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Benchmark Metals setting sights on bulk tonnage potential of Lawyer’s gold and silver project in prolific Golden Horseshoe

Snapshot

Exploration in the Toodoggone district, where the project sits, began in the late 1960s

Benchmark Metals Inc. -

Quick facts: Benchmark Metals Inc.

Price: 0.99 CAD

TSX-V:BNCH
Market: TSX-V
Market Cap: $152.62 m
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  • Targeting a 5 million ounce gold equivalent target
  • On fast-track to production
  • Working in a proven and profitable mining jurisdiction

What Benchmark Metals does:

Benchmark Metals Inc (CVE:BNCH) (OTCQB:CYRTF) is advancing the "substantial" resource potential of the formerly producing Lawyer’s gold and silver project, which it acquired in 2018, and which lies in the prolific Golden Horseshoe area of British Columbia.

Exploration in the Toodoggone district, where the project sits, began in the late 1960s and identified numerous showings, prospects, and deposits in the Lawyers project area.

But the company says previous work has ignored the bulk tonnage and porphyry potential of the property.

The Cheni gold-silver mine operated there for four years from 1989 to 1992, exploiting high-grade underground workings and produced 171,200 ounces of gold and 3.6 million ounces of silver, when the gold price was just US$300 an ounce and silver stood at US$7 per ounce.

Benchmark is very well-funded, having raised over C$24 million, and attracted the likes of renowned Canadian resource investor Eric Sprott, who is the group's largest shareholder with 19% of the capital.

The group currently has over C$11 million available to fund an aggressive C$8.5 million exploration program in 2020, which will culminate with a new resource estimate, with a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) earmarked for 2021.

How is it doing: 

Following drilling last year, Benchmark has defined five mineralized zones at Lawyer's, which are to be the focus of resource definition and expansion drilling in 2020, along with eight further prospects.

The company says 90% of the 140 square kilometre (km) area has been underexplored, while the Lawyer's property is home to a five million ounce gold-silver target.

The largest area of interest is the Cliff Creek Zone, where the firm has defined a bulk-tonnage target in the range of 1.68 to 1.92 million ounce (Moz) gold equivalent at an average grade ranging from 1.71-1.73 grams per ton (g/t) gold equivalent. The zone extends over 1.2km and is open in all directions.

On June 9 this year, in a comprehensive update, Benchmark revealed that it plans to sink up to 50,000 metres of drilling at the project this year along with an Induced Polarization (IP) and Magnetotellurics (MT) geophysical survey. Also planned is extensive soil and rock sampling across the new exploration targets and ongoing metallurgical work and baseline environmental studies.

Having rapidly developed the project over the last two years, the firm said it now sees "potential for mining scenarios that will contribute to converting the existing exploration target into a future multi-million-ounce" gold-silver resource estimate.

Drilling success by the firm has meant zones have been expanded and confirmed the presence of both high-grade and bulk tonnage mineralization across all of the exploration zones..

Six additional targets have the potential for new discoveries, the firm said, two of which are Silver Pond and Marmot. Silver pond has never been drilled, mapped, or effectively explored and is only 850 metres northwest of the mineralization at Cliff Creek.

"This season's data will be invaluable for us to demonstrate the economics of a new open-pit mining scenario during a period of escalating gold and silver prices," said John Williamson, the chief executive of Benchmark, referring to the 2020 work ahead.

Inflection points:

  • Exploration results
  • A maiden resource estimate
  • Precious metals moves

What the boss says:

Speaking to Proactive on June 1, Benchmark president Jim Greig noted that the Lawyer's project story was now not about high-grade, narrow vein underground mining but bulk tonnage and porphyry (big scale underground deposits) potential.

"There's perhaps three open pits at surface, bulk tonnage, a large mining scenario, especially when gold is nearing US$1,750 an ounce," he said commenting on the property's exciting potential.

"Over the course of two years, we've certainly seen enormous potential and rapidly advanced the project to a point where we're on the cusp of developing a brand new mineral resource estimate," he added.

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