Ascot is adding gold to Premier mine plan
Mining Explorers 2021 - January 27, 2022
Last updated 1/26/2022 at 4:19pm
As it closes in on reestablishing the Premier Mine, Ascot Resources Ltd. is expanding and upgrading resources that would feed ore into the updated mill at this gold-silver operation on the outskirts of Stewart, British Columbia.
Home to a past-producing mine that last operated in the 1990s, Premier has all the major infrastructure – mill, crushing and grinding circuits, tailings storage area, and hydroelectric grid power access – in place to resume operations.
A feasibility study completed in 2020 envisions four underground mines – Silver Coin, Big Missouri, Red Mountain, and Premier – providing ore to an updated version of the existing mill at Premier. At 2,500 metric tons per day, this operation is expected to produce roughly 1.1 million ounces of gold and 3 million oz of silver over the first eight years of the mine.
This production is based on 3.63 million metric tons of probable reserves averaging 5.45 grams per metric ton (637,000 oz) gold and 19.1 g/t (2.23 million oz) silver within the Silver Coin, Big Missouri, and Premier deposits; plus 2.55 million metric tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 6.52 g/t (534,000 oz) gold and 20.6 g/t (1.69 million oz) silver at Red Mountain.
Following on the success of 2020 drilling, the 18,047-meter drill program carried out during 2021 focused largely on identifying new areas for prospective resource growth, especially around the Premier and Big Missouri deposits.
This program got started by testing a large expansion area west of the main Premier deposit, a lower-elevation area that is easier to access early in the year.
The initial seven holes of the 2021 program all cut a zone of gold-silver mineralization typical for Premier at around 70 meters, and three holes that were drilled deep enough encountered deeper high-grade copper-silver mineralization in a broad zone of sulfides identified by an induced polarization geophysical survey.
Highlights from the shallower zone include: 1.25 meters averaging 0.81 g/t gold and 407 g/t silver; two meters averaging 0.7 g/t gold and 373 g/t silver; and 1.2 meters averaging 6.57 g/t gold and 14.3 g/t silver.
Highlights from the deeper discovery include: four meters averaging 0.17 g/t gold, 137.8 g/t silver, 3.62% copper, and 0.65% zinc; and 1.45 meters averaging 0.16 g/t gold, 137 g/t silver, 1.98% copper, and 0.22 g/t zinc.
"Production at the Premier mine dates back as far as 1918 and gold and silver were historically produced alongside copper and other base metals, so the discovery thereof is not altogether surprising," said Ascot Resources President and CEO Derek White.
Geotechnical and exploration drilling about 400 meters south of the initial seven holes and about 600 meters west of the Premier-Northern Light resource encountered additional gold and silver near the mill.
Highlights from this drilling south of the power state include one meter averaging 13.15 g/t gold and 42.6 g/t silver; and four meters averaging 13.18 g/t gold and 84.5 g/t silver.
Ascot says the four meters of high-grade mineralization does not seem to be related to any of the known zones of mineralization.
The company also cut seven meters averaging 21.13 g/t gold, 110.6 g/t silver, 17.14% zinc, and 2.76% lead about 50 meters west of the Premier-Northern Light deposit.
Ascot's 2021 drilling also tested Day Zone, a new area about 300 meters west of Big Missouri where 2020 discovery drilling cut high-grade gold, including 4.1 meters averaging 20.62 g/t gold and 2.05 meters averaging 54.6 g/t gold.
The first hole from the 2021 season, P21-2331, cut 2.46 meters averaging 4.13 g/t gold and 3.5 g/t silver in an area of sparse geological information about 400 meters north of the 2020 discovering drilling at Day.
As of late November, Ascot was still awaing results for 10,875 meters of drilling completed in 57 holes drilled during the 2021 season.
As drills were expanding and upgrading resources, Ascot was preparing for new Premier mining with orders for long-lead-time equipment it will need for the operation. This includes orders put in at the end of 2020 for the SAG and ball mills to upgrade and update the concentrator facility.
By November, most of these important pieces to the upgraded recovery plant outlined in the feasibility study had been delivered and installed.
Permits from previous mining at Premier are already in place and in December the provincial government approved amendments that allow Ascot to begin a new era of mining at Premier.
With the amended provincial permit in hand, Ascot expects to begin underground development at the Big Missouri deposit in April and reach ore there by fall. This schedule puts Ascot on pace to start commissioning the upgraded Premier mill in October and be scaled up to commercial production by the first quarter of 2023.