Mining Explorers 2017: Seabridge Gold Corp.
Raising C$37.7 million early in 2017, Seabridge Gold Inc. has plenty of cash for robust exploration at its KSM and Iskut projects in northwestern British Columbia. Four of the zones at KSM – Kerr, Sulphurets, Mitchell and Iron Cap – encompass 2.2 billion metric tons of proven and probable reserves averaging 0.55 grams per metric ton (38.8 million ounces) gold, 0.21 percent (10.2 billion pounds) copper, 2.6 g/t (183 million oz) silver, and 42.6 parts per million (207 million lb) molybdenum. These reserves support a 53-year mine that would average 540,000 oz gold, 156 million lb copper, 2.2 million oz silver, and 1.2 million lb molybdenum per year, according to a 2016 prefeasibility study. In June, the company launched a 10,000-meter-plus drill program to test highly prospective targets discovered in the final hole drilled in 2016. This hole, IC-16-62, cut 555.2 meters grading 0.83 g/t gold, 0.24 percent copper and 4.4 g/t silver in the Lower Iron Cap zone and a shallower blind target consisting of an incomplete interval of 60.7 meters averaging 1.2 g/t gold. The original concept was the lower zone represented the down plunge continuity of the existing Iron Cap resource, and the new blind discovery found in the upper 200 meters of hole 62 representing a separate shallower zone. This two target zones model was based on what appeared to be an intrusive unit not previously recognized at Iron Cap juxtaposed along a fault to the main Iron Cap deposit. The first five holes of the 2017 program, however, indicate the upper blind discovery is a previously unrecognized mineralized intrusion with the potential to significantly expand the size of Iron Cap. Highlights from the first five 2017 holes include: 594.8 meters of 0.52 g/t gold and 0.38 percent copper in IC-17-63; 422.5 meters of 1.04 g/t gold and 0.32 percent copper in IC-17-65; 137.7 meters of 1.56 g/t gold and 0.29 percent copper, 63.6 meter of 4.77 g/t gold and 0.01 percent copper and 876.9 meter of 0.32 g/t gold and 0.37 percent copper in IC-17-66; and 417.1 meters of 1.02 g/t gold and 0.33 percent copper in IC-17-67. Seabridge hopes the 10 to 12 holes drilled in this mineralized area this year will add several hundred million tons of inferred resources at Iron Cap. “As the geology of the Iron Cap deposit becomes clearer to us, we are increasingly confident that it will rival the plus-billion-tonne Kerr and Mitchell deposits in size,” said Seabridge Chairman and CEO Rudi Fronk. The potential size and grade of Iron Cap, coupled with the deposit’s location, has Seabridge considering changes to the KSM mine plan. “Iron Cap is the closest deposit to project infrastructure and is permitted as a cost-efficient block cave operation but the current plan has it being mined after the Kerr deposit. Iron Cap could be developed years earlier than the Kerr deposit at a much lower cost,” said Fronk.
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In July, Seabridge launched its second drill program at Iskut, an earlier staged gold-silver project about 30 kilometers (19 miles) that the company acquired in 2016. This year’s 8,500-meter drill program at Iskut focused on Quartz Rise, a target the company identified last year. Drilling this year is evaluating the potential for high-grade gold within an untested near-surface area at Quartz Rise with an eye on a potential large porphyry system hidden underneath.
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