Benz has currently mobilized equipment and is preparing for the Summer 2017 exploration program.
The Mel property is located within a belt of important sedimentary exhalative zinc-lead deposits, which includes the Howard’s Pass deposits of Chihong Canada Mining, the Tom and Jason deposits of HudBay Minerals, the Cirque deposit of Teck Resources/Korea Zinc, and the Akie deposit of Canada Zinc Metals. It is situated 80 km east of Watson Lake and 40 km north of the Alaska Highway in southeastern Yukon Territory. The property consists of 257 mineral claims.
At the Mel property, Cambrian to Ordovician marine sediments and similar age volcanics host zinc-lead-barite mineralization. The main host units are carbonate and clastic sediments that are broadly folded in a north-south trending overturned syncline. This synclinal structure has been cut by a number of north and northeast-trending faults. Four sediment-hosted, zinc-rich zones have been identified on the Mel property: the Main Mel, Jeri, Jeri North and Mel East Zones.
Mel Main Zone
The Mel Main Zone hosts an inferred resource of 5.38 million tonnes grading 6.45% zinc, 1.85% lead and 44.79% barite (BaSO4), at a cut-off grade of 5.0% zinc-equivalent. Mineralization at the Main Mel Zone consists of coarse-grained sphalerite and galena disseminated throughout a mixture of mudstone, silica-carbonate and coarsely crystalline barite. Minor amounts of fine-grained, sparsely disseminated pyrite occur locally. The Main Mel Zone is open downdip and has good potential to host a larger zinc-lead resource.
The Mel Main Zone mineral resource estimation was completed by Gary Giroux, P.Eng., M.A.Sc. (Giroux Consultants Ltd.) who is a qualified person and independent of Benz Mining based on the criteria defined by National Instrument 43-101. A summary of inferred mineral resources is tabulated below:
Inferred Resource within mineralized solids using a zinc-equivalent cut-off
|Cut-Off||Tonnes > Cut-off||Grade > Cut-off|
|ZnEQ%*||Tonnes||Zn (%)||Pb (%)||ZnEQ (%)||BaSO4 (%)|
* Zinc-equivalence (ZnEQ%) was calculated using metal prices of US$0.89/lb zinc and US$0.96/lb lead and assuming 90.3% zinc recovery and 97.7% lead recovery.
Data generated during various historical drill programs conducted at the Mel Main Zone were independently reviewed by Giroux Consultants Ltd. as part of the resource study. The resource estimate for the Mel Main Zone was initiated by constructing a wire-frame 3D solid model in “GEMS”. Three-dimensional solids were manually digitized from the available drill data and were used to constrain the interpolation of mineralization. The model was constructed based upon lithological boundaries and structural controls. Two solids were created, each representing a separate mineralogical domain. Samples were capped for all variables within each domain. Block grades were estimated by Ordinary Kriging of composites within each domain. Block densities were established from 47 samples.
Preliminary metallurgical testing on drill core from the Main Mel Zone by Lakefield Research indicates that after grinding to 100 mesh, the mineralization responded well to flotation and yielded concentrates ranging from 60.9 to 64.7% zinc, 78.0 to 79.6% lead and 90.3 to 94.4% barite with recoveries of 90.3 to 96.2% for zinc, 97.7 to 98.0 for lead and 88 to 90.9% for barite. A later, larger-scale test was done for barite concentrate market evaluation. Concentrate grading 95.1% barite with a recovery of 92.6% was produced from feed grading 53.5% barite.
A Barite Marketing Study regarding potential production of barite from the Mel Property was completed by World Industrial Minerals Inc (“WIM”), of Arvada, Colorado in 2014. This study concluded that barite from the Mel Property could likely be sold into the drilling products market in Western Canada and Alaska. Based on current demand, WIM estimated that sales of 50,000 tonnes per year at $US 100/tonne would be reasonable into the Western Canadian market. The study also recommended that further work be conducted to verify that impurity levels meet specifications.
Significant mineralization has also been intersected in several diamond drill holes and trenches completed by previous owners at the Jeri and Jerri North Zones, where zinc-bearing hydrothermal dolomite and silicified dolomite are intermittently exposed along a syncline fold limb for several kilometres. Trenching on the Jeri Zone has cut bedrock grading up to 16.5% zinc over 5 m while drilling has yielded intercepts of up to 13.1% zinc over a core length of 3.37 m. Diamond drilling at the Jeri North Zone has returned intercepts up to 15.6% zinc over a core length of 5.1 m. Areas of mineralization at both the Jeri and Jeri North Zones are open to extension. Several geophysical targets along the Jeri Zone and large areas of elevated lead-zinc soil geochemistry and associated geophysical anomalies at the Mel East Zone have not been drill tested.