Hope Brook holds an indicated resource totaling 16.2 million tonnes grading 2.3 grams gold per tonne for 1.2 million oz., Big Ridge said in a news release on Tuesday. The inferred resource totals 2.2 million tonnes grading 3.3 grams for 231,000 ounces.
The total indicated gold ounces have increased 43% and the total inferred gold ounces have increased 110% compared with estimates from 2015 by First Mining Gold (TSX: FF). Big Ridge acquired the property as an earn-in transaction with First Mining in 2021.
That 2015 estimate, which was repeated in a 2021 filing, showed Hope Brook held an indicated gold resource totaling 5.5 million tonnes grading 4.8 grams for 844,000 oz. and inferred resources totaling 836,000 tonnes grading 4.1 grams for 110,000 oz. based on a 3 gram per tonne cut-off grade and a long-term gold price of $1,200.
“The old resource was based on an underground scenario,” president and chief executive officer Mike Bandrowski said in an emailed reply to questions about the drop in grade. “Today’s announcement contemplates both options but the majority as an open pit.”
The per tonne cut-off grades in this year’s estimate were 2 grams underground and 0.4 gram in pit, while the company used a long-term gold price of $1,750 per ounce.
“In less than two years the Big Ridge team has made a significant impact at Hope Brook and is excited to continue expanding the Hope Brook deposit,” Bandrowski said in the release. “The next priority will be to continue drilling the main zone toward the southwest and the 240 zone at depth.”
Big Ridge also plans detailed exploration of several targets including Old Man’s Pond, Woodman’s Droke, Phillips Brook and Cross Gulch. And it wants to conduct preliminary exploration of the lithium potential along 30 km of the Bay d’Est fault structure on Hope Brook’s northern boundary, the company said.
Big Ridge paid C$500,000 and 11.5 million of its shares to First Mining for 51% of Hope Brook and continues as operator if it spends C$10 million on exploration within three years. First Mining has 49%.
According to Tuesday’s release, the pit and underground main zone holds 15.6 million indicated tonnes grading 2.25 grams gold per tonne for 1.1 million oz. contained metal. The corresponding inferred resource is 221,000 tonnes grading 2.96 grams for 21,000 ounces.
The 240 zone in pit and underground has 544,000 indicated tonnes grading 4.3 grams for 75,000 oz. contained gold; and the corresponding inferred resource is 2 million tonnes grading 3.3 grams for 210,000 oz., the company said.
The estimates were gleaned from results of the company’s recently completed phase one drill program plus 700 other drill holes in its database.
The 260-sq.-km project benefits from a 28-person camp, an 1,100-metre airstrip, an ice-free docking facility and a substation linked to the provincial power grid. Significant exploration potential remains, Big Ridge says.