Seabridge Gold

Courageous Lake: EXPLORATION

Exploration of the Courageous Lake property has under gone several phases since the discovery of gold in the area in the early 1940s. The two most active historical periods of exploration were Noranda's activities in the 1980s and Placer Dome's programs during the late 1990s.

Noranda Exploration

Starting in 1976, Noranda Exploration Ltd. began exploration activities in the Courageous Lake Volcanic Belt. Work included geological reconnaissance, airborne EM and magnetic surveys, ground follow up and claim staking. In 1982, Noranda initiated a limited drilling program to evaluate rock units north of Matthews Lake. Detailed geophysics, geological mapping and extensive diamond drilling followed this initial program leading to the discovery of two gold deposits, the Tundra Deposit (Main Zone) or FAT Deposit, and the Carbonate Zone.

From 1982 to 1987, Noranda continued core drilling the property from the surface and also constructed a winter road to the property and began an environmental impact study. In late 1987, Noranda made a decision to sink a vertical shaft to provide access for conducting an underground definition drilling program and to be able to test gold grade continuity and tenor by drifting and raising on ore grade shoots. This also allowed Noranda to extract a bulk sample for metallurgical testing. In conjunction with the development of the shaft, surface core drilling, magnetic, VLF, and HLEM surveys were also completed (Levett, 1998).

Noranda Underground Development

In late 1987, the Tundra Joint Venture was presented with an in-house preliminary resource estimate completed by Noranda (Jarvi, 1988). Using a 3.43 g/t Au cut-off grade, Jarvi estimated a resource of 29.6 million tonnes at a grade of 6.20 g/t or 5.8 million gold ounces. Based on this work, the Tundra Joint Venture decided to begin a two-year underground exploration program. The program was designed to develop an underground mining reserve, access material for bulk metallurgical sampling and provide engineering information for mine design and development planning.

In February and March 1988, Thyssen Mining mobilized equipment and personnel to the site. By July 1988, the surface infrastructure was in place and the exploration shaft was collared. A three compartment shaft was designed that provided:

  • Two compartments for hoisting (2.02 meter x 2.02 meter opening)
  • A ventilation/manway compartment (2.02 meter x 1.75 meter opening)

The shaft was timbered from top to bottom with horizontal cross sets placed vertically every 2.25 meters and stub stations excavated at 45-meter intervals to facilitate future development. Geology was mapped at 1:50 scale in the shaft. The shaft sinking program was completed at 472.6 meters in April of 1989.

Drifting on the target zone began in May 1989 and was completed in November 1989 with a total development of 1,948.2 meters. Both lateral drifts and sub-vertical raises were developed and provided access to bulk sample locations and diamond drilling stations along the strike of the target zone. All drifts and raises were excavated to nominal 3.0-m by 3.0-meter openings, totaling 64,044 tonnes of material. Development work averaged 9.2 meters/day and contained 46,865 tonnes of waste and 17,179 tonnes of gold-bearing target zone ore material. Survey control was provided by a third-party contractor using gyroscopic survey instruments linking the underground development with the surface mine grid. Geologic mapping, face channel sampling and muck sampling were conducted during the development work.

Conners Drilling was contracted for underground diamond core drilling. Vertically fanned NQ drill holes were collared on 50-meter centers from underground drill stations that were laid out on 50-meter centers. Each underground drill station averaged six holes that were fanned out to provide reasonable data spacing. Approximately 200 vertical meters of the mineralized zone were tested by the underground drill holes. The 50-meter spaced drill stations tested about 750 to 800 meters of strike length. Additional horizontally fanned holes were drilled on 25-meter centers to aid in the interpretation of the target zone. Drilling was completed in November 1989 and totaled 27,459.25 meters in 125 diamond core holes.

Placer Dome Exploration Inc.

In 1998, Placer Dome Exploration Inc. preformed regional lithogeochemical sampling/prospecting and detailed mapping and channel sampling on the Courageous Lake property. Placer Dome completed a small core drilling/sampling program in order to verify Noranda's previous work and to provide infill sample data. Detailed mapping and structural analysis programs were run concurrently by Placer Dome to familiarize their geologists with the property geology and to help design a drilling plan. Most of the results of these studies were not available for this report.

Also in 1998, Placer Dome conducted a ground magnetic survey on the property to define the zone of mineralization and to detect other areas of possible mineralization. This geophysical program allowed Placer Dome to help distinguish the various rock types in the area and locate drill targets.

Seabridge Gold Exploration

During the 2005 and 2006 field seasons Seabridge drilled 39 exploration diamond core holes totaling 15,428 meters. The core collected from these drill holes was systematically logged, sawed and shipped to ACME Labs in Yellowknife, NWT and Vancouver B.C. for sample preparation and fire assay. This data was incorporated into a new resource model which was used to prepare a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) released in January, 2008.

2010 Program

During the 2010 field season Seabridge drilled 49 exploration diamond core holes and 10 auger holes totaling about 24,000 meters. The core collected from these drill holes was systematically logged, sawed and shipped to ACME Labs in Yellowknife, NWT and Vancouver B.C. for sample preparation and fire assay. This data was incorporated into a new resource model (see news release of January 25, 2011) which was used to prepare an updated PEA (see news release of June 2, 2011).

2011 Program

During the 2010 field season Seabridge drilled 52 exploration diamond core holes totaling about 15,000 meters. The focus of the 2011 drilling program was to upgrade inferred resources within the confines of the open pit defined in the 2011 Preliminary Economic Assessment (PFS). The efficiency of this drill program and the predictability of the 2010 model proved to be exemplary. Nearly 1.2 million ounces of previously disclosed inferred resources were upgraded to measured and indicated in the 2011 exploration program at an expenditure of approximately $6 million or about $5 per ounce.All but one of the 52 exploration holes drilled in 2011 intercepted mineralization above the cut-off grade. A new resource model was prepared including this drill data (see news release of January 10, 2012). New mine plans were generated from this updated resource model to the project's first proven and probable reserves as reported in the PFS completed in 2012.

2012 Program

Prior to 2012, the exploration focus at Courageous Lake was to delineate the FAT deposit and define mineral reserves for the upcoming Preliminary Feasibility Study. The main focus then switched to looking for the next deposit along this Greenstone Belt which once hosted two high-grade underground gold mines and has gold occurrences all along its length.

The 2012 $8.5 million exploration program at Courageous Lake was focused on finding a second major gold deposit along Seabridge's 52-kilometer-long Matthews Lake Greenstone Belt to supplement the existing multi-million ounce FAT deposit. The program included: (1) approximately 12,500 meters of core drilling; (2) detailed air borne magnetic and electromagnetic geophysical surveys over the thickest part of the belt and; (3) in-fill drilling of in-pit, inferred resources at the FAT deposit which could lead to an increase in reserves. Seabridge also proceeded with environmental and engineering programs to advance the project towards permitting and enhance its design. The result was the discovery of the higher-grade Walsh Lake Deposit.

2013-14 Program

A high-grade gold discovery was made at Walsh Lake in 2012. Subsequent drilling in 2013 increased its size and confirmed its continuity (see news release of May 13, 2013). An initial resource estimate for Walsh Lake was subsequently announced: 4.62 million tonnes of inferred resources grading 3.24 g/T for a total of 482,000 ounces of gold (see news release of March 11, 2014). Metallurgical testing confirmed up to 95% recoveries of the gold from the free-milling Walsh Lake material. Based on these factors, the Walsh Lake deposit could be mined prior to constructing the processing plant required for the larger, refractory FAT deposit. This order of development could have significant economic benefits for the Courageous Lake project not only by extending mine life but also by generating cash flow to pay for some capital costs as the FAT deposit ramps up.

2018 Program

Seabridge expects to undertake a winter drill program to find more Walsh Lake-style deposits. A planned 36-hole, 7,200 meter program will test seven separate targets along the same geophysical and stratigraphic break that hosts the Walsh Lake Deposit.

All disclosure of a scientific or technical nature was prepared by, or under the supervision of, William E. Threlkeld (Licensed Registered Geologist #790 in the State of Washington), a Vice President of Seabridge. Mr. Threlkeld is a “Qualified Person” under National Instrument 43-101.