More 60 North Mining
Back in the 1990’s some television shows exposed the rugged beauty, challenging climate, and personality differences of city folk on holiday, to outdoorsman, adventurer, prospector, settler to tribal peoples. The differences were striking but the heartiness and resourcefulness was a common similarity of the people of the Canadian shield; of the Northwest Territories. Dr. David Webb is one of these characters: scientist, athlete, PhD geologist, prospector and adventurer. He has spent his career in this once remote region working on sites and prospecting during his university education till today. He is a definitive expert in this region.
Dr. Webb was mining at the Mon mine within the region of the Giant and Con mines, just down the road from the Discovery mine. The Mon mine is the heart of 60 North Gold and although it cannot boast resource claim like that of the incredible Giant and Con mine, it is within the same geological system. For those of you who do not know of the Con Mine it was discovered in 1935 by Cominco (Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada) and its name is an abbreviation for consolidated. Th Con mine produced over 5,000,000 ozt of gold from 12,195,585 tons of ore processed and was over 1.8 km in depth! The Giant mine lived up to its name and entered production in 1948 ceasing operations in 2004. It produced over 7,000,000 ozt of gold. These were enormous discoveries within the Yellowstone Greenstone Belt. This belt is a s an Archean greenstone belt, which among other things often contain ore deposits of gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead.
Dr. Webb is the president and CEO of 60 North Gold and has spent his life in challenging environments’ prospecting and mining gold advising and studying the geology, projects and potential regions for development. He has spent most of his career understanding the geology, structure and science of the Northwest Territories. We know today that this region, although considered isolated by many in todays transportation accessibility easy to get to Yellowknife by plane, or by truck. Obviously, it was far more challenging in the past but like all treasure finders, pioneers, frontiersmen and adventurers the journey is part of the excitement; perhaps, in some cases just as important as the discovery.
We must remember this region is relatively new. The Yellowknife settlement was founded in 1934 after gold was found in the area, but commercial development had not begun until 1936. Yellowknife quickly became the centre of economic activity in the NWT and was named the capital of the Northwest Territories in 1967. As gold production began to wane, Yellowknife shifted from being a mining town to a centre of government services in the 1980s. Miners had began scouring other regions as flight, infrastructure and technological advancements opened up surface, near surface and the so called low hanging fruit. The world has been combed over and most of the easily accessible and achievable resources have been discovered. In 1991 the discovery of diamonds north of the city opened business and the economy and that brought tourism. city hosts a number of events, including the Frostbite 45 ski, the Diavik 150 Canadian Championship Dog Derby, and the SnowKing Winter Festival, which involves the construction of a snow castle on Great Slave Lake. Now future engineers could practice building magnificent structures out of ice and snow!
As is in all things natural there are cycles. Mining comes in and out of favor, regions are easier or harder to develop but meanwhile technology improves, and infrastructure provides economic feasibility to smaller, once forgotten projects. This escalation of technology has a price. Energy and technology require the mining of metals, elements and ore and these resources are becoming critical to nations and countries. This region is ready to become wealthy, again.
In so many cases with prospectors I have found that there are unique stories to how deposits and discoveries are made. The Discovery Mine itself which is close to 60 Norths Golds Mon brownfield operation. the first “mining boom” of the early 20th century resulted from the discovery of surface deposits by prospectors using traditional methods, while later discoveries required aerial detection to hidden deposits. Today modern science and technology has developed to unlock hidden resources and once forgotten mines can become economical and potential wildly profitable. The story of the Discovery mine is an interesting one in because it touches on the personalities, the mindset and how unlikely events can lead us to fortunate happenstances with nature.
In 1944 Alfred Giauque packed for a week of prospecting and was dropped off by plane 100 km north of Yellowknife. Well, after a week of work the pilot had not returned to pick up the prospector. Alfred Giauque or Fred was a rugged man, and more than resourceful. Men of this grit are harder to come by but can still be found prospecting and ‘roughing it’: a mixture of scientist and survivalist. He went on to hunt birds, fish and await pickup. Days passed and the realization began to set in that the perhaps the only way back home was the 100km portage back to Yellowknife. That is an incredible ordeal if one was prepared but this was after the week’s food was gone. At the same time people began to realize that he was missing, and people were trying to figure out where he was. He was not attentive to letting people know his movements! He made the decision to start on his way back. He steadied himself for this arduous journey to Yellowknife against the backdrop of a quickly encroaching Fall. Fred made way down river as the townsfolk of Yellowknife tracked down that the last person to see him was the pilot who had not gone to pick him up. The plane left to find him. They did find Fred downriver, camped some 50 km away. That spot would be the Discover mine. Fred had stopped to camp at the spot and upon building out for the night came upon promising geology, alterations and at surface mineralization. A story of rescue and discovery! Nature only reveals her riches to the determined.
The Discovery Mine produced a million tons of ore, and 1 million ounces of gold were recovered between 1949 and 1969. 3,100 ounces of gold was recovered from 10,000 tons of ore with recovered grade of 10.63 grams per tonne for royalty purposes. In total, it is estimated that 15,000 ounces of gold were recovered from 15,000 tonnes of ore contained in 15 m of elevation from the west limb (West Stope) and 15 m of elevation from 15 to 20 m of strike-length on the east limb. What is key to remember is that there are no known resources or reserves on the Mon Gold Property and the presence of mineral deposits on properties adjacent to or in close proximity to the Mon Gold Property is not necessarily indicative of mineralization on the Mon Gold Property. This mine may not be expansive and massive like Kirkland Lake, Giant or Mon but perhaps the sheer hosted properties of VMS style deposits unexplored at Mon do I hide massive potential?
The team at 60 North Gold, and particularly David Webb who has worked the Con mine in the past see many similarities to the Con and the Discovery mines. The mineralization identified in what 60 North Gold calls the A-Zone appears to be a viable exploration target for a “Discovery Mine” type of deposit. This is more than exploration. This is a team ready to rework a mine that they worked before, chasing a vein as they did in the old days and creating revenue. This idea of renovating a site and proving it up while mining, while extracting at a high metallurgical rate is promising because it means there is a thesis and business plan set with achievable targets. 60 North has the potential to fund its operations while raising money only if it needs to or wishes to explore impactful, high grade zones. This is a great story of how the new approach is an improved version of old models, where the next generation takes the knowledge of the previous and builds upon it.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Andrew O’Donnell, was paid for this article and have bought stock.
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