Mining Explorers 2015: Spectrum exceeds expectations
Skeena taps high-grade gold worthy of Netolitzky legacy in Golden Triangle
Last updated 11/1/2015 at Noon
Skeena Resources Ltd. entered 2015 with a mission - outline at least 2.0 million ounces of high-grade gold at its Spectrum property located in the Golden Triangle region of northwestern British Columbia.
Skeena Chairman Ron Netolitzky is no stranger to this metals-rich corner of B.C. In fact, he is a 2015 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame inductee, an honor that is largely due to his finding two world-class mines - Eskay Creek and Snip - in the Golden Triangle.
The legendary prospector believes Spectrum has the potential to be the third such find in his illustrious career.
"Spectrum is one of those very rare, high-grade gold occurrences that would attract any explorationist, even in a challenging, risk-adverse market," Netolitzky said, upon Spectrum signing a deal on the property in 2014.
While the markets may be risk-adverse, investors piled onto an opportunity to own a piece of Netolitzky's latest exploration vehicle.
In April, Skeena announced plans to raise C$4 million to fund the 2015 exploration program at Spectrum - a financing that swelled to C$8.1 million by the time it closed in June.
With funds in place, Skeena President and CEO Walter Coles Jr. said, "We look forward to the upcoming 10,000- to 12,000-meter drill program at the Spectrum property with a goal of establishing a substantial high-grade NI 43-101-compliant resource before the end of the year."
First million ounces
The high-grade gold identified at Spectrum is found in mesothermal veins, which are renowned for their large size and depth. Skeena hopes that its 2015 drill program will outline at least 1.0 million oz of gold across a number of parallel deeply dipping zones of these gold veins.
With 92 holes historically drilled at Spectrum before 1992, Skeena has a jump on its initial million-ounce goal.
In 1991, Columbia Gold Mines calculated a non-43-101-compliant resource of 614,000 metric tons grading 12.3 grams per metric ton (243,600 oz) was historically estimated for the 500 Colour and Central zones at Spectrum.
The past drilling on the property, however, only tested the zones to a depth of about 150 meters.
In 2014, Spectrum drilled nine holes from four platforms along the Central zone that tapped the vein system about 50 meters further down.
Highlights from this drilling include 6.5 meters of 23.84 g/t gold in hole 14-SP-003; 27 meters of 10.63 g/t gold in 14-SP-004; 43.8 g/t gold over two meters in 14-SP-006; and 13.7 g/t gold over four meters and 254.5 g/t gold over two meters in hole 14-SP-009.
The Central Zone remains open for more than 1,500 meters on strike to the north and south, based on recent geological mapping and soil geochemistry.
Skeena started this year's drill program with high expectations. Between visible gold seen by technicians logging core and assay results showing multiple intercepts of high-grade gold, the company was not disappointed.
By early September, Skeena had reported results from about half of the first 43 holes. Highlights from this drilling include:
Hole S15-010 cut 3.6 meters grading 16.4 g/t gold from a depth of 3.4 meters, and 1.4 meters grading 15.9 g/t gold at 199 meters;
S15-011 cut six meters grading 7.86 g/t gold from six meters down the hole, 1.6 meters grading 8.56 g/t gold beginning at 20 meters, and 14 meters grading 3.28 g/t gold beginning at 130 meters;
S15-012 cut 6.6 meters grading 10.59 g/t gold from a depth of 102 meters, 3.9 meters of 25.27 g/t gold at 198 meters, and four meters grading 7.08 g/t gold at 234 meters;
S15-013 cut 127 meters grading 1.26 g/t gold beginning at three meters;
S15-014 cut 24 meters grading 3.77 g/t gold, 15.5 g/t silver and 0.54 percent copper from 77 meters, two meters grading 21.3 g/t gold at 153 meters, and 1.75 meters grading 11.7 g/t gold at 171 meters;
S15-15 cut 26.15 meters grading 8.21 grams per metric ton gold from a depth of 164 meters, including two meters grading 74.5 g/t gold;
S15-017 cut 85 meters grading 9.79 g/t gold and 430 g/t silver starting at 103.2 meters, eight meters grading 10.46 g/t gold starting at 128 meters, and 3.6 meters grading 11.68 g/t gold starting at 157.4 meters;
S15-022 cut 14.9 meters grading 8.97 g/t gold from a depth of 174 meters, including 2.9 meters grading 38.5 g/t gold; and
S15-024 cut 9.64 meters grading 6.81 g/t gold, 20.7 g/t silver and 0.09 percent copper from a depth of 183 meters, including 1.7 meters grading 14.1 g/t gold, 20.4 g/t silver and 0.14 percent copper.
"Over 80 percent of the 2015 holes for which we have assays have yielded high-grade gold intervals," Netolitzky said upon the release of a second batch of results in September. "Due to the positive results, the 2015 drilling campaign will be expanded to 16,000 meters from the original plan of 10,000 to 12,000 meters."
During the expanded program, which had increased to 17,500 meters by October, Skeena tested promising targets identified during an early summer prospecting and sampling program.
This work includes 168 samples collected from Target A, a soil anomaly located north and east of the Central zone.
Located outside of any current or historical drilling, the samples collected from Target A averaged 0.55 g/t gold, with seven topping 1.0 g/t gold. The best of these samples collected from this roughly 700- by 300-meter exploration target contained 19.5 g/t.
These soil results are considered very significant as they indicate a potential new zone of high-grade mineralization parallel to and 100 to 200 meters east of previous drilling and trenching.
"It is still early days for exploration at Spectrum. Nevertheless, this project continues to surprise us in positive ways," said Coles. "What's really important though is that we get through this summer program and determine how the various mineralized zones link together."
While drills are turning at Spectrum, Skeena is keeping its eyes open for good deals on other high-quality projects in the area.
"Skeena's management team continues to evaluate other high-grade, post-discovery resource acquisition opportunities in the Golden Triangle region of northwest British Columbia," explained Coles.
The Dolly Varden Silver project is one such resource opportunity the company has been trying to land.
In late August, Skeena confirmed that it had proposed to acquire Dolly Varden in a shares exchange deal valued at roughly C$4.2 million.
Dolly Varden, which had just published a maiden indicated resource of 31.8 million oz of silver contained within 3.07 million metric tons of material averaging 321.6 g/t silver for its namesake project, turned down the offer.
In October, Skeena cut a deal to buy GJ, a 37,508-hectare (92,684 acres) copper-gold project that lies adjacent to the eastern border of Spectrum, from joint venture partners Teck Resources Ltd. and NGEx Resources Inc.
Skeena, meanwhile, continues to seek high-grade gold deposits worthy of Netolitzky's legacy in the Golden Triangle.