"This is an elephant!" someone proudly pronounced referring to the Sullivan lead/zinc mine. For a hundred years it produced billions of dollars-worth of metals for owner TECK COMINCO. But the deposit is exhausted, and the last shift rode the cage to the surface on Dec. 21, 2001.
If it is elephants you want, where better to find one than near where another has already been found? That is a way of saying that the mountains of southeastern British Columbia may host another huge, rich lead/zinc deposit among their folds.
The latest elephant hunter in the area is STIKINE GOLD CORP. of Vancouver. Diamond drilling began last April on the Sullivan Deeps project, only 4 km away from the old Sullivan mine.
Stikine is earning a 50% interest in the Sullivan Deeps property through a deal that involves a stock issue and exploration funding. Teck Cominco holds the remaining interest and is acting as operator. (Details available at www.stikinegold.com in the News Releases). Stikine has engaged Paul W. Ransom, who has over three decades of experience at the Sullivan mine, as project manager.
"All the exploration work done in the past indicates there is a mineralized corridor in this area that hosts a number of different deposits, and the evidence for the target that we’re chasing is based on over 30 years of exploration conducted while the Sullivan mine was in operation," said Scott Broughton, president & CEO of Stikine.
The exact location of the northerly extension of the Sullivan corridor has been difficult to predict in the past because of the Kimberley fault, which runs along the north side of the Sullivan mine. In 1996, an attempt by Cominco to find a possible Sullivan sister deposit proved unsuccessful because, it is now believed, that hole was located too far west of the target area.
A UTEM downhole geophysical survey was run in the hole. Results showed a large anomaly at the Sullivan Deeps target depth of 2,400 metres. They also seem to indicate that the target is located in the predicted extension of the Sullivan corridor.
Using Cominco’s archived examples of the various geological markers, and having samples from the 1996 drill hole, Stikine was able to determine the target depth of 2,400 metres by interpreting those core samples. As the current Sullivan Deeps hole is being drilled, Stikine has obtained the same series of markers, and recent results from these markers are very encouraging.
The hole began last April has passed a depth of 2,000 metres and intersected the Hiawatha Marker, a geologically important feature well-known to sit about 450 metres above the Sullivan deposit.
"The significance of these markers is that they demonstrate we are above a Sullivan horizon and we know exactly how far we have to go to get to that Sullivan time horizon. They indicate to us that we are on-track to hitting our target," explained Broughton.
Stikine is excited by the possibility of finding a sister deposit to the famous Sullivan. Until drilling reaches the target depth of 2,400 metres, no one knows for certain if the geological interpretation is on the money. Core from that depth may return assays providing the first tangible evidence if there is another elephant hidden in the Sullivan Deeps.