Strong gold, silver at Eskay Creek 21A
Last updated 11/2/2018 at 3:55am
Skeena Resources Ltd. Oct. 31 said long sections of gold-silver mineralization cut in six additional holes from the phase I drilling at Eskay Creek continue to demonstrate the excellent grade and geological continuity of the 21A Zone of this project in the Golden Triangle of British Columbia.
Over a 14-year span starting in 1994, Barrick Gold Corp. operated a mine at Eskay Creek producing 3.3 million ounces of gold and 160 million oz of silver from volcanogenic massive sulfide ore averaging 45 g/t gold and 2,224 g/t silver.
Skeena cut a deal to acquire the past producing Eskay Creek mine property from Barrick late in 2017.
According to a resource calculation completed for Skeena in September, Eskay Creek hosts 1.09 million metric tons of open-pit indicated resource averaging 4.9 g/t (173,000 oz) gold and 72 g/t (2.53 million oz) silver; plus 4.26 million metric tons of open-pit inferred resource averaging 4.3 g/t (458,000 oz) gold and 72 g/t (9.81 million oz) silver.
Additionally, the past producing property hosts 2.51 million metric tons of underground indicated resource averaging 7.2 g/t (582,000 oz) gold and 215 g/t (17.34 million oz) silver; plus 812,000 metric tons of underground inferred resource averaging 7.2 g/t (187,000 oz) gold and 214 g/t (5.59 million oz) silver.
In August, Skeena began a 5,000-meter surface drill program, which has primarily focused on expanding and upgrading the resource in 21A, a zone adjacent to the previously mined 21B zone.
Highlights from eight previously released holes include:
• 34 meters of 15.97 g/t gold and 149.2 g/t silver, or 18.1 g/t gold-equivalent in hole SK-18-001;
• 34.85 meters of 20.31 g/t gold and 137.3 g/t silver, or 22.27 g/t gold-equivalent in SK-18-002;
• 27.7 meters of 29.49 g/t gold and 973 g/t silver, or 27.7 g/t gold-equivalent in SK-18-003;
• 28.5 meters of 14.02 g/t gold, 707 g/t silver, or 23.45 g/t gold-equivalent in SK-18-004
• 11.9 meters averaging 22.13 g/t gold and 193 g/t silver, or 24.69 g/t gold-equivalent in SK-18-005; and
• 12.95 meters of 28.97 g/t gold, 15 g/t silver, or 29.17 g/t gold-equivalent; SK-18-006.
Highlights from the latest holes include:
• 45 meters of 9.07 g/t gold and 76 g/t silver, or 10.09 g/t gold-equivalent, including 27.77 meters of 13.06 g/t gold, 84 g/t silver, or 14.18 g/t gold-equivalent in SK-18-012;
• 28.3 meters of 5.39 g/t gold and 139 g/t silver, or 7.24 g/t gold-equivalent, including 12.45 meters of 8.23 g/t gold and 185 g/t silver, or 10.69 g/t gold-equivalent in SK-18-014; and
• 43.5 meters of 4.16 g/t gold and 204 g/t silver, or 6.88 g/t gold-equivalent, including 15 meters of 3.53 g/t gold and 502 g/t silver, or 10.23 g/t gold-equivalent in SK-18-017.
Skeena said the drilling at Eskay Creek continues to demonstrate the excellent grade and geological continuity of the 21A zone.
In addition to infilling and upgrading areas of the 21A Zone with low drill density to sufficient spacing to allow for future economic analyses, this drilling will also provide fresh material for an upcoming metallurgical testing program.
Drills have also tapped what appears to be significant antimony in 21A.
Hole SK-18-003 intersected a zone of massive stibnite (antimony) with abundant millimeter-scale flecks of electrum (a silver-gold alloy) that returned 95.1 g/t gold and 14,591.5 g/t (469.1 oz/t) silver, or 303.55 g/t gold-equivalent over 0.60 meters.
During previous mining at Eskay Creek, antimony was treated as a penalty element. Skeena Resources, however, believes this mineral, which is considered critical in the United States, could offer significant by-product credits during future mining.
Future mining could also benefit from higher metals prices.
Based upon historical internal technical reports, the parameters for determining reserves for the Eskay Creek Mine in 2006 were based upon a gold price of US$475/oz, a silver price of US$8.50/oz and a copper price of US$1.50 per pound. The nominal price of gold in 2006 averaged US$603, which adjusted for inflation is around US$738/oz.
Skeena believes the low commodity prices leading to the closure of Eskay Creek in 2008 deemed the 21A zone historically uneconomic.
With today's higher gold and silver prices, combined with the potential of significant by-product credits from antimony, the company is working toward a second generation mine at the renowned Eskay Creek property in British Columbia's Golden Triangle.