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Everything You Need to Know About In-Situ Mining

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The following content is sponsored by Excelsior Mining.

Everything You Need to Know About In-Situ Mining

Everything You Need to Know About In-Situ Mining

How do you mine without moving a rock?

When most people think of mining they think of massive open pits or deep and winding underground tunnels. But there is one mining method that does not move a rock and leaves the landscape as is.

Today’s infographic from Excelsior Mining Corp. outlines a unique mining method, In-Situ Recovery “ISR”, also known as In-Situ Mining.

An Intro to In-Situ Mining

ISR is not a recent innovation in the mining sector. In fact, ISR has been used for the past 50 years in uranium mining, and 48% of the world’s uranium gets mined this way. Uranium is not the only mineral it can extract; there is also silver, copper, and sometimes gold.

ISR involves dissolving a mineral deposit in the ground and then processing it at surface, all without moving any rock. It is cost effective and environmentally friendly.

But if this method is so great, how come more companies do not mine this way?

The Right Geology

ISR is not widely used because the geological conditions have to be just right. There are few locations around the world that meet the following criteria:

  1. Highly permeable ore body. In the case of copper, the ore body must be naturally broken, fractured and permeable.
  2. Mineable. The target mineral must be soluble with the right fluid, typically a weak acid.
  3. Under the water table. The mineral deposit must be below the water table to allow for the movement of fluids throughout the ore body.

If geologists can find these conditions and it is a large enough mineral deposit, it is time to mine.

The ISR Process

Once the right conditions are met and drill holes are sunk into the ore body, mining can begin.

  1. Leaching solution is pumped through injection wells
  2. The solution moves through the naturally fractured rock and leaches the copper
  3. Recovery wells extract the copper-rich solution
  4. Solution is pumped to the surface to the plant for processing
  5. Copper is extracted from the solution to create pure copper sheets
  6. Mining solution is recycled back to the well field

Once an area is mined, the wells are flushed with water to clean out any remaining leaching solution. Meanwhile, the surface is returned back to pre-mining conditions, allowing it to be used for any purpose in the future.

Advantages of In-Situ Mining

The environmental advantages are clear, including: minimal noise, dust, or greenhouse gas emissions, along with minimal visual disturbance. In addition, it also lowers capital and operating costs while creating a safer environment for mine workers.

Too bad not all mines can operate without moving a rock.

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On the Edge of Discovery: Canada’s Next Gold District

Canada is home to prolific mining regions, but there is still more to find. The Trans-Hudson Corridor could be Canada’s next major gold district.

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Trans-Hudson Corridor

On the Edge of Discovery: Canada’s Next Gold District

Canada is home to some of the greatest gold districts in mining history. These regions occur mostly across Ontario, Québec, and British Columbia, where past mineral exploration has uncovered their geological potential.

But Canada is vast, and there are still more regions to explore—in particular, the Trans-Hudson Corridor. It’s here that SKRR Exploration and Taiga Gold are leading the way into a new mineral frontier, with the hope of uncovering Canada’s next gold district.

Canada’s Major Gold Districts

The Abitibi Greenstone Gold Belt, the Red Lake Gold District, and the Golden Triangle are key sources of gold in Canada.

  1. Ontario and Québec’s Abitibi Greenstone Gold Belt:

    With over 100 mines, this gold belt stretches across the provinces of Ontario and Québec from Wawa to Val-d’Or. The belt has produced a massive 180M ounces of gold over its history and remains today a source of gold and employment in Northern Ontario.

  2. Ontario’s Red Lake Gold District:

    The Red Lake Gold District experienced its first gold rush following initial discoveries in 1897 and 1925. With over 30M ounces of gold produced since then, the Red Lake mining district is one of the largest and highest-grade gold camps in North America.

  3. British Columbia’s Golden Triangle:

    Having hosted the Stikine Gold Rush and the Atlin Gold Rush, the Golden Triangle is a popular destination for exploration companies. Investment in the region has produced 5.26M ounces of gold and impressive discoveries such as the Bruce Jack mine and the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (“KSM”) project.

Although these regions have garnered attention from large mining companies, the Trans-Hudson Corridor is open for a new era of discovery, and very few companies have taken advantage of it.

The Trans-Hudson Corridor: Canada’s Next Gold District?

The Trans-Hudson Corridor lacks an extensive exploration history, but it shows potential as a prime area for discovery.

Geological Potential

The Trans-Hudson Corridor stretches from the Dakotas of the United States to James Bay in Canada. One of the few remaining exposed portions of the Trans-Hudson, the Black Hills region of South Dakota, hosts the famous Homestake Mine, which produced 43.7 million ounces of gold and 9.9M ounces of silver before closing in 2001.

Despite the geological potential of this corridor, there have only been a few operating gold mines in the northern portion of the Trans-Hudson. One study indicates there may be more gold mineralization near the Snow Lake mine.

Saskatchewan: Major Gold Mines and a Lack of Exploration

Saskatchewan has geological potential—but compared to other regions, explorers are barely scratching the surface.

For all of Canada in 2018, mining and exploration investment amounted to C$2.2 billion. Saskatchewan received some of the lowest amounts with only C$165 million expended. Only 2% of the $165 million went towards exploration for gold, while the rest for uranium and potash.

Canada: Safe and Stable Mining Jurisdiction

The Trans-Hudson Corridor offers a safe, stable, and accessible mining region in today’s volatile world. In particular, Saskatchewan provides a competitive edge for mineral exploration:

  • Affordable access to North American capital markets
  • Mineral exploration incentive programs
  • Low-cost, high-quality road and power infrastructure
  • A well educated and professional workforce

Canada has the geological potential for big gold discoveries and the next era of discovery could be waiting in the Trans-Hudson Corridor.

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Unlocking Earth’s Treasures with Mineral Exploration

There are untold treasures in the Earth’s surface waiting for discovery. Skeena Resources is opening the vault in the Golden Triangle at Eskay Creek.

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Natural Wealth

Unlocking Earth’s Treasures with Mineral Exploration

There are untold treasures of gold, silver, copper, and much more that lie beneath the Earth’s surface, awaiting discovery—and it takes mineral exploration and the right team to unlock this hidden wealth from the depths.

Mining exploration company Skeena Resources is opening the vault to the treasures of British Columbia’s Golden Triangle at the famous Eskay Creek property.

Following in footsteps of other successful mineral exploration efforts, Skeena is proving there is more value to unlock at Eskay Creek. The Golden Triangle is already home to some of the most productive mines in the world.

Keys to the Vault: Turning Discoveries into Resources

A mineral exploration company such as Skeena conducts geological studies to turn a discovery into a mineable resource. As each mineral deposit becomes better understood, new value is unlocked and its economic value increases.

The mining industry uses three resource classifications for a mineral discovery, based on the amount and proximity of drill holes.

  1. Inferred
  2. Indicated
  3. Measured

Each one of these categories represent the confidence with which an economic source of minerals exists. The “Inferred” classification is the lowest level of confidence that a certain amount of ore exists in a location while “Measured” is the highest.

Companies drill holes and pull out small samples of the ground in order to discover and measure the continuity and grade of a mineral occurrence. The results of drilling provide more and more data for improving the understanding of a deposit. Each study eventually cuts the key to unlock the treasure below.

Grade is King: The Higher the Grade, The Lower the Costs

In order for a mineral deposit to be valuable it must pass the grade. The amount of the sought-after mineral within a particular amount of rock is known as the ore grade. Typically, the higher the ore grade, the more profitable a mine can be.

Skeena Resource’s Eskay Creek has a grade of 4.3 grams per tonne ‘g/t’, making it 3x higher than the global average grade of open pit mining projects. This could potentially make it all the more unique and valuable to investors.

Unlocking the Vault

Gold’s value is in part due to its rarity. The precious metal cannot be artificially produced and is only found deep inside the vault that is the Earth’s crust. This makes mineral exploration an extremely rewarding business if a discovery is made.

In terms of statistics, the odds are 1 in 10,000 that greenfield exploration produces a profitable mine—and odds are even more remote for a mineral occurrence to become a world-class mine. Further, if a gold deposit is actually found, there is only a 10% chance it will have enough gold justify further development.

Through targeted mineral exploration, Skeena Resources is proving there is more golden treasure to uncover at the legendary Eskay Creek.

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