A Sudbury-based junior mining company says it is feeling so confident over a Quebec gold property, a production decision could be made by late 2018.
Wallbridge Mining presented their latest findings and core samples from their Fenelon property at a special presentation of the Sudbury Prospectors and Developers Association, Nov. 21.
The talk by senior geologist Attila Pentek and exploration vice-president Joshua Bailey was a comprehensive history of the property, the geology of the deposits, initial test drills and preliminary assay results of core samples, and timelines on production plans.
Fenelon is located 150 kilometres north of Val d’Or, an area Bailey described as being largely overlooked by prospectors.
Exploring the property was part of a valuation strategy by the company, which met the investment criteria for a number of reasons.
“This is a high-grade historic resource, with existing mine workings,” Bailey said.
“There had been two bulk samples showing the ore is mineable, producing around 110 grams per tonne, with bulk recoveries around 97 per cent.”
The project has advanced rapidly over the last year. They started discussions with Balmoral Resources, who owned Fenelon at the time, to acquire the property.
The resource was updated before the acquisition was complete.
Since then, it’s been a steady and rapid process of drilling and assays.
Results are so positive the company is pushing to get a 35,000-tonne bulk sample before the end of 2017.
During question period, it was asked why the company was considering an early production date when they have so few proven reserves.
Company president Marz Kord said he understood the concern, but they are very confident in the initial results to get a return to the stakeholders.
“The last 100 years the larger companies wouldn’t go ahead unless they had around three years’ reserves. But there are times when they do all this preliminary work, go into production and there’s almost nothing left (to mine)," he explained.
“These results show, even at shallow depths. The results are very good. We are going to make capital as we go for our stakeholders.”
Part of that confidence comes from the property's proven history of high-grade gold.
There has been exploration before, with core samples taken in the mid-1990’s, including a bulk sample.
In July, Wallbridge drilled 15 holes with nine intersecting visible gold and five containing “significant” gold.
This expands the high-grade deposit to the west and down-plunge with the discovering of two new parallel zones.
Twenty-four drill holes totaling 4,808 metres have been completed from surface at Fenelon this year.
The plan now is to de-water the former open pit and tunnel down to drill more holes, as well as take a 35,000-tonne bulk sample.
The new information means they will be doing an update on their geologic model, as well as do an internal resource estimate.
Currently, they are awaiting permits for de-watering for the pit before they go forward.
Bailey said they are running the numbers from their core samples, plus data collected from samples taken in the mid-1990’s to figure out where the concentrations of gold are located.
The plan is to have a bulk sample taken by the end of this year.
Contractors are already in place and a custom milling agreement is secured.
“This bulk sample is to help us make a production decision for the longer mine life and really explore these zones,” Pentek said.
“The plan is to go down, pretty quickly and drill the next 100 to 200 metres of reserves.”
The property has many positives, Bailey said. Much of it is largely unexplored, and they are already seeing high gold concentrations in the latest round of core samples.
If all goes well, they can make a production decision late in the new year. The company's target is 250,000 to 400,000 ounces of gold.