Eagle Plain’s Partner SSR Mining Commences 18,000m Drill Program at Fisher Gold Project, Saskatchewan
Cranbrook, B.C., March 20th, 2018: Eagle Plains (“EPL” or “Eagle Plains”) is pleased to announce that option partner SSR Mining Inc. (formerly Silver Standard Resources Inc.) (“SSRM”) (TSX: SSRM) (NASDAQ: SSRM) has commenced its 2018 drilling campaign on Eagle Plain’s 100%-owned Fisher Property. SSRM is planning approximately 18,000m (59,000’) of drilling for the property during 2018, with an initial program of 10,000m (33,000’) expected to be completed by June, 2018. Following a summer break for additional fieldwork and compilation and interpretation of drill results, the balance of drilling is expected to be completed. SSRM is in the second year of a four-year option agreement whereby the company may earn up to an 80% interest in the 34,000 ha property by completing $4M in exploration expenditures and making $3.3M in cash payments to EPL (see details below-all figures in Canadian dollars). SSRM expenditures to date on the project are approximately $1.5M. The Fisher Project is contiguous to the north, south and east with SSRM’s Seabee Gold Operation.
See Fisher area location map here.
During 2017, SSRM conducted detailed exploration activity including 1:10,000 scale geologic mapping, 571 grid till/soil samples, 276 till samples and widespread prospecting and rock sampling activity. Fieldwork was followed-up in the fall with a detailed UAV aeromagnetic survey. Results were encouraging, with numerous areas of elevated gold in soils documented within Fisher property boundaries. SSRM geologists have traced the extension of the Santoy shear structure southward from the Santoy deposit (currently in production) over 7km within Fisher property boundaries, noting visible gold mineralization in two areas. Three areas have been targeted for winter drilling.
Forest fire activity in the area during 2017 provided the unintended benefit of burning off significant areas of overburden cover, greatly enhancing outcrop exposure over broad areas of interest.
The 2017-2018 exploration programs are designed to target a Mineral Resource discovery on the Fisher property. To achieve this objective, the SSRM exploration team is expected to focus on improving and refining the geological and structural framework of the Fisher property, further evaluating and testing historical mineral occurrences and identifying additional mineralization in a setting similar to the Seabee Gold Operation.
The Seabee Gold Operation has been in continuous production since 1991 and has produced approximately 1.37M ounces of gold from the Seabee and Santoy deposits. As reported by SSR Mining in its news release dated September 7th, 2017, as at December 31, 2016, the Seabee Gold Operation includes the following estimated Mineral Reserves and Mineral Resources: Proven and Probable Reserves of 1.37Mt at an average gold grade of 8.19 g/t Au; Measured and Indicated Resources (inclusive of Mineral Reserves) of 2.07Mt at an average grade of 8.02 g/t Au; and Inferred Resources of 2.50Mt at a grade of 7.66 g/t Au. SSRM earlier reported uncut drill intercepts grading up to 1,004 g/t gold over 1.6m including 3,887 g/t gold over 0.4m (true widths) at its Santoy Gap deposit, located approximately 3km northwest of the Fisher property boundary (see SSRM news release dated May 1, 2017). Management cautions that past results or discoveries on proximate land are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved on the subject properties.
Ore geology at the Seabee Gold Operation consists of high-grade vein mineralization associated with shear zones that transect mafic meta-volcanic and intrusive rocks, as well as granitic rocks emplaced during the regional deformation events impacting the Pine Lake greenstone belt during the Proterozoic. The Seabee Gold Operation and the Fisher Project occur within the Pine Lake greenstone belt. Mineralization at the Seabee Gold Operation occurs at the Seabee and Santoy mines, which are located approximately 14kms apart. The former is affiliated with the more westerly-oriented Laonil Lake shear zone, while the latter is hosted on a regional north-trending shear zone that has been traced over much of the Fisher property. Field and underground observations at the Seabee Gold Operation suggest that shear structures nucleated at contacts between granodiorite and meta-volcanic lithologies, with high-grade zones forming at minor flexures.
Details of the Fisher Option Agreement
To earn a 60% interest over four years, SSR Mining paid $100,000 to Eagle Plains on signing of the option agreement, has agreed to complete $4,000,000 in exploration expenditures and make annual cash payments of $75,000 for each of the four years of the option period. SSRM has made the second annual cash payment of $75,000 and completed $1.5M in exploration expenditures. Once the 60% earn-in has been completed, SSRM has a 90-day, one-time option to earn an additional 20% interest (for a total of 80%) by making a cash payment of $3,000,000 to Eagle Plains, at which time an 80/20 joint venture will be formed to further advance the property. Eagle Plains will retain a 2.5% Net Smelter Return (“NSR”), subject to reduction on certain claims by underlying NSR agreements. Eagle Plains’ NSR may be reduced by 1% at any time upon payment of $1,000,000 by the joint venture. In addition, Eagle Plains will receive advance royalty payments of $100,000 annually from the joint venture until commencement of commercial production.
Proposed Plan of Arrangement-Taiga Gold Corp.
As announced on October 23rd, 2017, Eagle Plains intends to spin out specific Saskatchewan gold exploration properties in the Seabee/Santoy area of Saskatchewan, including the Fisher project. Eagle Plain’s shareholders will receive shares of Taiga Gold Corp. (“Taiga”) on a 2:1 basis (1 share of Taiga for each 2 shares of Eagle Plains) through a plan of arrangement expected to be completed in April, 2018. EPL has recently received an Interim Court Order from the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, an important milestone which clears the way for the transaction, pending shareholder approval. A Special Meeting has now been set for April 6th, 2018 (revised from April 4th, as reported in previous news releases). Assuming shareholder approval is obtained, shares of Taiga are expected to be listed on the CSE under the symbol “TGC” in late April.
A map showing the location of Taiga projects may be found here:
Charles C. Downie, P.Geo., a “qualified person” for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, has prepared, reviewed, and approved the scientific and technical disclosure in the news release.
About Eagle Plains Resources
Based in Cranbrook, B.C., Eagle Plains continues to conduct research, acquire and explore mineral projects throughout western Canada. EPL is committed to steadily enhancing shareholder value by advancing our diverse portfolio of projects toward discovery through collaborative partnerships and development of a highly experienced technical team. Managements’ current focus is to preserve its treasury while advancing its most promising exploration projects. In addition, Eagle Plains continues to seek out and secure high-quality, unencumbered projects through research, staking and strategic acquisitions. Since 2012, Eagle Plains has added to its portfolio a number of new projects exceeding 130,000 ha targeting mainly gold, uranium and base-metals in Saskatchewan, a highly-prospective mining jurisdiction which was recently recognized by the Fraser Institute as the second best place in the world in terms of Investment Attractiveness. Throughout the exploration process, our mission is to help maintain prosperous communities by exploring for and discovering resource opportunities while building lasting relationships through honest and respectful business practices.
Expenditures from 2011-2017 on Eagle Plains-related projects were approximately $16.5M, which was funded by Eagle Plains and for the most part, by third-party partners. This exploration work resulted in approximately 15,000 m of diamond-drilling and extensive ground-based exploration work facilitating the advancement of numerous projects at various stages of development.
On behalf of the Board of Directors
“Tim J. Termuende”
President and CEO
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This news release may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, geological interpretations, receipt of property titles, potential mineral recovery processes, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore, involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements.