It’s not easy getting a mining company funded in Canada these days, even if the commodity in question is gold, arguably the world’s most reliable currency, and the region of exploration is British Columbia, known to contain some of the world’s most promising large-scale exploration and development properties.
But under the guidance of industry veteran Christopher Anderson, Ximen Mining (CVE:XIM) managed it, and the company now intends to continue its quest for big game at the Brett property, which lies in the country surrounding the southern British Columbia town of Vernon.
Back in December, Ximen announced a plan to raise C$600,000 through a placing of four million flow-through units each consisting of one share and one warrant. That amount was subsequently raised in March to over C$1mln to be raised by the issue of seven million flow-through units, and the raise finally closed off in April.
At that point the company also elected to use shares to pay down over C$200,000 of debt, thus clearing the decks for further work at Brett.
Last year was Ximen’s first full year as the owner of Brett, and it certainly hit the ground running. During the first half of 2014 the company completed a review of all the historic data pertaining to Brett, going back to its initial discovery in 1983. Back then, the interest of prospectors was first aroused by the discovery of visible gold in a quartz vein.
Over the years that discovery was followed up with more than 15,000 metres of diamond drilling in 131 holes and almost 3,000 metres of reverse circulation drilling in 53 holes. The project was also the subject of over 4,000 soil samples completed over 15 square metres, many of which returned anomalous results.
The most interesting area was termed the main shear zone RW vein, and became one of the main focuses of attention for Ximen when it started its review.
And so, in the second half of 2014, with the review complete, Ximen’s geologists moved into the field in earnest and undertook magnetic and induced polarisation surveys, and conducted more soil and rock chip sampling.
This new field work, combined with the historic data, then allowed Ximen to complete a new three-dimensional model for the property and thereby to identify and hone in on drill targets.
But was it worth drilling? According to Steve Craig, one of Ximen’s technical advisors, the issue was never in doubt, but he was doubly sure because his familiarity with Brett goes back many years, as he explained in an official release in April.
“In 1983 I saw the first samples that came from Brett and knew then that it could be a major exploration play,” he said. “The property has many of the epithermal characteristics that are found in a number of Nevada’s volcanic-hosted gold districts where I have spent most of my career.”
Ximen duly started drilling towards the latter part of 2014, and delivered 13 holes over a combined 3,000 metres of drilling. The results duly came in and showed extensive mineralisation. Among the highlights were 7.2 metres grading 2.85 grams per tonne gold and 7.73 grams silver, 0.9 metres at 34.18 grams gold and 6.66 grams silver, and 31 metres at 1.77 grams gold and 2.13 grams silver.
It was a strong start, as chief executive Christopher Anderson emphasised. “The 2014 programme returned excellent results from this newly emerging gold district,” he said.
“Our drilling demonstrated that the property contains a very large and strong epithermal system that has district-scale potential for both high-grade veins and low-grade bulk tonnage gold mineralisation. Our 2015 programme will continue in those areas that have potential to return success.”
Seasoned mining watchers will know though that drilling conditions in British Columbia can be harsh, and it’s unlikely that the company will be getting going on the ground before another couple of months are out.
But that’s not to say that the prospectivity of Brett can’t be improved in other ways. In mid-April, Ximen was able to announce further results from the 2014 fieldwork, noting in particular that a biogeochemical survey aimed at identifying targets under glacial cover had identified a very promising-looking anomaly.
“Unfortunately,” ran the official commentary, “These results were not available prior to Ximen’s 2014 drilling programme.” They’re available now though, and it’ll be interesting to see just exactly what Ximen does next.