Sometimes a single sentence can provide more clarity to an opportunity than a library of historical data. In a statement on his company consolidating one of the largest land packages ever in the prolific Kootenay Arc region of southern British Columbia, Margaux Resources (MRL:CA)(MARFF) CEO Tyler Rice did exactly that, saying, “Success leaves tracks: old-timers found nearly 800,000 ounces [of gold] here, following single veins in the dark.”
Rice was referring to the fact that Margaux’s Sheep Creek Gold District has historic production of 785,000 ounces of gold at an average grade of an impressive 14.4 g/t gold. Every ounce of this gold – all $1.03 billion worth (at current prices) – was discovered and unearthed decades ago without the use of any modern technology. Moreover, exploration and production was conducted in a chopped-up manner with the properties looking more like pieces of a jig-saw puzzle than a continuous picture.
Still, despite the challenges, Sheep Creek weighs in as the third-largest past-producing orogenic gold district in British Columbia, trailing only heavyweights Barkerville and Bralorne.
Rice’s comment, though, suggests Sheep Creek has a lot more to give, which could make up some ground on its bigger orogenic peers. “This is an asset hiding in plain sight – neglected,” said Rice.
On Tuesday, Margaux disclosed completing two significant consolidations of lands, projects and mineral tenures, to establish the Margaux Sheep Creek Gold District and the adjoining Margaux Kootenay Arc Zinc District. Cumulatively, the projects cover more than 24,000 hectares (~60,000 acres) just north of the northeastern part of the Washington State border.
The claims have never before been consolidated under one owner. As such, Margaux now has definite exploration advantages with a clear line of sight over the highly prospective mineral tenures. Using strategic and modern exploration tactics across all the property, Margaux thinks it is ready to unlock the complete resource potential of the land package.
At the Sheep Creek Gold District, Margaux has now consolidated 79 Crown grants and 33 separate mineral claims spanning a 10-kilometer mineralized trend that it acquired last year. While the property was fragmented last year, Margaux conducted an initial exploration program at Sheep Creek, for which it expects to report highlights in the coming weeks.
The other part of the equation was the consolidation of the Kootenay Arc Zinc District, a massive district straddling some 30 kilometers of strike length. Kootenay Arc is well known for its base minerals, including hosting Teck Resources’ (TECK.B:CA)(TECK) active Pend Oreille Mine. It also hosts Margaux’s shuttered Jersey-Emerald Lead-Zinc Mine. While production was halted nearly 50 years ago, about 8 million tonnes of zinc ore were produced while it was open. Lead-zinc mineralization at a combined rate of 5.58% Pb-Zn was produced from a nearly continuous zone of mineralization measuring 600 meters by 1,800 meters up to 30 meters in thickness. New drilling has identified many high-grade zinc intercepts that could support an underground mine as well as ore-grade intercepts suitable to a potential open-pit mine. Much of this drilling was conducted during 2017, with significant cuts at what was called the “Jackpot” property now consolidated into the broader Kootenay Arc Zinc District.
Margaux has completed an extensive program of surface and underground surveying, data entry and QA/QC work to verify historical drill and underground information.
“Although zinc mineralization is known to exist in commercial grades in the Kootenay Arc Zinc District, Margaux’s exploration program is producing new data, and with it, valuable insight. This is about bigger data as a path to bigger rewards. We plan to assess the full extent of the resource base and mining alternatives,” said Rice.
The company is also looking at a totally new deposit style in the Kootenay Arc Zinc District, comprised of outcrops suggesting stratabound, sedex-type mineralization in what is called the Wilson Creek target. Drilling needs to be conducted to validate the aeromagnetic and electromagnetic anomalies.
Margaux has the option to acquire 100% of the Jersey-Emerald property in the Kootenay Arc Zinc District from Apex Resources. In an amended agreement announced on Tuesday, amongst other terms, Margaux can purchase 100% of the property by making payments of $50,000 per month starting April 1, 2017 and going for 21 months ($1.05 million) and then $100,000 per month starting January 1, 2019 until a total of $4.02 million has been paid to Apex.
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