|Bralorne Gold Mines Production Surges in February as Gold Grade Rises|
Plenty of junior miners are plunging holes in the ground looking for gold, but not many of them are generating revenue to help fund the exploration. After all, it’s no secret that exploration and drilling is expensive, no matter if the holes are cut with reverse circulation, diamond drilling or rotary air blast drilling. On that point, a company producing even limited amounts of gold as it explores helps mitigate investment risk some, but when production is increasing; it’s even better.
That’s what’s been going on with Vancouver-based Bralorne Gold Mines Ltd. (TSX-Venture:BPM) in 2014 anyway. The company’s eponymous flagship gold property is located in the historic mining camp at Gold Bridge, British Columbia, an area with a rich heritage of gold mining. With a population of around 40 (yes, forty), Gold Bridge isn’t exactly a thriving metropolis, but it is home to the richest gold mine in Canada’s history with one of the deepest shafts anywhere in the world.
Bralorne Gold Mines took control of the property 12 years ago and has focused its exploration efforts on the undeveloped areas between the three historic mines that were abandoned, called "mine gap areas." Exploration has intercepted high grade gold in the mine gap areas, including cuts of 0.34 metres of 402.58 g/t gold, 2.1 metres grading 409.5 g/t gold and 0.37 metres grading 246.99 g/t gold.
After more exploration work, Bralorne brought the property back into production in 2010 with stope mining as it prepared for and began developing new mining blocks. Stope mining is a process of extracting ore and leaving a hole (the stope) where the ground is strong not to cave in the stope, although supports are generally still added for safety.
2014 has started off well for Bralorne with gold production increasing in the first two months as compared to the year prior periods. In January, metric tonnes milled increased from 2,553 tonnes in January 2013 to 3,133 tonnes. Total ounces recovered improved 25 percent from 322 ounces to 403.7 ounces.
On Wednesday, the company said that February was an even better month. Even though metric tonnes milled only improved about 10 percent compared to February 2013 to 2,532 tonnes, recovered gold amounts jumped substantially. Production surged 192 percent from 280.6 ounces a year earlier to 539.2 ounces this past February. Feed grade rose from 4.6 g/t gold last February to 7.5 g/t gold. That’s also up from 4.5 g/t gold in January.
"Mine grades are now showing up in the mill, resulting in a substantial improvement in ounces recovered compared to the same period last year," said Dr. Mathew Ball, President and COO of Bralorne Gold Mines, in a prepared statement.
Development of new mining blocks has exposed a vein with an average gold grade of 18.5 g/t gold over 0.7 metres. Over a nominal mining width of 1.5 metres, the average grade is 8.9 g/t gold. Dr. Ball added that more exploration is needed to define the boundaries of the zone.
The markets are a little sketchy towards miners of all sizes at the moment, but shares of BPM have edged ahead by 8% to 27 cents on limited volume of 30,000 shares in Wednesday trading.