The prospects for mineral exploration in British Columbia may be looking up. In 2013, total expenditures were $476 million, a decrease of almost one-third from $680 million in 2012. But a recent flurry of exploration activity in the Sheslay Valley has investors hoping explorers will uncover a world-class copper-gold deposit in the northwestern corner of the province.
“We started the staking rush and now we’re the ones everyone’s watching,” said Pete Bernier, president and CEO of Prosper Gold Corp. (TSX-V:PGX). “With our Star project, we’re hoping we can replicate the success of Richfield Ventures Corp., which we proved up and sold in 2011 for $500 million.”
In August 2013, Prosper bought an option to acquire 80% of the Star property from Firesteel Resources Inc. (TSX-V:FTR).
Unlike most junior miners of late, Prosper Gold has had no difficulty raising money.
“We have $1 million in the bank and we’re raising another $3 million,” Bernier said. “Our management team has a good track record, so financing is not a problem.”
Other exploration companies active in the Sheslay Valley include Garibaldi Resources Corp. (TSX-V:GGI), Alix Resources Corp. (TSX-V:AIX), Romios Gold Resources Inc. (TSX-V:RG) and Doubleview Capital Corp. (TSXV:DBV).
Doubleview holds an option to acquire the Hat property, which is only nine kilometres from the Star project.
Erik Ostensoe, Doubleview’s qualified person on the Hat project, said drilling in 2013 has been promising.
Doubleview is financing Hat exploration with private placements and by exercising warrants and options.
Ostensoe said interest in the Sheslay Valley has been helped by several unrelated events, including the construction of the northwest transmission line along Highway 37, which is bringing electricity to the northwest, the imminent startup of Imperial Metals Corp.’s (TSX:III) Red Chris mine and discoveries in the Sulphurets and Galore Creek areas.
“The Sheslay Valley is a remote, underexplored part of the province. Several copper-gold mineral occurrences have been known for decades, but exploration has only recently been undertaken.”
Tom Schroeter, president and CEO of Fjordland Exploration Inc. (TSX-V:FEX) and a former B.C. government senior regional geologist, is cautiously optimistic about Sheslay Valley.
“It has great geological potential, but it’s hampered by a lack of road access. That means drills have to be brought in by helicopter, which adds to the cost of a project.”