Preliminary reports from regional geologists with the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines indicate exploration activity in 2016 steadied or recovered slightly, stabilizing a downward trend that started in 2012. Elevated gold prices renewed interest in precious metal projects, and exploration continued for porphyry copper-gold ±molybdenum and related deposits, and stratiform base metal, specialty metal, industrial mineral and coal0 deposits.
Northwest Region (Skeena)
The Brucejack gold-silver underground mine, owned by Pretium Resources Inc., is in full-scale construction, employing more than 700 people. Construction is on schedule, with commissioning anticipated in late 2017. An updated resource estimate for the Valley of the Kings zone increased measured resources by 58 per cent.
Immediately to the west, Seabridge Gold Inc. continued to grow the KSM gold-copper project. Deep drilling tested extensions to the world’s largest (by reserves) undeveloped gold-copper complex and supported an updated preliminary feasibility study (PFS) and a preliminary economic assessment (PEA). The PFS retained permitted mine designs for the 2.2 billion tonnes of proven plus probable reserves. The PEA proposed underground block cave mining to recover inferred resources from the Deep Kerr and Lower Iron Cap deposits. The limits of the Iron Cap deposit expanded further with exploration drilling north of Iron Cap that returned over 555 metres averaging 0.8 grams per tonne gold and 0.24 per cent copper. A 2.1-km underground exploration adit permitted at Deep Kerr will assist future evaluation of deeper resources.
Gavin Mines Inc. is scheduled to resume mining at the Dome Mountain gold project by the end of 2016. Roughly 100 tonnes per day will be mined from developed underground workings while permitting an on-site mill proceeds. The first 190 tonnes of ore was processed in September at Nicola Mining Inc.’s custom milling facility in Merritt.
Ascot Resources Ltd. drilled 50,858 metres near the past-producing Premier gold mine and nearby Northern Lights area. Drill results indicate high-grade gold remains close to the former underground workings, which are the focus of an underground resource estimate. Drilling is continuing as of press time.
IDM Mining Ltd. advanced the Red Mountain gold project with a PEA, over 5,000 metres of underground resource drilling and a grassroots discovery. Infill drilling supported an updated resource estimate of the four known deposits (Marc, AV, JW and 141 zones). A feasibility study detailing a 1,000-tonne-perday underground operation is due in early 2017. Additionally, porphyry-style mineralization was discovered about four kilometres south of the deposits in recently deglaciated terrane referred to as the “Lost Valley.” A nine-metre rock channel sample averaged 22 grams per tonne gold plus 81 grams per tonne silver.
Colorado Resources Ltd. continued exploring the KSP property jointly owned with Seabridge Gold Inc. Colorado drilled 7,874 metres in 53 holes at the Inel prospect and identified six auriferous trends extending across approximately 20 per cent of a 1.5-km2 anomaly averaging 1.27 grams per tonne gold-in-soil. Sampling and mapping were completed across other target areas in the KSP project, including Black Bluff, Tami, Nee and Pins. Colorado, in partnership with Centerra Gold Inc., also drilled the Heart Peaks epithermal gold prospect.
Seabridge Gold Inc. acquired the past-producing Johnny Mountain gold mine from Snip Gold Corp., renaming it the Iskut project. Drilling targeted areas below former underground workings and along a structural corridor thought to have influenced intrusion-related mineralization. In addition to exploring for new zones in recently deglaciated areas, Seabridge started reclamation planning of the abandoned Johnny Mountain mill.
Exploration near the past-producing Snip gold mine restarted after Barrick Gold Inc. optioned the property to Skeena Resources Limited. More than 6,000 metres of drilling targeted interpreted extensions of high-grade gold-bearing structures and returned results of up to 4.5 metres grading 31 grams per tonne gold. Skeena intends to continue exploration from existing underground development once it attains 100 per cent ownership of the property.
The Treaty Creek gold project is under a new partnership agreement with operator Tudor Gold Corp., which owns 60 per cent. Exploration activities included diamond drilling and a magnetotelluric geophysical survey. Results include 110 metres grading 0.9 grams per tonne gold from hole CB-16-03.
Other exploration drilling programs targeting precious metals in the Stewart area included Tudor Gold Corp., which drilled the Electrum gold project; Mountain Boy Minerals Ltd. in partnership with Decade Resources Ltd., who drill tested the Red Cliff, Scottie Gold and Morris Summit areas; Rotation Minerals Ltd., which drilled two holes at 4J’s; Teuton Resources Corp., which drill tested the Big Gold project; and Makena Resources Inc., which drilled the Clone gold prospect. In the Alice Arm area, Dolly Varden Silver Corporation continued exploring the Dolly Varden silver system.
Various precious metal projects were subject to grassroots exploration work, including Colorado Resources Ltd. at Kingpin, Garibaldi Resources Corp. at King and OK2 Minerals Ltd. at Big Bulk.
Porphyry (copper-gold, copper-molybdenum, molybdenum) projects
West of the Red Chris mine, Skeena Resources Limited completed exploration drill programs at the Spectrum and GJ gold-copper projects. Infill drilling at both projects aimed to expand the maiden resource at Spectrum and the revised resource at GJ.
Northeast of Red Chris, Carmax Mining Corp., in partnership with Copper Fox Metals Inc., re-logged and resampled historic drill core and continued metallurgical testing at the Eaglehead copper-molybdenum deposit. Farther north, OK2 Minerals Ltd. completed the first reverse-circulation drill program at the Pyramid gold-copper prospect.
Near Atlin, Global Drilling Solutions Inc. acquired the environmental assessmentcertified Adanac molybdenum project and targeted diamond drilling beyond current resource limits.
Near Stewart, Teuton Resources Corp. completed three diamond drill holes and a magnetotelluric survey at the Del Norte project.
Porphyry projects explored by prospecting, geological mapping and geophysics include Ball Creek (Evrim Resources Corp.), Todd Creek and Oweegee (Millrock Resources Inc.), Ootsa (Gold Reach Resources Ltd.) and S2 (Vale Canada Limited).
Polymetallic base and precious metals
JDS Silver Inc. is on the verge of producing silver-lead-zinc concentrate from Silvertip. Construction of the processing facility and related infrastructure is largely complete and ready to be commissioned. Silvertip will be the first mine in B.C. to use natural-gasfired power plants to supply electricity.
Brixton Metals Corporation completed two phases of exploration at its Thorn property. Diamond drilling tested the Outlaw and Aberlour gold targets while rock chip sampling and an inducedpolarization (IP) geophysical survey evaluated the newly identified Chivas zone.
Seasonal placer and in-situ jade mining continued east of Dease Lake in the Kutcho and Provencher camps. Multiple quarries are permitted for trenching, drilling and excavating between 200 and 2,000 tonnes of raw jade. At Cassiar, jade mining is in concert with ongoing reclamation activities of the past-producing asbestos mine.
North Central (Omineca) and Northeast Regions
For Blackwater, New Gold Inc. continued engineering and environmental studies to support provincial and federal environmental assessments (under review) and to advance further permitting. The 2014 feasibility study describes open-pit mining with a 60,000-tonne-per-day processing plant and a 17-year mine life.
PPM Phoenix Precious Metals Corp. completed an NI 43-101 technical report for Lawyers with an updated resource estimate in the inferred category of 550,000 tonnes grading 4.51 grams per tonne gold and 209.15 grams per tonne silver (Cliff Creek North zone), and 58,000 tonnes grading 4.3 grams per tonne gold and 139.13 grams per tonne silver (Duke’s Ridge zone). The newly discovered P2 vein returned a mineralized interval of 2.4 metres, including 293.4 grams per tonne gold and 7,622 grams per tonne silver over 0.7 metres.
Grassroots exploration was conducted in the Nechako Plateau area at 2 X Fred and Copley (Theia Resources Ltd., Kootenay Silver Inc.), Big Bear (Parlane Resource Corp.), Nechako Gold (Tower Resources Ltd.) and Trout (Venerable Ventures Ltd., late 2015), and at the Barkerville Gold Belt property (Gitennes Exploration Inc.) and Lil (Canasil Resources Inc.).
Porphyry (copper-gold, copper-molybdenum, molybdenum) projects
In March, AuRico Metals Inc. announced an updated feasibility study for the proposed Kemess Underground (KUG) panel cave mine. The mine would have a 25,000-tonne-per-day production rate generating 1.4 million ounces of gold, 573 million pounds of copper and 4.5 million ounces of silver over 12 years. The project entered into the review stage of environmental assessment.
An updated resource estimate for Kemess East features a 19.2-million-tonne high-grade core zone in a 39.2-million-tonne indicated resource grading 0.4 per cent copper and 0.5 grams per tonne gold. Exploration drilling continued with three drills targeting the high-grade core for infill and expansion, and refinement of the geological model.
Coincident geophysical anomalies were drilled near the southern part of the Hogem intrusive complex at Later (Cap-Ex Iron Ore Ltd., Pacific Empire Minerals Corp.), Q7a (Vale Exploration Canada Inc.) and North Grid (Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc.) near the Mt. Milligan mine.
At Kwanika, Serengeti Resources Inc. completed a deep-penetrating ground IP survey line to confirm a modelled chargeability anomaly north of the Central Zone. Drilling followed to test for continuity and extensions of the Central Zone high-grade core. Mineralized intercepts included 438 metres grading 0.71 per cent copper, 0.83 grams per tonne gold and 2.0 grams per tonne silver. An updated PEA was to be completed by year end. At Kwanika East-Smoke, Serengeti completed an IP survey across several magnetic anomalies and developed two target areas. Exploration work on the Kwanika properties was funded by Daewoo Minerals Canada Corporation. Additional early-stage exploration, funded solely by Serengeti, was conducted at Milligan West, SYL, Jewel and UDS.
Copper North Mining Corp. drilled at Thor to test an eastern target defined by alteration-mineralization in outcrop, and a western target outlined by a large chargeability and aeromagnetic anomaly.
Grassroots to early-stage exploration was conducted at Captain (Orestone Mining Corp.), Fran (MGX Minerals Inc.), Chuchi (Kiska Metals Corporation), Cat and OGK-Nova Block (Cat Syndicate), Vega and Granite Gold (Canasil Resources Inc.) and Cathedral (Thane Minerals Inc.).
Polymetallic base and precious metals
Teck Resources Limited continued exploring the Cirque project, a joint venture with Korea Zinc Company, Ltd. The program integrates airborne gravity and Versatile Time Domain Electromagnetic (VTEM) geophysics, targeted ground gravity geophysics, soil and rock geochemical sampling, geologic mapping and prospecting. Drilling focused on the R-Creek target near the North Cirque deposit. A similar exploration strategy is being used at the Pie, Cirque East and Yuen properties optioned from Canada Zinc Metals Corp., and a target in the Pie Main area was drilled.
Canada Zinc Metals Corp. released an NI 43-101 report with an updated resource estimate for the Cardiac Creek deposit at its Akie project. The estimate increases the indicated category by 55 per cent to 19.6 million tonnes at 8.17 per cent zinc, 1.58 per cent lead and 13.6 grams per tonne silver.
Minfocus Exploration Corp. drilled two areas at Coral. Three holes intersected Mississippi Valley-type (MVT)-style zinc mineralization at depths of less than 51 metres. A newly discovered showing near previous trenching returned 0.94 per cent zinc along five metres.
Specialty metals and industrial minerals
Exploration drilling at the Fireside barite mine (Fireside Minerals Ltd.) indicates that the vein system continues north of previous workings and remains open to the northeast. A recently stripped area revealed two steeply dipping barite veins with a combined true thickness of 6.5 metres and between 96 and 99.4 per cent barite. Exploration at the Moose Southwest pit and the Beaver prospect continued.
For Aley, Taseko Mines Limited continued metallurgical testing, characterizing the geochemistry of ore and waste materials, and environmental baseline monitoring. Taseko proposes an open-pit mine with a 10,000-tonne-per-day processing plant and ferroniobium convertor. The project is in the pre-application stage of environmental assessment.
At Graymont Western Canada Inc.’s proposed Giscome quarry and lime plant, permitting activities continued on the environmental assessment (under review) and Mines Act permit application. The initial phase of operations would quarry up to 600,000 tonnes of limestone annually to produce 198,000 tonnes of lime.
Fertoz Limited continued progress on a Mines Act permit application for the Wapiti East rock phosphate mine, a proposed seasonal, shallow, open-pit mine with production of up to 75,000 tonnes per year over 20 years. Construction of a linkage road was followed by additional trenching of a permitted 17,500-tonne bulk sample. Organic certification for the fertilizer product was obtained.
Green Mountain Jade Inc. returned to Ogden Mountain to mine and explore for nephrite jade, and a private individual initiated a bulk sample at Pishon Green Jade. First Amber Mines Inc. drilled at Bowron River for amber-bearing coal.
HD Mining International Ltd. completed an underground bulk sample at Murray River. Geotechnical drilling, engineering and environmental studies continued to support a Mines Act permit application. Both the application and federal environmental assessment were under review. An underground longwall mine with a 4.8-million-tonne-per-year saleable coal production is proposed.
Glencore plc continued engineering and environmental studies to support the Sukunka environmental assessment application (under review). An open-pit mine with saleable coal production of up to three million tonnes per year is proposed.
Canadian Dehua International Mines Group Inc. released an updated NI 43-101 report for the No.1 Mine at the Wapiti River project with a 562.6-million-tonne coking coal resource in the measured and indicated category. Fourteen mineable seams with a total average thickness of 29.5 metres are modelled to a depth of 900 metres. The report describes a three-level underground longwall mining operation with a production rate of 10 million tonnes per year for nearly 47 years.
In the Groundhog Coalfield, Atrum Coal NL completed a revised prefeasibility study for Groundhog North, describing a small-scale underground starter mine and staged development. The Phase 1 mine could produce up to 880,000 tonnes per year of ultra-high-grade anthracite coal (including 43 per cent inferred resources) for 28 years. The company received permit approval for a bulk coal sample of up to 100,000 tonnes and use of an existing railbed for ground-based access. A joint exploration agreement with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation was entered into for Panorama North, and a drilling program started in October.
Southeast Region (Kootenay-Boundary)
Near the past-producing Midway mine, KG Exploration Inc. (Kinross Gold Corporation) began a multi-year exploration program on 27,346 hectares optioned from Grizzly Discoveries Inc. Its Kettle River operations (Washington State) have a mill capacity of 1,800 tonnes per day. Golden Dawn Minerals Inc. drilled on its Greenwood (May Mac) properties, and acquired the Lexington 200- to 400-tonne-per-day mill and gravity-flotation processing facility from Huakan International Mining Inc.
In the East Kootenays, Classic Financial Corp. drilled at its Boulder Gold property, and PJX Resources Inc. explored at the Dewdney Trail.
Polymetallic base and precious metals
Sedimentary exhalative (SEDEX) mineralization in Mesoproterozoic rocks continued to be a target in the East Kootenays. PJX continued drilling at the Vine project, and expanded its geological and geophysical modelling to define additional targets. It also conducted exploration work at the Zinger and DD properties, and Teck Resources Limited worked on its land holdings near the Irishman/Panda showing. Santa Fe Metals Corp. continued geophysical work, with plans for additional drilling later this year on the Sully property, and Sonoro Metals Corp. drilled at its Monroe project.
In the West Kootenays, Taranis Resources Inc. continued exploring the Thor property. The company extended gold and stratiform base metal mineralization, and acquired a portable test mill for use on site. MX Gold Corp. continued work on its Willa project with plans for drilling and bulk sampling. Having acquired the nearby MAX mine and mill in 2015 (on care and maintenance since 2011), the company plans to use the facilities for processing Willa ore. Margaux Resources Ltd. continued work at its Jersey-Emerald project, with a focus this year on underground bulk sampling and drilling. Braveheart Resources Inc. continued metallurgical work and bulk sampling early in the year, and began drilling at its Whitewater project.
North of Revelstoke, MMG Canada Exploration Inc. drilled at its Cummins River property for stratiform base metal mineralization, and Barkerville Gold Mines Ltd. was active on the Goldstream property.
Specialty metals and industrial minerals
CertainTeed Gypsum Canada Inc. continued to advance the proposed Kootenay West Mine, which entered the pre-application stage of environmental assessment in 2013. Baymag Inc. explored near its Mount Brussilof mine, and MGX Minerals Inc. bulk sampled and drilled at its Driftwood Magnesite project. MGX acquired a mining lease for a quarry operation and is moving toward a PEA.
Eagle Graphite Incorporated continued work at the Black Crystal flake graphite quarry, with efforts on improving processing to enhance the quality of the product and target markets for graphene.
Mining operations, coal production and environmental assessment for expansion plans continue at the five mines in the Elk Valley operated by Teck Coal Ltd. The main product is metallurgical coal (85 per cent), with some thermal and pulverized coal injection coal (15 per cent combined), and production in 2015 was about 25 megatonnes of clean coal.
At Fording River Operations, the Swift project expansion received environmental assessment approval in September 2015. Exploration drilling in active pits at the Fording mine site continued.
At Elkview Operations, the Baldy Ridge Extension received an environmental assessment certificate in September 2016. The project will extend the life of the Elkview mine by about 23 years. Exploration drilling within the current mine boundary was carried out to help plan for the next phases of mining in the Baldy and Natal pits.
At Greenhills Operations, drilling focused on the active Cougar pit, and baseline work continued toward pre-application for the Cougar Pit Extension project. At Line Creek Operations, the Burnt Ridge Extension (BRX) project entered the pre-application stage of environmental assessment in 2014. The BRX project will connect the current operating area to the recently approved Phase II area by extending the current Burnt Ridge South pit.
Operations at Coal Mountain are expected to close in 2017, and work is focused on developing remaining reserves. Teck plans to make up the production losses from the closure by increasing output from its four other mines in the Elk Valley.
Jameson Resources Limited continued to advance its Crown Mountain project, and entered the pre-application stage of environmental assessment in October 2014. CanAus Coal Ltd. continued drilling and coal quality testing at the Loop Ridge/ Michel Creek project, and entered the pre-application stage of environmental assessment in 2015. Centermount Coal Ltd. drilled at the Bingay Main project, and the Coal Creek project (Crowsnest Pass Coal Mining Ltd.) remained on hold.
South Central Region (Thompson-Okanagan and Cariboo)
Barkerville Gold Mines Ltd. advanced its Cariboo Gold project by drilling at Cow Mountain (site of the former Cariboo Gold Quartz mine) to define a bulk-mineable resource; preparing to resume mining by underground methods at the Bonanza Ledge open pit; drilling at Island Mountain (site of the former Mosquito Creek and Aurum mines); and testing early-stage targets across an expanded block of claims and a newly identified, 60-km structural trend called the “Cariboo Break.”
Westhaven Ventures Inc. expanded its interests in epithermal gold in the Spences Bridge gold belt, and now owns a 100 per cent interest in Shovelnose and a 70 per cent interest in Prospect Valley. Work on the two projects included ground geophysical surveys and drilling.
At the Bonaparte gold property, Westkam Gold Corp. started underground bulk sampling on the Grey Jay/Crow vein system. The company is permitted to extract 10,000 tonnes of ore. To reach the target zone, the existing decline was extended by 200 metres.
Ximen Mining Corp. resumed drilling at the past-producing Brett epithermal gold deposit. The company hopes to delineate high-grade ore shoots and subparallel mineralized structures related to the Main zone. Ximen also started grassroots exploration for silver at the Treasure Mountain North project.
Porphyry (copper-gold, copper-molybdenum, molybdenum) projects
The south central region hosts three major copper-gold mines: Imperial Metals Corporation’s Mount Polley mine, near Likely; New Gold Inc.’s New Afton mine, near Kamloops; and Copper Mountain Mining Corporation’s Copper Mountain mine, near Princeton.
The region also hosts the province’s two largest copper-molybdenum producers: the Gibraltar mine, owned by Taseko Mines Limited, and the Highland Valley Copper mine near Logan Lake, operated by Teck Highland Valley Copper Partnership.
Teck submitted plans to reopen the past-producing Bethlehem mine, two kilometres east of its Valley and Lornex operations. Teck has defined 100 million tonnes of ore at Bethlehem. If approved, the ore would feed its 140,000-tonne-per-day mill. Formal review of the proposal commenced in September.
Taseko Mines Limited drilled near existing operations at the Gibraltar North project; one hole intersected about 150 metres of approximately 0.4 per cent copper.
KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. continued formal review of its Ajax project by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Because Ajax is on the outskirts of Kamloops, KGHM has funded independent reviews of its application by the city and local First Nations. Ajax is a proposed 60,000-tonne-per-day open-pit mine with a projected 20-year life. The company is an 80/20 joint venture between KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. (KGHM SA) and Abacus Mining and Exploration Corporation.
Nicola Mining Inc. (formerly Huldra Silver Inc.) reopened its 200-tonne-per-day Merritt mill and tailings facility at the former Craigmont mine site. The mill is processing test material from the Dome Mountain gold-silver deposit, the Elk gold prospect and the company’s Treasure Mountain silver-lead mine. The company hopes the mill and tailings facility will support smaller gold and silver mining operations in the Pacific Northwest. The company also explored the Thule copper property that surrounds the Craigmont pit. One hole drilled on the Embayment zone skarn intersected about 86 metres of approximately 1.1 per cent copper; other skarn and porphyry targets on Thule are being pursued. The company plans to evaluate Craigmont’s low-grade stockpiles as potential feed for Teck’s mill at Highland Valley Copper.
Kaizen Discovery Inc. returned to the Aspen Grove copper-gold project. Drilling probed the continuity and tenor of mineralization in the Ketchan Lake pluton that extends across an area 500 by 1,800 metres. Kaizen also owns the nearby Par prospect in a 60/40 joint venture between Kaizen and ITOCHU Corporation.
Engold Mines Ltd. (formerly GWR Resources Inc.) focused on the Aurizon-South breccia zone on its Lac La Hache property. The company hopes to demonstrate that the shape, tonnage and grade of this zone will support mining by bulk-tonnage methods. The company also drilled the Berkey zone, a 2015 discovery of disseminated copper and gold.
Amarc Resources Ltd.’s Ike porphyry copper-molybdenum-silver project is advancing through a partnership with Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc.
Under an option agreement with a Korean consortium (Nexgeo Inc. and Korea Resources Corporation), Plate Resources Inc. continued to explore the Lucky Mike property. In 2016, the company focused on drilling a coppermolybdenum stockwork discovered in 2015.
At the Fox tungsten property, Happy Creek Minerals Ltd. continued trenching and drilling to define the extent, grade and continuity of scheelite mineralization.
Stratiform base metal projects (VMS, SEDEX)
Late in 2015, Troymet Exploration Corp. acquired the Redhill property and explored volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) copper-zinc and gold targets. Redhill geology has been correlated with the assemblage that hosts the Kutcho Creek copper-zinc deposit in northern B.C. Drilling started in September 2016.
Pacific Ridge Exploration Ltd. optioned the TL Zinc project. The company plans to drill coincident anomalies defined by 2012 electromagnetic and 2016 gravity surveys. The target at TL is a SEDEX (Broken Hill-type) massive sulphide deposit.
Southwest (South Coast and West Coast) Region
Precious metal projects
At New Carolin Gold Corp.’s Ladner Gold project, the Phase 1, surface based, 12-hole diamond drill program focused on the Idaho zone, which was mined in the early 1980s. Work in 2016 also included surface and underground mapping, surveying and sampling. Highlights include an underground channel sample returning 4.5 grams per tonne gold over 25.5 metres in the Idaho Zone, and surface samples returning 7.45 grams per tonne gold over 4.5 metres and 4.08 grams per tonne gold over nine metres in the McMaster Zone. New Carolin consolidated its land position in the Coquihalla Gold Belt and now has a 100 per cent interest in the property. Bear Mountain Gold Mines Ltd. is working toward permitting of an underground bulk sample at Harrison Gold. Great Thunder Gold Corp.’s 2016 program included mapping, hand trenching and lithogeochemistry at the Valentine Mountain gold project.
Porphyry (copper-gold, coppermolybdenum) projects
Northisle Copper and Gold Inc. is proceeding with a PEA of its North Island project. In 2015, Northisle added the Red Dog property to its holdings. New diamond drilling will upgrade historical resources to a compliant estimate. A 1992 estimate had 20 to 25 million tonnes grading 0.35 per cent copper and 0.44 grams per tonne gold. Initial drill results in twinned holes are consistent with historical results. The deposit is about 7.5 kilometres west-northwest of Hushamu, which has an indicated resource of 304 million tonnes grading 0.21 per cent copper, 0.29 grams per tonne gold, 0.01 per cent molybdenum and 0.55 parts per million rhenium, plus 205.6 million tonnes in the inferred category. Red Dog would have a lower strip ratio and higher grade than the larger Hushamu, and the PEA will consider the economics of a separate starter pit. Advanced argillic alteration immediately to the south of a normal fault terminating Red Dog mineralization suggests a target at depth. Limited step-out drilling encountered grades that increased with depth.
Lorraine Copper Corp. acquired 100 per cent of the OK Copper property and proposed drilling, pending an updated permit. Surface work will proceed in the interim. Most advanced of several targets is the North Lake zone, with a 2006 inferred resource of 86.8 million tonnes grading 0.31 per cent copper and 0.014 per cent molybdenite.
Industrial minerals and aggregates
Exploration at Electra Stone Ltd.’s Apple Bay quarry included percussion drilling to better characterize the deposit and the extent of high-silica material.
Several private operators have begun or proposed bulk sampling of marble, dolomite and other products on Vancouver Island. Building and landscaping stone is also quarried in test operations under bulk sample permits on Vancouver Island and on the mainland.
Most exploration for aggregate goes unreported, but Polaris Materials Corporation, a public company, makes its work known. Polaris drilled its Black Bear project, a potential source of crushed basalt south of its Port McNeill Orca sand and gravel quarry. Black Bear now has a measured and indicated resource of 70 million tonnes, and 330 million tonnes in the inferred category.
The BURNCO Aggregate Project, a large proposed sand and gravel quarry, entered B.C. environmental assessment review in 2016. Peak production could exceed one million tonnes per year. BURNCO Rock Products Ltd. would barge product from the location on Howe Sound to facilities in the Lower Mainland.
Public Geoscience 2016-2017
The British Columbia Geological Survey (BCGS) is the branch of the Ministry of Energy and Mines responsible for documenting British Columbia’s geology and related coal and mineral resources by collecting, assessing and archiving geoscience data. Since 1895, the BCGS has used this data to create new knowledge, linking government, the minerals industry and British Columbians to the geology and mineral wealth of the province.
BCGS geoscientists regularly publish the results of their work, making these results freely available through MapPlace, the BCGS-database-driven web service. MapPlace has already served the exploration community for over 20 years, and a new version will be released in 2017. MapPlace 2 allows anyone with an Internet connection to efficiently mine multiple geoscience databases. In contrast to other web map services, MapPlace 2 goes beyond simply displaying information. Databases are continuously updated and talk to each other, enabling users to conduct queries and generate custom results by connecting to current data from many sources. Furthermore, MapPlace 2 requires no plug-ins, is faster, handles larger datasets, accesses third-party base maps and imagery, and, with a simpler, more intuitive interface, is easier to use. BCGS staff will be offering a MapPlace 2 workshop at AME Roundup 2017, and giving informal demonstrations at the B.C. Pavilion on the Passport to Explore floor (second floor) of Vancouver Convention Centre East.
The BCGS undertakes projects that support the exploration industry by gathering regional information to establish the geological framework for mineral potential. In 2016, field projects focused on the northwestern part of British Columbia, in the famed Golden Triangle. Mapping in the Atlin, Dease Lake and Terrace-Ecstal areas was completed, in collaboration with the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), under the second iteration of the Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals program. The BCGS also partnered with the GSC to investigate gold deposits near the Llewellyn fault, under the Targeted Geoscience Initiative 5 (TGI-5) program. The joint BCGS-GSC Specialty Metals project, also under the TGI-5 program, was extended and includes the Geological Survey of Japan as a new collaborator. Multi year studies aimed at unravelling the architecture of the Nicola Arc, host to some of B.C.’s most prolific porphyry deposits, continue in Quesnel terrane. Other studies examined nickel-copper-platinum-group mineral ore-forming processes in mafic-ultramafic systems at Tulameen, and alkali copper-gold ore-forming systems at Copper Mountain. Ongoing projects are developing new exploration methods, emphasizing indicator minerals from till. Each November, the BCGS presents results at an open house in Victoria.
Continuously updated, the BCGS databases – including MINFILE, COALFILE, Property File, the Assessment Reports Indexing System (ARIS) and the provincewide bedrock compilation map (BC Digital Geology) – are made available through MapPlace. MINFILE documents more than 14,600 metallic mineral, industrial mineral and coal occurrences. ARIS has over 36,000 mineral exploration reports, 450 of which have data in digital format. Property File now has over 60,000 unique reports and maps, documenting exploration activity in British Columbia from the late 1800s. The BCGS has updated the Regional Geochemical Survey database and the provincial lithogeochemical database, and has initiated work to update and deliver a B.C. till geochemical database.
Geoscience BC, a not-for-profit, non-government geoscience organization funded by provincial government grants, also provides geoscience data in British Columbia. Geoscience BC is industry-led, attracting mineral and oil-and-gas investment to the province by publicly distributing geoscience data. Geoscience BC awards contracts for large geophysical and geochemical programs, and provides grants to universities and consultants for targeted geoscience projects typically generated through requests for proposals. Geoscience BC is governed by a volunteer board of directors and receives technical direction from volunteer technical advisory committees whose membership is largely drawn from the exploration industry.