One miner's waste could be Skeena's ore
Drilling resumes at old waste facility with strong gold grades North of 60 Mining News – October 8, 2021
Last updated 10/7/2021 at 1:52pm
Skeena Resources Ltd. Oct. 4 announced that it has begun a second phase of drilling at the Albino Waste Facility on its Eskay Creek gold-silver project in the Golden Triangle of Northern British Columbia.
The waste material stored in this facility is from an underground mine operated by Barrick Gold Corp. from 1994 to 2008 that recovered roughly 3.3 million ounces of gold and 160 million oz of silver from ore with average grades of 45 grams per metric ton gold and 2,224 g/t silver.
This underground mine development was largely tunneled in the mineralized rhyolite in the footwall of the mudstone sequence that is host to the very high-grade gold-silver mineralization for which Eskay Creek is renowned. While this volcanic rock would be considered ore at today's precious metals prices, the rhyolite-hosted mineralization was deemed to be uneconomic due to the low prices of gold and silver during the previous era of mining at Eskay Creek Mine.
As a result, this development rock, along with mill tailings, was deposited into the Albino Waste Facility southwest of the mine to be stored underwater.
This spring, while there was still ice to support a drill rig, Skeena completed initial testing of the gold- and silver-enriched waste material and tailings stored at Albino.
Highlights from the eight holes completed during the initial phase of drilling included:
• 16.01 meters averaging 4.17 g/t gold and 160 g/t silver in hole SK-21-841.
• 12.16 meters averaging 4.18 g/t gold and 190 g/t silver in SK-21-842.
• 22.8 meters averaging 4.16 g/t gold and 204 g/t silver in SK-21-843.
• 19.76 meters averaging 3.13 g/t gold and 127 g/t silver in SK-21-844.
• 15.2 meters averaging 3.97 g/t gold and 130 g/t silver in SK-21-845.
• 13.68 meters averaging 8.68 g/t gold and 330 g/t silver in SK-21-846.
These grades are comparable to the mineral reserves that support an Eskay Creek mine plan detailed in a prefeasibility study completed earlier this year.
Considering the more than 15-meter thickness of waste material indicated by the initial drilling, the 128,900-square-meter waste facility could provide a sizable source of already mined material to the mine plan.
To investigate this potential, Skeena has launched a second phase of drilling at Albino designed to test the rest of the waste facility on 50-meter drill spacings. The company plans to drill 27 additional holes from a waterborne barge.
Dependent on the results from this drilling, Skeena plans to return to Albino for a third phase of drilling to infill the drill spacing to 25-meter centers.