Bonanza gold draws Pretium buyout offer
Mining Explorers 2021 - January 27, 2022
Last updated 1/26/2022 at 4:20pm
Pretium Resources Inc.'s 2021 resource expansion and exploration drill program at Brucejack cut spectacular gold and silver grades, even for this Northern British Columbia project world-renowned for its bonanza-grade gold. So spectacular, in fact, that Newcrest Mining Ltd. paid roughly US$2.8 billion to acquire Pretium and its high-grade gold mine in BC's Golden Triangle.
Going into 2021, the Valley of the Kings deposit at Brucejack hosted 11.5 million metric tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 8.7 grams per metric ton (3.2 million ounces) gold and 9.8 g/t (3.6 million oz) silver.
Pretium has identified several expansion targets immediately surrounding Valley of the Kings, including North Block, which was a primary target of extensive resource expansion drilling completed during 2021.
Highlights from 2021 drilling at North Block include: 19.5 meters averaging 306.6 g/t gold, including one meter averaging 5,910 g/t gold and 3,400 g/t silver; 15 meters averaging 561.5 g/t gold, including one meter averaging 8,400 g/t gold and 4,900 g/t silver; seven meters averaging 676.8 g/t gold, including 1.5 meters averaging 3,150 g/t gold and 1,870 g/t silver; and 15 meters averaging 493.2 g/t gold, including one meter averaging 7,360 g/t gold and 4,400 g/t silver.
"These impressive results confirm high-grade gold mineralization in the North Block Zone and further extend the potential of the Valley of the Kings deposit at Brucejack," said Pretium Resources President and CEO Jacques Perron.
After the fourth phase of North Block and expansion drilling near the lower level of the Valley of the King resources, crews began a 13,000-meter surface exploration program.
In October, Pretium reported bonanza-grade gold mineralization from drilling at Golden Marmot, a discovery zone about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) northwest of the Brucejack Mine.
Highlights from the first nine of 26 holes drilled at Golden Marmot last year include 38 meters averaging 22.8 g/t gold, including 2.1 meters averaging 188.4 g/t gold; 53.5 meters averaging 72.5 g/t gold, including 0.5 meters averaging 6,700 g/t gold and 3,990 g/t silver; and 5.8 meters averaging 46.1 g/t gold, including one meter averaging 208 g/t gold.
Accessible via an exploration trail from the Brucejack camp, Golden Marmot lies about 1,750 meters east of Hanging Glacier, a zone of bulk tonnage gold mineralization discovered with drilling in 2020. Both zones are part of a four-kilometer (2.5 miles) trend of highly altered rocks that extend from Hanging Glacier to the Bridge Zone southeast of the Brucejack Mine.
"The gold mineralization intersected at Golden Marmot occurs in the same host rocks and with the same alteration signature as the nearby Valley of the Kings deposit, which is a strong indication it could be a new high-grade deposit," said Perron. "Its proximity and existing trail access would make it relatively easy to integrate into future mine plans as an independent source of ore to supply the Brucejack mill."
These future mine plans will be carried out by Newcrest, an Australian mining company that owns 70% interest in the Red Chris copper-gold mine about 40 kilometers (87 miles) north of Brucejack.
"Following due diligence, we believe that as the owner and operator of Brucejack we can build on the strong foundations established by Pretium and deliver significant additional shareholder value by leveraging our experience in operating epithermal gold mines and applying our exploration and innovation expertise to realize potential resource and reserve growth," Newcrest Mining CEO Sandeep Biswas said when the buyout bid was announced in November.
To realize this potential, Newcrest offered to buy all Pretium shares it does not already own for C$18.50 each. Pretium shareholders had the option to receive cash, Newcrest shares, or both in exchange for the Pretium shares they held.
"With this acquisition, Brucejack will join Newcrest's portfolio of tier one assets, mitigating the inherent risks associated with ownership of a single-asset mining company. Moreover, Newcrest has the financial means and the intention of maximizing the long-term potential of the Brucejack Mine and the district scale opportunities in the surrounding Brucejack property," said Perron. "We believe our employees, First Nations partners, and community partners will be very well-positioned to succeed and develop under Newcrest's world-class stewardship."