Coeur invests heavily in 2020 exploration
Including $4.5M at Kensington, $3.1M at Silvertip in first half North of 60 Mining News – August 14, 2020
Last updated 9/26/2020 at 3:16pm
Coeur Mining Inc. has made major investments in exploration at its Kensington gold mine in Alaska and Silvertip mine project in British Columbia during the first half of 2020, and the company plans to continue robust drilling focused on expanding high-grade targets at these two northern assets through the balance of 2020.
These robust programs at Kensington and Silvertip are parts of the largest exploration campaign in Coeur's history.
During the first six months of 2020, Coeur invested US$21 million in exploration at six projects in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, this a major increase over the US$13.4 million of exploration carried out during the first half of last year.
"This has been a very exciting year for Coeur's exploration programs and one of the best first halves of drilling results in the company's history," said Coeur Mining Senior Vice President of Exploration Hans Rasmussen. "We have identified several prospective areas over the past few years to build our inventory of drill-ready targets."
With a total 2020 exploration budget of US$44 million to US$54 million, the Chicago-based miner is expecting to have an even busier second half of the year.
The primary focus of the program is resource expansion and new discoveries, including prospective step-out drilling on certain targets designed to test known boundaries of existing mineralization.
"We significantly increased our investment in exploration to test these targets in 2020, seeking to provide stockholders with upside exposure to new potential discoveries and mine life extensions at our existing operations," Rasmussen added.
Higher grades at Kensington
Through the first half of 2020, Coeur invested US$4.5 million into 21,908 meters of drilling at its Kensington Mine in Southeast Alaska.
The company said this program is designed to add higher-grade resources with the potential to be incorporated into the mine plan with continued drilling.
Toward this objective, the company said drills have tapped high-grade gold mineralization at upper Kensington Zone 30, Raven, Elmira, and Eureka, all of which are located near existing infrastructure and represent new potential resource growth areas.
One hole drilled from the southern portion of upper Kensington Zone 30 (K20-1400-125-X02) cut multiple high-grade intercepts, including:
• 1.6 meters of 1.58 ounces per ton (54.2 grams per metric ton) gold.
• 1.4 meters of 0.87 oz/t (29.8 g/t) gold.
• 1.2 meters of 0.73 oz/t (25 g/t) gold.
• 0.4 meters of 2.01 oz/t gold (68.8 g/t).
Coeur reports new mineralized intervals are being logged in holes from the surface drill program at Raven, suggesting that both Kensington and Raven may have wider, splayed vein zones in their upper portions. Future surface and underground drilling will attempt to understand the distribution of this wider mineralized material as these new findings have the potential to positively impact resource tonnage.
Additionally, expansion drilling at the Elmira, Jualin, Eureka, and the newly discovered Bear veins all have intersected mineralized material with most intercepts well above Kensington's current inferred resource grade of 0.23 oz/t (7.9 g/t) gold.
Coeur's top priorities at Kensington for the balance of 2020 include underground expansion drilling at Elmira and Johnson; surface expansion drilling of upper Raven and Johnson; step out drilling at Big Lake, a new target southeast of the current mineralized zones; and infill drilling at Elmira.
At its Silvertip project in the far northern reaches of British Columbia, Coeur is focusing exclusively on expansion drilling this year, with roughly 70% earmarked for high-potential expansion targets near existing infrastructure and the balance of the 2020 program testing larger-step out geologic targets.
Coeur temporarily suspended operations at Silvertip early in 2020 to accelerate investment in exploration to extend the mine life and expand the mill to achieve the benefits of scale.
Through the first half of 2020, Coeur invested US$3.1 million into 17,429 meters at this silver mine project.
Going into 2020, Silvertip hosted 1.8 million tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 8.26 oz/t (14.98 million oz) silver, 8.3% (295.4 million pounds) zinc and 5.4% (196.5 million lb) lead.
In addition to reserves, Silvertip hosts 1.7 million tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 6.75 oz/t (11.6 million oz) silver, 8.9% (305 million lb) zinc and 4.2% (143.9 million lb) lead; and 976,000 tons of inferred resource averaging 8.4 oz/t (8.2 million oz) silver, 9.3% (182.2 million lb) zinc and 5.4% (105.3 million lb) lead.
Coeur said the strong additions to resources reflect the positive results of expansion drilling last year, which targeted areas east of the underground mine complex, including Discovery, a zone that is open in multiple directions.
This year's resource expansion drilling has encountered stack horizons of resource-grade mineralization north, east, and south of the Discovery zone, and in the new South Camp Creek zone.
New holes demonstrate the potential for resource growth with over two miles (3.5 kilometers) of north-south strike length, more than triple the previous resource strike length.
Highlights of the 2020 program include:
• 5.9 meters of 21.5 oz/t (736 g/t) silver, 21.2% zinc and 18.2% lead in hole DSC19-Pad1-006 at Discovery East.
• 3.8 meters of 24.9 oz/t (855 g/t) silver, 12.2% zinc and 14.7% lead in hole DSC20-Pad8-004 at Discovery North.
In parallel with drilling activities, Coeur's geologic team has continued the regional exploration program at Silvertip, developing high-priority polymetallic carbonate replacement targets from several legacy geologic, geophysical, and geochemical data sets.
As a result of these efforts, three new mineralized zones have been discovered representing multi-year growth targets that have the potential to significantly expand Silvertip's resource base with continued drilling.
This includes Keda, a new zone roughly one mile (1.6 kilometers) north of the Discovery and Silver Creek resources.
Within one month, almost two miles (3.2 kilometers) of new mineralization has been drilled with wide step-out holes. Follow-up drilling is currently underway and is scheduled to continue during the winter months to fill in the gaps between the known resources and the new zones.
At the Discovery North zone, assays from hole DSC20-Pad8-004 are interpreted to indicate discovery of a new feeder zone, similar to the zone in the high-grade Silver Creek portion of the mine. Based on new assays, gold grades appear to be improving as drilling continues north.
Accordingly, Coeur believes that the Discovery North zone is connected to the Keda zone, demonstrating the potential to further expand the current resource at Silvertip with continued drilling.
For the remainder of 2020, Coeur plans to focus on additional step-out drilling in the Keda, southern Silvertip Mountain, Discovery North, Discovery South, and Tiger Terrace zones.