The Blackwater Gold Project was given a positive boost last week with the release of its first independent resource estimation.
The project is located 100 kilometres south of Vanderhoof and is currently being explored for gold, by junior mining company Richfield Ventures.
An independent estimation, officially known as a National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101) compliance, is a federal scheme used for the public disclosure of information about mineral properties in Canada.
“It’s basically separate individuals other than our company saying there’s a deposit there,” said Peter Bernier, president of Richfield Ventures.
Bernier says the estimation is very exciting for the project and it could see a mine up and running at the site in the next three to four years.
“It’s really good news because it shows the world now that we do have a significant deposit here with plenty of room to grow,” he said.
The resource estimation, which was carried out by Geosim Services Inc. of Vancouver, was primarily based on the south side of the claim, and Bernier says there is still more drilling to be carried out on the northside of the project. That part of the land is partially owned by Silverquest Resources.
“By no means is this the extent of it because we’re still drilling … we haven’t got to the edges of this thing yet…we’re still looking to build the resource up on the north side,” said Bernier.
This month, Richfield will be adding a third drill to the program and moving the majority of drilling to the northside of the project.
The new drill will also require the hiring of another crew.
“It’s likely we’re going to add another eight people to the camp by the end of the month,” said Bernier, who already has approximately 35 people working out of a 40-man camp out at the claim that is accessed by Kluskus Road.
A preliminary economic assessment is also in progress and is expected to be completed by the end of October.
“We’ve got the engineers in place and the environmentalists… and we’re negotiating with the native bands and moving forward,” said Bernier.
Several major mining companies have got their eye on the project. Bernier estimates one of them buying it out in the next couple of years.
“They’re all watching us very closely and obviously trying to get a sense of the value of it themselves so we’re just going to keep digging away,” said Bernier.
“We’ve been very fortunate with our drill holes and we have to keep up with it,” he said.
“You can’t slow down when you’ve got this momentum – you just have to keep going.”
All drilling permits at the project have to be approved by First Nations and at present they have permits approved until December 2012.
The positive estimation comes as Taseko Mines wait with bated breath for a decision on a revised proposal for the Prosperity mine in Williams Lake.