Canada has a well-earned reputation as one of the world’s leading gold producers. However, in recent years local political issues, including increased regulatory pressures when it comes to mining permits, and global events, such as COVID-19 restrictions, have had a significant effect on production numbers.
Slowly climbing back over the barriers created by COVID-19 restrictions, Canada’s gold sector is now rapidly growing again on the back of record gold prices, strong investment markets, low fuel prices, and new exploration successes.
While Ontario and Quebec continue to dominate both gold production and exploration spend, mini gold rushes are occurring across the nation.
New names and new geological theories are being brought into play, with some players showing significant interest in revisiting areas with a record of historical success, while others are testing the analogue potential related to new developments around the globe.
One of the hottest current areas for exploration and development activities is the Red Lake Mining District in Ontario. With a history of containing high-grade gold deposits – and producing tens of millions of ounces of gold – the Red Lake District is again attracting exploration attention, from big players and small.
New young players like Great Bear Resources (TSXV: GBR) and Pure Gold Mining (TSXV: PGM) have grabbed industry attention with recent exploration success. In Pure Gold’s case, the company has been able turn that drilling success into cash-flow, with the company’s high-grade PureGold Mine producing its first gold pour just prior to the end of 2020.
Elsewhere, according to Exploits Discovery Corp., Newfoundland is experiencing a modern-day gold rush, with around 30 companies exploring for gold on the island.
In the west of the country, multinational professional services firm, EY, in its British Columbia mineral and coal exploration survey 2018, found that 2018 was the second year in a row that the province saw growth in exploration expenditures after several years of decline.
The increase in BC’s exploration sector is being led by the modern-day gold rush underway in the province’s northwest, increased exploration diversity and a continued shift to grassroots and early-stage exploration. In particular, BC’s Golden Triangle has seen a major influx of new players and investment money.
Meanwhile, Canada’s global rating as a great place to mine was again ratified by the Fraser Institute’s 2020 annual survey of mining and exploration companies. The recently published study found that a number of Canadian provinces are at the top of mining company lists when considering where to conduct their business.
The 2020 survey noted that a number of Canadian provinces are firmly rooted in the global top 10 of places to operate. The most notable result for 2020 was Saskatchewan’s move from 11th in 2019 to third. Rounding out the top 10 are Quebec, Newfoundland, and Labrador. On the Overall Investment Attractiveness Index, Quebec climbed to sixth from 18th, while Newfoundland and Labrador jumped to eighth place, up from 28th.
The following is a list of some of the companies making headlines in the various Canadian provinces.
In British Columbia, GT Gold (TSXV: GTT) recently completed an initial drill programme at the Quash Pass target near its flagship Saddle North gold rich copper porphyry deposit. The programme tested a large area of coincident precious metal and base metal soil geochemical anomalies, geophysical anomalies (both Induced Polarization (IP) chargeability and magnetic), structural anomalies, surface alteration and evidence for both vein style and intrusion style mineralization.
Another BC specialist is “Golden Triangle” focused Hanstone Gold Corp. (TSXV: HANS). The company recently confirmed the existence of high-grade gold mineralization on the Doc Property in late 2020. Management said the gold intercepts support its previous geologic expectations that the Doc Property hosts significant mineralized systems, both near surface and at greater depths.
Elsewhere in British Columbia, Scottie Resources Corp. (TSXV: SCOT) is focused on developing its namesake Scottie Gold Mine. The Project consists of the Scottie Gold Mine, Bow, Summit Lake, and Stock claim groups, which includes the Scottie Gold past producing mine which operated from 1981 to 1985 and produced 95,426 oz gold at an average grade of 16.2 g/t.
Meanwhile, Westhaven Gold Corp. (TSXV: WHN) is advancing the high-grade discovery on the Shovelnose project in Canada’s newest gold district, the Spences Bridge Gold Belt in British Columbia. Westhaven controls 370 sq. km with four 100% owned gold properties spread along this underexplored belt.
In Newfoundland, Callinex Mines (TSXV: CNX) has identified gold potential in its VMS project at Point Leamington. The project has not been subjected to any drilling programmes since 2004, however, metallurgical testing completed in 2014 indicated potential to significantly increase gold recoveries from new levels.
Another Newfoundland gold developer is Sokoman Minerals (TSXV: SIC). The company’s primary focus is its portfolio of gold projects in Central Newfoundland on the structural corridor hosting the 4.2-million-ounce Valentine Lake gold project, 150km southwest of the company’s high-grade Moosehead gold project.
In late February 2021, Sokoman reported that its ongoing Phase 6 drilling programme at the Moosehead Property had intersected near-surface (30m vertically), high-grade gold mineralization in step-out drilling at South Pond, where recent high-grade intersections including 5.0m of 26.87 g/t Au were reported.
Elsewhere in Newfoundland, Matador Mining (ASX: MZZ) continues to obtain impressive results from drilling at the Cape Ray Project. In mid-February 2021 the company revealed that drilling results at the Isle Aux Morts prospect at Cape Ray had exceeded expectations. To date the drilling has successfully delivered extensions to the East as well as better defined the geometry of high-grade domains within the existing Isle Aux Morts Mineral Resource area.
In Ontario, First Mining Gold Corp. (TSX: FF) recently announced positive results of a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) completed for its 100%-owned Springpole Gold Project. The PFS results support a 30,000 tonnes-per-day open pit mining operation over an 11.3-year mine life.
One of the names to watch in Quebec is Amex Exploration Inc. (TSXV: AMX) which recently made a significant gold discovery at its 100% owned, high-grade Perron Gold Project. In February 2021, the company revealed it had discovered an additional high grade gold structure while targeting a depth extension of the High Grade Zone (HGZ) of the Eastern Gold Zone (EGZ). The newly named 210 Gold Zone produced an intersection of 58.25 g/t Au over 3.90m.
The Yukon’s leading gold developer and producer, Victoria Gold Corporation’s (TSXV: VGCX) Eagle Gold Mine, poured its first gold in Q3 2019 and achieved commercial production on July 1, 2020. In full production, the mine will produce 210,000 ounces of Au per year. The Reserve is 3.3 million ounces of gold and the mine life is +11 years. The deposit is open at depth and along strike.