- VMS deposit in northwest British Columbia, Canada
- Numerous mineralized showings open along strike and to depth
- Excellent potential to add substantial tonnage
- Clusters of showings and deposits along a 20-km belt
- Favourable exploration results from Noranda and Atna Resources
- Easy access to supply Asian markets with concentrate
- Services, supplies and workers available from Kitimat, Prince Rupert and Terrace
- Natural tidewater harbour 12 km south of Packsack deposit off Douglas Channel, leading to open Pacific Ocean
- Similar geological environment to producing Myra Falls Mine and past-producing Britannia Mine, BC
- Abundant potential power from Kitimat (liquefied natural gas and/or underwater electric cable)
- Local First Nations open to business development
- Lake and/or river water available nearby
- No farms or ranches nearby
- Near to natural harbour on ocean
In 1985, Noranda geologists stated, “The Packsack is a volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit hosted by highly metamorphosed felsic volcanics. Results of the geochemical analysis show the deposit may contain economic grades of copper, zinc, silver and gold. The Packsack showing may have the potential for a polyme-tallic massive sulphide deposit similar to the H.W. deposit on Vancouver Island, BC.”
The H.W. deposit is one of the largest, if not the largest, member of a cluster of VMS deposits comprising Nystar’s producing Myra Falls Mine. During 2011, the Myra Falls Mine produced 36,000 tonnes of zinc, 4,200 tonnes of copper, 800 tonnes of lead as well as 12,400 ounces of gold and 574,000 ounces of silver (all in concentrate). Myra Falls has been in produc-tion since 1966.
The mineralized area measures intermittently over 1,500 metres by 60 metres along a 150-degree trend. The Horsefly Zone has returned a surface assay grading 3.8% zinc, 33.0 grams silver/tonne, 0.5 grams gold/tonne and 0.4% copper. Atna Resources carried out an eight-hole diamond drilling program in 1995 on the Horsefly showing that returned 3.0 metres grading 1.543% copper (Hole 95HF8) as well as 2.8 metres of 1.685% copper (Hole 96HF6). The highest grades encountered were in hole 95HF4 that assayed 5.637% copper over 0.3 metres and 3.532% copper over 0.6 metres. The Horsefly mineralization is open along strike.
Combining of the claim groups, held by two mineral land holders into one large project, the Ecstall River Project offers an opportunity to explore and develop an entire mining camp. This polymetallic volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) project comprises a roughly 20-km belt hosted in metasediments and metavolcanic rocks, starting about 12 km north of tidewater on Douglas Channel, northwest British Columbia. The belt contains a number of discreet deposits and showings displaying concentrations of copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver. About 52 km northeast of the Ecstall River Project lies the town of Kitimat, home to Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter, located at the head of Douglas Channel, where the building of at least two liquefied natural gas generating stations is planned. Other service and supply centres include the town of Terrace and the Port of Prince Rupert.
The claim groups are 100%-owned and/or controlled by Winrock Resources (southern portion – Packsack deposit, Horsefly, Steelhead and Thirteen Creek Cirque showings) and Mindat Research Corp. (northern portion – Ecstall deposit). At the present time, helicopter is the fastest and most practical way to access the various claim groups.
In addition to numerous identified mineralized showings, Winrock’s Packsack deposit hosts 2.7 million tonnes grading 0.5% copper, 34 grams silver/tonne and 0.3 grams gold/tonne and is open for expansion. Mindat’s Ecstall deposit hosts 6.35 million tonnes grading 0.6% copper, 20.0 grams silver/tonne, 0.5 grams gold/tonne and 2.5% zinc.
These types of VMS deposits in British Columbia, which usually occur in clusters along a trend, hosted extremely successful mining operations. Nystar’s Myra Falls Mine south of Campbell River, Vancouver Island, has been in operation for 46 years. The Britannia Mine on Howe Sound north of Vancouver, was once the largest copper producer in the British Empire. Between 1905 and 1977, the Britannia ore bodies yielded approximately 47.8 million tonnes of ore grading 1.1% copper, 0.65% zinc, 6.8 grams silver/tonne and 0.6 grams gold/tonne.
With further financing and/or a joint venture partner, Winrock Resources is planning to commence a diamond drilling program with the objectives of bringing the historical resources up to NI 43-101 reporting standards and to investigate the potential of expanding the known mineralized showings that remain open along strike and to depth.
Packsack Deposit Details
The Packsack deposit (two lenses), located 10 km south of Johnston Lake, has been explored intermittently since 1957, including work by Ecstall Mining, TexasGulf, E & B Explorations Inc. and Welcome North Mines Ltd. Geophysics and soil sampling were carried out. In 1960, 11 drill holes totaling 2,891 feet were completed over a strike length of approximately 2,000 feet. All holes intersected massive and semi-massive, pyrite-rich sulphides with sphalerite and chalcopyrite. Noranda optioned the property in 1985, staked more claims and carried out airborne EM surveys, ground geophysics, geology and rock geochemistry. In 1989, Cominco optioned the deposit and, in 1990, they drilled three holes totaling 934 metres.
The Packsack deposit hosts historic unclassified resources of 2,700,000 tonnes grading 0.5% copper, 0.3 grams gold/tonne, 34 grams silver/tonne as well as zinc credits. The southern body, up to 6 metres wide and traced for 365 metres, is open at depth and along strike in both directions.
In 1985, Noranda geologists stated, “The Packsack is a volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit hosted by highly metamorphosed felsic volcanics. Results of the geochemical analysis show the deposit may contain economic grades of copper, zinc, silver and gold. The Packsack showing may have the potential for a polymetallic massive sulphide deposit similar to the H.W. deposit on Vancouver Island, BC.”
The H.W. deposit is one of the largest, if not the largest, member of a cluster of VMS deposits comprising Nystar’s producing Myra Falls Mine. During 2011, the Myra Falls Mine produced 36,000 tonnes of zinc, 4,200 tonnes of copper, 800 tonnes of lead as well as 12,400 ounces of gold and 574,000 ounces of silver (all in concentrate). Myra Falls has been in production since 1966. It is characteristic of VMS deposits to form in clusters along a trend that makes this project so attractive.
Horsefly Zone Details
Located southeast of the Packsack deposit, the Horsefly Zone hosts massive and disseminated pyrite and minor sphalerite (zinc), chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite occurring along a shear zone within highly metamorphosed felsic volcanic. The mineralized area measures intermittently over 1,500 metres by 60 metres along a 150-degree trend.
The Horsefly Zone has returned a surface assay grading 3.8% zinc, 33.0 grams silver/tonne, 0.5 grams gold/tonne and 0.4% copper. Atna Resources carried out an eight-hole diamond drilling program in 1995 on the Horsefly showing that returned 3.0 metres grading 1.543% copper (Hole 95HF8) as well as 2.8 metres of 1.685% copper (Hole 96HF6). The highest grades encountered were in hole 95HF4 that assayed 5.637% copper over 0.3 metres and 3.532% copper over 0.6 metres. The Horsefly mineralization is open along strike.
In 1995, with support from the Explore B.C. Program, Atna Resources, under joint venture with Ecstall Mining Corp., conducted an electromagnetic survey and diamond drilling (1075 metres in 8 holes) on the Horsefly and Steelhead (103H 036) showings. A 20-metre wide zone of disseminated massive sulphides was located by two of the drill holes and traced for 90 metres. It is open in all directions. Three other targets located by EM survey remain to be drill tested (Explore B.C. Program 95/96 - M59).
Thirteen Creek Cirque Zone
In the Atna Resources report of September 1995, Dr. Giles Peatfield, P.Eng, notes that a third type of mineralization has been described by Schmidt (1995) as disseminated and fracture controlled chalcopyrite and pyrite, with lesser amounts of bornite and locally malachite.
The Thirteen Creek Cirque showing is northwest of the Packsack deposit along the arc, and has returned a very high-grade assay of 8.06% copper, 350.0 grams silver/tonne, 2.4 grams gold/tonne and 0.5300% zinc. This showing is exposed over a strike length of 2,000 metres and across surface widths of 5–54 metres. The mineralized zone appears to be, on average, between 50 and 100 metres across strike.
From 1985 to 1987, Falconbridge explored the Thirteen Creek Cirque Zone. Work included airborne geophysics, geological mapping, soil, silt and rock sampling and five diamond drill holes.
Discovered in the 1890s, the Ecstall deposit was originally viewed as a source of sulphur from the large quantity of pyrite present. Surface and underground drilling was conducted and a trial shipment of pyrite was sent to the Victoria Chemical Works. This was followed up in 1918-1919 by Granby Consolidated Mining, Smelting and Power as a possible source of copper ore. At the time, this area was known as Red Gulch.
In 1966, TGS re-opened the main adit and slashed out 10 tons of massive sulphides from several areas that were shipped to the Kidd Creek facility in Timmins, Ontario for bulk assays and metallurgical studies. The Ecstall deposit (two lenses) hosts historic unclassified resources of 6,349,700 tonnes grading 0.6% copper, 20.0 grams silver/tonne, 0.5 grams gold/tonne and 2.5% zinc. Atna’s Dr. Peatfield views the Ecstall deposits as a potential underground mining operation since “the attitude of the lenses and their relatively good widths suggest mining would not be as expensive as underground operations [generally] go.”
The Mindat Research claim group, comprising Crown grants, also contains several known mineralized showings that warrant further exploration.
In 1994, Atna Resources carried out line cutting, geological mapping, soil and rock sampling. Dr. Peatfield recommended further work in this under-explored zone.
The Steelhead showing, about 12 km from tidewater on Douglas Channel and 900 metres southeast of the Horsefly Zone, is underlain by intercalated felsic and intermediate volcanics and fine clastic sediments. The rocks include sericite schist, quartz sericite schist, pyritic quartz sericite schist, chlorite schist, andesite, tuff, greywacke, siltstone, and argillite. Pyrite, sphalerite, and chalcopyrite occur in the pyritic quartz sericite schist. Sampling of a pyritic horizon gave assays up to 0.3% copper, 3.8% zinc, and 5.8 grams silver/tonne silver (Assessment Report 15491).
Another sample collected on the Steelhead grid (103H 036) assayed 1.08% copper, 0.974% zinc, 0.0018% lead, 28 grams silver/tonne, and 0.42 grams gold/tonne gold (Assessment Report 15306).
Other mineralized targets on the combined claim groups that warrant follow-up exploration include the South Grid East, Sphalerite, West Grid, Phoebe Creek, Mariposite, Trench, Third Outcrop and East Plateau, all situated along the arc of mineralized showings and known deposits.
Phoebe Creek Zone; Mineralization in the Phoebe Creek area consists of stringer and disseminated chalcopyrite within quartz-sericite-kyanite schist and mixed gneiss. The stringers are 1 to 3 centimetres wide and a few metres long. A grab sample (AD01939) contained 6.56 per cent copper, 0.0296 per cent zinc, 19.1 grams per tonne silver and 0.15 grams per tonne gold (Assessment Report 16711). The disseminated chalcopyrite occurs in a zone 6.5 metres wide. Seven composite chip samples, taken across 1 metre intervals, indicate that the mineralization is fairly consistent and averages 0.69 per cent copper, 2.22 grams per tonne silver and 0.25 grams per tonne gold (Assessment Report 16711).
West Grid Showing; Disseminated and stringer chalcopyrite and malachite occur in a 120 metre wide belt of quartz-sericite-kyanite schist for about 900 metres. Twelve samples taken along the belt averaged 0.27 per cent copper, with one assaying 1.5 per cent copper (Assessment Report 15488). Seven grab samples of stringer material averaged 3.04 per cent copper, 0.0695 per cent zinc, 11.7 grams per tonne silver, and 1.525 grams per tonne gold (Assessment Report 16711). The area also contains mineralized quartz veins in small shear zones within amphibolite. Mineralization consists of pyrite, chalcopyrite, and pyrrhotite.
Sphalerite Showing; Mineralization at the Sphalerite occurrence consists of a 4 centimetre wide by 2.2 metre long band of sphalerite within a green, medium-grained, calc-silicate horizon at the contact between quartz-chlorite-biotite schist and marble. A grab sample (AD01700) contained 6.00 per cent zinc, 0.06 per cent copper, 1.5 grams per tonne silver and 0.0746 per cent cadmium (Assessment Report 16711).