Babine Lake Porphyry-Style Mineral Occurrences and Deposits
The Babine Lake area has been historically well known for a significant number of porphyry-style mineral occurrences and deposits. The most notable deposits are the Granisle and the Bell Mines as well as the recently discovered NAK deposit. The Bell copper mine was a significant producer of gold with past production and anticipated reserves totalling 68 million tonnes with a recovered and contained 17,755 kg (570,819 oz) of gold (Schroeter et al. 1989). Bell Copper produced 21,349 tonnes of copper and 29,000 ounces gold in 1990. Additional mineral potential in the area has been ranked extremely high, as the Babine Lake area is the fourth most prospective in the entire Skeena-Nass mineral potential project area (MacIntyre et al. 1995). Maclntyre et al. (1996a) noted that in terms of 1986 dollars, the estimated value of known in-ground mineral resources is $1.96 billion and the value of the past production is estimated to be $1.13 billion. Assay results from the NAK property indicated 1.9% Cu equivalents over more than 300 metres. A rock sample from the Topley property yielded 6.84 grams/ton Gold (Carter, 1992). Mineral deposit types present in the region are classified as porphyry, Volcanic Massive Sulfide and epigenetic, characterized by disseminated, vein, and breccia hydrothermal systems.
Historical exploration of the Topley Property has faced challenges due to the masking effects of glacial till which limits bedrock exposure to ridges, creek ravines, and lake shorelines. Despite these challenges, the property has attracted considerable interest from quality mining companies exploring for copper porphyry potential. In the 1960s- 70s, Bethlehem Copper, Noranda, Taseko Mines, and Nittetsu actively explored the Topley claims. In the 1990s, HudBay shifted focus to investigate for Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide (VMS) deposits. From 2012-13, Riverside Resources, through an option agreement with Antofagasta, returned to exploring for copper porphyry targets.
Previous exploration work has highlighted a 1.2 km long zone within the Tachek Creek ravine in the eastern part of the property where pyrite, chalcopyrite, and molybdenite are associated with biotite-quartz feldspar porphyry dikes in granitic rocks. The Tachek Creek zone shows promising signs of copper and molybdenum mineralization, with drill results returning up to 0.21% Cu and 0.058% over 48.8 m. While these results are modest in terms of economic mineralization, historical work has suggested that a more favourable environment may be located nearby.
Exploration in the western portion of the property has identified areas where chalcopyrite occurs locally as disseminations and in veins within volcanic and Topley granitic rocks. Copper bearing float was uncovered during the construction of a powerline through this region. Historical exploration programs conducted by Bethlehem Copper, HudBay, and Riverside/Antofogasta have led to recommendations for further exploration in the Paul Lake area for VMS and copper porphyry type occurrences .
The Babine Porphyry Belt continues to attract investment from major mining companies. Boliden Minerals and Teck Resources have recently invested in nearby projects. In November 2022, Boliden entered into an agreement with Amarc’s Duke property to fund $90 million in exploration and development, completing a $10 million program in 2022-23 (Amarc Resources Ltd., 2023). Teck Resources maintains a 19.9% stake in American Eagle’s NAK copper- gold porphyry project (American Eagle Gold Corp., 2023). American Eagle's recently announced drill results including over 300metres with Cu concentrations of 1.9%. Additionally, Geoscience BC has conducted multiple airborne surveys over the Topley property as part of its Quest West (gravity and EM) and Search Phase II (magnetics and radiometrics) projects.
Between 2019 – 2022, Decoors Mining Corp. and Geologica Resources carried out property-wide Spatiotemporal Geochemical Hydrocarbon (SGH) sampling at 200 x 200 m intervals within the claims. Work in 2022 consisted of extending the previous SGH grid to the west and north. This resulted in the integration of 191 new SGH samples with the previous SGH dataset, bringing the total to 697 samples.
ActLabs’ interpretation of the SGH results has identified 3 potential redox zones with corresponding SGH_Au, SGH_Cu, and SGH_VMS anomalies in the western part of the claims. This area is a priority target due to its structural complexity, marked by two circular magnetic features (potential intrusions) and regional faults as outlined by Mira Geoscience (2012). The northern magnetic feature aligns with a VTEM anomaly and a 2012 top-of-bedrock RC hole that intersected kspar intrusive rock. Near the southern magnetic feature, float collected from 56 deep backhoe pits indicate the presence of a buried, hydrothermally altered biotite feldspar porphyry stock (British Columbia Ministry of Mines and Petroleum Resources, 1975, p. E 140). Furthermore, 500 meters to the north, intense hydrothermal alteration observed in HudBay’s LEN-004 diamond drill hole could be attributed to a VMS system (Dunning, 2000).
The recent SGH sampling has confirmed the potential of the Topley property as a promising exploration-stage project. Its strategic location, coupled with access to existing infrastructure, substantially enhances its prospects, particularly if exploration reveal a deposit with economic potential. With the advancements in mineral exploration techniques since the historical work, there is now an enhanced ability to delineate targets beneath the 15 – 45 m layer of glacial till covering the claims. A follow-up program in the western area employing modern systematic exploration methods, including ground magnetics and induced polarization, is recommended.
* This information is derived from the NI 43-101 compliant report NI 43-101 TECHNICAL REPORT on the TOPLEY PROPERTY, Topley Landing, Babine Lake Area, Omineca MD, BC” with an effective date of May 7, 2021 and Statement of Work , October 31, 2023 Geologica Resource Corp.