These are still early days at Skeena Resources’ $SKE (TSXV) Spectrum gold project, located in B.C.’s Golden Triangle, but early signs are promising. It’s where Skeena chairman Ron Netolitzky is going for his third home run after his involvement with the Snip and Eskay Creek discoveries of the 1980s and ’90s. Both went on to become high-grade producers and are now held by Barrick. Ron believes Spectrum shows the same potential.
The well-funded junior is sufficiently encouraged by early intercepts, including visible gold showings, that it has increased the size of its drill program from 10,000 metres to 16,000 metres as it defines mineralized zones and hunts for new targets. Through prospecting, rock sampling and geochemical anomalies, Skeena recently recognized 9 new targets away from Central mineralized zones. According to Ron, the soil anomalies of up to 19.5 g/t Au and rock chips containing 52.5 g/t Au are unlikely to have bled from the existing Central mineralized zone and are “very hard to ignore.”
The latest drill results, announced on Sept. 8, offer intriguing hints at what could lie underneath the surface. Hole S15-15 intersected 26.15 metres grading 8.21 g/t Au, including 2m grading 74.5 g/t. Other high-grade hits on the property have included 14.9 m grading 8.97 g/t Au, including 2.9 m grading 38.5 g/t Au and 8.00 m grading 10.46 g/t Au and 8.3 g/t Ag, including 2.3 m of 33.33 g/t Au.
“We know it’s got a lot of gold, and we know from our surface results and from prospecting and from soil geochemistry … this is much stronger than anything I’ve worked on in the Golden Triangle,” said Netolitzky, who has worked in northwestern B.C. on and off for over 35 years.
Assays have now been released from 21 of 53 drill holes completed at Spectrum this year. As many as 25 additional holes are expected to be drilled between now and when the snow comes, usually sometime in late October. Eighty percent of the holes drilled to date have yielded intervals exceeding 5 g/t over 2 metres, and 25% have visible gold showings, the company says. Assays will be released as they are available throughout the fall and early winter.
“This is a large, robust system of mineralization,” said Skeena CEO Walter Coles. “We keep finding more high-grade prospects and that should allow us more chances to discover and drill off relatively shallow high-grade resources. That is how we are going to build ounces.”
Skeena’s objective is to identify a high-grade underground gold resource that will support a significant mine life. A historic, non-43-101-compliant resource estimate on the property was pegged at 243,600 ounces of gold, based on 614,000 tonnes grading 12 g/t at a 5 g/t cutoff. The property was dormant for 22 years because of provincial park and right-of-way issues, which were recently resolved.
Netolitzky, named to the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame earlier this year, says the Spectrum mineralization reminds him of several area plays, including Snip, Silback-Premier and a most impressive neighbour: Pretium’s high-grade underground Brucejack project.
Pretium’s gold project has proven and probable reserves of 6.9 million ounces (13.6 million tonnes @ 15.7 g/t Au). The gold developer took a giant leap forward Sept. 15 with the announcement of a US$540-million construction financing with Orion Mine Finance and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities. The deal closed Monday.
Skeena’s Spectrum is at a much earlier, more speculative stage. But it’s a speculation backed by deep-pocketed investors who funded a recent $8.1-million financing and directed by a mine finder who likes what he sees, so far. Skeena has strong institutional support thanks to CEO Coles’ connections on Wall Street, where he worked prior to becoming involved with Skeena.
“Frankly, we’re still learning,” Netolitzky said of the geological puzzle. “But we feel with the amount of drilling we’ve done this year, once we have the assays in hand we will have a very good handle on what controls the mineralization and how to explore for it. We are very encouraged that will translate into new deposits and new zones.”
With the rare ability to raise capital in a serious down market, Skeena also has the potential to add to its project portfolio if the right opportunity arises. Netolitzky has said he is particularly interested in other opportunities in the Golden Triangle. Skeena recently ended attempts to combine with Dolly Varden Silver Corp. (DV.v), an area play that has geological similarities with Eskay Creek.
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Big thanks to Tommy Douglas and Carter Smith for helping produce the video!
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