One of the world’s most productive mines,‘The Golden Triangle’ located in Canada’s province of British Columbia is buzzing with exploration activities decades after it was deserted. The remote and frustratingly mountainous region boasts a decorated mining history that saw the discovery of the world’s biggest silver mines in 1988- the Eskay Creek.
The story of the famous Golden Triangle dates back to the 19th century when the region received a lot of attention that inspired three classical gold rushes. The first one was the 1861 ‘Stikine Gold Rush’ that saw an influx of over a thousand miners’ race to the region when Buck Choquette’s at the intersection of rivers Anuk and Stikine discovered gold. The craze was however short-lived no thanks to the region’s complex geology and poor infrastructure. The passion was re-ignited later in the subsequent Cassiar, and Atlincrazes before attention in the area subsided until recently.
Unorganized commercialization began in 1918 in the region’s first mine- the Premier Gold. The discovery of the Eskay Creek alongside Snipe mines back in the ’90s put the region on the global exploration map. At its peak, Snip mine, with an average grading of 27.5 g/t, produced over 1 million ounces of gold. On the other hand, the Eskay Creek mine produced a record 49 g/t becoming the nation’s highest-grademine and ranked fifth globally in terms of silver production. Geologists estimated that the mine could produce more than 3 million gold ounces and approximately 160 million silver ounces during its time. As mentioned previously, activities in the mines dwindled over poor infrastructure (roads & power) and, plunged global gold prices.
Decades later, modern mining companies have revitalized operation activities in the region. Reportedly in 2017, miners splashed over 40% in total British Columbia’s exploration expenditure in the Golden Triangle. In actual numbers, nearly $82 million was spent in gold exploration. Drilling expenditures during the period ballooned over 138% those of the previous year. Silver explorations in the Golden Triangle were a record high over the same period.
It is reported that the Golden Triangle has given up an estimated 800 million ounces of silver and gold of over 130 million ounces, an, and an outrageous 40 billion lbs of high-grade copper. As if that’s not incredibly awesome in itself, geologists have discovered new mineral deposits. With estimated mineral deposits worth nearly $1 billion dollars, operations at the Imperial Metals-owned Red Chris mine began in 2015. The mine is expected to be productive until 2043.
Another deposit discovered lately is the prominent KSM project owned by Seabridge. Dubbed the world’s biggest gold project, the KSM has mind-blowing gold reserves totaling 38.8 million ounces. There’s also nearly 10.2 billion lbs of high-quality copper and approximately 183 ounces of silver. Seabridge received the Canadian Federal government’s approval to commence mining operations in 2014.
The most recent discovery is perhaps the Brucejack Project owned by mining company- Pretvim. This reserve hosts the highest-quality gold compared to the first two. Commercial mining operations in reserve begun in 2017.
Another factor that is driving up mining operations at the Golden Triangle region is modernized infrastructure. As previously discussed, the first explorers called it quits after they struggled to transport their precious minerals. The today road network in the region has been enhanced with the recent Stewart-Cassiar Highway offering a fascinating maneuver by road. Minerals exporters can easily access the ports and ship their product thanks to the now functional ocean port. Prospects can also delight sufficient low-cost power. The region recently received an energy boost in the $700 million high-voltage transmission channeling power to the heart of the Golden Triangle.
Enhanced global gold prices have also inspired the buzz of activities in the region. In 1999, gold sold at a disappointing $398 while as of this writing gold is priced at $1,292.70. It represents nearly a three times increase.
Renowned geologist, Jeff Kyba is creating a paradigm shift in the region with his theory that “geologic contact between Triassic age Stuhini rocks and Jurassic age Hazelton rocks is the key marker for copper-gold mineralization.” The theory titled “the Red Line” shades a new light to the Golden Triangle’s otherwise complicated geology and could potentially lead to the discovery of more deposits in the region.
Thick snows and glaciers that previously covered the region’s mountain ranges and not revealing any rocks made it hard for geologists to make important discoveries. With the declining snow cover now exposing rocks that have never been examined before, the potential for new discoveries is limitless
Discussed below are mining companies conducting meaningful explorations at the Golden Triangle;
Crystal Lake prides a seasoned management team led by Richard Savage that is hoped to steer the company to new heights. The company has Dr. Peter Lightfoot, an experienced geologist with significant experience as its Technical advisor. Dr. Lightfoot has commandeered explorations in Canada, China, Mongolia, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Angola, and Finland. Dr.Lightfoot also holds an advisory position at Garibaldi Resource Corp, another burgeoning explorations company.
Crystal Lake’s decision to acquire the most significant prospective land totaling 436 square kilometers for its Newmont Lake Project around the Eskay region places the company among the region’s elite.
The Newmont Lake Project is already exhibiting potential. During last fall’s first-pass drill of the flagship program, geologists found the possibility of a copper-rich porphyry system that could turn in profits for the company. Crystal Lake is currently operating on a $4.6 million financing it secured on April this year. The management is optimistic that it shall generate good wealth to stakeholders in 2019, given the positive strides it is already making. The report is closely monitoring crystal Lake’s stock. Portfolio manager, John Newell gave the stock an optimistic price target of $1.65 although the stock currently trades below $1.
Another miner performing reasonably well in the Golden Triangle area is the Romios Gold Resources. Earlier this year, Romios signed a definitive agreement with Crystal Lake Mining to option its wholly-owned Newmont Lake Property to the latter. According to the terms of the deal, Romios is set to benefit from a payment of $500,000 and not less than $3 million in exploration commitment on Newmont Lake until September 20, 2019. The $500,000 cash option payment is to be made in two installments of $250,000 each.
Trading at $0.25 with a market value of $8.73, Mountain Boy Minerals is among the companies doing great at British Columbia’s prolific Golden Triangle. The exploration company recently announced that licensing is in the pipes for the American Creek West Project. The newly named projects encompass “MB Silver Property and Silver Crown Properties. Geologists forecast a pumper gold, silver, and base metal deposits from the project. The mine was operational until the 1930s when treacherous terrains forced miners to suspend activities indefinitely. Mountain Boy also announced that it had the option of acquiring 100% interest in a section of the 1,478 hectares Silver Crown Property also located at the Golden Triangle about 25km north of Stewart.
Another notable company exploring the BC’s Golden Triangle region is AURAMEX RESOURCE ORD (CVE: AUX). Auramex is patiently waiting for a drilling permit to commence its Bear Pass Project located at the Stewart Camp of BC’s Golden Triangle. The 6,400-hectare property is strategically located on the Highway 37A and 30km northeast of Stewart. Last year, the company commissioned 5-person geological team to compline over a century of history in exploration and resultant product head of the drilling permits. Through the process, Auramex sought to establish the mineralizing system believed to be aged the same as the one credited for the Brucejack mine nearly 50km north.
Geologically the mineralizing system is thought to be similar with the historic Silbak-Premier mine, located 20km in the Southwest. The Bear Pass has a rich history of mining and exploration activities dating back to the 1900s. Aside from the Bear Pass case, Auramex has optioned a section of Silver Crown to celebrated explorer, Mountain Boy Minerals. Mountain Boy has agreed to fund 85% of a pro-rate portion of the definitive agreement in exchange for the option.