It all started with a prospector named Don McKinnon. This was a man who was convinced that the mother of all motherlodes lay buried at Helmo. Following his instincts, he staked 20K claims along the north shore of Lake Superior. Back then, mineral claims were staked the old fashioned way... on foot, one post at a time. Curiously, McKinnon began this ambitious staking campaign within 100 meters of the Trans Canada Hwy. This was the early 1980's.
Five years ago, Tommy Humpherys breathed life back into the story via a wonderful CBC documentary, one which involves all of the key players from that famous camp (fans of Murray Pezim - aka The Pez - take note)...
This is one of those (older) classic CBC documentaries that is worth taking a serious look at - it's patina makes it all the more authentic IMO...
Flush fact: the Hemlo greenstone belt has given up in excess of 22 million ounces of gold over the decades.
(aerial shot courtesy of SUMAC)
At the Williams underground and open pit mine, Barrick is still pulling gold out of the ground at Hemlo. With a reserve of 1.7 million ounces in the proven and probable category (24.9 million tonnes grading 2.21 grams per tonne), Barrick expects to produce anywhere from 200,000-220,000 ounces in 2018. All-in sustaining costs are expected to run between US$975 - $1,075 per ounce.
Don McKinnon goes down in Canadian mining history as one of the greatest prospectors of our time. His legacy lives on.
Canadian Orebodies Inc (CORE.V) is a Hemlo focused exploration company run by Gordon McKinnon, son of the famous prospector.
(Gordon McKinnon at Barrick’s Hemlo mine - image courtesy of Pinnacle Digest)
I've always been drawn to these 'story stocks' involving family, the pick and shovel passed down from one generation to the next. But there's more to this story than simply a good-read...
Gordon's company is currently the largest landholder in the Hemlo camp. He's determined to pick up where his father left off, looking for the next major discovery along this famed greenstone belt. And he may just have the geology to pull it off - some 26,850 hectares of prospective terrain, according to my math.
There are a number of targets that could see drilling in the upcoming field season, but the one I'm particularly interested in is the 'Black Raven Project'.
In March of this year, CORE announced a series of surface gold discoveries (outcrops and sub outcrops) along a trending structural corridor - a 2km zone of alteration - bounded by two regional shear zones: the Beggs Lake and Fallen Lake Faults.
Commenting on this important new discovery, CEO McKinnon stated:
"After two months of systematic prospecting and grab sampling throughout the Black Raven Property, our crew was successful in identifying a brand new two-kilometre long zone of alteration that yielded gold values up to 109.0 gpt (ABC Occurrence) in grab samples. Late in the season, we took an eight-kilometre step-out along strike to the southeast and incredibly, similar quartz veining in outcrop was located in mafic rocks which returned gold grades up to 11.9 gpt. This is a significant new development in our Hemlo exploration efforts and represents a virgin high grade discovery, only 25 kilometres from Barrick’s headframe. With the recent acquisition of the Goodchild Lake property, Orebodies now controls the vast majority of the potential strike of this new and exciting high grade gold structure."
Highlights from the 2017 exploration program on the Black Raven Property include:
Discovery of high grade quartz sub-cropping float over a 50 square metre area near Roccian Lake containing 2-3% pyrite, +/- galena and locally fine specks of visible gold which assayed up to 109.0 gpt Au. Host rocks were highly silicified tonalite, of the Beggs Lake Stock, that typically displayed weak to moderate quartz-carbonate alteration.
A series of flat lying, en-echelon quartz veins also hosted by the Beggs Lake Stock, located 300 metres southwest of the above high grade samples. Assays returned results of up to 11.6 gpt Au. This occurrence consists of narrow, stacked ~30 degree dipping quartz veins containing 1-4% pyrite within hematized tonalite of the Beggs Lake Stock. To date the vein system has been traced over a 60 metre strike length.
Northeast Beggs Zone:
Numerous, low grade (maximum 1.3 gpt Au), north to northeast trending quartz tourmaline vein/vein systems near the northern contact of the Beggs Lake Stock were discovered. Tourmaline occurs as disseminations, blebs to semi-massive to massive aggregates within the vein systems and wallrock.
Tibia (Lucky Lake) Occurrence:
The Tibia (Lucky Lake) Occurrence where quartz veins, containing 1-2% pyrite, +/- chalcopyrite, galena assayed up to 14.7 gpt Au. The Lucky Lake Occurrence is located approximately 1,800 metres east southeast along the mineralized corridor from the ABC and Gold Shore discoveries near Roccian Lake.
Contact Lake Prospect:
The Contact Lake Prospect is located approximately 8 kilometres east southeast of Roccian Lake along trend near the contact zone between supracrustal rocks of the Hemlo greenstone belt and the Black Pic Batholith. The occurrence is poorly understood as only one day of reconnaissance prospecting was carried out in the area. North to northeast trending veins were noted along a creek bed within a mafic body in the batholith that contained trace to 1% pyrite/chalcopyrite and galena. Grab sampling results included assayed up to 11.9 gpt Au.
It's important to note that this discovery at Black Raven - the receipt of actual assays - occurred fairly late in the 2017 field season. The snow was beginning to fly and only a limited amount of follow-up prospecting could be carried out before they were forced to shut things down for the winter.
What CORE has at Black Raven is a gold-bearing structure that can be traced for over 8 kms. It remains open to the east and west. Significant grabs along this structure yielded 109.0 gpt Au, 46.8 gpt Au, 15.0 gpt Au, 14.7 gpt Au, 11.9 gpt, Au, 11.6 gpt Au, 9.7 gpt Au and 7.8 gpt Au.
A quote from Bruce MacLachlan, Canadian Orebodies’ Prospector...
“Beginning at Beggs Lake in July 2017, prospecting partner Coleman Robertson and I started to recognize significant silicification, pyrite, and quartz ± tourmaline veining in outcrops and boulders, including what appeared to be extensional, flat-lying gold bearing quartz veins, at numerous locations near the northern and western contact of the Beggs Lake Stock. My career began in Hemlo during the summer of 1983 for Noranda Exploration where for 18 years we carried out exploration programs in the region including north of Marathon. Based on my experience and intimate knowledge of the Hemlo Camp, I believe that the highly anomalous gold values and altered rocks located during the 2017 field season suggest that Orebodies may be on the verge of a new gold discovery in the highly prolific Hemlo Greenstone Belt”.
CEO McKinnon and his team are likely chomping at the bit (pun intended), eager to mobilize a drill rig or two to the Black Raven project.
Two airborne surveys are on deck, followed by extensive prospecting, mapping, and sampling. This, in order to hone in on potential sweet spots, to prioritize targets for a summer drilling campaign.
An update on their 2018 exploration program should be the next piece of news down the pike.
Looking under the hood:
CORE's cap-structure is reasonably tight. I must say, I like it when a company makes their share structure an easy find. It shows they have nothing to hide. CORE puts it right at the top of the list under their 'Investors' link.
Note the cash position at $2.5 million - more than enough to move this new discovery along.
I like this company. I like the people running it (managements' resumes can be perused here). I like the terrain, the jurisdiction, the geological setting. With a market-cap of < $15M Cdn, a substantial hit with the drill bit could add a whole new chapter to the McKinnon/Hemlo story.
We stand to watch.
~ ~ Dirk Diggler
Disclaimer: ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH and consult with a licensed investment professional before making investment decisions. This article SHOULD NOT be used as a basis for making any investment.