By Gordon Clarke, Bruce Northcote, Nate L. Corcoran, Kirk Hancock, Neil Wildgust, and Yao Cui | British Columbia Geological Survey, Ministry Of Energy, Mines And Low Carbon Innovation
All signs indicate that 2021 was a banner year for mineral exploration in British Columbia. Driven by strong prices for gold, silver, copper, zinc, nickel, and coal, 2021 saw the continuation of the rebound in exploration activity that started mid-2020. Ongoing reports of new discoveries and significant results support British Columbia’s reputation as a premier jurisdiction for mineral exploration and mine development opportunities.
The present summary was prepared by the Mineral Development Office of the British Columbia Geological Survey (BCGS), Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation in November 2021. Work on many programs continued into the late fall and results are pending. Further details will be presented in the annual Provincial Overview of Exploration and Mining in British Columbia volume produced by the BCGS, and the British Columbia Mineral and Coal Exploration Survey, a joint initiative of the Province of British Columbia, the Association for Mineral Exploration, and EY LLP.
Jump to region of interest:
- Northwest Region
- North Central and Northeast Regions
- Southeast Region
- South Central and Southwest Regions
- BC Geological Survey 2021
Precious metal projects
Ascot Resources Ltd. focused on mine construction at their Premier Gold project and began 25,000 m of combined surface and underground drilling. The proposed mine is considered a precious metal project, but the company reported discovering new high-grade copper, gold, silver, lead, and zinc mineralization. Highlight intersections included 4.0 m grading 0.17 g/t Au, 137.8 g/t Ag, 3.62 per cent Cu, and 0.65 per cent Zn, and 7 .0 m grading 21.13 g/t Au, 110.61 g/t Ag, 2.76 per cent Pb, and >17.14 per cent Zn.
Pretium Resources Inc. carried out resource expansion underground diamond drilling at their Brucejack mine, north of the Valley of the Kings deposit in a new area referred to as the North Block zone. Numerous high-grade intersections were reported including: 1 m grading 2,100.0 g/t Au; 12.0 m grading 80.7 g/t Au with a 1.0 m intersection grading 941.0 g/t Au; and 15.0 m grading 493.2 g/t Au, with a 1.0 m intersection grading 7,360 g/t Au. A new high-grade discovery was made in exploration drilling 3.5 km north of the mine at the Marmot zone. Highlights included intersections of 53.5 m grading 72.5 g/t Au, including 6,700 g/t Au over 0.5 m, 5.8 m grading 46.1 g/t Au, and 38.0 m grading 22.8 g/t Au.
Tudor Gold Corp. released an initial mineral resource estimate for the Treaty Creek project (80 percent Tudor, 20 percent Teuton Resources Corp.) of 815.7 Mt Measured and Indicated, grading 0.66 g/t Au, 3.6 g/t Ag, and 0.06 percent Cu, and 311.7 Mt Inferred, grading 0.72 g/t Au, 4.0 g/t Ag, and 0.05 percent Cu. In May, a 30,000 m diamond drilling program started to further expand the resource. Results included 564 m grading 0.96 g/t Au, 8.45 g/t Ag, 0.0224 percent Cu.
Skeena Resources Limited continued to drill at their Snip Gold and Eskay Creek projects. At Snip, high-grade intersections included 3.22 m grading 155.76 g/t Au, 4.41 m grading 110.22 g/t Au, and 12.5 m grading 27.04 g/t Au. In October it was announced that Hochschild Mining PLC intended to take over as operator, earning a 60 percent interest by spending approximately $100 million. Results for Eskay Creek drilling included an 8.20 m intersection grading 3.99 g/t Au and 71 g/t Ag. Skeena also released a positive Prefeasibility Study for Eskay Creek.
In August, Thesis Gold Inc. started 20,000 m of diamond drilling, geochemical sampling, mapping, airborne VTEM, and ground magnetic and IP surveys at their Ranch project. Initial drilling results included 34.00 m grading 19.56 g/t Au, including 7.00 m grading 82.48 g/t Au, and 24.86 m grading 9.53 g/t Au.
Blue Lagoon Resources Inc. began 20,000 m of diamond drilling at their Dome Mountain Gold project. The first phase was designed to test deep targets and results included 3.0 m grading 24.07 g/t Au and 127.92 g/t Ag, and 4.13 m grading 11.08 g/t Au and 34.39 g/t Ag. The second phase targeted geophysical and geochemical targets. Results included 0.65 m grading 40 g/t Au, and 441 g/t Ag.
Canagold Resources Ltd. began 24,000 m of diamond drilling at their New Polaris gold project. Drilling was designed to upgrade Inferred resources to Indicated and target gold mineralization down plunge. Results included 6.6 m grading 24.2 g/t Au, 3.9 m grading 30.8 g/t Au, and 8.4 m grading 17.1 g/t Au.
Cassiar Gold Corp. is expected to complete up to 14,000 m of diamond drilling at their Cassiar Gold project. At the Taurus deposit, 4,000 m of drilling was completed; at the Cassiar South target drilling was ongoing. Results from Cassiar South included 4.8 m grading 35.1 g/t Au and 6.4 m grading 12.6 g/t Au.
Evergold Corp. completed 400 m of diamond drilling at their Snoball project. Quartz veining with associated pyrrhotite, pyrite, arsenopyrite, and chalcopyrite was reported.
Finlay Minerals Ltd. carried out an IP survey and started diamond drilling at their Silver Hope property in the late fall.
In late August, QuestEx Gold & Copper Exploration Ltd. began 4,000 m of diamond drilling at the Inel gold prospect on their KSP property. The program was designed to support an initial NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate. In addition, IP surveys were conducted over the Sericite Ridge and Tami showings.
Sassy Resources Corporation carried out diamond drilling at the Westmore Discovery zone on their Foremore property.
Scottie Resources Corp. carried out diamond drilling at their Georgia and Scottie Gold Mine projects. Results from the Scottie Gold Mine project’s Blueberry zone included 10.0 m grading 16.5 g/t Au and 4.94 m grading 28.8 g/t Au. Drilling increased the zone’s known strike length by 550 m.
Strikepoint Gold Inc. carried out drilling programs at their Porter Silver and Willoughby projects.
Stuhini Exploration Ltd. followed up on the 2020 discovery of new gold and silver zones with soil sampling, IP surveys, mapping, and prospecting at their Ruby Creek project.
Sun Summit Minerals Corp. started 5,000 m of diamond drilling on the Buck property. The program was designed to follow up on a 2020 discovery hole that intersected 17 m grading 5.86 g/t Au. New drilling intersected both high-grade and bulk tonnage mineralization. Results included 4.0 m grading 31.6 g/t Au and 109 m grading 1.07 g/t Au.
Trailbreaker Resources Ltd. reported grab sampling results from their Atsutla Gold project, with assays as high as 630.04 g/t Au, and defined three gold zones. At their Skelly property, a 1.5 m chip sample across a historic showing returned 25.4 g/t Au and 882 g/t Ag. Prospecting 200 m to the east identified a new zone with grab samples assaying up to 3.43 g/t Au and 78.3 g/t Ag.
Cu-Mo, Cu-Au-Ag, Mo (porphyry) projects
Newmont Corporation purchased GT Gold Corp. for an estimated $456 million. Assets included the Tatogga project’s Saddle North deposit. The deposit has an Indicated resource of 298 Mt grading 0.28 percent Cu, 0.36 g/t Au, and 0.8 g/t Ag and an Inferred Resource of 543 Mt grading 0.25 percent Cu, 0.31 g/t Au, and 0.7 g/t Ag. Newmont worked with the Tahltan Heritage Resources Environmental Assessment Team on a Tahltan land-use study and with Tahltan Environmental Management to begin environmental studies.
The Red Chris mine is operated by Newcrest Mining Ltd. Newcrest holds a 70 percent interest, and Imperial Metals Corporation holds the remaining 30 percent. A new mineral resource estimate was released with 980 Mt of Measured and Indicated, grading 0.41 g/t Au, 0.38 percent Cu, and 190 Mt of Inferred, grading 0.31 g/t Au, 0.30 percent Cu. A Prefeasibility Study confirmed a low cost, long life for a block cave mining operation. Diamond drilling near the known ore body discovered new zones of high-grade mineralization. Results included 198 m grading 0.89 g/t Au, 0.83 percent Cu, and 254 m grading 1.0 g/t Au and 1.1 percent Cu. Further studies were ongoing to assess opportunities close to the mine.
Brixton Metals Corporation continued to drill the Camp Creek target of their Thorn Project. Results included 821.25 m grading 0.24 percent Cu, 0.10 g/t Au, 2.44 g/t Ag, 174.27 ppm Mo, with a 318.25 m interval grading 0.42 percent Cu, 0.17 g/t Au, 3.87 g/t Ag, and 294.12 ppm Mo.
Enduro Metals Corporation discovered new porphyry copper-gold at their Newmont Lake project. Results from the Burgundy Ridge target area included 331.43 m grading 0.35 g/t Au, 5.5 g/t Ag, 0.29 percent Cu, and 0.49 percent Zn. A total of 10,000 m of diamond drilling was planned, along with deep penetrating IP and MT geophysical surveys.
At their Ootsa project, Surge Copper Corp. completed 26,556 m of diamond drilling in 72 holes. Results have the potential to expand the West Seel deposit and to improve grades within existing volumes. Drilling consistently intersected broad, continuous zones of mineralization within and outside of a 2016 resource-constraining pit.
Highlights included 495 m grading 0.25 percent Cu, 0.21 g/t Au, 3.4 g/t Ag, and 0.021 percent Mo. Surge also has an option to earn a 70 percent interest in the Berg project from Centerra Gold Inc. For Berg, Surge released an updated NI 43-101 resource estimate of total Measured and Indicated 610 Mt grading 0.27 percent Cu, 0.03 percent Mo, and 3.0 g/t Ag, and Inferred 28.1 Mt grading 0.22 percent Cu, 0.02 percent Mo, and 3.8 g/t Ag. A fall diamond drilling program at Berg was expected to total approximately 4,500 m.
Libero Copper & Gold Corporation planned 5,000 m of diamond drilling at their Big Red project. The primary target was the Terry porphyry, which was discovered in 2020. Results included 118.7 m grading 0.26 per cent Cu, 0.06 g/t Au, and 1.83 g/t Ag within 510.0 m grading 0.18 per cent Cu, 0.04 g/t Au, and 1.23 g/t Ag. A second target known as Scorcher was also drilled.
Doubleview Gold Corp. described their Hat project as a gold-rich copper porphyry with additional critical metals including cobalt, silver, palladium, and scandium. Drilling results included 907.8 m grading 0.31 g/t Ag, 0.12 g/t Au, 4.74 g/t Co, 0.15 per cent Cu, 0.03 g/t Pd, and 28.64 g/t Sc.
Edgemont Gold Corp. targeted IP and magnetic anomalies with seven diamond drill holes totalling 3,429 m at their Dungate project. Six of the seven holes intersected sulphide-mineralized porphyry.
Metallis Resources Inc. planned 8,000 m of diamond drilling at their Kirkham property. Results were reported for the first four holes, with all holes intersecting stockwork and disseminated sulphide mineralization, including chalcopyrite. High-resolution IP surveys were also carried out.
Seabridge Gold Inc. carried out MT geophysical surveying at their Iskut project.
Universal Copper Ltd. announced plans for a fall 3,000 m diamond drilling program at their Poplar project. The program was designed to expand known copper mineralization to depth and expand the limits of higher-grade mineralization within the current mineral resource.
Aurwest Resources Corporation carried out mapping, sampling, stream-sediment sampling, and a deep penetrating IP survey at their Stellar project. Aurwest also acquired a 50 percent interest in the Stars property.
Base and precious metal projects
Brixton Metals Corporation discovered two new copper showings at the Trapper target of their Thorn project. Visible gold was identified in outcrop and in seven diamond drill holes.
Coeur Mining Inc. announced that exploration diamond drilling on their Silvertip mine property discovered manto-type mineralization at the Southern Silver zone. Highlight results included 20.0 m grading 92.5 g/t Ag, 16.9 percent Zn, and 0.5 percent Pb, and 10.8 m grading 445.7 g/t Ag, 19.4 percent Zn, and 7.5 percent Pb.
Core Assets Corp. reported discovering new zones of copper, silver, zinc, lead, and gold mineralization at their Blue property. Highlight assays included 91 samples returning 0.20 to 9.92 percent Cu, 58 samples returning 110 g/t to 2,020 g/t Ag, 115 samples returning 1.04 to >30 percent Zn, 53 samples returning 1.01 to >20 percent Pb, and 9 samples returning 1.03 to 6.75 g/t Au.
Decade Resources Ltd. carried out 2,300 m of diamond drilling at the Del Norte property. Drilling targeted the Argo/LG zones. Decade reported visible gold, silver minerals, and strong base metal mineralization.
Dolly Varden Silver Corp. commenced 10,000 m of diamond drilling at their Dolly Varden project. Drilling is the start of a two-year goal to expand and upgrade the Torbrit Silver deposit and multiple silver-rich satellite zones.
At their Eskay-Corey property, Eskay Mining Corp. carried out a property-wide SkyTEM helicopter-borne electromagnetic survey and completed 23,500 m of diamond drilling. Drilling was reported to have intersected massive sulphide mineralization.
Goliath Resources Ltd. planned 6,000 m of diamond drilling at the Surebet target in their Golddigger project area. Reported results included 35.7 m grading 4.46 g/t Au and 122.13 g/t Ag, along with base metal mineralization.
Kutcho Copper Corp. reported an updated mineral resource for their Kutcho property and continued to work on a Feasibility Study. The combined mineral resource estimate for all deposits is 22.8 Mt of Measured and Indicated grading 1.52 percent Cu, 2.18 percent Zn, 0.39 g/t Au, 28.1 g/t Ag, 0.05 percent Pb, and 12.9 Mt of Inferred grading 1.10 percent Cu, 1.58 percent Zn, 0.25 g/t Au, 20.0 g/t Ag, and 0.03 percent Pb.
Norseman Silver Inc. explored their Silver Switchback property with mapping, rock sampling, and grid soil geochemical surveys. At their Silver Vista property, Norseman started 1,500 m of diamond drilling to define the strike length and down-dip extensions of previously identified silver-copper mineralization.
Equity Metals Corp. completed winter-spring diamond drilling of 4,991 m at their Silver Queen project. Highlight results included 0.3 m grading 14,035g/t Ag, 0.1 g/t Au, 0.5 percent Cu, 1.3 percent Pb, and 3.3 percent Zn within a
7.7 m interval grading 919g/t Ag, 0.1g/t Au, 0.1 percent Cu, 1.3 percent Pb, and 1.8 percent Zn. Drilling renewed in the fall with 4,500 m planned. Initial results included 1.4 m grading 1,097g/t Ag, 0.1g/t Au, 0.2 per cent Cu, 0.5 per cent Pb, and 2.2 per cent Zn.
Mountain Boy Minerals Ltd. reported high-grade silver from grab samples taken from their Theia project. Results included 9,676 g/t Ag, 1.59 g/t Au, 13.4 percent Pb, 0.64 percent Cu, and 2.75 percent Zn. The company completed surface sampling at the American Creek project and began diamond drilling in July to follow up on surface samples from an interpreted extension of the High-Grade zone. Surface sample results included 949 g/t Ag, 0.3 percent Cu and 2.7 percent Pb.
P2 Gold Inc. planned 1,000 m of drilling at their BAM property. The property has the Monarch Gold and the Jan Copper zones. Drilling at Monarch intersected 2.63 g/t Au along 45.85 m, including an interval of 9.20 m grading 7.30 g/t Au. At the Jan, intersections included 39.25 m grading 1.1 percent Cu, including an interval of 9.15 m grading 3.23 percent Cu.
Ni-Cu-Co-precious metal projects
Giga Metals Corp. carried out archaeological surveys, wildlife surveys, resource infill drilling, geotechnical drilling, and seismic refraction surveys, and excavated test pits at their Turnagain Ni-Co project. Work was to collect exploration, geotechnical, and other data to advance project engineering to the Pre-Feasibility level.
Margaret Lake Diamonds Inc. reported that samples from their Letain project contain coarse grains of awaruite (naturally occurring alloy of Ni and Fe) and that rock chip samples would be assayed for Fe, Ni, S, Cr, and Co.
Nickel Rock Resources Inc. carried out rock sampling and soil geochemical surveys on the Nickel West and Nickel central blocks of their Hard Nickel Group project.
Allegiance Coal Limited continued to work towards finalizing information requirements for their Tenas project’s Environmental Assessment application. They expected to submit their application by year-end.
NORTH CENTRAL AND NORTHEAST REGIONS
Precious metal projects
BW Gold Ltd., a 100 percent-owned subsidiary of Artemis Gold Inc., filed an updated NI 43-101 Feasibility Study for their Blackwater Gold project. The study reported a 29 percent increase in annual gold production for the first five years compared to a 2020 Prefeasibility Study. Reserves were reported at 8 million oz Au and 60 million oz Ag, with a life-of-mine average annual gold production of 339,000 oz. Approximately 35,000 m of vertical RC drilling was completed for grade control, and technical and metallurgical studies continued. The project gained provincial approval for mine construction, allowing initial site preparation and land clearing to start.
Benchmark Metals Inc. continued resource definition and expansion drilling with 100,000 m of drilling at their Lawyers project. In May, an initial mineral resource estimate reported a total Indicated resource of 1.546 million oz Au and 50.2 million oz Ag and a total Inferred resource of 620,000 oz Au and 18.1 million oz Ag. Environmental and engineering work continued for environmental assessment and a feasibility-level mine design for the Cliffs Creek and AGB deposits. Benchmark signed an Exploration Cooperation and Benefit Agreement with the Tsay Key Dene, Kwadacha and Takla First Nations. Drill results delineated along-strike near-surface continuation of gold and silver mineralization for 300 m between the Cliff Creek and Dukes Ridge deposits. Highlight results included intersections from three holes: 41.15 m of 1.31 g/t Au and 30.77 g/t Ag; 10.67 m of 3.45 g/t Au and 181.81 g/t Ag; and 25.91 m of 2.40 g/t Au and 47.99 g/t Ag.
Independence Gold Corp. carried out winter-spring drilling of 4,500 m at their 3T’s project. The drilling focussed on previously untested targets and gaps in historical drilling of the Tommy and Ted-Mint vein systems. Highlight intersections include: 11.65 m of 1.75 g/t Au and 127.26 g/t Ag; and 14.1 m of 2.22 g/t Au and 22.78 g/t Ag, which includes 1.0 m of 20.66 g/t Au and 198.0 g/t Ag. Additional work included soil sampling, 3D-IP, resistivity, and MT ground geophysical surveys across an 8 km2 area, and a lidar survey of the entire property.
Evergold Corp. drilled, 1,813 m in nine holes at its Golden Lion project. Drilling focussed on the shallow, GL1 main gold-silver zone containing base metal sulphide-bearing quartz-carbonate veins, veinlets, stockworks and breccias, and short intervals of semi-massive to massive sulphides. Exploration also included mapping, soil and rock sampling of several targets, and an IP survey.
Tower Resources Ltd. drilled 2,020 m in 13 holes at its Nechako Gold project to expand the April trend and the Pond trend, a new zone discovered in the first hole drilled. Highlight results from the Pond trend include 1.3 g/t Au across 14.7 m, 18.9 g/t Au across 0.6 m, and 17.5 g/t Au across 0.6 m.
TDG Gold Corp. was active at its Baker-Shasta property, acquired from Talisker Resources in 2020. Approximately 10,000 m was drilled at the Shasta project for resource infill and definition to support a mineral resource estimate. Exploration included a 95 km ground magnetic survey, prospecting, relogging of historical drill core, and channel sampling at the Shasta (JM pit, Creek pit) and Baker (Baker B pit) mine pits, which was accompanied by bench mapping.
Golden Planet Mining Corp. started fall-winter grassroots exploration at its Rider Block claims, with trenching, reverse circulation drilling, and diamond drilling. Recent fieldwork identified numerous prospective areas of mineralization including epithermal-style veins and breccias.
Porphyry Cu-Mo, Cu-Au-Ag, and Mo projects
QuestEx Gold & Copper Ltd completed 1,611 m of diamond drilling in seven holes at its Sofia property to test grassroots targets, porphyry copper-gold at Alexandra and Tranquillo, and epithermal gold at Quartz lake. Soil sampling and prospecting were also carried out.
Centerra Gold Inc. carried out greenfield exploration at the 2x Fred project that the company acquired early this year. Approximately 6,500 m of diamond drilling was completed along with IP and CSAMT ground geophysical surveys, an aeromagnetic survey, and a lidar survey. Brownfield exploration at the Mt. Milligan mine site included more than 20,000 m of infill and resource expansion drilling at the Great Eastern Fault zone and the MBX Deep zone below the ultimate pit boundary of the mine pit.
Interra Copper Corp. (previously IMC International Mining Corp.) completed 2,774 m of drilling in 12 holes at the Cathedral and Pinnacle zones of the Thane copper-gold project. A NI 43-101 technical report was filed for the project in September. IP and magnetic geophysical surveys, geological mapping and soil sampling were completed at the Gail showing to generate drill targets for exploration in 2022.
Pacific Empire Minerals Corp. was active at its Jean Marie property, completing a 128 km2 high-resolution magnetic gradient, radiometric, and VLF-EM airborne geophysical survey. The company also re-logged historic drill core, undertook surficial and detailed bedrock mapping, and completed the first phase of a soil sampling program.
Amarc Resources Ltd. conducted diamond drilling, geological mapping, and geochemical and geophysical surveys at the Joy project to expand potential drill targets. The company entered into a four-way exploration agreement with Takla, Tsay Keh Dene, and Kwadacha First Nations. Amarc also entered into an agreement with Freeport-McMoRan Inc. whereby Freeport can acquire up to 70 percent ownership by making staged investments.
Pacific Ridge Exploration Ltd. completed 1,544 m of drilling at its Kliyul property in the early fall. All holes intersected porphyry-style sulphide mineralization. Drill results discovered a new copper skarn prospect to the southeast and extended mineralization at the Kliyul Main zone to the west and at depth.
Northwest Copper Corp. combined the Kwanika and Stardust deposits into a single advanced-stage project and drilled 8,500 m at Kwanika. The drilling was designed to expand the resource and better define high-grade Cu-Au mineralization. Highlight results included: a 235.45 m interval with grades of 2.0 percent Cu, 1.21 g/t Au, and 5.3 g/t Ag, which includes 153.25 m at 2.84 percent Cu, 1.69 g/t Au, 7.5 g/t Ag and 9.40 m of 29.85 percent Cu, 4.34 g/t Au, and 70.5 g/t Ag; a 230.95 m interval with grades of 0.56 percent Cu, 0.58 g/t Au, and 1.9 g/t Ag, with 94.6 m at 0.8 percent Cu, 1.1 g/t Au, and 2.6 g/t Ag. The company added 16 new claims at their East Niv project to include ground underlain by faults and targets from geophysical and geochemical anomalies. An initial 11-hole 2,750 m drill program started late summer.
Orestone Mining Corp. drilled 1,432 m in two holes and carried out a two-line-km MT geophysical survey at the Captain gold-copper project. The holes intersected sericite alteration along an 800 m strike length that is approximately 500 m wide. Highlight drill results included 85.7 m of 0.37 g/t Au and 0.06 percent Cu.
Wedgemount Resources Corp. was active at their Eagle and Cookie projects. At Eagle, exploration included mapping, prospecting, rock sampling and a 22 line-km IP survey. Highlight results included rock grab samples grading up to 9.86 percent Cu, 2.5 g/t Au, and 77.7 g/t Ag from the Nighthawk zone and up to 1.63 percent Cu and 1.24 g/t gold from the Vector zone. At Cookie, rock and alteration rock chip sampling and soil sampling were completed. Porphyry-related potassic, propylitic, and phyllic alteration as well as spatially associated Cu-bearing sulfide mineralization were identified. Highlight rock sample results included up to 14.8 percent Cu and 88 g/t Ag from mineralized veins in the Overstall zone.
Base and precious metal projects
ZincX Resources Corp. completed 2,669 m of drilling at the Akie project. A ground-based gravity survey was conducted on both Akie and the Mt. Alcock property to enhance and infill existing airborne gravity data over the area from Akie north to Mt Alcock. Highlight drill results included 6.20 percent Zn+Pb and 9.6 g/t Ag along an intersection of 32.76 m, which included 10.77 percent Zn+Pb and 14.5 g/t Ag along 5.99 m.
At the Indy Sedex project, InZinc Mining Ltd. reported new soil geochemical results that outlined a 1.9 km-long zinc-in-soil target. Silver-in-soil responses identified two new silver targets: Fox, about 1.0 km long, and Hat, about 700 m long.
Specialty metal projects
Taseko Mines Ltd. continued ongoing environmental monitoring and product marketing for its Aley niobium project. Technical analysis and testing of a pilot plant are ongoing.
Defense Metals Corp. drilled 5,000 m for resource expansion and definition at the Wicheeda rare earth element (REE) project. Highlights included a 215 m intersection of visually REE-mineralized carbonatite. An ongoing preliminary economic assessment includes a detailed data review, pit optimization plans, and evaluations of hydrometallurgy, mineral processing, and separation costs. The company also improved the project’s road accessibility. Current Indicated mineral resource grades are 4.89 Mt averaging 3.02 percent Light Rare Earth Oxide (LREO), and an Inferred mineral resource of 12.1 Mt averaging 2.90 percent LREO.
Ni-C-Co-precious metal projects
FPX Nickel Corp. announced a new nickel discovery at their Decar Nickel District project with initial drilling of 2,688 m at its Van target. Results included 0.207 percent total nickel along 101 m and 0.215 percent total nickel along 103 m. The Van target displays disseminated nickel-iron alloy mineralization similar to the Baptiste deposit and hosted in the same host rock type. The Baptiste deposit is reported to have 1.996 billion tonnes of Indicated resources with an average grade of 0.122 percent Davis Tube Recovery (DTR) nickel, 593 million tonnes of Inferred resources with an average grade of 0.114 percent DTR nickel, at a cut-off grade of 0.06 percent DTR nickel.
Nickel Rock Resources Inc. optioned their Nickel South claim block which is part of their Hard Nickel Group project and their Nickel 100 Group project to Surge Battery Metals Inc. Surge can earn up to 80 percent interest. Prior to optioning the claims, Nickel Rock had carried out soil sampling on the Nickel South block.
Conuma Coal Resources Ltd. has three operating mines and two active exploration projects near Tumbler Ridge in the Northeast Region. Mines currently operating include the Willow Creek mine, Brule mine, and Wolverine mine. The exploration projects are the Hermann project and Hudette project, which has an ongoing drill program. Conuma has budgeted for ongoing exploration on the preliminary prefeasibility stage Hudette project. Conuma’s annual production is estimated at six million tonnes of coal.
Industrial mineral projects
Fertoz Ltd. continued with geochemical sampling and some road infrastructure upgrades for its Wapiti phosphate project.
Precious metal projects
GGX Gold Corp. drilled 25 holes for a total of 1,617 m on its Gold Drop property. Targets included the Perky, Lively and COD veins. Drilling intersected all three veins, and samples were submitted for assay. The company applied for a permit to allow bulk sampling of the COD vein.
Currie Rose Resources Inc. drilled 745 m at the Mascot and Gertrude targets of its Rossland project and completed a surface VLF-EM survey at Gertrude.
Belmont Resources Inc. completed 2,061 m of drilling in nine holes at its A-J property. Several holes intersected gold mineralization, all near the historic Athelstan mine workings. Belmont also resumed an IP survey this fall at its Come-By-Chance (CBC) property after being suspended in the summer due to fire hazards.
West Mining Corp. began 4,000 m of diamond drilling at its Kena property. Goldcliff Resource Corporation excavated nine trenches for a total of 600 m at their Kettle Valley Gold project. Sampling discovered a new gold zone (“Cliff ”), in quartz-carbonate altered rhyolitic volcanic rocks.
Base and precious metal projects
Rokmaster Resources Corp. completed underground drilling at its Revel Ridge project. Drilling results from the Main zone indicated continuity of zinc-silver mineralization along a 1,200 m length and a vertical extent of the same amount. Drilling highlights include RR21-28 with 26.2 m grading 1.73 g/t Au, 14.38 g/t Ag, 0.75 percent Pb, and 4.95 percent Zn, and RR21-23 with 1.0 m grading 7.22 g/t Au, 4.00 g/t Ag, 0.32 percent Pb, and 0.41 percent Zn. Surface drilling of 10,747 m was completed in the fall and results extended the limits of known mineralization. Highlights include 3.60 m grading 0.19 g/t Au, 244.28 g/t Ag, 6.25 percent Pb, and 18.09 percent Zn at the Main zone, and 2.70 m grading 0.03 g/t Au, 83.69 g/t Ag, 4.20 percent Pb, and 8.64 percent Zn at the Yellowjacket zone. Underground drilling resumed in November.
Golden Dawn Minerals Inc. completed helicopter-borne VTEM and magnetic geophysical surveys at its Greenwood Precious Metals project, which identified several targets.
Troubadour Resources completed 2,093 m of drilling in a total of 25 holes at its Texas project near Beaverdell. Drilling intersected several polymetallic veins near the Cabin target. Results included 5.9 m grading 1.78 g/t gold.
Megawatt Lithium and Battery Metals Corp. completed a 22.8 line-km ground IP survey at its Cobalt Hill cobalt property.
Grizzly Discoveries Inc. carried out 400 line-km of VTEM and magnetic geophysical surveys over its Robocop property. Rock grab sample results include 3.35 percent Cu and 196 ppm Co.
Teck Resources Limited continued its coal operations at its Elkview, Fording River, Greenhills and Line Creek mines. Teck also is in the development stage of its Fording River mine extension project and is moving into the environmental assessment stage.
Industrial mineral projects
West High Yield (WHY.) Resources Ltd. continued with an application for an industrial mine permit and metallurgical studies for its Record Ridge magnesium project.
Hi Ho Silver Resources Inc. shipped a 7,000 kg bulk sample of clay from its Kootenay Clay project to China for evaluation.
SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST REGIONS
Precious Metal projects
Osisko Development plans to complete 200,000 m of resource conversion drilling at its Cariboo Gold project. The Bonanza Ledge II mine produced in 2021 and is permitted to increase to 215,000 tpy. A larger 4,750 tpd proposed mine is in the application development and review phase of environmental assessment.
Talisker Resources Ltd. plans to complete 100,000 m of drilling at its Bralorne gold project. It is also active on regional projects including Spences Bridge, with geochemical surveys and mapping. Talisker acquired New Carolin Gold Corp. and its Ladner Gold project, which includes the past-producing Carolin gold mine and surrounding land.
Westhaven Gold Corp. focussed on its Shovelnose project in the Spences Bridge gold belt with 40,000 m of drilling planned. In addition to step-out and infill drilling at the South zone, they tested more recently discovered zones along the mineralized trend. One objective is an initial resource estimate for the South zone.
Gold Mountain Mining Corp. carried out exploration and development work at the Elk gold project. They hope to begin mining operations upon receipt of a Mines Act permit by the end of 2021. By October, they had drilled 12,000 m. They completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment for a 70,000 tpy mine with potential for expansion.
Spanish Mountain Gold Ltd. completed a Prefeasibility Study on its Spanish Mountain sediment-hosted vein gold project and continued with project optimization, environmental assessment, and resource expansion drilling (4,485 m).
Karus Gold Corp. carried out drilling at the Gold Creek (1,375 m) and FG (7,142 m) projects. Both target orogenic gold mineralized quartz veins in sedimentary rocks.
Cariboo Rose Resources Ltd. reported trenching and 1,463 m of drilling at Lightning Strike. The target is shale-hosted gold similar to Spanish Mountain and FG.
Tempus Resources Ltd. drilled at their Elizabeth property and reported early highlights of 3.4 m (true thickness) grading 34.4 g/t Au and 1.28 m grading 68.30 g/t Au. At their Blackdome property, Tempus conducted an alteration study and identified new target areas.
Omineca Mining and Metals Ltd.’s Wingdam project saw 8,000 m of surface drilling in 2020-2021, exploring both underground placer gold and bedrock sources from which the placer gold was derived.
Endurance Gold Corporation conducted an IP geophysical survey, reverse circulation drilling and RC and diamond drilling at the Reliance project, focussing on the Eagle zone, where 2020 and 2021 returned several high-grade intersections, including 15.24 m of 14.08 g/t Au.
Kingfisher Metals Corp drilled 4,925 m in 14 holes at the Goldrange project, which had hitherto seen little modern exploration. To the south, Homerun Resources Inc. expanded their Homathko property land package and flew an airborne magnetic survey.
Privateer Gold Ltd. continued work on the New Privateer project. They have a multi-year permit for drilling in the historic Zeballos camp where they have consolidated Crown grants over several past-producing mines.
Juggernaut Exploration Ltd. drilled at the Gold Standard and Gold Star projects, both of which are early-stage properties that yielded high-grade gold assays in surface samples.
Eagle Pains Resources Ltd. completed a drill program at Donna. Significant intersections included 1.5 m grading 9.41 g/t Au. Eagle Plains also completed an airborne magnetic survey and subsequent soil geochemistry at Dictator, also a gold project.
Engold Mines Ltd. drilled their Road Gold zone, reporting a 7.6 g/t 1.5 m intersection. They also reported work on skarn and porphyry targets on their Lac La Hache property (see below).
ArcPacific Resources Corp. reported results of hand trenching at their Blackdome epithermal precious metals project (separate from Tempus Resources’ property of the same name). High values along one-meter intervals of two separate trenches were reported at 5.67 g/t Au and 8.77 g/t Ag, and 7.35 g/t Au and 12.9 g/t Ag.
Nexus Gold Corp. completed an airborne magnetic and radiometric survey at the New Pilot project, outlining a magnetic low.
Black Shield Metals Corp. flew an airborne VTEM geophysical survey at the CHG (carbonate-hosted gold) project under an option agreement with vendor Cariboo Rose Resources Ltd.
Falcon Gold Corp. is following up 2020 sampling at the Spitfire-Sunny Boy project with packsack drilling.
Au Gold Corp. conducted rock and soil sampling and airborne magnetic and photogrammetry surveys at their Ponderosa project, in the Spences Bridge belt. They have applied for a permit to allow drilling and trenching.
Taseko Mines Limited entered an agreement to sell the Harmony gold project to a private company, JDS Gold Inc. Under the agreement, JDS is to advance the property within an agreed time frame.
Carlyle Commodities Corp. acquired the Newton gold property from Amarc Resources Ltd. and plan to update the property’s 2021 resource estimate. They applied for a permit to allow drilling.
Cu-Mo, Cu-Au-Ag, Mo (porphyry) projects
Kodiak Copper Corp. planned to complete 20,000 to 25,000 m of drilling at its MPD project. Early results of step-out drilling included 242 m of 0.38 percent Cu, 0.22 g/t Au and 105m of 0.50 percent Cu, 0.39 g/t Au and 1.57 g/t Ag, which extended known mineralization at the Gate zone to approximately 950 m strike length.
Newgold Inc. conducted underground drilling, targeting new porphyry copper-gold mineralization within the mine footprint at New Afton and surface drilling along the Cherry Creek trend 3 km west. An early highlight of the surface drilling was one-meter of 21 g/t Au.
Copper Mountain Mining Corporation reported exploration drilling at Copper Mountain. At the New Ingerbelle deposit, results extended mineralization below the current projected pit to twice its previously known vertical extent. Drilling was also designed to expand resources and reserves at Copper Mountain North.
Teck Resources Limited drilled 1,116 m at the Teeta Creek property and returned the NVI and Teeta Creek properties to vendor ArcWest Exploration Inc.
Northisle Copper and Gold Inc. updated its Preliminary Economic Assessment for the North Island copper and gold project, estimating a 75,000 tpd mine with a 22-year life. Later in the year, they drilled at the Red Dog deposit and Northwest Expo target before moving to the Hushamu deposit.
Ethos Gold Corp. reported a wide-spaced reconnaissance drill program at the early-stage Perk-Rocky porphyry copper-gold project. Five of six holes intersected alteration and anomalous copper values consistent with a porphyry system.
Sego Resources Inc. drilled at Miner Mountain, a project with several alkalic porphyry targets and the recently discovered Southern Gold zone. Four intersections graded between 0.6 and 1.08 g/t Au along 59 to 93 m intervals, with a highlight of 94.2 m grading 0.86 g/t Au.
Omineca Mining and Metals drilled 2,000 m at the Mouse Mountain project, which hosts a past-producing porphyry deposit.
Consolidated Woodjam Copper Corp. drilled its Woodjam project. Early results from the planned 4,000 m program included 142.4 m grading 0.56 per cent Cu and 0.23 g/t Au at the Southeast zone.
GSP Resource Corp. drilled at the Alwin project. Highlights of the first phase of 2021 drilling (1,439 m) included 164.6 m grading 0.61 per cent CuEq (0.5 per cent Cu, + Ag, Au, Mo, Re). They remobilized in the fall for an additional 1,000 m.
Engold Mines Ltd. drilled a 916.5 m deep hole at the Ann North porphyry target on their Lac La Hache project, encountering visible mineralization and alteration.
Pacific Ridge Exploration Ltd. reported a 550 m drill program at the Spius porphyry copper project, funded by optionee Arctic Fox Ventures Inc.
Happy Creek Minerals Ltd. flew an airborne magnetic survey at its Highland Valley project and followed up with surface mapping and sampling.
New Target Mining Corp. conducted rock and soil geochemical sampling and drone-supported magnetic surveys on its Scarlett project.
Teck Resources Limited’s Highland Valley Copper 2040 extension plan remains in the pre-application, scope phase of provincial Environmental Assessment. They submitted a revised project description in 2021, including engineering and design modifications. If implemented, the plan could extend the mine’s life to at least 2040.
Imperial Metals Corporation reported results of 2020 drilling at Mount Polley which included an underground target. They continue to revise their reopening plan but had not announced a timeline at the time of writing.
Base and precious metal projects
Trafigura Mining Group acquired the Myra Falls mine in 2020 and continued a mine site exploration program in 2021. The mine has a long history of replacing reserves through exploration and currently has a projected lifespan of more than ten years.
Coast Copper Corp. completed rock, soil. and silt geochemistry, and extended IP surveys at the Empire Mine copper-gold-iron skarn property. Planned late 2021 drilling was permitted.
Nicola Mining Inc. reported results from 1,460 m of drilling at their New Craigmont project. Highlights include 11.5 m grading 2.19 percent Cu and 71.35 m grading 0.29 percent Cu, both within longer mineralized intervals. The company is conducting surface work while awaiting a permit for further drilling.
Among other targets, Engold Mines Ltd. drilled the G-1 target at Lac La Hache. Earlier in the year, Engold announced an Inferred resource at G-1 of 1.71 Mt grading 1.25 percent Cu, 6.45 g/t Ag, 0.19 g/t Au, 30.94 percent magnetite.
In an effort to restart environmental assessment for the Yellowhead project, a feasibility-stage bulk-tonnage copper project, Taseko Mines Limited is engaging with First Nations and government and conducting engineering work.
ArcPacific Resources Corp.’s LMSL project is an amalgamation of the Lucky Mike and Silver Lode properties. Targets include silver-lead-zinc mineralization in veins and skarns. Data compilation revealed porphyry-style alteration and geochemical signatures and identified drill targets.
Ni-Cu-Co-precious metal projects
Inomin Mines Inc. carried out a ground magnetic survey and started drilling 1,200 m (planned) at the Beaver-Lynx nickel-cobalt project. The target is disseminated sulphide nickel and cobalt mineralization.
Happy Creek Minerals Ltd. started drilling (2,000 planned) at the Fox Tungsten skarn project. Drilling stepped out from known mineralization and infilled at the Nightcrawler-Creek zone.
BRITISH COLUMBIA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY 2021
Part of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, the British Columbia Geological Survey (BCGS) is the steward of provincial geoscience and mineral resource information. The Survey creates and disseminates public geoscience information that supports effective mineral exploration, sound land use management, and responsible governance. Applied research by Survey geoscientists uses established and emerging technologies to assess the geological evolution and mineral resources of the province.
To deliver its programs, the Survey collaborates extensively with federal, provincial, and territorial geoscience agencies, including the Geological Survey of Canada and Geoscience BC, and other national and international organizations. The results of these programs are freely accessible from the BCGS website and via MapPlace, the Survey’s geospatial web service. The array of information, services, and products provided by the Survey informs decisions that balance the economy, the environment, and community interests. By connecting government with the minerals industry and local communities, the Survey supports the growth of British Columbia as a competitive jurisdiction for mineral exploration.
Planning for field projects in 2021 was again affected by the pandemic, mainly due to uncertainties about evolving public health orders and associated safe working practices, and wildfires forced modifications to field programs. Nonetheless, Survey geologists successfully executed four projects. Continuing a multi-year project in the northwest, the Survey extended bedrock mapping in the Kitsault area focussing on units of particular importance for copper, gold, and silver in this region of remarkable mineral endowment. In the southeast near Kaslo, mapping focussed on rocks of the Lardeau Group and their potential for copper-molybdenum-nickel mineralization.
As part of the BCGS commitment to support emerging technologies and assist mineral exploration, the Survey tested unmanned aerial vehicles in areas of central British Columbia where bedrock is buried by thick surficial cover. The surveys took advantage of recent sensor miniaturization that permits ‘drones’ to gather photogrammetric, lidar, radiometric and aeromagnetic data. In addition, work continued to test technologies that measure atmospheric mercury and evaluate buried bedrock.
The Survey continues to engage with First Nations, facilitated through government colleagues, mining councils, and resource stewardship forums, and seeks to expand engagement opportunities for future field seasons.
In the office, ongoing map compilations continue to consolidate knowledge from recent field mapping and historic published maps for the digital provincial database. BCGS is also initiating a multi-year project to incorporate all published surficial geology maps into the provincial database. An extensive program of laboratory analysis, using recently collected and archived samples, continues to build geoscience knowledge across a range of initiatives.
Mineral potential assessment is now a renewed focus for the Survey, with an emphasis on supporting government, First Nations, and stakeholders in land use planning and policy development. The Survey pioneered mineral potential assessment in Canada during the early 1990s, but the more recent development of analytical techniques and machine learning technology offers the opportunity to update methods and greatly improve results.
The BCGS is modernizing core information systems to increase efficiency in operating and updating geoscience databases, applications, and geospatial web services. The modernization is part of transformation efforts to improve digital capabilities by completing a geoscience ‘SDI’ or Spatial Data Infrastructure. This infrastructure follows the ‘FAIR’ principles: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. The Survey continues to regularly update geoscience databases, including MINFILE, COALFILE, Property File, and the Assessment Reports Indexing System (ARIS). MINFILE documents more than 15,500 metallic mineral, industrial mineral, and coal occurrences. COALFILE includes a collection of about 1,040 coal assessment reports. Property File has more than 84,000 reports and maps documenting exploration activity in the province since the late 1800s. ARIS has more than 38,400 mineral exploration assessment reports.
Traditionally, assessment reports from mineral exploration have been submitted in hardcopy or as files such as scanned .PDF, which render data within the files difficult to extract and use. The BCGS has set up a digital data submission portal to encourage the inclusion of digital files such as spreadsheets, databases, GIS maps, and grids. Explorationists will benefit because digital data can be easily retrieved, integrated, and recast for specific needs. Digital submission will also enable the Survey to better maintain province-wide databases and create derivative products that use past results to guide future exploration. While awaiting wide acceptance of digital submission by the exploration community, the Survey has continued a project to harvest older, non-digital data to create one such derivative product. Capturing data from nearly 500 ARIS submissions, the assessment report-sourced surface sediment geochemistry (ARSSG) website now includes more than 5.8 million determinations from more than 143,000 samples. Another project is underway to extract digital data from drill hole logs and geophysical surveys.
The BCGS continues to maintain geochemical databases with multi-element analyses from rock, till, stream- and lake- sediment, water, and coal ash samples. The databases include more than five million determinations from about 86,000 samples. A compilation of more than 150,000 ice-flow indicators from published and unpublished surficial geology, terrain, and bedrock geology maps is available. In addition, a new geochronological database will complement regular updates to published lithogeochemical and regional geochemistry databases. The BCGS offers province-wide integrated digital coverage of bedrock geology, including all details from a compilation of field mapping at scales from 1:50,000 to 1:250,000 and incorporating regular updates from field mapping.
With public attention increasing on how low-carbon technologies can help mitigate climate change, the topic of ‘critical minerals’ has gained much attention, and in March, Natural Resources Canada released a national list of critical minerals. In late November, and in collaboration with the Geological Survey of Canada, the United States Geological Survey, Geoscience Australia, and the Pacific Section of the Geological Association of Canada, BCGS hosted an international online workshop about critical minerals, which attracted more than 1,000 attendees. The Survey continues to maintain an active critical minerals research program and inventory opportunities in the province.
The Mineral Development Office (MDO) is the Vancouver base of the Survey. The MDO provides investment intelligence to government and global businesses, linking the more than 800 exploration and mining companies headquartered in Vancouver to provincial mineral and coal information. The Regional Geologists, authors of the present report, represent the provincial government on geological matters at a regional level and capture information on industry activity in their jurisdictions. Within their communities, they provide information on exploration trends, possible investment opportunities, land use processes, First Nation capacity building, and public outreach. In 2020, the Regional Geologists were repatriated to the Survey as part of the MDO.
To stay up-to-date on the latest news from the BC Geological Survey, visit BCGS News.