Rubicon Minerals Corp. has provided an update on the progress of its 2018 Exploration Programme at the Phoenix Gold Project in Ontario, Canada.
Having successfully completed 28 500 m of oriented drilling and 10 000 m of historical core relogging in 2017, the company is continuing to advance the project with additional drilling, test mining and bulk sample processing activities in 2018.
The 2018 Exploration Programme plans for 10 000 m of infill and step-out drilling from the 305-, 610- and 685-m levels to potentially improve mineral resource classification and grow the mineral resources within the F2 Gold Deposit.
In addition, the company plans up to 4000 m of bazooka drilling, which entails drilling short holes within the developed test stopes to better define the extent of the mineralisation in the stoping blocks and stoping shapes.
Underground development and test mining
Rubicon has advanced 153.6 m in exploratory underground development at the Project on the 122- and 244-m levels. The company has begun stockpiling mineralised development material on surface that will ultimately be used for bedding in the mill. Upon completion of the development programme, the company will move into a test mining phase that is anticipated to commence in mid-2018.
Rubicon has identified a number of stopes to conduct its test mining activities. These test stopes are located in the upper portion of main F2 Gold Deposit mineralised envelope and have substantial development and drilling already completed, enabling the company to take advantage of sunk capital, reducing costs and timelines. During the test mining programme, Rubicon plans to:
- Test various mining methods, including sublevel longhole stoping and mechanised cut-and-fill, which will help determine the appropriate mining method(s) in the future;
- Gather data including chips, muck samples and mapping that will help to potentially reconcile, refine, and validate the new geological model and Mineral Resource Estimate; and
- Collect cost data that would be beneficial for a potential feasibility study of the project.
Rubicon is planning to test mine an initial 15 000 – 25 000 t of mineralised material from the test stopes. Based on the 2016 Mineral Resource block model, the estimated grades of the mineralised material from the test stopes are between 4 – 6 grams per t of gold. The company cautions that these estimates are not necessarily representative of the estimated block model grades that Rubicon and its consultants are formulating for an updated Mineral Resource Estimate of the F2 Gold Deposit. Rubicon will continue to stockpile mineralised material on surface from the test mining until sufficient tonnes have been accumulated to be processed through the mill.
Milling of bulk sample
Rubicon plans to re-start its mill at the project to process the mineralised bulk sample material from the test mining. The mill is currently configured and permitted to process approximately 1250 t per day. Rubicon will charge up its mill using low-grade development material prior to processing mineralised material from test mining. The company anticipates operating the mill between 700 – 1000 t/d and will clean out the mill following the processing of all bulk sample material. Rubicon anticipates mill start up to commence in mid-2018.
The company and its external consultants are completing an initial draft of the preliminary structural analysis of the F2 Gold Deposit, which will potentially form the foundation of a new geological model. Rubicon expects to communicate observations from the preliminary structural analysis in 1Q18.The new data collected from the diamond drilling, test mining, and bulk sample processing will be used to further enhance and refine the new geological model and potentially validate the updated NI 43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate for the Project. Rubicon remains on track to deliver the NI 43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate in the second half of 2018. The company could then potentially commence a feasibility study if there is a meaningful increase in mineral resources at the project.
Rubicon President and CEO, George Ogilvie, commented: "We are halfway through the 18 – 24-month plan that we outlined when we completed the restructuring of the company in December 2016, and we are encouraged by our progress to-date. We successfully completed our 2017 Exploration Programme under budget and have collected important observations and data, including more substantial information on the structural geology. This has helped advance our understanding of the F2 Gold Deposit at the Phoenix Gold Project. We will continue to gather important observations and data from test mining and drilling activities this year. More importantly, we will be providing a new preliminary structural interpretation and geological model for the F2 Gold Deposit, and deliver an updated Mineral Resource Estimate, which remains on schedule for the second half of 2018."