Betting on a name and the glory of gold
Deciding which of Sunvest’s project is the main play depends on one’s point of view. If I reached into the bag and pulled out the Roy Mine as something I could take home I would be a happy man indeed. However, the main game at Sunvest Minerals Corp. (TSXV: SSS) as far as the public is concerned is the McKinnon-Hawkins Gold Project.
McKinnon-Hawkins Gold Project
The McKinnon property is a 364 claim unit property covering 5,824 ha. It is one of three properties that collectively form Sunvest’s Puskuta Gold Project and together cover over 32 km of strike length of the Puskuta Deformation Zone. The project is located in the Hawkins and Walls Townships, Sault Ste. Marie & Porcupine Mining Divisions, Ontario.
Understandably being in close proximity to such storied mining camps the McKinnon property is well served with access infrastructure being accessible by all-weather logging roads extending south from Hearst, Ontario. Hearst is located on Trans-Canada Highway 11, has a population of approximately 5,090, and is the northern terminus of Algoma Central Railway. The property is actually crossed by the Algoma Central Railway and is in close proximity to the Canadian National Railway at Oba Station. Eventually ore could be loaded on nearby railway and railed to Hemlo for milling.
First Some History
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Not wanting to miss an opportunity to highlight that the property has “pedigree” the use of the name McKinnon has considerable logic. The property was initially staked by the late Donald McKinnon in 1997, based on having similar geological characteristics to the Hemlo gold deposits (+ 20 million ounces and three mines) located 140 km to the southwest. The deposit has been sporadically explored for gold beginning with the discovery of the Taylor Prospect in 1923. The concession hosts the former Shenango Gold Mine that produced intermittently between 1937 and 1945. Exploration by Falconbridge from 1983 to 1986 was the most comprehensive exploration program on the property with drilling and trenching defining an auriferous shear zone with values of 0.5 to 4.0 g/t Au over 4 to 30 m widths along a 3.7 km trend. This yielded the data for the resource which we shall discuss anon.
Interestingly the current team includes Don Mckinnon Jr. who worked on the property for his father as a young prospector plus Robert Weicker, a past chief geologist at Hemlo amongst others.
The concession straddles the one kilometre wide Puskuta Deformation Zone that is a steeply-dipping, dextral, transcurrent deformation zone that on a regional scale bounds the south side of the Kabinakagami Lake greenstone belt and controls the location of gold mineralization. This deformation zone is interpreted as a gold mineralized fault structure that potentially links the Destor-Porcupine Deformation Zone to the east with the Hemlo Deformation Zone to the west. In the opinion of consultant that wrote the NI43-101 compliant resource report the McKinnon deposit has characteristics of shear-hosted orogenic gold deposits in a medium metamorphic grade environment.
The property is underlain by predominately Archean rocks of the Kabinakagami Lake greenstone belt that is part of the Wawa Subprovince of the Superior Province in the Canadian Shield. This east-west trending belt is one to six kilometers wide and composed of predominantly metavolcanic and metasedimentary rocks.
Gold mineralization on the McKinnon property is mainly associated with the sheared contact of the tonalite and adjacent mafic metavolcanic rocks to the north. Mineralization is associated with sericite-pyrite-silica alteration and higher gold values are generally found in felsic rocks that have been highly silicified. The main zone of gold mineralization is a 3.7 km long zone of low-grade gold mineralization that has been defined to approximately 200 m depth. Within the deposit there are a number of higher grade historical occurrences including the past-producing Shenango Gold Mine.
Falconbridge Weighs In
The Falconbridge exploration work undertaken from 1983 to 1986 included 79 diamond drill holes for a total of approximately 14,282 m and excavation of approximately 36 trenches for surface sampling. This drilling and trenching defined an auriferous shear zone with values of 0.5 to 4.0 g/t Au over 4 to 30 m widths along a 3.7 km trend. The majority of the Falconbridge holes tested the zone at depths of less than 200 m. Two deep holes (GO-75 & 76) confirmed that the zone persists to approximately 700 m.
The data from the work done by Falconbridge forms the basis of the current Resource Estimate. This resource is categorized as Inferred with 239,100 ounces of gold based on an open-pit application, estimated Inferred Resources of 4,957,000 tonnes at a grade of 1.50 g/t Au.
The company is now in the throes of its own drilling campaign on the deposit with five holes drilled so far.
With the long drought in mining investment coming to an end in 2016 it became obvious that many years of underinvestment in new exploration meant that the “pipeline was dry” particularly in the gold space that voraciously demands ever more projects.
With projects in outlandish locations still under a cloud due to excessive capex restraints it falls to projects in the “tried and true” locations that have pedigree (and road and rail) to fill the gap. It will be interesting to follow the evolution of work at McKinnon over coming months hopefully with a view towards an expanded and upgraded resource and an eventual mine plan. Those three evergreen words still hold true, production, production and production.
Christopher Ecclestone is a Principal and mining strategist at Hallgarten & Company in London. Prior to founding Hallgarten & Company in New York in 2003 ... <Read more about Christopher Ecclestone>