• Braveheart Resources acquired the Bull River Mine in January 2019
• Metal value of surface stockpile estimated to be between $20-to-$22 million
• Initiation of processing requires two permits (both applications submitted in April)
• Surface infrastructure (crushers, mill, etc.) being restored to operational condition
• In addition, this past-producing mine has a recent NI 43-101-compliant Indicated Resource of 1,511,000 tonnes at 2.263% copper equivalent (Cu Eqv. cut-off of 1.0% including silver & gold)
Headquartered in Calgary, Braveheart Resources Inc. (TSXV:BHT.V) (OTC:RIINF) is a Canadian-based junior mining company focused on the exploration and development of proven, past-producing mines in Mining Districts of East and West Kootenay of British Columbia. Braveheart’s primary focus and main asset is the recently acquired 100% interest in the 9,785-hectare Bull River Property, a past-producing copper, silver and gold mine. The company also has an option to acquire 100% of the 2,602-hectare Alpine Gold Project near Nelson, British Columbia, also a past-producing gold mine. The surface infrastructure of the Bull River Mine includes a 750-tonne per day conventional mill, crushing facilities, office building and mine maintenance facilities. The property is connected to the power grid power and accessible all-weather, paved roads.
Management’s primary goal is to restart the crushing and milling operations at the Bull River Mine in order to process the large surface stockpile of ore located at the mine site. Management estimates the approximate 175,000-tonne stockpile holds a metal value of between $20-to-$22 million. Management is moving forward with its development plan by seeking two permits from the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and by pursuing a CDN$10 million financing to fund the restoration of the mill to operational condition and the initial processing expenses. The company is seeking to amend the existing Small Mine Permit in order to increase the maximum permitted mining capacity from 205-tonne per day to 1,000 tonnes per day. Also, a tailings disposal permit is required. The time frame for the completion of the permitting process (which began in April 2019) is usually 9-to-12 months; therefore management expects to be able to begin processing the stockpile at Bull River sometime between late 2019 and early 2020.
The Bull River deposit (situated on a mineral claim encompassing 252 hectares) is the largest, and therefore the most important, mineralized zone on 9,785-hectare property that Braveheart recently acquired. Here, the Aldridge Formation hosts copper deposits (along with silver and lesser amounts of gold and cobaltite) in vertical or near-vertical quartz-carbonate-chalcopyrite-pyrite veins. The vein structures, which contain copper, silver and gold, are associated with intrusions within meta-sedimentary rock and are commonly continuous for several hundred meters in length and vary from a few centimeters to 30 meters in width.
The Bull River deposit is situated within the Purcell Anticlinorium, which extends from southeastern British Columbia into the northwestern United States. The Purcell Anticlinorium is a large anticline with a ridge-shaped fold of stratified rock formations, which slope downward from the crest.
The Bull River Mine Property is underlain by the Purcell Supergroup, a thick sequence of Middle (Meso) Proterozoic sedimentary rocks, whose base is the Aldridge Formation, which hosts numerous mineral occurrences, similar to the Sullivan, Estella, Kootenay King and St. Eugene deposits. The Aldridge Formation is fundamentally a sedimentary rock complex intruded by sills and dykes, which are associated with vein deposits, primarily copper, lead-zinc, silver and gold. The magmatic intrusions into the Aldridge Formation subjected the adjacent sedimentary rock to metamorphism, causing the formation of meta-sedimentary rock structures.
The Aldridge Formation is primarily characterized by thick beds of graded sedimentary turbidite, probably the product of shallow-water, deltaic sedimentation. These turbidite beds are composed of sediments that gradually alter in composition from fine-to-coarse-grained as a result of the underwater current’s turbidity which was present when the sediments were deposited. Interbedded between the turbidite beds are sedimentary layers of siltstone and argillites (lithified mud).
The sedimentary beds are intruded by sills and dykes (magmatic intrusions that encroach horizontally between layers of sedimentary rock or cut across vertically, usually at a fracture, respectively). These magmatic encroachments during the Mesoproterozoic Era (1,600 to 1,000 million years ago) formed meta-sedimentary rock and created mineralized vein systems, stringer zones and other mineralized disseminations (including stockworks and horsetails).
Geology of the Bull River Mine Deposit
At the Bull River Mine, the sequence of dykes is known as the Moyie intrusive suite, which trend roughly east-west and dip between 30° and 80° to the south. The resultant mineralization hosted within the meta-sedimentary rocks of the Aldridge Formation are typically quartz, carbonates (predominantly siderite aka iron carbonate) and sulfides (particularly chalcopyrite, pyrite and pyrrhotite aka copper iron sulfide, iron disulfide and iron sulfide, respectively) with less significant amounts of cobaltite and gold. The gold mineralization has found in the crystal lattices of the sulfide minerals and also in association with quartz as native gold.
The mineralized zones are composed of complex, vertical to near-vertical networks of quartz-carbonate-sulfide veins (primarily quartz-siderite-chalcopyrite), typically found at, near or within dykes and sills. The veins and associated stringer zones (small non-persistent veins) pinch and swell, varying from a few centimeters to 30 meters in width.
The copper-silver-gold ore of the Bull River deposit contains chalcopyrite (an important copper ore material), silver and gold, along with quartz-siderite gangue (commercially worthless ore material within and surrounding the vein networks). The sulfide mineralization (particularly chalcopyrite, pyrite and pyrrhotite) appears as massive to semi-massive irregular bodies within the main vein system. In addition, the sulfides have a spatial relationship to the main vein systems with discontinuous veins, veinlets and disseminations up to tens of meters into the surrounding host rock.
The MINFILE of the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines classifies the deposit type as Cu+/- Ag quartz veins with the copper mineralization being described as “irregular blebs of chalcopyrite” associated with quartz-siderite veins and veinlets. Since 2013, several of the NI 43-101-compliant Technical Reports describe the mineralized zones at the Bull River Mine as “sulphide-bearing quartz carbonate veins.”
Churchill-type Copper Vein Deposit
Located 161 kilometers west of Fort Nelson on northeastern British Columbia and situated 8.5 kilometers north-northwest of Mount Roosevelt within the Muskwa Anticlinorium, the Churchill deposit was discovered in 1943. Production at the Churchill Mine began in 1970 and ended in 1975. The mine was a topic in The Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Bulletin in 1971 and ultimately became the exemplar of a type of copper veins.
Churchill-type is a sub-type of the vein copper deposit class that is associated with mafic intrusive rocks. Simplistically, the distinguishing characteristics of Churchill-type deposits are that they are relatively small copper deposits (between 10,000 and 1,000,000 tonnes) grading between 1% and 4% Cu, typically occurring as veins (or vein networks), and associated with intrusions in meta-sedimentary rock structures. Individual veins typically range from tens-to-500 meters in length and dilate from centimeters to tens of meters in width. The foremost copper ore material in Churchill-type deposits is chalcopyrite, and the principal gangue minerals are quartz and pyrite.
By 2006, the Bull River deposit was being described as a “Churchill-type vein copper-silver deposit.” In 2012, the NI 43-101-compliant Technical Reports were describing the copper vein deposits of the Bull River Mine as being similar to the Churchill Copper deposit in British Columbia.
The Bull River deposit displays the characteristics of a Churchill-type copper vein deposit: relatively small low tonnage (Indicated Resource Estimate of 2,179,000 tonnes at a Cu equivalent grade cut-off of 0.6%), occurring in a Proterozoic sedimentary formation and comprised of complex, dilating vein systems in which the predominant copper source is chalcopyrite.
In 1995, a diamond drill exploration program conducted by Master Mineral Resource Services for R. H. Stanfield identified several en echelon copper-silver-gold mineralized zones, which were grouped into two clusters identified as the Central Section and the Western Section of the Underground Zone. Note the similarity of the vein structure to the Churchill Mine. (See diagrams below).
Today, by virtue of multiple exploration programs, the most recent NI 43-101 Technical Report offers this more comprehensive schematic of the mineralization at the Bull River Mine.
Moose Mountain Technical Services submitted a NI 43-101-compliant Technical Report, which included a Resource Estimate, to Braveheart Resources on January 11, 2019. The effective date of the estimate is November 4, 2018.
The tables below summarize the Indicated and Inferred Resource Estimates. The Technical Report’s base case copper equivalent cut-off for underground mining is 0.6% (which is highlighted in the tables), while management is focusing on the 1.0% cut-off.
Braveheart Resources is in the process of reviving milling operations at the Bull River Mine, a past-producing mine with a large on-surface stockpile of ore estimated to contain commercial metals valued between $20-to-$22 million. Management opportunistically acquired the Bull River Property this year in January. Upon being granted a tailings disposal permit and a request to increase the maximum allowable capacity of an existing Small Mine Permit (both applications have already filed), Braveheart Resources is poised to begin processing ore and generating revenues. In addition, the Bull River Mine has an attractive Indicated Resource Estimate that can be readily exploited once the surface infrastructure (crushing plant, mill, maintenance/office buildings, etc.) becomes fully operational.
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