Investors may want to pay close attention to the prolific Golden Horseshoe area of north-central British Columbia, Canada. One of the companies operating in the region is Benchmark Metals Inc. (TSXV: BNCH) (OTCQX: BNCHF), which is working on the Lawyers Project. “Exploration on the Lawyers property and the surrounding area began in the late 1960s and peaked in the 1980s, identifying numerous showings, prospects and deposits culminating in the development of the Lawyers gold-silver mine that operated from 1989-1992 and produced 171,200 oz gold and 3.6 million oz silver over the 4-year period. The deposit was never fully mined, or the surrounding area thoroughly explored for gold-silver mineralization,” according to the company. Other companies operating in the area include Thesis Gold Inc. (TSXV: TAU) (OTC: THSGF), Amarc Resources Ltd. (TSXV: AHR) (OTC: AXREF), Skeena Resources Ltd. (TSX: SKE) (NYSE: SKE), and Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX: CG) (NYSE: CGAU).
Look at Benchmark Metals Inc. (TSXV: BNCH) (OTCQX: BNCHF)
Benchmark Metals Inc. provided an update for the ongoing advancement of Technical Evaluations: Preliminary Economic Assessment and Feasibility Study as well as Environmental Baseline Studies towards Environmental Assessment application for the Lawyers Gold-Silver Project. The Company’s flagship Lawyers Gold-Silver project is located within a road-accessible region of the prolific Golden Horseshoe area of north-central British Columbia, Canada.
Key Milestone Calendar
- Q4 2022 – Targeted release of PEA
- Q2 2023 – Targeted Completion of FS Activities
- Q3 2023 – Two-Years of Environmental Baseline Achieved
- Q4 2023 – Targeted Release of FS
- Mid-2024 – Targeted Completion of the EA
John Williamson, CEO and Chairman commented, “In the coming year the Company plans on delivering the Feasibility Study (FS) and start preparing the Environmental Assessment (EA) regulatory filings collaboratively with First Nations for the Lawyers Gold-Silver Project. Preparing the materials for the FS and EA is complex, takes time and requires attention to detail. Management has been focused on ensuring that every aspect of the project is carefully reviewed and assessed and that First Nations are involved in the development of the FS and EA products. The delivery timeline is now clear and Benchmark is of the firm belief that the PEA, followed by the upcoming FS has the potential to position the Company as a major producer of precious metals into the future and deliver value to shareholders, First Nations and local communities for years to come. We look forward to delivering the final study outputs, sharing the Feasibility Study report, and applying for regulatory approvals.”
Preliminary Economic Assessment
The Company is nearing completion of a PEA for the Lawyers Project with results to be disseminated in August, 2022. A NI43-101 Technical Report will follow within 45 days thereafter. The updated economic results incorporate the recently expanded mineral resource estimate (MRE) and a revised mine production schedule, both of which will provide improved economics for the project. The Lawyers PEA is a major milestone for Benchmark and further shows Benchmark’s expertise in creating value and certainty during mineral project development.
Ian Harris, VP of Engineering commented, “We are very excited about the near-term completion of the PEA to demonstrate the robustness of the project that benefits from a de-risked MRE with 97% of the open pit resource in the M&I category, excellent recoveries, road access established with upgrading on-going to support mine construction, interconnection to BC Hydro nearby, minimal to negligible pre-stripping, compact footprint with straightforward industry-standard processing, facilities, and equipment sizing. The PEA will confirm our path forward for engineering, permitting, and a construction decision as well as provide multiple opportunities for mine optimization.”
Considerable work has either already been completed or is on track to be completed for the collection of FS data inputs, including:
- Geotechnical & Hydrological field investigations for mine infrastructure design.
Investigations for Pits and site infrastructure are complete.
Investigations on the Tailings Storage Facility and Waste Rock Storage Facilities are ongoing (expected August 2022 completion date).
- Metallurgy and mineral processing testwork to validate processing methods.
Comminution testwork is complete with Recovery testwork ongoing.
- Geochemistry testwork, which continues to show promising results of low acid generating potential.
Static and kinetic testwork ongoing.
The Company anticipates all necessary inputs for the FS to be complete by Q2 2023, with delivery of the final FS report in Q4 2023.
Environmental baseline studies to support EA application are well underway. The 2-year Aquatics and Terrestrial Baseline Programs commenced in 2021. Additionally, geochemical and hydrogeological studies have all commenced. The Company expects completion of all environmental baseline studies by Q3 2023.
Upon completion of all environmental baseline studies, the Company expects to commence the EA process planning and EA application preparation phase in mid-2024. Please see Figure 1 below for an overview of Benchmark’s project schedule.
Benchmark continues to work closely with the Kwadacha Nation, Takla Nation, Tsay Keh Dene Nation, and Tahltan Nation to build meaningful relationships and create sustainable value. The Company and First Nations are planning a collaborative FS and EA process with a view to design a better and more inclusive project and to help build capacity within each Nation. Recently, Benchmark signed a detailed agreement with Tahltan Central Government (TCG) to establish collaborative processes to support the constructive engagement of the TCG in Benchmark’s exploration. With the signing of this agreement, the Company now has agreements in place with four Nations.
Other related developments from around the markets include:
Thesis Gold Inc. announced the receipt of an amended Mines Act permit for the Ranch Gold Project, located in a road accessible region of the Golden Horseshoe in north-central British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Ewan Webster, President and CEO, commented, “This new permit it a huge milestone for the Company and project, allowing us to not only expand the scope and scale of the exploration program, but for the first time in decades will allow the project to become fully road accessible again. The associated infrastructure upgrades are well underway and expected to be completed in early September. Our expansive exploration program is progressing very well and currently has four diamond drills turning. We look forward to sharing the drill results in the coming weeks as they become available.”
Amarc Resources Ltd. announced assay results from an initial, nine-hole drill program (4,300 m) completed in 2021 with Freeport-McMoRan Mineral Properties Canada Inc. Freeport is earning into the Company's 482 km2 JOY Cu-Au District located in the active Toodoggone portion of the Golden Horseshoe trend, north-central British Columbia. "One of the key factors that drove our acquisition and consolidation of the JOY District was a recognition of the important-scale potential of the PINE copper-gold deposit," said Amarc President & CEO Diane Nicolson. "A significant number of historical core holes were available for reassessment, providing the scope for both reinterpretation and rediscovery. Building on these legacy assets, the three long core holes we completed at the PINE deposit in 2021 intercepted some of the highest grades over the longest intervals encountered to date and indicate the extension of copper-gold mineralization to significant depth. Also, valuable information derived from historical core holes combined with new surface mapping and geophysical surveys have confirmed additional potential for higher-grade zones within the known deposit, major lateral extensions and the discovery of proximal deposits."
Skeena Resources Ltd. welcomed the historic consent-based decision-making agreement reached by the Province of British Columbia and the Tahltan Central Government. Through this Agreement, the proposed Eskay Creek gold-silver project, located in Tahltan Territory, will be the first mining project to have permits authorized by an Indigenous Government. As a formal recognition of the Tahltan Nation’s right to manage resource development decisions within their Territory, it is a significant step forward by all parties to implement the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in the environmental assessment process.
Centerra Gold Inc. will host a conference call and webcast to discuss the 2022 second quarter operating and financial results on Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The results are scheduled to be released before the market opens on Wednesday, August 10, 2022. North American participants should dial the toll-free number +1 (800) 764-8268. International participants may access the call at +1 (416) 981-9010.
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