Skeena acquired 100% interest in the past-producing Snip mine from Barrick Gold in July 2017. The property consists of one mining lease and four mineral tenures totaling approximately 1,932 hectares in the Liard Mining Division. The Snip mine produced approximately one million ounces of gold from 1991 until 1999 at an average gold grade of 27.5 g/t.The opportunity is to re-examine historic drill intercepts on the Snip property that may indicate mineralization that would be economic with the recent construction of nearby infrastructure and at today’s higher gold prices. Skeena is excited to renew exploration for additional mineralized shoots in a large shear structure which already demonstrated the presence of a million ounce high-grade deposit. With our knowledge of the area and historic connection to the site we are confident we have the team to generate and pursue viable new targets.
Under the direction of personnel with previous experience on the property, Skeena has reviewed and modelled over 280,000 metres of historical drill data. Surface and underground drilling to date has returned encouraging results.
New Mineralization Discovered in Snip Footwall
The 2019 Phase I drilling was designed to validate an isolated, historical and incompletely sampled high-grade intersection in the 200 Footwall Corridor. The original target in the 200 Footwall was identified by 1997 underground drill hole UG-2610 which intersected 26.83 g/t Au over 3.40 m in an incompletely sampled zone. The recent intercept in drill hole S19-044 has discovered a new occurrence of very high-grade mineralization averaging 1,131.91 g/t Au over 1.50 m including a significant subinterval containing abundant visible gold grading 3,390.00 g/t Au over 0.50 m. Refer to Table 1.
Table 1: Historical 1997 drill hole UG-2610 samples and length weighted composite:
The new 2019 mineralization occurs approximately 50 m deeper into the footwall than the mineralization defined by UG-2610 and a further 75 m deeper than the interpreted 200 Footwall Corridor projection. 2019 Phase I drill hole S19-044 was extended to test for additional mineralization beyond the 1997 historical intersection. Historical drill hole UG-2610 did not extend deep enough to test the newly discovered high-grade occurrence.
“We are quite excited about this new discovery and the confirmed exploration potential of this area.” remarks Paul Geddes, the Company’s Vice President of Exploration and Resource Development. “Previous operators were not focused on exploring the footwall portions of the former Snip Mine and as such, there is a lack of drilling in these areas. Furthermore, historic drill holes often did not extend to the necessary depths to test this target and historic sampling of the mineralization was selective and incomplete. As we have demonstrated with the 2019 exploration program, considerable discovery upside exists at Snip.”
2019 Snip Drilling Highlights:
- 1,131.91 g/t Au over 1.50 m (S19-044)
- Including 3,390.00 g/t Au over 0.50 m
- 16.64 g/t Au over 5.10 m (S19-035)
- Including 96.20 g/t Au over 0.50 m
- And 39.80 g/t Au over 0.85 m
- 57.90 g/t Au over 0.65 m (S19-041)
- 12.00 g/t Au over 1.35 m (S19-043)
History of the Property
The Snip vein mineralization, discovered in 1964 by Cominco geologist Ted Muraro, lay dormant until drilled in 1986 as part of a Cominco joint venture with Netolitzky-led Delaware Resources. Those drill results triggered a massive claim staking rush and exploration boom throughout the Golden Triangle that led to the discovery and development of Barrick Gold’s Eskay Creek (past production of 3.27 million ounces of gold at a grade of 49 g/t and 158 million ounces of silver at 2,406 g/t). Other significant projects in the Golden Triangle include Pretium’s Brucejack and Valley of the Kings gold deposits, Imperial Metal’s Red Chris porphyry copper-gold mine, Teck and Novagold’s Galore Creek deposit, Teck’s Shaft Creek porphyry copper-gold deposit, Seabridge’s porphyry copper-gold Deep Kerr Project, and Ascot’s re-activated Premier Project
The Snip deposit is an auriferous southwest-dipping shear vein system, hosted within Upper Triassic Stuhini Group feldspathic meta-sediments that are intruded by Early Jurassic age stocks and plutons. Other major deposits within the Golden Triangle are also related to compositionally similar Early Jurassic intrusions.The Snip deposit occurs within the southeast trending Bronson structural corridor which also controls the other significant deposits within the Iskut River area. Approximately 60% of the production was obtained from the Twin Zone, a 0.5 to 15 metre wide sheared quartz-carbonate-sulphide vein system that cuts through a massively bedded feldspathic greywacke-siltstone sequence. Other sub parallel structures located in the footwall to the Twin Zone accounted for the rest of the production. A barren, post mineralization dike divides the main vein into two parts for most of its length, hence the name Twin Zone. Gold mineralization occurs in one centimetre to one metre wide alternating bands of massive calcite, isseminated to massive pyrite, biotite-calcite as thin bands or streaks, or in quartz with sulphides in a crackle breccia or pyritic to non-pyritic fault gouge. Total sulphide content seldom exceeds two percent and the mineralized structures characteristically contain minor pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite, sphalerite, chalcopyrite and rare galena.
The Twin Zone occupies an east-southeast striking structure with dips ranging from 30 to 90 degrees to the southwest. The zone has been traced by drilling and mining over a strike length of approximately 1,000 metres and over a dip length of 500 metres. The deposit remains partially open along strike, and in some production areas, where the estimated cut-off grade of 24 g/t Au was below the economic limit for mining at the time.
Snip was historically burdened with the high cost of being a stand-alone operation serviced by air via the Bronson airstrip, and by hovercraft from Wrangell, Alaska by way of the Iskut River. This required high grades to ensure economic viability. Additionally, mechanized mining shrunk from approximately 82% of mine production during the first production year (1991), to approximately 16% by 1998, which resulted in a near-doubling of the unit mining cost over the mine life at the same time the gold price fell from a high of US$383 per ounce in 1994 to US$300 per ounce by 1999.
The Golden Triangle district has become one of the most important metal regions in Western Canada and is being further enhanced with recent significantly improved infrastructure, including paving of the Stewart-Cassiar highway north from Smithers, ocean port facilities for export of concentrate at Stewart, and completion of BC Hydro’s 287 kilovolt Northwest Transmission Line from Terrace to Bob Quinn Lake and north to the Red Chris mine. The hydroelectric facility at McLymont Creek, built 2 years ago, is located approximately 20 kilometres east of Snip. Road access to the McLymont Creek facility is currently within 20 kilometres of the Snip mine along predominantly flat terrain in the Iskut River valley bottom.
The prospects for redeveloping the Snip property have improved dramatically, given today’s substantially higher gold prices, subsequent improvements in infrastructure and access, the prospect of remaining high-grade mineralization and exploration upside.
The technical information on this page has been reviewed and approved by Paul Geddes, P.Geo., Skeena’s Vice-President of Exploration and a Qualified Person as defined by Canada’s National Instrument 43-101.