BC’s Golden Triangle has been a hugely productive mining area since the 1980’s. There is no question of its mineral endowment as mines like Premier back in the 1920s, the SNIP and Eskay Creek in the early 1990s, and, more recently KSM, Red Chris and Valley of the Kings have all come online with gold, silver and copper in abundance. The Golden Triangle is a big place and there are many highly prospective but largely unexplored or underexplored areas.
As a former Vancouver broker, Gordon Lam, CEO of Etruscus Resources, is well aware of the Golden Triangle’s history. When the opportunity to acquire and explore a property in the Triangle arose, Lam formed a company, raised money from around 200 investors without a broker and took Etruscus Resources (C.ETR) public on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE).
The Rock and Roll project already had a history in the Golden Triangle. Back in the 80’s and 90’s mining legend Murray Pezim had done work on the property through a company called Prime Resources Corp. Prime drilled 94 holes, totalling 11,063.2 metres, in the Black Dog and SRV Zones. However, metal prices declined and British Columbia’s political environment became uninviting to mining. Prime sold the property and other juniors did further work concentrating on extending the Black Dog area. Only nineteen more holes were drilled until 2018 when Etruscus acquired the property.
“We got the paper records from those holes,” said Lam in a phone interview. “And one of the companies which had worked on the property had digitalized those records and we got that too.”
“The core from the holes is still on the property but it is in rough shape,” said Lam. “We have been trying to fix it up.” 30 year old core, stored outdoors in the rain, snow and freezing temperatures of the Golden Triangle, is going to deteriorate but it is still much better than nothing.
In its inaugural 2019 drilling season, Etruscus drilled a set of step-out holes from the historical work done at Black Dog. “When we got the property the strike length was about 600 meters,” said Lam. “As a result of our step-out drilling we now see 2.7 kilometers of prospective ground.”
The company also took bark samples to identify elevated pathfinder elements (Au, Ag, Ba, Cu, Fe, Hg, Pb, Se, Zn) in areas with thick overburden where traditional soil sampling is ineffective. A smart and cost-effective way to figure out where the best drill targets might be located.
As Etruscus geologists were working on the property, their geological understanding evolved. “Previous groups believed that there was a fault which ended the mineralization to the west. Which was why no one had explored beyond the Black Dog area in that direction,” said Lam. “One of our holes suggested that fault did not exist which meant that there was a large area open for exploration. This was backed up with some BC Geological Services mapping and age dating showing the western rocks to be conformable.”
“We began to explore to the West. Through recent ground truthing and researching of historical data, we discovered a huge conductor had been modeled but ignored because of “the fault”. Ten times the size of Black Dog. We call it “The Wall”,” said Lam. “We’re lucky enough to have Dave Dupre, who was instrumental in the discovery of Eskay Creek, as an Adviser.”
The Wall is at least 300 meters deep whereas Black Dog outcrops and has only been drilled to shallow depths. Etruscus is convinced that Black Dog is part of a VMS system including what we hope is many more deposits. This could include “The Wall,” but we will be more certain at the conclusion of this year’s drilling season. “We are drilling deep holes to test our targets, including ‘The Wall’,” said Lam.
The drilling season in the Golden Triangle is quite short and usually ends at the end of September or early October. Etruscus is lucky in that the Rock and Roll project is only 70 meters above sea level which means the weather and snowfall is much better than it is for projects at higher elevations. Over the years, the infrastructure, roads and power, have improved in the Golden Triangle which puts the Rock and Roll project only 15 kilometers by helicopter from the base camp.
The company hopes to have drill results towards the end of October but that, as always, depends on the labs. The big question those results may answer is the extent of “The Wall”. They will also indicate the prospects for several other areas the company has drilled this year.
Lam is optimistic about the overall junior resource market. “We’re in the early stages of a long-term commodity bull market,” said Lam. “There is an overall bull market but it has only been this year for mining.”
“The catalyst was COVID,” said Lam. “The miners gained attention post-COVID. Now there is a lot of excitement and we’re seeing historical new highs in gold prices. But this is the early stage.”
During bull markets, the usual sequence is for the commodities to move higher, then the large producing mining companies, then the mid-tier. At that point, the table is set for developers and explorers to make significant gains. Etruscus will be releasing results at an ideal time to position itself as an explorer to watch in the Golden Triangle. If those results are encouraging, Lam’s shareholders should be in line for a solid return in a rising market.