A small, high grade, underground past producing gold
mine, New Polaris has become one of the largest gold deposits in western
Canada as a result of Canarc’s successful exploration programs.
The geological resource estimate is currently 1.3 million oz. at US $325
gold, but the mineralization is wide open along strike and at depth and
could easily double with further drilling. New Polaris is currently on
the “back burner” until gold prices improve and the neighbouring
Tulsequah Chief base metal mine project commences construction of an access
road which would make New Polaris much more attractive economically
Location and Access
British Columbia, 60 miles south of Atlin, B.C., and 40 miles east of
Juneau, Alaska, on the west bank of the Tulsequah River near the B.C.-Alaska
border. Access is provided by small aircraft from Atlin or Juneau but
ocean barging of equipment and supplies to the minesite is possible.
Redfern Resources recently received preliminary government approval to
build their Tulsequah Chief mine and access road only 3 miles away from
Description and Ownership
Sixty-one crown granted mineral claims and 1 modified grid claim totaling
2,956 acres, 100% owned by Canarc subject to a 15% net profits interest
to Rembrandt Gold Mines, which Canarc can reduce to 10% NPI.
Currently on hold pending higher gold prices and the construction of
the Tulsequah Chief access road, both of which will have a dramatic positive
impact on the project economies. New Polaris is an advanced stage exploration
project, requiring infill drilling to further define proven and probable
ore reserves followed by a full feasibility study.
Discovered by prospectors in 1929, the mine was constructed in 1936
and operated from 1937 to 1942 and again from 1946 to 1951. A total of
232,000 oz. gold was produced from 760,000 tons ore grading 0.35 oz./ton.
Flotation concentrates were shipped seasonally for refining to the smelter
in Tacoma, Washington. The first barge load in 1951 sank in a storm off
the B.C. Coast, causing the mine to shut down. Cominco upgraded the mill
in 1952 and used it to process their nearby Tulsequah Chief ores from
1953 to 1957. New Polaris was then dormant for 30 years until exploration
resumed in 1988. Canarc acquired New Polaris in 1992, completed 135,000
feet of core drilling in 182 drill holes and discovered major new ore
zones below and beyond the mine workings.
Three million ounces plus, similar geologically to Placer Dome’s
Campbell Red Lake Mine (10 million oz.) high grade refractory ore body.
Canarc’s goal is to create sufficient reserves to allow development
of 1,000 ton per day mine, producing over 120,000 ounces of gold per year.
Mineralization associated with disseminated arsenopyrite, pyrite, and
stibnite in quartz carbonate veins and stockworks, and related carbonatized
and sericitized alteration zones. Zones developed along principal shear
sets adjacent to a major crustal break. Host rocks are Paleozoic volcanics.
Gold mineralization is late Cretaceous to early Tertiary and epithermal
or mesothermal shear vein type.
Gold is occluded in finely disseminated arsenopyrite grains that permeate
the altered wall rocks and vein stockworks. Lesser pyrite, stibnite, and
rare sphalerite occur within an alteration assemblage of quartz, carbonate,
sericite, fuchsite, and albite, composing the gangue mineralogy. Gold
mineralization occurs along three major shear sets: AB zones - trending
northwest/southeast, Y zones - trending north/south, and C zones
- trending east/west. C zones generally link with the AB and with
the Y zones at “junction arcs”. Gold values in stockworks
show excellent continuity and uniformity, with very little nugget effect.
Individual zones pinch, swell, and overlap en echelon. Individual ore
blocks range from less than 1,000 tons to more than 100,000 tons in size.
Widths range from 1 to 45 feet in thickness, averaging about 10 feet.
Current resources estimated at 3.6 million tons at a grade of 0.36 ounce
per ton gold (1.3 million ounces). Detailed modeling is currently underway
using GEMCOM software.
From 1931 to 1951, 51,825 feet of level development (on 10 levels) and
12,292 feet raise development were completed at New Polaris. Top level,
Canyon, is 580 feet above sea level. Deepest level, 750, is 613 feet below
sea level. An 821 foot internal winze used for material handling, going
from the A.J. to the 750 Level. Winze is accessed from the A.J. and Polaris
Level adits, with Polaris being the main haulage and access level. Mine
dewatered in 1996, ground conditions excellent. Historic mining methods
were shrinkage and resuing. Plans are to develop a ramp access mine. Mining
methods will include longhole, shrinkage, cut-and-fill. Mining techniques
will depend on factors such as ore body geometry, grade, dilution, etc.
Historically, the mine operated using sulphide flotation, milling at
a rate of 200 tons per day. Ore crushed through primary and secondary
crushers, and ground in a ball mill in closed circuit with a rake classifier.
Rougher and scavenger flotation used and the sulphide concentrate thickened
and filtered for shipment off site. Ninety percent gold recovery, concentrate
grade of 3.5-5.0 ounce per ton gold, and concentrate to ore ratio of 10-15:1.
Recent test work completed on a preliminary basis. Using flotation, cyanidation
of the flotation tailings, and pressure oxidation (autoclaving) of the
flotation concentrate, 94 percent gold recovery achieved. Additional metallurgical
test work is planned to optimize grind, reagent addition and type, etc.
Evaluation of direct marketing of the flotation concentrate, pressure
oxidation, bio-oxidation, and microwave processes to treat the flotation
concentrate will be completed in future work.
New office/dry complex built on the site. Several existing buildings
refurbished for bunkhouses and a kitchen facility. Existing camp capable
of supporting 35 personnel. Shop refurbished for a maintenance facility,
pipe shop, power house, and compressor house. Three 200 kilowatt generators
on site that can be run separately or in parallel. Two 200 cubic feet
per minute portable air compressors on site to supply compressed air for
underground. Two 10,000 gallon fuel tanks, left from previous mining activities
refurbished for additional fuel storage. Old main street of the town site
used as an air strip. Manpower, equipment, and material mobilized to site
using a Shorts Skyvan, capable of carrying 4,000 pounds.
Canarc has been systematically eliminating all old mine buildings at
the site, except those in current use. Test work indicates rock is non
acid generating. Water wells installed and surface and ground water monitoring
underway. Discharge permit obtained for the dewatering and care and maintenance
phases of the mine pumping.
Base case 90,000 oz./year for 8 years at 750 tons/day, with potential
to expand to 1,000 tons/day or 120,000 oz./year, capital costs estimate
US $50 million, operating costs estimate US $180 to $240 per oz., Canarc
is currently investigating a more aggressive development plan to transport
New Polaris ores to an offsite mill facility in order to reduce capital
costs and enhance project economies.