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By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Skeena expands shallow Eskay Creek gold


Last updated 3/27/2020 at 3:44am

Skeena Resources Ltd.

Skeena Resources is carrying out a roughly 15,000-meter program focused on upgrading and expanding near-surface resources at its Eskay Creek gold-silver project in B.C.

Skeena Resources Ltd. hopes to breathe new life into Eskay Creek and Snip, iconic Golden Triangle gold mines previously operated by Barrick Gold Corp.

Over a 14-year span ending in 2008, an underground mine at Eskay Creek produced roughly 3.3 million ounces of gold and 160 million oz of silver at average grades of 45 grams per metric ton gold and 2,224 g/t silver, which at the time made it the world's highest-grade gold mine and fifth-largest silver mine by volume.

The high-grade gold and silver have made Eskay Creek a model for precious metal-rich volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits.

While large quantities of underground resources remain at Eskay Creek, Skeena has focused on deposits that can be mined from the surface since acquiring the property from Barrick in 2017.

Toward this goal, the company drilled 46 holes from the surface during 2018. As a result, Eskay Creek hosts 12.71 million metric tons of surface mineable indicated resource averaging 4.5 g/t (1.82 million oz) gold and 117 g/t (47.79 million oz) silver; and 13.57 metric tons of surface mineable inferred resource averaging 2.2 g/t (984,000 oz) gold and 42 g/t (18.46 million oz) silver.

In August, Skeena launched a 15,000-meter drill program upgrading pit-constrained inferred resources in the 22, 21A, 21E and HW zones at Eskay Creek to the higher confidence indicated resource category.

To complete the spacing needed to upgrade the resources, this phase of Eskay Creek drilling is expected to include more than 200 holes drilled to at an average depth of about 75 meters.

In addition to the open-pit resource, Eskay Creek also hosts 819,000 metric tons of underground indicated resource averaging 6.4 g/t (169,000 oz) gold and 139 g/t (3.66 million oz) silver; and 295,000 metric tons of underground inferred resource averaging 7.1 g/t (78,000 oz) gold and 82 g/t (778,000 oz) silver.

Skeena is also continuing to explore Snip with a late-season drill program.

Operated by Barrick in the 1990s, the historic underground mine at Snip produced 1.1 million ounces of gold from 1.25 million metric tons of ore averaging 27.5 g/t gold.

Not only have gold prices increased five-fold from the US$300/oz since Barrick opted to wind down operations at Snip, but the infrastructure in the Golden Triangle has improved significantly in recent years. These factors, combined with the exploration upside at Snip, bode well for revitalizing this high-grade gold mine.

Twin, the most prolific of the high-grade zone mined by Barrick, produced 709,601 oz of gold from ore that averaged 28.95 g/t gold. A down-plunge expansion area of this high-grade gold target is one of the planned targets for this year's drilling.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The 2019 drill program recently discovered a new gold mineralized horizon at Eskay Creek. See New high grade gold zone at Eskay Creek in the Oct. 22 edition of North of 60 Mining News for further details on this potentially significant discovery.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Over his more than 11 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (907) 726-1095


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