British Columbia’s Golden triangle, in the north west of the province, is a hugely prospective area. But, as Jim Petit of Aben Resources (V.ABN) knows all too well, it presents challenges.
“This year the snow pack crushed our core shack,” said Petit. “We’re right in the coastal mountains at around 6000 feet. We see twenty feet of snow.”
The snow has finally melted and Aben has sent in a crew of geologists to do basic geology and identify drill targets for a drilling program at its Forrest Kerr project starting later this summer. But first they have to build the camp.
“Forrest Kerr is helicopter driven,” said Petit. “We’ve had to adjust to the COVID rules. So, we have sent in four geos who will stay up on the property mapping, sampling, and prospecting. They’ll stay up there for the season rather than coming down to the camp by the highway.”
In prior years, Aben’s people would fly in and out daily. But it is essentially impossible to keep social distance in helicopters so staying on site was pretty much the only way the work program could happen. “We’re permitted up top for eight people,” said Petit. “We’ll have the camp builders in and rebuild the core shack for the Geo’s quarters and get ready for the drillers later in the summer.”
“Aben has drilled over 20,000 meters in the Forrest Kerr valley. Drilling at the North boundary produced spectacular high-grade gold results. But, for the exception of the 3 South boundary holes, that drilling was primarily on the east side of the valley. Last year the drilling headed south and carried on 500 meters south of the South Boundary holes. The drills hit the same sort of mineralization as South Boundary. Not as high grade as North Boundary, but extensive low grade starting at surface. This new zone to the south appears to be an extension of South Boundary along what we now call the Benchland Fault.”
“Now we want to drill in between,” said Petit. “We have a whole new fault and we want to see if it connects. The mineralization is all very shallow and it could be a big system. We’re finding gold, silver and a little copper.”
Last year Aben did a large airborne survey of the property which revealed large structural anomalies. The challenge is that much of the property is covered in scree, the rocks and boulders which come down from the mountains surrounding the valley.
“We have a couple of kilometers of strike,” said Petit. “And we have pads where we could drill under the scree.”
“We’ll have targets identified in the later part of August,” said Petit. “We are identifying really good targets.”
“We bring the drill in by helicopter,” said Petit. The great advantage the Forrest Kerr property has is that none of the drill holes need to be very deep to prove up the property’s potential. Petit is looking at a drill program of around 2000 meters all targeted to test Aben’s theory that this is a large, connected system, controlled by the faults which run north-south and intersect northeast-southwest trending faults.
One thing which will guide the drill is the fact Aben has seen potassic alteration in the samples and core it has recovered so far in the North Boundary Zone. Such alteration suggests that the heat source which created the conditions for the mineralization maybe nearby.
Petit realizes that, prospective as Forrest Kerr is, the four-month season is a challenge in the news driven junior resource market. Which leads him to another, more or less, year-round project in northern Saskatchewan.
“We were there a couple of years ago and the First Nations trappers had some problems,” said Petit diplomatically. It was complicated.
“Now they appear to want us back,” said Petit. The Chico property is a piece of a green stone belt, the Tabbernor Fault which is a 1500 km long regional structure which has been traced from as far north as the Rabbit Lake uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan to as far south as the Black Hills of South Dakota, the latter of which hosts the 40M oz Homestake gold deposit. It is located to the Northwest of Flin Flon and is 40 km south of SSR Mining’s (formerly Silver Standard Resources) Seabee / Santoy mine complex.
Work to date on Chico has included geophysical surveys, geological mapping and recent soil sample coverage which included numerous highly anomalous samples ranging up to 4.5 g/t gold. A number of high-priority drill targets have been identified.
While it is certainly cold at Chico in the winter, there is not 20 feet of snow so drilling operations can be undertaken. This second project means that Aben will be able to use its resources year-round.
Looking at the stock market overall and at the junior precious metals market specifically, Petit is optimistic. “The Fed’s printing press have been turned on high which means that the general stock market is getting over valued,” said Petit.
“If you look at precious metals, not enough mines have been opened. A lot of supply has not happened,” said Petit. “I think gold will be going much higher. I’m very bullish.”
Petit understands the junior resource market’s need for news. There will be results from the Forrest Kerr drilling in early fall. While there will not be all that many total meters drilled, because the mineralization appears to start at surface, there will be a lot of shallow holes which will give Aben a much better idea of the structure of the deposit. Then, if all goes as planned, there should be drilling and results from the Chico property later in the year and into 2021.
Aben, just closed a private placement and, with cash in the bank, is trading around $0.125. A few good holes in the Golden Triangle and that price could very easily triple. Especially in a bull market for gold juniors.