With Goldcorp increasing its funding in one project, and a new drilling program underway on another, Donald J. Robinson, Ph.D., P.Geo., President and CEO of Eastmain Resources, is riding a wave of fantastic news. Eastmain will be able to develop their Éléonore South property funded by Goldcorp. Years of excellent geological performance, hard work and persistence are beginning to pay off
Eastmain Resources is a Canadian exploration company concentrating on gold and base metal exploration in the northern James Bay, Québec. It has 100% ownership of two gold deposits (1.24M oz), the Eau Claire deposit and the Eastmain Mine with total gold resources of 565,000 ounces (M&I) and 680,000 ounces inferred. They have 12 projects in Québec, four in Ontario and three in New Brunswick.
In February 2008, Les Mines Opinaca Ltée, a wholly owned subsidiary of Goldcorp Inc., exercised its right to increase its interest by 6.67 percent in the Éléonore South, gold exploration project, to a total of 40 percent. In order to earn its additional interest Goldcorp must provide a bankable feasibility study. The Éléonore South JV project is on the southern boundary of Goldcorp’s Éléonore property, which is a joint venture project with Goldcorp, Eastmain and Azimut.
“Opinaca and Goldcorp decided that the district is important enough to fund the project completely to bankable feasibility, giving them a higher percentage of ownership,” said Don Robinson, when we talked with him in March.
Robinson’s excitement is fueled by a 14 kilometer-long gold-in-soil anomaly, detected from 2005 surveys, that occurs near the Roberto gold deposit. Eastmain is now conducting a $1 million drill program on this mine-scale Roberto-type gold target.
“Not only have they decided to fund the project to that level, but for the interim Eastmain is still the operator of the project. So instead of Eastmain having to issue shares to raise capital to pay for exploration, Goldcorp pays 100 percent of everything. In fact, they pay us to explore it, and with a management fee on top,” he said.
“Essentially, we have made a discovery on Goldcorp land, using Goldcorp money. Adding a third gold deposit to our holdings clearly could have a spectacular impact to our company along the way.”
Drill Program Underway at Éléonore South
On March 20, 2008, Eastmain announced that a phase one drill program is underway on Éléonore South to test:
- A combination of geochemical anomalies in rock and soil, which coincide with favorable geological, structural and geophysical criteria indicative of a potential sedimentary-hosted gold deposit.
- The visible gold discovery, a 300-metre by 600-metre gold-in-rock "footprint" with hundreds of meter-long rock channel samples ranging from more than 10 ppb to 37.8 g/t gold.
- Trench ELS-07-1E3, which assayed up to 10.9 g/t Au across 3.0 meters and 5.33 g/t Au over 8.0 meters in separate channels within gold-bearing, siliceous, sedimentary rocks containing disseminated arsenopyrite.
Discussing metal prices, Robinson suggested that gold could soon reach “four digits instead of three digits. That clearly has an immediate impact on those companies that have ounces in the ground that are in good locations, and are likely to see a mill in the future,” he added.
Visible Gold Found at Eau Claire
Eastmain is exploring the Eastmain River area in Northern Québec because it is rich in world-class deposits, but with plenty of unexplored territory remaining. Québec provides substantial financial incentives to companies actively exploring the region. Courtesy of Hydro Québec, Eastmain has also been a beneficiary of newly developed infrastructure and road networks which extend to within 2 kilometers of the Eau Claire deposit.
On April 2nd Eastmain announces initial assay results for the visible gold samples from Eau Claire deposit drilling completed in December 2007. “The average grade of 76 half-metre drill core samples containing visible gold is 70.74 g/t gold or 2.07 ounces per ton. The gold content of these samples ranges from 0.5 to 2,540 g/t gold (74.2 ounces per ton). A total of 180 quartz-tourmaline vein and schist drill intercepts ranging from 0.5 to more than 4.0 metres in thickness were intersected within the Eau Claire gold deposit. Visible gold observed in drill core ranges from 1 to over 100 grains per intercept and varies in size from less than 1 mm to more than 4 mm”
“Exceptional assay results were intersected in the recent drilling. Hole ER07-87 averaged 136.8 g/t gold or 4 ounces per ton over a two-meter interval within the P Vein and hole ER07-98 cut a one-metre section of the R Vein, which assayed 1,313 g/t gold or 38.14 ounces per ton.”
“In December 2007, we finished 51 drill holes into the top of the Eau Claire deposit, which will be the first pit. We collected 180 intersections of the gold-bearing vein material, or six tons of rock. The purpose was to determine the mineable grade, as opposed to the drill grade. In those 180 intercepts, we observed 55 with visible gold,” he said.
Eau Claire (Clearwater) and Éléonore South are two of a number of gold and base metal projects that Eastmain is exploring in James Bay, Quebec.
Eau Claire is a “no-see-um” gold deposit; with gold so fine you don’t normally see it with the naked eye. Actually seeing coarse gold in drill samples confirmed to Eastmain, that there may be more gold present than originally estimated.
“The surface grade, where we channel sampled every five meters on the deposit top, is double what the deeper, wide space drill grade is: 10 grams for the wide-space drilling; 23.5 for the close-space surface sampling. The close-spaced drilling will provide sufficient data to upgrade a portion of the deposit from an indicated to a measured resource, and give us a closer estimate for what mineable grade will be in the future,” he said.
Metallurgic Testing Underway
The drill program also produced six tons of material, allowing Eastmain to send 2,000 samples to Lakefield Research for extensive metallurgic testing. “If you can’t recover the gold, it doesn’t matter what the grade is,” said Robinson. “We are doing this met program in concert with Goldcorp to make sure that we follow the exact path that they’re following. We will see if their Roberto deposit and our Eau Claire deposit could be blended and use the same flow sheet design.”
So far, the Clearwater metallurgical and assay program has found:
- Surface gold grade 23.5 g/t (0.70 oz/ton Au) with 1000 ounces gold per vertical meter
- Indicated resource – 313,191 ounces gold; 1,029,332 tons @ 9.46 g/t gold (8.18 g/t cut)
- Inferred resource – 679,464 ounces gold; 3,049,660 tons @ 6.93,g/t gold (6.53 g/t cut)
“We already know that the metal assemblage present at Eau Claire is actually more interesting and cleaner than Roberto. Their deposit is gold-arsenic-antimony assemblage whereas Eau Claire is a gold-tellurium-silver-bismuth-molybdenum metal suite. Because gold is "free" and heavier than all the other minerals and rock constituents, we know that most of the gold will come out through a gravity circuit,” said Robinson.
The metallurgical program will provide a preview of the recovery values through a typical mill. Eastmain expects to get somewhere between 95 and 98 percent of the gold through a conventional milling process.
“That really brings that project to a much more interesting target for a developing company,” said Robinson. “We’re an exploration company. Our major shareholder is a developing company. We think this is a nice mix.”
Infrastructure Growing Near Eastmain Mine
In addition to these exploration projects, Eastmain Resources has owned Eastmain Mine since May 2006, when it acquired it from Campbell Resources Inc. for $2.5 million cash, and stock shares, a cost of $16 an ounce for 255,750 ounces of gold measured and indicated.
With that purchase, Eastmain owns two of the three known gold deposits located within the Eastmain/Opinaca area of James Bay, Québec; Roberto, (the largest gold deposit discovered to date in the district) being the third.
The Eastmain gold mine is a copper-gold-silver, sulphide-hosted deposit. Previous drilling of the A zone intersected up to 13.44 g/t gold across 9.22 meters in hole 88-02 and 17.7 g/t gold, 25.1 g/t silver and 0.61% copper across 4.8 meters in hole 83-4. Drilling of the B Zone intersected up to 61.45 g/t gold across 8.95 meters in hole 88-45.
The property includes an access ramp and lateral development on two levels, an airstrip, tailings pond, 20-year mining license, and mining camp. Hydro Quebec is developing the James Bay district, adding more roads, more power lines and telecommunications, reducing any need for Eastmain to fund capital development. “We don’t have that issue of being in a frontier where it’s expensive to get roads and power. We have them already, so this is working quite nicely so far,” he added.
The contact ore horizon at the Eastmain gold deposit has very good grades, and a hanging wall target zone, similar to the multi-million-ounce Detour Lake gold deposit in Ontario.
“I’ve confirmed, just recently, with the original discoverers that they never sampled the hanging wall zones. Not only do we have 50 kilometers of the contact horizon, we have a hanging wall zone that is clearly a world-class type target,” said Robinson. “You’ve heard this over and over again, but you add to the mix that government wants to be there, and they refund half of your money. That makes it exploration here particularly attractive.
These factors have brought Eastmain to the attention of Genuity Capital Markets and other analysts that have recommended the company’s stock.
“We think it’s a low target, but just the fact that they've initiated formal research coverage has moved the stock up 50 percent in the last three months. Now, with a bankable feasibility option from our major shareholder, our future is looking pretty bright,” Robinson said.
An Exploration Team with Drive
Donald J. Robinson has been President, CEO and director of Eastmain since 1994. He formerly operated a private consulting firm, Robinson Exploration Services Limited, which explored Canada and Australia. For two years he managed the exploration of a gold-rich VMS discovery at Lewis Ponds, Australia for Tri Origin Exploration Ltd. Prior to forming RESL, Dr. Robinson supervised an integrated base and precious metal program, on behalf of Westmin Resources Ltd., which led to the discovery of the Eau Claire gold deposit at Clearwater. Dr. Robinson earned a Ph.D. degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1982.
Robinson runs Eastmain with his wife and partner, Catherine I. Butella, B.Sc. (Geology-Biology), who has been Exploration Manager of Eastmain since 1996. She has over 20 years of experience in uranium, base and precious metals and PGEs. Ms. Butella was a nominee for the PDAC's "Prospector of the Year Award" in 1983 for the discovery of a barite deposit located in the Hemlo Mining Camp. Butella was a key factor in the exploration of the Battle Mountain Gold's Pagingo mine in Australia and worked with Dr. Robinson at Tri Origin's Lewis Ponds VMS discovery.
“We’ve got some experienced geologists that help guide the junior geologists on the practical aspects of digging and drilling. A junior geologist, James Tolhurst, is responsible for our discovery on our joint venture. In fact, we used his initials to name it because he’s done such a wonderful job,” added Robinson.
Robinson recognizes the value of skilled geologists, who recognize when rocks and minerals might be fingerprinting a deposit. “We don’t stand on the ore body right away. We usually walk from the fringes and hopefully find the heart of it over time,” he said.
For Don Robinson, the heart of the company remains tied to a love of geology. “The driving point for us is rocks and minerals,” Robinson said. “I have a PhD in geology, and worked for senior companies and then junior companies. My wife and I revived Eastmain from the ashes in 1994, and have moved it to this level.” CORPORATE ADDRESS
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