BCGold Corp., a Vancouver-based startup launched in February 2006, has grabbed nearly 4 million acres of mineral claims adjacent to and near the Minto and Carmacks (Williams Creek) copper-gold deposits in west-central Yukon.
BCGold said Nov. 27 that it entered into a letter of agreement with Shawn Ryan, a Dawson City, Yukon-based prospector and project generator, to acquire 100 percent ownership in 557 mineral claims comprising more than 11,640 hectares, or 3.84 million acres.
Ryan staked the properties based on their proximity to the Minto and Carmacks deposits. The claims cover areas with similar geological, geochemical and geophysical characteristics known to reflect near-surface, porphyry-style copper-gold mineralization.
Minto and Carmacks are porphyry-style, high-grade bulk tonnage copper-gold deposits and are currently being developed by their respective owners Sherwood Copper Corp. and Western Copper Corp. Sherwood Copper expects to begin commercial production at Minto in the second quarter of 2007, while Western Copper anticipates startup of production at Williams Creek in the third quarter of 2008.
“It is not very often that one can acquire a claim package of such quality and size, in an under-explored region on the doorstep of two deposits in the mine development stage,” said BCGold Vice President Brian P. Fowler. “The discovery potential for a ‘standalone’ deposit and/or supplemental mill feed for the Minto and Williams Creek mining operations are excellent. One couldn’t ask for better geological potential, logistics and project location.”
The claims are in an area of the Dawson Range that has seen little follow-up exploration since the 1970s when Asarco Inc. and affiliates discovered the high-grade Minto deposit.
The Minto and Williams Creek (Carmacks) deposits lie within a northwest-trending belt in western Yukon along the eastern margin of the Yukon-Tanana Composite Terrain, the latter being composed of several metamorphic assemblages and batholiths. The area is underlain by three main lithological assemblages. Intermediate to felsic intrusive and meta-intrusive rocks of the early Mesozoic Granite Mountain Batholith underlie much of the area and are interpreted to be intrusive into the Yukon-Tanana Terrane (Gordey and Makepeace, 1999). The batholithic rocks are in fault and/or intrusive relation with an unnamed package of altered mafic volcanic rocks to the northeast, and are un-conformably overlain by sedimentary rocks and volcanic flows of the Late Cretaceous Tantalus Formation and Late Cretaceous Carmacks Group, respectively.
Outcrop sparse, brush thick, in areaThe area has potential for high-grade porphyry copper, gold and molybdenum mineralization. But regional structure is poorly understood because outcrop is very sparse (less than 1 percent) and the area is un-glaciated and deeply weathered.
“It’s a tough place to look,” said Yukon government geologist Mike Burke. “The bush is really, really thick.”
The Yukon government conducted an airborne survey of the whole belt in 2000-2001 using modern technology including magnetics and radiometrics, according to Burke.
“That data has been sitting there, while reports on exploration at the Minto and Carmacks deposits keeps getting better and better,” Burke said, noting that Sherwood Copper announced Jan. 9 that it has uncovered a new area with exceptionally high grades of copper mineralization at Minto using new exploration techniques.
“Mr. Ryan started looking at our airborne geophysics and compared it with what was known on the ground,” Burke recalled.
Ryan, whom Burke described as an exceptional prospector, developed targets in the area, staked them and then got BCGold interested.
The critical factor for explorationists looking at the area is the substantial high-grade deposits already identified there, Burke said. Though Minto is not a big discovery yet, it is an exceptionally fine deposit by industry standards, he said. For example, companies are developing mines in British Columbia containing 50 million tons of ore with average grades of 0.3-0.5 percent copper, he said. By comparison, Minto has 8 million tons, with average grades of 1.8 percent copper.
BCGold positioned to acquire 100 percent interestBCGold, a company with numerous mining industry professionals among its shareholders, is positioned to acquire 100 percent interest in the claims by paying Ryan $300,000 in cash and 1 million units over a four-year period. Each “unit” will consist of one share of BCGold’s common stock and one-half of one common-share purchase warrant. Each whole warrant can be exercised to purchase one share of BCGold common stock for two years after the date it is issued at a per-share price to be determined by a formula agreed upon by the two parties.
BCGold also agreed to spend a minimum of $900,000 to develop the properties.
Terms of the deal are subject to the approval of securities regulators in Canada and may be accelerated at BCGold’s option.
The junior mining company said it intends to conduct an aggressive, multi-disciplined exploration program on the properties this year. It also aims to actively pursue joint venture partners and alliances to share exploration risk and expenses.
BCGold describes its mission as the pursuit of significant new precious and base metal deposits in British Columbia and Yukon, particularly in underexplored historic mining and exploration districts.
Since completing an initial public offering in June and a private placement of $1 million in September, the junior has signed options on the Voigtberg and Toodoggone properties in northern British Columbia with Kaminak Gold Corp. and Stealth Minerals Ltd., respectively.
BCGold and joint venture partner Kaminak Gold also announced a significant new gold discovery on the Voigtberg property in September. A $350,000, four-hole diamond drilling exploration program returned 51.15 meters of porphyry-style mineralization grading 1.03 grams per ton gold within altered volcanic rock.