Beauce Gold Fields CEO Patrick Levasseur discusses historical data and geophysics results for the Beauce Gold Fields project in Quebec.
Beauce Gold Fields (TSXV:BGF) CEO Patrick Levasseur provided a detailed explanation of how geophysical work and historical databases can help find the source of placer gold in the Beauce gold district in Quebec.
In the interview below, Levasseur talked about the history of the company’s Beauce Gold Fields project in the Beauce gold district in Quebec. According to historical data, the property was the site of Canada’s first gold rush, which happened before the Klondike. In fact, Canada’s biggest gold nuggets were unearthed there. Placer gold mining started operations in 1860 and there was continuous mining for the next 50 years. The property was then mined again in the 1960s, creating a backlog of information to sort through.
As Levasseur explains, the company was able to identify rock outcrops that were not previously mapped in the company’s most recent geophysical program. Beauce Gold was also able to rediscover an old mine that had been in operation on the western side of the property by digitizing and enhancing old maps. Levasseur believes that this type of work is invaluable as the company attempts to pinpoint the source of the placer gold in the district. He believes that the old maps, along with modern geophysical work, will help the company focus its exploration work.
Levasseur finished off the interview by providing his thoughts on the gold market, which he is optimistic about. According to Levasseur, Beauce Gold has received increased traffic on its website due to the increased interest in the sector.
Below is a transcript of our interview with Beauce Gold CEO Patrick Levasseur. It has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Investing News Network: Can you update our investor audience on Beauce Gold’s exploration progress at the St-Simon-les-Mines property?
Beauce Gold CEO Patrick Levasseur: We’ve been sampling rock outcrops as part of a follow-up work program. First of all, we did geophysics along two roads that cross the property, where our team pointed out these outcrops. The thing with geophysics is that you have to match what you see with the physical rock. For example, if you see a red blob, you have to know what that blob signifies and then correlate the data with physical samples. So after we identified the outcrops, we took some samples.
When you look at the data, you always have to look at what’s been done in the past. The area that we were looking at started placer mining operations in 1860 and was continuously mined for 50 years, ending around World War I from what I can tell. Then there was another major placer operation in the 1960s. When we look at the old data, we know that this area has been mined. There are hundreds of reverse circulation (RC) drilling results, which is drilling done in the overburden to measure the placer gold channel, from the past mining operation. This historical data helps us determine the property’s geology and what lies beneath the surface and bedrock. It’ll help us find where the hard rock source of the placer gold is.
In doing our research, we found that no rock sampling had been done on the property. It was believed that there was no rock sampling done on the outcrop because it was covered in thick layers of rock and sediment, called the glacial till overburden. This is why they didn’t have any outcrops on the old maps so we were pleasantly surprised to find nice outcrops. We did some channel and grab sampling on them and started to fill a gap in the history of the property.
We ultimately want to start drilling. The outcrops sampling and mapping is going well, and there are a lot more than we thought, which is a good thing. We’re getting rocks and hopefully mineralized zones out of the outcrops. As we collect our samples, we will be shipping them off to the lab and hope to release further news soon that points to the source of the placer gold. Our fieldwork is ongoing and will continue throughout the summer. Hopefully, we’ll get some good results from that.
INN: What did recent gravimetric surveys indicate regarding exploration efforts on the property?
PL: Gravimetric surveys are another type of geophysics. With most types, you send a current into the ground and then measure the radio waves. Gravimetrics is very different; it basically measures the density of the bedrock. We conducted a gravimetric survey on a huge scale, and it has generated hundreds of data points. What the results came up with is very revealing.
First of all, since the survey is another form of sensory exploration. This different form of measurement helped us shed new light on something and get a different set of data and confirm our electrical and radio geophysics. For example, we conducted an audio-magnetotelluric (AMT) survey in 2017 and discovered a faultline. We did that with 2D imaging, which only solves half of the problem. We did two rows of imaging and confirmed that the fault line was there. The gravimetric survey was done on a large scale and gave us an idea of the length of the fault line.
Secondly, we’ve been able to determine that the length of the fault line is over 4.5 kilometers. The gravimetric survey confirms the fault line is contracted between two geological units – the Beauceville formation to the north and the St-Victor formation to the south. If you look at gold deposits around the world, they often occur in the contact between two formations along a fault line as these areas sometimes create a smooth incision and concentration of gold.
What we’re seeing is the old mines are lining up along this fault line, making this a great discovery. It confirms that the fault line system is rolling under all the placer minds. It definitely shows there is a correlation of the gold mined and the fault line. Hopefully it narrows our search to find the hardrock source of the Saint-Simon-les-Mines gold placers.
INN: How have digital enhancements on historical maps aided in exploration efforts at the St. Simon Les Mines property?
PL: It has helped a lot. This property has a long history and the more we look at it, the more likely it is that we’ll find something new in the old data. The project has a great history, but there is not, as we’re finding out, a lot of geology history or work. Most of our historical accounts are all in pictures, so we have to read old books and manuscripts. It was a lot of fun looking at the old maps because they contained almost all of the old placer gold mines. When I say placer gold mine, I’m not talking about people washing gold in the river; they were digging shafts and tunnels.
The shafts were being dug about 15 meters to 40 meters into the glacial till overburden before they branched out into tunnels. The miners would then scrape up the first couple of meters of the auriferous till, bring it to the surface and wash it. This went on for about 50 years with some advancements in technology. Most of these mines were on the eastern side of the fault near St-Simon-les-Mines, which wasn’t surprising.
While we were looking through all of this, I found another map that outlined a mine near the St-Gustave road to the west. When you look at the images of this place, you can see the large Yuba dredge on the eastern side of the property. I had wondered why they started dredging at the St-Gustave road and not closer to town and the old mines.
In the 1960s, a lot of overburden drilling was completed to evaluate a gold resource and target gold with its dredge. I thought that it was because the historical data indicated that the placer gold grade was higher towards the St-Gustave road. The dredging started there based on this old map. However, we didn’t find any documentation that supported that there was an active mine near the St-Gustave road. When you look at the map, it just shows that there is a map and that one hole was completed in 1910, but it doesn’t mean that there was a mine there. The map shows gold grades indicated in the tunnels and that there was an outline and design for a mine with an elevator shaft.
There was no other information about it. To correlate that, we went to see an old area photo from the 1930s that showed mining activity in the area that matches the old map. It had been cleaned up, and we were able to see that. We were also able to look at the gold grade on the map, which is very helpful. This was a hot zone, but you wouldn’t believe that a mine was there because it’s just a big, sandy field now.
This is what we think happened. In the 1960s, the dredging operation ripped up the old mine. At the head of the dredge is a giant, industrial crane called a dragline. It contains a bucket that’s bigger than a car, and it digs deep into the ground as the dredge advances. By doing this, we believe that the old mine was erased, which is what we saw when we cleaned up the old maps. This was very helpful because we now know that there are two hot spots on the property where major placer mining took place. Everyone thought that mining only happened near St-Simon-les-Mines in the west, but there was actually a placer gold dredging operation 2 kilometers to the east. Before the placer dredge operation, there was another underground mine there as well. We discovered all of this just by cleaning up old maps.
For the first miner, this means that they did the work and the drilling and built a shaft. They spent a lot of capital because there was gold. There may still be gold there, and it’s a target that needs to be explored further. It confirms that past mining operations were more significant than everybody believed. In cleaning up all these old maps, we were able to extrapolate a lot of information. The most recent map was done in the 1980s. It gives a better delineation of the placer channels, and we can see that the placer channel goes on for over 6 kilometers in Coniagas Mines’ reports from that time. The information we have received has been valuable and exciting.
INN: How has the recent price action in gold influenced Beauce Gold’s operations?
PL: It’s nice to see gold pass US$1,400. I haven’t seen any immediate price action in our stock, but we’ve been receiving more inquiries and traffic on our website. More people are looking at what we’re doing and are interested in what we’re doing.
Beauce Gold Fields is a new company, and we’ve only been trading for about six months. We’re still attracting our shareholder base. I think people are excited about what we’re doing because it’s innovative and its a fresh story. We’re conducting gold exploration in an area that has been overlooked for most of the century and still has the potential for a big discovery.
The recent price action has generated interest in the sector. People are following the story, and we’re getting noticed. I think we’re doing great work and are in a good position. We have a tightly-held company with a small, tight float, which potentially gives really good leverage on the upside.
INN: Do you see any major trends influencing the precious metals market to close 2019?
PL: I believe that two things will affect the market. Many people say that gold prices are only good as long as there is inflation or an economic downturn, but I think that gold is good whenever something disturbs the economy. I’ve seen gold go up because of inflation and down because of deflation or economic uncertainty. We’re currently seeing a bit of both right now, and the market is still going up, albeit on shaky ground. In my personal opinion, I think that’s affecting the price of gold.
Now everyone is waiting for the big one. They eventually need to go to a broad market, like the DOW or S&P 500, for example. Both indexes have been on upward trends for about 11 years, which is unprecedented and who knows how long it’ll continue. When it stops, that is the question. It could happen in two months or maybe in a year. I don’t know, but as we all know, the economy is cyclical, and the rise will eventually stop. When this happens, gold could become very volatile on the upside, which could be a good thing.
Everyone in the industry is optimistic, and the interest is there. Over the last few years, cannabis has sucked the air out of the venture capital room, but we see a change in that. Looking forward, it’s looking good. We’re starting work, we have the interest, and hopefully, we’ll get some good results that lead to a discovery. We’re feeling optimistic about the work we’re doing and the broader market as things are feeling good in both areas.
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