.4 per cent stake in Skeena. If the company exercises the warrants, that stake goes up to 17.2 per cent.

The deal also gives Barrick a one per cent royalty on the entire Eskay Creek property.

“Skeena is honoured to have Barrick as a significant shareholder as we endeavor to revitalize Eskay Creek,” Coles said, noting the purchase is “an important milestone in the evolution of our company.”

RELATED: Mining supply chain injects $36M into Smithers economy

Since merging with Rangold, Barrick has been looking for ways to leverage its non-Tier One assets. President and CEO Mark Bristow said turning over Eskay Creek to Skeena is a win-win.

“The Skeena team has done a great job on its evaluation of Eskay Creek and this is another good example of a transaction that delivers a value, creating opportunity for all stakeholders,” he said.

The former Eskay Creek mine is located to the west of Hwy 37 halfway between Meziadin Junction and Iskut in the heart of Tahltan country.

TCG president Chad Day said he is excited about the prospect the taking the project to his people.

“It’s going to be interesting for me to go back to the Tahltan Nation and ask them how they feel about the prospect of creating an updated impact benefit agreement with Skeena and basically pitching the prospect of that mine site possibly being open again in the next few years,” he said.

Day said the mine was good for the Tahltan when it operated between 1994 and 2008, with approximately 30 per cent of the workforce being made up of Tahltan members. It provided the direct economic benefit of employment, but also allowed many Tahltan to develop mining expertise, which they have leveraged for opportunities in other B.C. and Yukon mines.

RELATED: Australian mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

He also feels that the TCG is in a much better position today to negotiate given the 2014 Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in decision — which established Indigenous title extends to all the territory a First Nation regularly and exclusively used prior to Britain asserting sovereignty — and the Province’s implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

He believes they will be able to work with Skeena.

“We’ve had a pretty good relationship with them, I would say, for about the last four or five years,” Day said, noting Skeena was one of the companies involved in the formation of the BC Regional Mining Alliance two years ago, which includes the TCG, the Nisga’a Lisims Government, the Province and the Association for Mineral Exploration in B.C. (AME), as well as several other companies.

He does not know, however, if the Tahltan people will be on board or whether they will feel like there is already enough mining activity on the territory.

Over its previous lifespan of 14 years as an underground mine, Eskay Creek produced approximately 3.3 million ounces of gold and 160 million ounces of silver.

Based on a 2019 preliminary economic assessment (PEA), Skeena estimates there are still 2.2 million ounces of gold and 53.4 million ounces of silver in the ground, which the company proposes to mine by open pit methods.

The PEA cites “extensive existing infrastructure, including all-weather access roads, previously permitted tailing storage facilities (TSF) and proximity to the recently commissioned 195 MW hydroelectric facilities and linked power grid” as further evidence of the economic feasibility of the project.

The company estimates a mine life of 8.6 years processing 6,850 tonnes of ore per day.



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Smithers Weekly Police Blotter: Feb 12 – 19

Smithers RCMP open 83 new files including 15 property crime cases

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

(Black Press file photo)
Charges laid against two suspects in pre-Christmas home invasion

An 88-year-old woman was hospitalized after being bear-sprayed in the face Dec. 18, 2020

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Junction of Highways 16 and 37 Sunday morning. (Drive BC traffic cam image)
Drive BC reports hazardous road conditions throughout northwest

Advisories include road closure of Hwy 37 for high avalanche risk near Bob Quinn

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

Most Read