The Bonanza developed prospect is located 3.75 kilometres east of the summit of Alberts Hump, south of Abesti Creek, and 4.35 kilometres southwest of Tuff Peak. It lies within the Omineca-Cassiar Mountains in the west-central part of the Toodoggone Gold Camp. Smithers lies approximately 300 kilometres to the south.
The Lower Jurassic Toodoggone Formation (Hazelton Group), a pyroclastic volcanic assemblage, forms a 100 by 25 kilometre northwest-trending belt extending from Thutade Lake in the south to the Stikine River in the north. These rocks are dominantly andesitic to dacitic in composition and have been divided into units consisting of interlayered lava flows, ash flows and lapilli and crystal tuffs, with subvolcanic equivalents and associated volcaniclastic and epiclastic rocks. The Toodoggone volcanics are cut by granitic rocks of the Early Jurassic Black Lake Suite and by subvolcanic intrusions related to Toodoggone volcanism. Two of the geologic units within the Toodoggone Formation underlie the AL property (094E 091); these include the basal Adoogacho and Metsantan members. The Adoogacho Member is composed of trachydacite ash-flow tuffs, lapilli and finer tuffs, volcanic sandstone and conglomerate, and subvolcanic plugs (Bulletin 86). The overlying Metsantan Member is composed of trachyandesite flows with lenses of lapilli tuff and lahar; minor volcanic sandstone and conglomerate (Bulletin 86). The Metsantan Member in part, directly overlies the basal Adoogacho Member and in part is in fault contact with it.
Flanking the central area, which averages about 60 metres in width, are a series of silicified fissures with north to northwest trends. These include the Bonanza West and Verrenass structures on the northwest side of the deposit core, and the Bonanza South structure on the southeast side. These zones are relatively linear, steeply dipping, and narrow and consist of high-porosity, quartz-barite-sulphide veins and tabular bodies that become progressively narrower away from the central core of the deposit. They have not been recognized in the central deposit area, not even as faulted remnants. This suggests that the thicker zones of gold-bearing silica which developed along the northeast-trending Ghost fault system may post-date the narrower, north or northwest-trending “fissure-type” gold-bearing structures. Also present in the central and northeastern parts of the Bonanza deposit area is a northeast-trending, 10-20 metres wide, rhyodacitic quartz-feldspar porphyry dike which truncates alteration and mineralization and is itself locally offset by several strands of the Ghost fault system.
Across the Ranch property region, three north trending fault systems, with little evidence of movement, transect a gently, south to southwest dipping sequence of dacitic ash flows and interspersed volcanogenic epiclastic beds of the Adoogacho Member (Economic Geology, Volume 86, 1991). The eastern most known structure, the Bonanza fault, strikes north and is steeply to vertically dipping, and appears to extend for over 5 kilometres from Moyez Creek valley in the north to Metsantan Mountain to the south. The Bonanza occurrence lies on this fault and the nearby Ridge occurrence (094E 078) lies on a northeastern splay of the main structure. The Thesis fault crosses the area on a northwest trend and lies to the west of the Bonanza fault. It has been traced for over three kilometres. A third southeast-trending structure, the BV fault, lies 800 metres to the south of the Thesis fault. The BV fault is more than 1600 metres long. They are characterized by strong, often complete argillization and silicification of the hostrocks.
Alteration zones, some of great extent (25-75 hectares), occur in large numbers on the property. The alteration zones are apparently structurally controlled, mainly by the Bonanza, Thesis, and BV faults. Alteration zones typically contain intensely silicified cores surrounded by wide envelopes of argillic flooding. Subtypes of alteration, including silicification with pyrite, argillization with hematite/goethite, and silicification with hematite/goethite, have also been recognized. Drilling indicates that alteration intensities around the Bonanza structure are specific to individual volcanic horizons which may be flow tops or unconformable beds with differing composition or textural characteristics. Native gold with minor silver occurs within the silicified cores of many of the zones. This mineralization is almost always accompanied by barite and 2 to 7 per cent copper-rich sulphide.
The Bonanza structure, which is steeply to vertically dipping, cuts through gently southwest dipping volcanic rocks at approximate right angles to their strike. The structure contains tensional veining and stockworks (30 to 200 centimetres) and transgresses the entire Bonanza area without interruption by any faults. It trends northwest and cuts across the north Bonanza area. Branching fault splays striking northwest and northeast from the main Bonanza structure are evidenced by epithermal rock alteration patterns which are typically elongate, parallel to the structures. Crosscutting faults give this structure a sense of right-lateral displacement along strike and create discontinuities.
The Bonanza deposit occurs within a structurally complex zone of silicification and clay alteration, at the intersection of the north-northwest trending Bonanza fault system and the northeast-trending Ghost fault system. The deposit has been extensively trenched and drill tested over a north-south strike length of about 450 metres down to, on average, vertical depths of about 100 metres. At its widest, the alteration zone exceeds 100 metres in width. Year 2007 drillholes completed by Christopher James Gold Corp. in the Bonanza deposit area show that while well-developed silica-pyrite zones persist to vertical depths of 125 to 150 metres or more, gold values exceeding 1.0 gram per tonne were rarely encountered below about 60 to 70 metres vertically below surface (Bowen, 2012 (43-101 Technical Report for Guardsmen Resources)). There remains the possibility that steeply plunging mineralized shoots may persist to greater depths than those encountered in the 2007 drillholes. Gold-bearing silicification in the deposit core ranges up to about 20 metres in true width. Individual shoots dip vertically to moderately west. Gold grades usually exceed 1.0 gram per tonne and range up to several hundred grams per tonne in localized, erratic high-grade sections (Bowen, 2012 (43-101 Technical Report for Guardsmen Resources)). Their random distribution does not appear to be the result of post-mineral dislocation; they are thought to be an intrinsic feature of the Bonanza deposit. Pyrite is common below depths of about 10 metres; its content ranges from 1-5 per cent and is locally higher. Copper sulphides, notably chalcopyrite, bornite, and covellite, and lesser copper sulphosalts, occur in certain zones. The overall surface alteration pattern shows a series of broad silica-altered zones in the centre of the deposit which trend northeast. In cross-section, they appear sheet like, dip moderately to the west or southwest and alternate with sections of relatively unaltered andesite tuff. The silica zones are thought to have formed from the selective replacement of more permeable tuff units within the volcanic strata. They are characterized by strongly silicified rock with high porosity, very low barite content, moderate pyrite content and locally heavy copper sulphide content.
The AL (Bonanza) occurrence is composed of at least three main mineralized zones forming a north-trending lineament of gossans, silicified rocks hosted in the Bonanza structure and extending from the Bonanza occurrence to the Mets occurrence (094E 093), a distance of over 5 kilometres. Hostrocks are andesitic-dacitic ash-flow tuff and is locally intruded by post-ore porphyritic rhyodacite dikes. These dikes pre-date most of the cross-faulting and are shuffled about along numerous lines of weakness. In some cases, the dikes cut through and obliterate all evidence of mineralization except for xenoliths caught up inside the dike walls. The dike rocks are propylitically altered throughout and generally show evidence of shearing at contacts. The average width of the main silicified orebody is 10 metres.
Surface mineralization along the Bonanza structure occurs within irregular elongate zones separated by less altered to fresh unmineralized rocks. Associated veining is composed of quartz-(pyrite-chalcopyrite-galena-sphalerite), barite-quartz and barite assemblages carrying gold-silver grades over narrow widths. Mineralization in the high-grade Verrenass zone consists of barite-hosted native gold, electrum, and acanthite deposited in the acid-leached core (alunite) of an intensely altered north-northwest trending structure located at the northern end of the main Bonanza structure. Fine to very fine-grained gold mineralization is hosted primarily in coarse barite crystals (vugs), veins, and stockworks. Late stage tetrahedrite-tennantite occurs sporadically and is locally associated with gold mineralization. Quartz-dickite alteration is dominant adjacent to the mineralization and is enclosed by a quartz-illite-hematite assemblage. Results from the 1984 drill program on the Verrenass zone indicate a rapid vertical change from silicified and leached rocks with abundant barite and anomalous gold at or near the surface to a pyritic system at depth. The apparent feeder structure dips east to subvertically. The surface mineralization has less than 15 metres thickness (Assessment Report 13503).
The originally linear sheet-like Ghost orebody (subsurface Bonanza structure) is comprised of a series of individual mineralized blocks resultant from the net effect of the complicated structural pattern. The Ghost and Verrenass zones merge towards the south.
The Bonanza West zone is parallel to the Bonanza Main structure and is 24.3 metres wide with a 228.6 metres strike length. A diamond-drill hole intersection across 1.98 metres assayed 14.74 grams per tonne gold (George Cross News Letter No.175, 1988). The best assay from a diamond-drill hole intersection in the Bonanza South Extension zone analyzed 9.94 grams per tonne gold across 1.67 metres (George Cross News Letter No.175, 1988).
Geochronological studies of marginal illite-bearing alteration from the Bonanza deposit (Verrenass zone) have resulted in a potassium-argon age determination of 171 +/- 6 Ma and is considered as the minimum age of alteration and mineralization (Fieldwork 1988). Subsequent geochronological studies of sericite alteration, taken from 73.8 metres depth in drillhole 88-33 from the same zone, has resulted in an argon-argon age range of 196.4 +/- 4.7 Ma (steps 1,2 and 5) to 195.9 +/- 5.9 Ma (steps 6,7 and 8) (Geological Fieldwork 1991, pages 207-216). While the plateau age of 207.7 +/- 2.7 Ma is inconsistent with the known age of the hostrocks, the two step ages are considered more reliable than the previous potassium-argon age.
Historic resources are 2,177,000 recoverable grams gold in 226,775 tonnes of 10.28 grams per tonne gold (George Cross News Letter No.95 (May 16), 1990).
See Work History year 2007 for latest resource estimation.
Note: all information for 1972 to 2012 is from Bowen's (2012), National Instrument (NI) 43-101 Technical Report for Guardsmen Resources.
In 1972-73, Sumac Mines Ltd. carried out surface exploration in the Alberts Hump area including the collection of 354 soil and rock samples, 8.8-line kilometres of ground magnetic and induced polarization surveys and additionally, 15 rock samples were collected from 13 hand trenches and 133 grid soil samples taken.
In 1979, Energex Minerals Ltd. optioned a group of four claims (the original AL property) over part of the current Ranch property.
In 1980, the AL property, along with the nearby Moose and JD properties, were optioned to Texasgulf Canada Ltd. (later called Kidd Creek Mines) who completed reconnaissance geochemical surveys, geological mapping and staking of additional ground south of the current Ranch property. A total of 43 silt, 57 soil, and 67 rock samples were collected.
In 1981, Texasgulf Canada Ltd. conducted extensive soil sampling on three separate grids, along with geological mapping and sampling on many of the alteration/mineralization zones on the property and Very Low Frequency -Electromagnetic/magnetometer orientation surveys in selected areas. In this phase of the work program, a total of 2567 soil, and 283 rock samples were collected. Additionally, six hand trenches totalling 146 metres (274 rock samples) at the Ridge prospect and four hand trenches totalling 80 metres (151 rock samples) at the Golden Furlong prospect were completed. Results were positive and additional ground was acquired.
In 1982, Texasgulf Canada Ltd. conducted additional geological mapping, rock and soil geochemistry, induced polarization surveys, trenching, diamond drilling, and a legal survey of corner posts. A total of 1785 soil samples were collected on several grids from the Bonanza area westwards towards Alberts Hump. Diamond drilling was completed on three zones including: Bonanza-Ridge (8 holes totalling 1097.7 metres), Golden Furlong (2 holes totalling 395.5 metres) and Alberts Hump (2 holes totalling 203.3 metres). Additionally, two trenches totalling 61 metres were completed in the Bonanza zone.
In 1983, Texasgulf Canada Ltd. conducted extensive surface exploration on the Ranch property, including trenching, geological mapping, and soil sampling, which led to the discovery of the Verrenass zone (a very high-grade portion of the Bonanza zone) and the Thesis II zone. A total of 811 soil samples were collected on two separate grids, 48 backhoe trenches (2694 metres) were completed in the Bonanza-Ridge area and on the Thesis II zone, 687 panel samples and 11 soil profiles (53 samples) were collected from the Bonanza-Ridge trenches and prior to trenching at Thesis II, 12 surface rock samples were collected.
In 1983-84, Newmont Canada Limited carried out preliminary surface work on the Chuck and Moyez claims north of the AL property (now covered by Ranch property claims) where air photo lineaments had been staked by them in 1982. A total of 331 grid and reconnaissance soil samples and 126 silt samples were collected. Results of these programs failed to delineate any zones of economic interest.
In 1984, Texasgulf Canada Ltd. conducted extensive trenching and diamond drilling of the Bonanza, Ridge and Thesis II zones, as well as on the newly discovered high-grade Thesis III and BV (Barite Vein) zones. Work included: 32 backhoe trenches (1505 metres) in the Thesis III and BV zones; diamond drilling in the BV (8 holes, 575.4 metres), Thesis III (4 holes, 269.5 metres), Bonanza-Verrenass (4 holes, 135.6 metres), Thesis II (2 holes, 143.0 metres) and Ridge (1 hole, 87.4 metres) zones; and the collection of 605 rock samples taken during the surface evaluation of base and precious metals soil anomalies identified in earlier surveys. The property was subsequently returned to Energex by Texasgulf. In early 1985, Miramar Energy Corporation purchased the Chuck-Moyez property from Newmont. Miramar collected 20 rock chip, 36 silt and 10 heavy metal samples on the property. No ore grade precious metal occurrences were discovered on the claims.
In 1985, Energex Minerals Ltd. completed trenching, mapping and panel rock sampling on the Bingo zone and carried out diamond drilling in the BV and Thesis III zones. Geological mapping and rock geochemical sampling were completed on the Bloss, Patti, Steve’s, Ring, Eric, and Pond zones. Additionally, seven diamond-drill holes totalling 271.3 metres were completed in the Bonanza area (two holes on the Ghost zone and five holes on the Verrenass zone).
In 1985, Texpez Oil and Gas Corp. carried out preliminary surface work on the Wolf II claim now covered by claims in the northeast part of the Ranch property. A total of 693 soil samples were taken on two separate grids and five rock samples were also collected. Soil sample results revealed three areas containing anomalous gold values, locally accompanied by anomalous concentrations of barite. Highest rock sample results were 2.2 grams per tonne silver and 0.015 gram per tonne gold (Bowen, 2012, NI 43-101 Technical Report for Guardsmen Resources).
In 1985, Yukon Gold Placers Ltd. carried out geological mapping and rock geochemical sampling on the Moytan 1 and 2 claims located in an area which is now in the northwestern part of the Ranch property. Yukon collected 22 rock chip samples, none of which identified any precious metals occurrences.
In early 1986, E.L.E. Energy Inc. conducted 10,000 line-kilometres of airborne magnetic and Very Low Frequency Electromagnetic surveys across the Toodoggone District. E.L.E. Energy commissioned Western Geophysical Aero Data Limited to recover and examine in detail airborne data gathered across the Indian Gold 1 and 2 claims. These claims are located at the western edge of the Ranch property, where its boundary adjoins the Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park.
In 1986, Miramar Energy Corporation completed 8.3 kilometres of Very Low Frequency Electromagnetic and resistivity surveys on two separate grids on the Chuck-Moyez property, following up on previous geological areas of interest.
In 1986, Lacana Mining Corporation completed five diamond-drill holes totalling 615.7 metres on the Patti zone, located in the southeastern part of the Ranch property.
In 1986, Duke Minerals Ltd. completed a preliminary surface work program on the Discovery 1 and 2 claims which were located immediately northwest of Metsantan Lake. These now expired claims are located just within the Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park, near the southern boundary of the Ranch property. Duke’s work program consisted of 4.7 line-kilometres of Induced Polarization surveys, 8.3 line-kilometres of grid soil surveys and 9.7 line-kilometres of Very Low Frequency Electromagnetic surveys. The Induced Polarization survey outlined a resistive zone coincident with moderately anomalous gold-in-soil values. This target was tested later in 1986 with seven diamond-drill holes totalling 427 metres. Assays of 30 core samples taken showed little or no gold present in the area drilled.
In 1986, Energex Minerals Ltd. completed a major integrated exploration program on the AL property, including: 83 diamond-drill holes totalling 3683 metres in four zones (Thesis II and III, Bonanza and BV); 141 backhoe trenches totalling about 3900 metres and the collection of 1140 samples from them; backhoe stripping of areas within the Bonanza, BV and Thesis III zones and the collection of 545 one-metre-long channel samples within the stripped areas; geophysical orientation surveys using seven systems over known areas of mineralization; instrument surveying of all 1986 drillholes and trenches which were tied in to a local property grid; the establishment of six detailed and two reconnaissance soil grids over several parts of the property (2878 soil samples were collected); and extensive prospecting, mapping and sampling of altered rocks over the detailed soil grids and known alteration zones (323 rock samples were collected). Additionally, Energex constructed a pilot plant with a 6 tonnes-per-day capacity to process high-grade ore from the Thesis III A zone; a total of 209 tonnes of ore was processed.
In 1986, Beachview Resources Ltd., for the now expired 20-unit Wolf 1 claim in the north-central part of the Ranch property, commissioned Western Geophysical Aero Data Limited to recover and examine in detail airborne data gathered from the 10,000-line kilometre, district-wide airborne survey completed in 1986 (see E.L.E. 1986 above).
In 1986, Toodoggone Syndicate, for the now expired 20-unit Spike claim in the north-central part of the Ranch property, commissioned Western Geophysical Aero Data Limited to recover and examine in detail airborne data gathered from the 10,000 line-kilometre, district-wide airborne survey completed in 1986 (see Beachview Resources, 1986 above).
In 1987, Deleware Resources Corp. completed a preliminary surface work program on the now expired Adoog 1-6 claims which were located in what is now the far northwest corner of the Ranch property. Thirty-six rock samples were submitted for gold and silver analyses, but none returned significant values.
In 1987, Energex Minerals Ltd. drilled 8600 metres in 122 holes, mainly directed towards proving up reserves in the Bonanza and BV zones. This total includes eight holes drilled in the Ridge zone to follow-up on encouraging precious metals results from earlier drill programs.
In 1988, Energex Minerals Ltd. completed 70 diamond-drill holes totalling 6308.8 metres in eight widespread zones across the AL property. The 1988 objectives were to test, by drilling, second order previously sampled surface showings for open pitable ore-grade material and also to drill test deeper levels of the Bonanza zone. About 50 per cent of the drilling was carried out on the Bonanza zone, 25 per cent on the Bingo zone and the remainder on the Ridge, BV South, Thesis II and III ‘B’, JK and Eric zones. Extensive stripping was carried out on the Bonanza zone and a lesser amount on the BV South zone. By the end of 1988, a total of 19 surface gold showings had been discovered on and around what is now the Ranch property.
Energex also commissioned Wright Engineers Limited of Vancouver, B.C. to carry out a feasibility study for the proposed open pit mining on the Bonanza, Thesis III and BV zones, and coordinated extensive metallurgical testing. All this work was funded by flow-through financing and aimed at a self-financed development. Changes in the structure of flow-through financing in 1989 precluded Energex's ability to continue to raise money and carry out this development plan.
In 1990, Miramar Energy Corporation collected a total of 278 soil samples along five separate contour soil lines spread randomly across its Chuck-Moyez property, searching for epithermal precious metal deposits such as those on the adjacent Al property. Although results showed generally low gold and silver values, one noticeable aspect of the data set was the consistently high, and possibly anomalous, concentrations of barite. Only one of the 278 samples returned a value below 100 parts per million barium (Bowen, 2012, NI 43-101 Technical Report for Guardsmen Resources).
In 1990, Cheni Gold Mines Inc. optioned the AL property and completed an access road from their Lawyer's property to the Bonanza zone. In 1991, Cheni Gold Mines Inc. surface-mined an estimated 41,200 tonnes of ore grading 9.2 grams per tonne gold from the BV (32,000 tonnes), Thesis III (4500 tonnes) and Bonanza Zone (4700 tonnes) zones and trucked it approximately 40 kilometres to the Lawyers mill for processing (Bowen, 2012, NI 43-101 Technical Report for Guardsmen Resources). About 10,000 ounces of gold were recovered from this open pit mining activity.
In 1996-97, AGC Americas Gold Corporation (AGC) acquired an option on the AL property and added it to their large claim holdings in the area. During 1997, AGC formed a joint venture with Antares Mining Corporation and conducted a 24 hole, two-stage diamond drilling program on the Bonanza and Thesis III zones, an orientation Induced Polarization survey with variably-spaced lines surveyed across the Bonanza, Thesis III and BV zones, and a helicopter-borne Electromagnetic-magnetometer-radiometric survey over the property. AGC and Antares Mining and Exploration Corporation conducted in-fill drilling (13 holes) on the Bonanza zone in 1997 totalling 1712 metres. AGC acquired all the Toodoggone properties in July 1999. AGC is a subsidiary of Timebeat.com Enterprises Inc. Antares became Canesa Capital Corporation in September 1999.
In 2001, the Mining Leases covering the Bonanza, Thesis III and BV zones were allowed to lapse. In addition, AGC allowed their claims in the Alberts Hump area to lapse. Guardsmen Resources Inc. acquired the property by staking the Ranch claims in August 2001. Additional claims were added to the property between 2002 and 2005 as previous claims expired.
In December 2002, Guardsmen Resources Inc. optioned the Ranch property to Bishop Gold Inc. In 2003, Bishop Gold Inc. conducted a limited 10-hole (712 metres) diamond drilling program on the Bonanza zone.
In 2005, Guardsmen Resources Inc. formed a joint venture with Bishop Gold Inc. (85 per cent Guardsmen, 15 per cent Bishop) on the Ranch property.
In June 2006, Christopher James Gold Corp. acquired an exclusive option to purchase all of the shares of Guardsmen Resources Inc. Guardsmen’s principal asset was its 85 per cent joint venture interest in the Ranch property. In August and September 2006, Christopher James completed the diamond drilling of 625 metres in seven holes on the Thesis III zone and carried out surface mapping and sampling in several areas on the property.
In 2007, Christopher James Gold Corp. completed drilling of 45 diamond-drill holes totalling 7194 metres in four mineralized zones on the property (Bonanza, Thesis II and III and Mickey); mapping, prospecting and geochemical sampling in two areas well outside the drill areas (Patti and AB zones); a helicopter-borne magnetic gradiometer survey consisting of 2229 line-kilometres within a single, 54 square kilometre block in the southern part of the property; and a 3D-Induced Polarization survey totalling 61 line-kilometres in the southern part of the property, over and adjacent to known zones of gold mineralization (Assessment Report 30132). One of Micromine Consulting’s more conservative estimates for Bonanza, using a “top cut” of 100 grams per tonne gold and a cut-off grade of 5.0 grams per tonne gold, generated a mineral resource of 135,190 tonnes grading 9.80 grams per tonne gold (Bilki et al. (2007).
In 2008-12, Guardsmen Resources Inc. has kept the Ranch property on a care and maintenance basis. No exploration or development work has been carried out on the property since the major work program completed by Christopher James in 2007. B.K. Bowen adjusted Micromine Consulting’s tonnage down to 130,490 tonnes by subtracting the 4700 tonnes mined by Cheni from the Ghost Pits (Bowen (2012), NI 43-101 Technical Report for Guardsmen Resources).
In 2013, a soil sampling survey was completed on the south slope of Albert’s Hump.