Skeena hits long (15m) and strong (31 g/t) at Eskay Creek

Skeena Resources of Vancouver recently completed a surface drilling program on its Eskay Creek property  in the province’s Golden Triangle.

  • Phase one drilling at the 21A zone returned these highlights:
  • Hole SK-18-033: 4.93 g/t gold, 134.59 g/t silver over 33.57 metres;
  • Hole SK-18-034: 7.11 g/t gold, 54.21 g/t silver over 28.88 metres;
  • Hole SK-18-036: 22.36 g/t gold, 646.92 g/t silver over 14.72 metres;
  • Hole SK-18-037: 6.68 g/t gold, 14.56 g/t silver over 5.50 metres; and
  • Hole SK-18-040: 12.73 g/t gold, 1.71 g/t silver over 4.50 metres.

Skeena says the 21A zone contains a significant portion of the 2018 pit constrained resource including 1.1 million indicated tonnes at 4.9 g/t gold and 72 g/t silver and 2.8 million inferred tonnes at 3.8 g/t gold and 63 g/t silver. The project also has an  underground resources of 2.5 million indicated tonnes at 7.2 g/t gold and 215 g/t silver plus 812,000 inferred tonnes at 7.2 g/t gold and 214 g/t silver.

Eskay Creek was first explored in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until 1995 that the gold mine was officially opened. The mine closed in 2008 having produced about 3.3 million oz. of gold and 160 million oz. of silver.

This article originally appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal. 

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Canada’s McEwen Mining 2018 production exceeds guidance

Canadian precious metals producer McEwen Mining (TSX, NYSE:MUX) on Tuesday posted 2018 production results that exceeded expectations, with gold equivalent output climbing 15% from 152,329 ounces in 2017 to 175,561 ounces last year.

Full-year production included 135,124 ounces of gold, up 23% when compared to the previous year, and 3.03 million ounces of silver, or 4.5% less than in 2017.

Output at the Toronto-based miner 100%-owned Black Fox mine in Canada totalled 48,848 gold equivalent ounces, in line with guidance of 48K gold equiv. ounces. Production at the company’s 100%-owned El Gallo project in Mexico, in turn, reached of 39,106 gold. equiv. ounces, topping guidance of about 32,000 ounces.

El Gallo mine, in Mexico, had one of the best performances, producing 39,106 gold-equivalent ounces, more than the 32,000 expected for 2018.

McEwen said it continued to evaluate the potential of constructing a new mine and mill at El Gallo. A feasibility study for the project, dubbed Fenix, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.

The miner also reported construction at Gold Bar, in Nevada, US, was near completion and on schedule for inaugural gold production in the current quarter.

In the last three years, Rob McEwen — one of the gold’s industry’s best-known bulls — has been aggressively working on expanding his company, which already has producing mines in Mexico, Argentina and most recently also in Ontario, Canada.

His goal is to take McEwen Mining to the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, which groups the 500 largest companies that list either in the NYSE or NASDAQ.

In 2017, the Canadian resources magnate McEwen told he was giving himself two-to-three years to make that happen through a combination of organic growth in production as well as mergers and acquisitions.

Shortly after, it acquired junior exploration company Lexam VG, which gave McEwen access to mineral properties in advanced exploration stage in the heart of Timmins Gold Camp, northern Ontario. The same year it completed the acquisition of Black Fox mine and, by December 2017, it announced it was speeding up exploration activities at its newly acquired properties near Timmins, Ontario.

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IDM’s Red Mountain gold and silver mine gets environmental permit

Canada’s IDM Mining (TSX-V:IDM), which is in the process of being absorbed by fellow miner Ascot Resources (TSX-V:AOT), can now start building its flagship Red Mountain gold and silver mine near Stewart, British Columbia, as it has received the federal government’s environmental approval.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said late on Monday the proposed mine was not likely to have significant adverse effects if the 120 stipulated conditions were met.

Those requisites include measures to protect fish and fish habitat, migration of birds, species at risk, human health, physical and cultural heritage, as well as the current use of lands and resources by traditional Indigenous peoples.

Project will have to meet 120 conditions, including measures to protect fish, birds, species at risk, human health, as well as physical and cultural heritage, among others.

“We are confident that with the mitigation measures in place and the legally-binding conditions the proponent must fulfill, this project will move forward in a way that supports sustainable development,” McKenna said in the statement.

The Red Mountain project, one of the several currently being developed in BC’s prolific Golden Triangle, had already gained provincial environmental approval.

It’s estimated it would take about 18 months to build the mine and bring it into production, with a capital cost of only $135 million.

While the property is said to hold high-grade gold and silver reserves, the projected mine life is quite short– about six years – with an average net annual production of 365,000 tonnes of ore per year, and a payback period of two years.

Ascot Resources, which has been working to restart the historic Premier gold mine near Stewart, plans to consolidate that project with Red Mountain, once the friendly $45-million takeover of IDM Mining closes.

Gold miners have lost money for shareholders over the past five years, leading to calls for consolidation, a reduction in management pay and efforts to cut costs and dump non-core assets. Barrick Gold’s $6 billion-takeover of Randgold Resources and Newmont Mining' whooping $10 billion-acquisition of Goldcorp are considered to be just the beginning of a looming M&A spree in the sector globally.

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GGX drills more high grade at Gold Drop in BC

GGX Gold (GGX; US-OTC; GGXXF) continues to cut near surface high grade gold mineralization at its 56 sq. km Gold Drop gold property near Greenwood in southern British Columbia.

The results come from a November 2018, 11 hole drill program where GGX tested the southwestern region of Gold Drop’s COD vein system. Earlier results from the November 2018 drill campaign include 28 grams gold and 424.7 grams silver over 1.17 metres from 26 metres downhole.

Highlights from the latest assays include 129.1 grams gold and 1,154.9 grams silver over 7.2 metres from 23 metres downhole including 232.1 grams gold and 2,001.1 grams silver over 3.13 metres from 24.5 metres downhole.

The company drilled its November holes within 25 metres of the previously drilled holes 45 and 46. Hole 45 cut 50.1 grams gold and 375 grams silver over 2.05 metres from 28 metres downhole and hole 46 cut 54.9 grams gold and 379 grams silver over 1.5 metres from 30 metres downhole.

Gold Drop was mined intermittently from 1919 to the 1980s, producing 7,572 tonnes averaging 5.2 grams gold and 93.4 grams silver. The property hosts eight known gold bearing veins or vein systems.

Shares of GGX are currently trading at 12¢ with a 52-week range of 5¢ to 16¢. The company has a $5 million market capitalization.

This story first appeared on The Northern Miner.

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Lundin kicks off underground work at flagship Fruta del Norte project

Canada’s Lundin Gold (TSX:LUG) said Monday it has begun underground development at its flagship Fruta del Norte gold project in Ecuador, on track to kick off production later this year.

A total of 4.5 km of underground mine construction has already been achieved, the miner said, while overall engineering is 85% complete and overall project growth has reached a 45% of progress.

Lundin Gold said it was preparing the first stages of transition to owner operations and its mining fleet has started to arrive at Fruta del Norte.

The company also noted the majority of large process plant mechanical equipment was now on the property, and that the first group of mining operators began the final part of their training program, which takes place on site.

Fruta del Norte, to be e Ecuador’s largest underground gold and silver mine, will begin production this year, churning out 4.6 million ounces of gold over a 15 year mine life.

"With 70% of our capital expenditure committed and detailed engineering nearly done, Fruta del Norte is on schedule to meet its target of producing first gold in the fourth quarter of this year," Ron Hochstein, the company’s President and CEO, said in the update.

Fruta del Norte, discovered in 2006, is expected to produce to 4.6 million ounces of gold over a 15 year mine life.

Lundin has been developing the asset for almost two years, following an agreement with Ecuador’s government that allowed it to move ahead with the project.

The company acquired it in 2015 for $240 million from fellow Canadian miner Kinross Gold (TSX:K) (NYSE:KGC), which had to halt the project after being unable to reach an agreement with authorities regarding the terms for developing the asset.

The underground gold and silver mine, which will be Ecuador’s largest, encompassing six of Lundin's 29 mining concessions, which cover 70,000 hectares of land.

“Highly prospective” location

Ecuador has gained ground as a mining investment destination in the past two years thanks to a revised regulatory framework and a major investor engagement campaign.

Early last year, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NMC) took a 14% stake in Lundin Gold, to gain access to Fruta del Norte.

Anglo American (LON:AAL) also landed in the South American country last year. Through a deal with Canadian Luminex Resources (TSX-V: LR), it plans to develop two copper and gold concessions there.

Currently, the nation’s emerging mining sector employs 3,700 people, but estimates the figure will rise to about 16,000 by 2020.

The projects boom, however, may be thwarted this year due to growing local opposition to the extraction of the country’s resources.

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Buenaventura facing stoppage at Uchucchacua mine

Peruvian company Buenaventura (NYSE: BVN; Lima Stock Exchange: BUE.LM) has been dealing in the past week with a worker strike at its silver-zinc-lead Uchucchacua mine, located in the central Oyón province.

In a statement, management said the action was sparked by the company's decision to dismiss certain contracted employees, as they completed the work their companies were hired to do.

But on January 9, 2019, the Contractors’ Union at Uchucchacua decided to start a strike action alleging grievances by the dismissed workers and also "unsuitable working conditions."

Despite such accusations, the strike was deemed illegal by Peruvian Labour Authority. Thus, the miner says it is making efforts to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

The Uchucchacua mine, which started operations in 1975, has had an annual production of about 16 million ounces of silver in recent years. The site is no stranger to protests and stoppages. Back in 2017, people from the nearby Oyón community caused disruption as they demanded compensation for land use.

Buenaventura is the largest publicly-traded precious metals mining company in Peru with some 17 assets across the country and an important 43.65% stake in the Yanacocha gold mine, where it has a partnership with Newmont and Sumitomo.

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Potential 2019 El Niño poses risks to some South American mining regions

The potential development of an El Niño in 2019 poses a risk of costs rising among miners relying on hydroelectric power generation in key Latin American markets, according to new Fitch Solutions industry analysis report released this week.

Most state meteorological departments are warning of risks of the El Niño event  in 2019, and on Thursday, the U.S government weather forecaster raised the probability of an El Niño weather pattern emerging from 60 to 65%. On Thursday, the U.S government weather forecaster raised the probability of an El Niño weather pattern emerging from 60 to 65%.

El Niño, a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that typically occurs every few years, last occurred around 2015 to 2016. Depending on the severity of the phenomenon, countries in the northern part of South America are likely to experience lower rainfall as a result.

El Niño could impact countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador that heavily rely on hydroelectric plants to generate. The potential return of El Niño in 2019 poses downside risks to mining production and each respective country's mining industry value, Fitch reports.

Fitch cited examples where Minsur's cash costs rose at its Brazilian mine Piting, caused by a lack of rain in Q118. And  Kinross Gold was also impacted by a similar event in 2017, when lower than expected rainfall reduced Q317's y-o-y production at the Paracatu mine by 58% to 46koz that quarter.

Read the full report here.


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Benchmark extends Phoenix in Golden Triangle

Lawyers Gold Silver Project Phoenix Zone 2018 Drill Results

Benchmark Metals (TSXV: BNCH; US-OTC: CYRTF) has expanded the Phoenix zone at its Lawyers gold-silver project in B.C.’s Golden Triangle after intersecting gold and silver mineralization in step out drilling grading as high as 11 grams gold per tonne and 819 grams silver over 4 metres from 69 metres downhole.

Other highlights included 6.15 grams gold and 124.37 grams silver over 4 metres from 60 metres downhole including 21.8 grams gold and 340 grams silver over 1.14 metres from 63 metres downhole as well as 1.36 grams gold and 172.3 grams silver over 4.5 metres from 9 metres downhole.

The company drilled 730 metres across seven holes along strike and down dip of Phoenix to the south east on the Lawyers trend. Based on its drilling, the company believes the mineralization it intersected extends at least 175 metres along strike and is open at depth below 50 metres from surface.

The company intends to follow up on these initial drill results with further drilling at Phoenix in 2019

Cheni Gold Mines briefly mined Phoenix in the early 1990s. Historical records indicate the company milled 4,394 tonnes, producing more than 6,700 oz. gold and more than 296,000 oz. silver at 38.56 grams gold and 1,700 grams silver.

In June 2018, Benchmark tabled a maiden resource estimate for Lawyers. The project contains 550,000 inferred tonnes grading 4.51 grams gold and 209.15 grams silver, or 6.69 grams gold equivalent, for 80,000 oz. gold and 3.7 million oz. silver at its Cliff Creek North zone as well as 58,000 inferred tonnes grading 4.3 grams gold and 139.13 grams silver, or 5.75 grams gold equivalent, for 8,000 oz. gold and 260,000 oz. silver at its Duke Ridge zone.

Shares of Benchmark are currently trading at 18¢ with a 52-week range of 16¢ to 39¢. The company has a $7 million market capitalization.

This story first appeared on The Northern Miner

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Murchison Minerals triples land holdings in Saskatchewan

Murchison Minerals (TSXV: MUR) announced Thursday that it has doubled the size of the previously announced VTEM airborne survey and tripled its mineral land holdings at its 100% owned zinc/copper/silver Brabant VMS project in central Saskatchewan.

With the recent staking of 14,807 hectares of mineral claims contiguous to its current land holdings, Murchison now controls 221.8 km2 of mineral rights over a strike length of approximately 29 kilometres.

Preliminary interpretation of the ongoing VTEM airborne geophysical survey shows multiple conductors that range in strike length from 200 metres to in excess of six kilometres. They are located within a favourable Archaean greenstone belt geological environment that has the potential to host a prolific VMS camp, Murchison stated in a media release.

Additional claims were staked to cover a lake sediment gold anomaly located at the south end of the company’s land holdings. This anomaly was originally identified as a result of a 1975 lake sediment sampling survey undertaken by the Geological Survey of Canada.

This gold anomaly appears to share similar characteristics to the lake sediment gold anomaly associated with the Seabee gold mine located about 30 kilometres to the southeast, the company said.

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Pretium Resources gold output falls short of estimates

Canadian gold producer Pretium Resources (TSX, NYSE: PVG) said output at its Brucejack underground mine in British Columbia fell just shy of fourth quarter and full-year production guidance.

In the last three months of 2018, the Vancouver miner generated 96,342 ounces of gold, resulting in the mine producing nearly 189,000 ounces of the precious metal for the second half of the year, or 95% of Pretium’s expected 200,000 ounces.

For the full year, gold production from Brucejack totalled 376,000 ounces or 97% of production guidance of 387,000 ounces.

In 2018, gold production from Brucejack totalled 376,000 ounces or 97% of the company's guidance of 387,000 ounces.

President and CEO Joseph Ovsenek said the company's grade control program would continue to be refined over the coming quarters to improve short-term grade estimation and predictability.

"As we continue to generate significant cash flow, we will build on what we have learned mining the gold mineralization at the Valley of the Kings over the first six quarters of production to further refine our grade control programme and mining methods in order to reduce dilution and optimize grade to the mill," he said.

Commercial production at the mine started in July 2017, with ramp-up extending into the first half of 2018. Brucejack has been operating at full tilt since July 2018.

In 2016, the operation was named the world’s highest grade “rookie” gold mine, ranked according to gold concentration in reserves, based on available data.

Last month, Pretium received amended permits that allow it to increase production rate at Brucejack. The mill upgrades are expected to cost less than C$25 million ($19 million).

The company will release full results on February 14.

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