Seabridge Gold Increases Estimated Gold/Copper Resource
February 13, 2018
Estimated inferred gold resources increase 302% to 20.0 million ounces. Estimated inferred copper resources grow 379% to 8.6 billion pounds. Inferred copper grade jumps 36%, inferred gold grade rises 14%.
Toronto, Canada… Seabridge Gold Inc. announced today that an updated independent mineral resource estimate for the Iron Cap deposit has increased its size and grade. Iron Cap is one of four large gold/copper porphyry deposits within Seabridge’s 100%-owned KSM Project located in northwestern British Columbia. The updated resource estimate, dated as at February 9, 2018, incorporates all previous drilling plus 10,383 meters of diamond core drilling completed in 11 holes drilled in 2017. All 11 holes returned wide zones of significant grade.
A comparison of the previous Iron Cap resource estimate to the updated resource estimate is as follows:
All resource estimates have been constrained by conceptual block cave shapes. The 2016 resource estimates were incorporated into the National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report on KSM announced on September 19, 2016. Drilling results from 2016 and 2017 coupled with selected re-logging of older core holes resulted in an updated geologic model for the entire Iron Cap deposit. This new interpretation places more emphasis on steeper structurally controlled intrusions as one of the key controls to mineralization. Grade envelopes were developed for the current block model that constrained the mineralization with these structural controls, resulting in about a 10% decrease in gold grade for Indicated Mineral Resources. Updated molybdenum grade envelopes and domaining resulted in an increase in the estimated molybdenum grade, although those values contribute very little to the NSR value. Future infill drilling programs will focus on testing the higher grade, intrusive dominated north area with expectations of increasing the overall confidence in the mineralized system and beginning the process of converting Inferred Mineral Resources to Indicated Mineral Resources.
Seabridge Chairman and CEO Rudi Fronk confirmed that “all our objectives at Iron Cap were more than accomplished last year. A larger, richer Iron Cap deposit is expected to take a more prominent place in our mine planning. We believe Iron Cap has the potential to make a strong contribution to improving project economics thanks to its higher grade and its favorable capital and operating costs due to its location close to planned infrastructure,” Fronk said. “Although we think that a 16 dollar NSR is the right cutoff in the current environment, we are pleased to see that substantial tonnages at much higher grades are also possible if required in the future. Furthermore, we think that the size and grade of this deposit can continue to grow with further drilling.”
Fronk also noted that “these resource additions once again have met our annual corporate objective of increasing gold ownership on a per share basis. We added over 15 million inferred resource ounces of gold in our 2017 program, while losing 600 thousand ounces of indicated resources. In 2017, our shares outstanding increased by 3.36 million shares resulting from new financings to fund our programs, acquisitions of new projects and other share issuances. Enhancing shareholder ownership of gold resources remains a governing principle for our Company and 2017 marks the 18th successive year that we have achieved this self-imposed discipline.”
Gold, copper, silver and molybdenum grades in the resource were estimated by Resource Modeling Inc. (“RMI”) using inverse distance weighting methods. Independently designed gold, copper, silver, and molybdenum grade envelopes provided the primary constraint in the grade estimation plan. Those grade envelopes were updated using the new structural/lithologic model that has been developed for the Iron Cap deposit. A multi-pass inverse distance cubed estimation plan was developed using two steeply oriented search ellipses to select eligible composites for block grade estimation.
The grade models were validated visually and by comparisons with nearest neighbor models. The drill hole database that was used for the estimate of the Iron Cap mineral resources consisted primarily of data collected by Seabridge from 75 core drill holes totaling more than 45,000 meters of core drilling completed between 2005 and 2017. RMI reviewed the quality assurance/quality control protocols and results associated with the Seabridge drilling and has concluded that the number and type of gold and copper standard reference materials (standards, blanks, and duplicates) were reasonable. Based on the performance of those standard reference materials, RMI believes that the Seabridge drill samples are reproducible and suitable for estimating mineral resources.
Block net smelter return values (“NSR” values) were calculated by Moose Mountain Technical Services using metal recovery projection formulae developed by Tetra Tech from metallurgical test work. This NSR value, stated in terms of Canadian dollars, reflects metal prices, a US$/C$ currency exchange rate of 0.80, and offsite transportation, smelting, and refining charges.
Iron Cap was treated as a potential block cave (bulk underground) mining target. The lateral and vertical continuity of the zone provides a geometric configuration that is likely to be amenable to these mining methods. Seabridge has retained Golder Associates, a leading industry expert in underground mining, to undertake bulk underground mining studies for KSM. Golder used the block model prepared by RMI to establish three separate draw point elevations at an NSR shutoff value of Cdn$16, and the conceptual cave footprints of these three elevations were extruded upward by 500 meters and then clipped against one another. Resources within the extruded shapes were tabulated for each of the three hypothetical draw point elevations using an NSR cutoff value of C$16, consistent with last year’s resource statement in the Technical Report. Evaluation of the economic potential of Iron Cap was based on metal prices of US$3.00 per pound of copper, US$1300 per ounce of gold, US$20 per ounce of silver, US$9.70 per pound of molybdenum and a US$/C$ exchange rate of 0.83 together with estimated metal recoveries from metallurgical test work. These metal prices are generally in line with, or lower than, the metal prices used by major mining companies for their current resource disclosure for similar types of projects.
The 2017 drill program at Iron Cap confirmed that the grade of the deposit is increasing down dip and to the northwest. As a result, within the C$16 NSR cave shapes there exist large, higher grade zones that could be exploited to drive economics (see attached long section and cross section). In an effort to show the potential of these higher grade zones, the following table compares the undiluted tonnes and grades of the updated Iron Cap resource at various NSR cutoffs:
The lines highlighted in yellow in the table above represents the updated undiluted mineral resource tonnes, grade, and contained metal at C$16 cutoff within the three cave footprints. The tonnes, grade, and contained metal for the other NSR cutoffs are shown to provide a relative sense of the distribution of materials within the conceptual block cave shapes.
Resource estimates included herein were prepared by RMI under the direction of Michael Lechner, who is independent of Seabridge and a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Lechner has reviewed and approved this news release.
Exploration activities by Seabridge at the KSM Project are conducted under the supervision of William E. Threlkeld, Registered Professional Geologist, Senior Vice President of the Company and a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Threlkeld has reviewed and approved this news release. An ongoing and rigorous quality control/quality assurance protocol is employed in all Seabridge drilling campaigns. This program includes blank and reference standards; in addition, all copper assays exceeding 0.25% Cu are re-analyzed using ore grade analytical techniques. Random cross-check analyses are conducted at a second external laboratory on at least 10% of the drill samples. Samples are assayed at ISO and ASTM certified laboratories in Vancouver, B.C., using fire assay atomic adsorption methods for gold and ICP methods for other elements.
Seabridge Gold holds a 100% interest in several North American gold resource projects. The Company’s
principal assets are the KSM and Iskut properties located near Stewart, British Columbia, Canada and
the Courageous Lake gold project located in Canada’s Northwest Territories. For a breakdown of Seabridge’s mineral reserves and resources by project and category please visit the Company’s website at http://www.seabridgegold.net/resources.php.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
Chairman and CEO
Rudi P. Fronk, Chairman and CEO
Tel: (416) 367-9292 · Fax: (416) 367-2711