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Gold play moving ahead near the Okanagan connector

The rising price of gold is raising interest in a former gold property near the Coquihalla Highway.
Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
December 27, 2020 - 3:00 PM

New life is being given to a former open-pit gold mine just off the Coquihalla connector between West Kelowna and Merritt.

Elk Gold Mining Corporation recently informed the public of a mining lease application for the Elk Gold Project, located about 57 kilometres east of Merritt.

Freeform Capital Partners Inc. Chief Executive Officer Kevin Smith says the application is being submitted to convert some mining claims into an existing lease. 

Freeform Capital has an agreement with Bayshore minerals to raise funds for the Elk Gold project. The deal will eventually see Freeform renamed Gold Mountain Mining Corp, and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

“We’re applying to restart the mine, located just off the Elkhart exit. We haven’t received approval yet,” Smith says, adding the application is intended to increase the footprint of an existing mine lease for the open-pit mine, which formerly operated for bulk sampling purposes.

Smith says the application will amend the mine permit to allow removal of up to 75,000 tons per year as the company moves forward with plans to turn it into an operating open pit mine.

“With the recent increase in gold prices, it makes sense. We acquired the property from Equinox Gold Corporation in 2019,” Smith says.

Reserves of 545,000 ounces of gold have been mapped out, with an ongoing drill program expected to add to the total when results are available next spring.

Smith said it was hard to say when production might begin as the application process is a lengthy one. He’s hopeful the company can begin production sometime in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Fairfields minerals investigated the area for gold in 1986, eventually removing 51,500 ounces of gold between 1992 and 1995 from a test pit.

“There was some mining in the ‘90s, and then some bulk sampling done around 2010. It’s really high grade, it’s not a huge resource, but we think it’s highly economic. It doesn’t require a huge capital expense to get it into production, which is pretty rare in mining,” Smith says.

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