Benchmark fast-tracks Lawyers exploration
Mining Explorers 2021 - January 27, 2022
Last updated 1/26/2022 at 4:20pm
Continuing a massive drill campaign launched in 2020, Benchmark Metals Inc. completed 83,570 meters of drilling at Lawyers during 2021. This includes resource upgrade and expansion drilling at and around the three gold-silver deposits defined so far, plus exploration drilling at several discovery targets across the 56-square-mile (144 square kilometers) property in Northern British Columbia.
This expansive program has garnered the support of Eric Sprott, which has invested heavily into Benchmark. This includes the exercise of 6.67 million warrants that added C$2.7 million to Benchmark's treasury in September – part of the full exercise of 10.47 million warrants set to expire by Oct. 7. As a result, Sprott owns 14.8% of the shares issued by Benchmark.
"Mr. Sprott's support provides significant strength as we work towards building Canada's next major gold-silver mine," said Benchmark Metals CEO John Williamson.
Toward this goal, Benchmark is carrying out both a preliminary economic assessment and feasibility-level studies alongside the massive drill program at Lawyers.
"Because there has been such a heavy focus on fast-tracking to a construction decision and defined exploration windows the company has been steadfast in maintaining a detailed overall project schedule," said Benchmark Metals Vice President of Engineering Ian Harris. "Not only has this allowed us to maintain a fast-track pace but added to the cost-effectiveness by executing multipurpose drilling and data collection."
According to calculation completed in May, the Cliff Creek, AGB, and Dukes Ridge deposits at Lawyers host 40.3 million metric tons of indicated resource averaging 1.19 grams per metric ton (1.55 million ounces) gold and 38.7 g/t (50.2 million oz) silver; plus 16.2 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 1.19 g/t (620,000 oz) gold and 34.7 g/t (18.1 million oz) silver.
One of the highlights from drilling at and around the current resources was the discovery of a 300-meter-long Connector zone that links the Cliff Creek and Dukes Ridge deposits.
Highlights from 2021 drilling at Connector include 41.15 meters averaging 1.31 g/t gold and 30.77 g/t silver in hole 21CCRC016; and 10.67 meters averaging 3.45 g/t gold and 181.81 g/t silver in 21DRRC005.
Similar mineralization was cut on the east side of Cliff Creek Mid zone, an area between Cliff Creek North and South and only about 250 meters west of Connector that was previously thought to only host modest mineralization. One hole drilled in this area, 21CCRC020, cut 68.58 meters averaging 3.07 g/t gold and 11.72 g/t silver, including 3.05 meters averaging 56.65 g/t gold and 79.75 g/t silver.
Benchmark says the discovery of broad mineralization from surface at Connector and Cliff Creek Mid provides flexibility, potential for higher-grade starter pits, and significant rewards to potential future mine production schedules.
While much of the 100,000-meter-plus 2021 drill program at Lawyers focused on upgrading and expanding resources, the company continues to explore the property's wider potential.
This includes extensive drilling at Marmot and Marmot East, discovery zones about 3,000 meters southeast of Cliff Creek where grab samples with up to 61.3 g/t gold and 3,890 g/t silver have been collected.
The 2020 Marmot discovery hole, 20MLDD005, cut 101 meters averaging 0.55 g/t gold and 21.8 g/t silver.
The 2021 drilling at Marmot zone targeted approximately 1,550 meters of a northwest-trending structural corridor that is interpreted as a significant control on mineralization.
Benchmark says observations of initial core from this drilling at Marmot, which got underway in late July, are visually comparable to the 2020 discovery hole. This includes intense alteration observed over 56 meters in hole 21MLDD009.
With this intercept, the footprint for the Marmot zone now extends beyond 350 meters in strike length, with gold-silver mineralization at surface supported by geophysics, geochemistry, structural mapping, and shallow drilling.
In addition to drilling, Benchmark geologists completed a comprehensive geological reconnaissance program consisting of rock and soil sampling, mapping, and geophysics across a wide swath of the property.
This regional exploration turned up Black Lake copper gold-silver zone toward the southern end of a 12.5-mile (20 kilometers) mineralized trend that runs across the Lawyers property. Rock samples collected from Black Lake contained as much as 1.37 g/t gold, 137 g/t silver, and 0.08% copper.
The 2021 drilling is being incorporated into an updated mineral resource estimate, which will form the basis of a PEA for Lawyers. Benchmark plans to immediately follow this scoping level assessment with a feasibility study slated for completion by the end of the year.