Northern Ontario is world famous for its mining operations and for good reason considering the geological nature of the province. The mining rush in Northern Ontario, started in the silver mining camps of Cobalt and Gowganda, which historically produced over 600 million ounces of silver before gold discoveries were made a little further north. Gold quickly became the sought after mineral in Ontario and most of the mining operations wound up shifting their focus.
However, new developments in both Cobalt and Gowganda would suggest that the area is far from done producing precious metals and maybe if we are lucky… Diamonds… but that’s for another article. Several Explorers have been active in the area and having some great success! With the rising price of gold and silver and the mining industry as a whole heating up, we suggest that investors pay very close attention to what’s happening here in Northern, Ontario because we may be in for an exciting few years.
Abandoned mine properties and claims are being revisited and explored with great success. Examples of this can be found all over the world, but for the purpose of this article we will focus on the Abitibi Greenstone belt which is one of the largest greenstone belts in the world with historic production of over 160 million ounces of gold. You know what they say; the best place to find a mine is next to a mine. So, why not in the Abitibi? After all, it is host to some of Ontario’s most successful producing mining operations.
This article will focus on the Gowganda region of the Abitibi and in particular the deposits that surround the iMetal Resources property in the Gowganda West shining tree camp, due to the fact it may be one of the most under explored areas along the Cadillac Larder Lake break. The C/LL break is host to several gold camps including and not limited to Kirkland Lake Gold (Macassa mine) and Alamos’ Young-Davidson Mine, which is located just 40 kms away from the iMetal Property. These two operations have a combined historic production of over 34 million ounces of gold. While not in the immediate Gowganda area, it still highlights the opportunities that can be found along this fault system.
In Gowganda, the C/LL break gets broken up by a series of North/South trending faults which run right through the Gowganda mining camp and may very well be feeders to the mineralization we see in the region. This area has been relatively under explored due to the fact that it gets overlapped by Temiskaming aged conglomerates known as the indian lake group. The geological features are not well understood but iMetal resources is looking to unlock the true potential of this region.
Before we get into the iMetal property let’s have a look at some of the mining operations on trend with Gowganda, which might offer some indications of what treasures might be hiding deep within the earth.
The Young and Davidson Mine is owned by Alamos Gold and is situated 40 kms North of Gowganda, in Matachewan, Ontario. It is one of the largest underground mines in Canada and produces between 180,000 and 200,000 ounces per year with a proven and probable reserve of 3,262,000 ounces of gold at a grade of 2.67 g/t. The open pit operation of the mine was shut down in 2014 and the companies focus has shifted to underground operations. This long life mine sits right on the Cadillac/Larder Lake Break and does not correlate with the north south trending fault system that make up the Gowganda region, but it offers an indication of potential within the region and along this trend.
To the west of Gowganda, lies IAMGOLD’s Cote Lake deposit. Boasting a 6.5 million ounce Measured and indicated resource, the Cote Lake deposit will produce approximately 380,000 ounces of gold per year grading at .95 g/t for an approximate 18 year mine life. While this mine sits on the Ridout Fault, the same geology applies, as the Ridout fault is believed to be the extension of the Cadillac Larder lake break on the West side of the North/South oriented Grassy Rift Fault and Tyrell shear zone. This low grade high tonnage operation is still under development but again shows the potential along the trend.
Not far to the East, is a company having great success reviving the past producing Castle mine which produced over 40 million ounces of silver historically. Only 18 kms away from Gowganda, Cobalt Canada Works has recently intercepted some incredible drill strikes of silver, to the tune of 50,583.29 g/t Ag over 0.60 meters within 1.5 meters of 20,741 g/t (587 oz/ton) and 4 meters (core length) of 7,259 g/t. Impressive as that is they also hit the same structure above and below extending the strike which is still open in all directions. Furthermore, they also hit some unexpected gold grades of 5.8 g/t over 2.4 metres which the company intends to follow up on in the very near future. In addition to their successful drilling, they just acquired Polymet labs in Cobalt, which now makes them a fully integrated mine to mill operation.
Just to the North of The iMetal Resource and Pan American silver’s, Juby deposit, is the Orefinders property. Orefinders, recently completed an IP survey highlighting a high chargeability , low resistivity anomaly that runs around 250m wide and 300m long which will be the focus of the companies exploration efforts on their Porphyry lake zone. They are also re visiting a past producing mine on their property in the Tyranite Mine, which showed excellent grades in historic drilling of 10 g/t over 14m and 8 g/t over 8m. They also drilled into a Breccia pipe with great success hitting 18 g/t over 65m within a broader range of 13 g/t over 85m. They have also identified 11 more breccias pipes to follow up on from their surface sampling program.
Next up is the Juby deposit, owned by Pan American Silver and less than a half a kilometer to the North of the iMetal property, this deposit may be the best indication of what’s to come for IMR. Juby has an indicated resource of 26.6 million tonnes grading 1.28 g/t Au and additional inferred resource of 96.2 million tonnes grading at .98 g/t for an approximate indicated and inferred resource of 4 million ouces. The Juby property is one of the only project that Pan American silver has not started developing since acquiring Tahoe Resources and the Juby deposit.
Finally, we take a look at the iMetal Resources (TSX.V:IMR) property which is contiguous to the Juby deposit and is showing indications of a very large Hydrothermal system. The company did a maiden drilling program last year under an outcrop just 500m away from the Juby deposit. Unfortunately, with limited geophysical data, they wound up drilling right over top of an anomaly and in between what looks like two hydrothermal plumes, this was brought to light by a recent IP surveys.
The IP surveys were done in Zone 1 and Zone 3 and identified anomalies in both locations. Zone 3 became the focus of the companies 2020 drilling campaign as they had already had great success in grab and channel sampling which returned high grade grab samples (up to 56 g/t Au) and several high grade channel samples (up to 23.67 g/t over 0.30 m). For more detailed information from the IP surveys please watch the IP block model breakdown with Dave Gamble.
The first drill hole encountered strong and extensive alteration to a depth of 500 m and as a result the hole was extended to the rigs full capacity of 752 m to the end of the hole. The company reported that they intersected hydrothermal alteration from 160 m to 235 m, with ~75 meters of a meta-sedimentary sequence showing extensive silicification, and bleached pale to medium grey mudstone with trace to 3% fine grained disseminated pyrite sulphide mineralization.
The hole then encountered a second, much larger section of hydrothermal alteration from 235 to 752 meters in a meta-sedimentary sequence with a conformable contact to a polymictic pebble conglomerate. This conglomerate exhibits evidence of hydrothermal alteration with a number of sections displaying very strong pervasive replacement silicification and also contains local fine-grained disseminated trace to 3% pyrite in the matrix.
So while we don’t yet know what iMetal Resources is into yet, you certainly get a sense of the opportunity the Gowganda area offers exploration companies by digging into the regions local mining operations and geology. While the mining started in this region of Ontario, we believe it still holds many secrets which are slowly being unlocked by exploration companies. In a bull market this area could see an influx of interest if the aforementioned companies continue to have great success.
For more information on regional geology please watch our videos featuring Dave Gamble below.
We currently hold position in IMR and may buy or sell at any given time without notice. IMR is a sponsor of Insidexploration, however the thoughts and opinions of the author are their own and do not represent the companies thoughts and opinions.
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