Seabridge Gold

Iskut: HISTORY

The history of the Iskut Property spans more than 100 years. Known for its high-grade, near-surface occurrences of both precious and base metals, the area attracted a succession of prospectors, junior explorers and major mining companies. Until late 2005, the property’s many targets were held by more than a dozen mostly underfunded claim owners and were being developed piecemeal. Beginning in 2005, Skyline Gold Corp., the predecessor to Snip Gold Corp., began systemically consolidating these holdings to build the current 294 km² Iskut Property.

The Early Years

In 1907, an adventurous prospecting party from Wrangell, Alaska recorded claims on gold occurrences found in Bronson Creek and its small tributaries. The claims were later Crown Granted and remain in existence today within the Iskut Property.

From 1911 to 1920, the Iskut Mining Company reported drifting, trenching and stripping a number of gold-bearing veins on the Red Bluff and its other Iskut claims which kept this group occupied for nine years.

Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co. Ltd. explored the area from 1954 through 1960. Their drilling led to the discovery of copper prospects around what became the Johnny Mountain Gold Mine. There was little follow through on these discoveries, primarily due the remote location.

In 1964, Cominco Ltd. optioned claims from Tuksi Mining Company and Jodi Explorations Ltd. and in 1965 completed drilling on the Red Bluff claim for its copper content. In 1973 and 1974, the property was examined by Texas Gulf Sulphur Inc. primarily for its copper and other base metals.

Gold Mines

Skyline initiated exploration on the Pickaxe Vein and adjacent area in 1980 to define its gold potential. By 1982, Skyline had completed exploration drilling on several targets, resulting in the discovery of a high-grade gold vein that became known as the 16 Vein.

In late 1982, Skyline entered into an agreement with Placer Development Ltd. for Placer to explore the property. Placer joint-ventured with Anaconda Canada Exploration Ltd. for a two-year program but by late 1984, Skyline had returned to exploring for depth continuity on the 16 Vein. From 1985 to early 1988, Skyline undertook surface and underground exploration and development on several more gold-bearing veins. By November 1988, the company began operating the Johnny Mountain Mine. The mine operated for a total of 24 months, initially until August 1990 and then again during the summer of 1993, producing 90,517 ounces of gold, 19,818 ounces of silver and 2,222,477 pounds of copper from 249,097 tonnes of ore.

On the adjoining Snip Mine property, first Cominco and then Homestake operated an underground gold mine from 1991 to mid-1999. Production is reported at about 1 million ounces of gold at a recoverable grade of 24.5g/T Au. In the early 1990s, Snip was the prominent gold-producing camp in the region until it was eclipsed by the discovery of the Eskay Creek Mine.

Gold Rush

Once the Snip and Johnny Mountain mines were producing, dozens of companies moved into the area, identifying more than 30 different exploration targets. Pezgold Resources Ltd., Placer Dome Inc., Adrian Resources Ltd., Spirit Bear Minerals Ltd., Noranda Exploration Ltd. and St. Andrews Goldfields Ltd actively explored Iskut in search of both high-grade gold deposits and porphyry copper-gold projects. Between 1990 and 2005, geochemical sampling, geophysical surveys and exploration drilling were undertaken on most of the target areas. The remoteness of the region limited opportunities for these targets to advance. However, a large and robust data set was being developed for Iskut that would support the next phase of exploration.

The Consolidation

Commencing in late 2005, Skyline began an aggressive strategy of acquiring adjacent mineral properties. At the start of this process, Skyline’s land holding totaled about 2 km². Between 2008 and 2011, Skyline secured mineral title to nearly 300 km². By May of 2012, the company completed a share roll-back and changed its name to Snip Gold Corp. At that point, Snip Gold continued to refine the potential of the Bronson Slope deposit with additional engineering studies, completed a resource estimate and began to compile the extensive available data on their enormous land package. At the end of 2013, Snip Gold arranged a partnership with Colorado Resources under which Colorado could earn into a majority interest in the eastern parts of the Iskut land holdings. From that time, Snip Gold concentrated on the western parts of the land package including the Bronson Slope deposit and Johnny Mountain Mine.