Gold prices hovering in the US$1,920-per-ounce range is providing fuel for the exploration activity occurring east of Timmins where new players have taken root and an existing miner is evaluating expansion opportunities.
The untapped gold potential in the Matheson area attracted Mayfair Gold in 2020 where the company is promoting a proposed open-pit mine project.
The Vancouver junior miner picked up the 4,800-hectare Fenn-Gib project from Pan American Silver at the end of 2020. Fenn-Gib is 20 kilometres east of Matheson, just off Highway 101.
On the proverbial 'fast-track-to-development' bent, the company has been drilling around its deposit of 2.08-million ounces of indicated gold.
Mayfair started an 80,000-metre drill program in November with a stated goal of boosting the resource to more than 3 million ounces. The drill program is expected to be completed by the second quarter. A new resource update will be served up in the third quarter.
In February, the company released some promising gold results from drilling to the east of the deposit, while cranking up some drill rigs a few hundred metres to the west and northwest of the deposit.
Ausenco Engineering is handling the metallurgical testing of Fenn-Gib samples.
Mayfair emphasizes it wants to maximize gold recoveries, minimize capital spending and operating costs, and expedite all the permitting. A preliminary economic assessment is scheduled to start in the second half of this year.
“Outside the current deposit, Fenn-Gib has never seen methodical regional exploration using modern technology," said company president-CEO Patrick Evans in an early January news release. He added there are "compelling" exploration targets around the property which could lead to the discovery of more deposits.
Thirty-seven kilometres west of Fenn-Gib, GFG Resources picked up more exploration ground to expand its Montclerg Gold Project.
The Saskatoon junior miner swung a deal with International Explorers and Prospectors to acquire a 6,500-hectare, then staked 6,800 hectares next to it to bolster its holdings to 15,000 hectares.
Now dubbed the Goldarm Property, the company boasts it covers more than 30 kilometres of very prospective ground known as the Pipestone Deformation Zone, an area noted for hosting gold deposits.
The company maintains it's sitting on a significant gold system that was poorly explored and geologically misunderstood in the past. Most of that work was performed in the 1970s or earlier.
Soon after acquiring Montclerg in October, GFG relogged and resampled all of the historic exploration drill core while launching straight into a 3,000-metre drilling program. The company further raised $3.1 million for exploration at the end of November.
Encouraged by initial assay results, GFG upsized into a 10,000-metre program in February. The company said the results suggest multiple gold zones with bulk tonnage potential.
GFG also holds ground in the west where they've been exploring for the past three years at its Pen Gold Project.
Another Matheson-area explorer, Toronto's Moneta Gold has been talking about releasing a new resource estimate over the next few months on its 8.4-million-ounce Tower Gold Project.
Coming out of an extensive 72,500-metre drilling program that wrapped up in December, Moneta is compiling results for a new estimate to fold that into a new preliminary economic assessment later this year.
Tower Gold is located 100 kilometres east of Timmins, along Highway 101. The 26,595-hectare property consists of the Garrison property, where an open-pit mine will go, and the open-ended Golden Highway property to the southwest, where the bulk of the exploration work has been focused.
Their project is situated on favoured ground, known as the Destor-Porcupine Fault Zone, which Moneta thinks can provide multiple open pit and underground mine opportunities for them. They anticipate adding many more ounces this year to its current resource estimate of 4.0 million ounces of indicated gold and 4.4 million ounces of inferred gold.
The company has been successful in drilling and probing along the edges of a planned open-pit mine while following up on new gold discoveries made over the last two years.
Drill assay results have been steadily trickling out and positive news releases coming out over the fall and winter.
For this year, Moneta has lined up a 70,000-metre drill program along with geotechnical and hydrological studies, baseline environmental work, and some community consultation work on the schedule.
Eleven kilometres east of Matheson, McEwen Mining is making a move to expand its underground operations at the Fox Complex.
To do that, the Toronto mid-tier miner raised $19.2 million through a flow-through share offering to spend on exploration at Timmins.
McEwen recently presented its outlook on mine expansion with a preliminary economic assessment that could extend mine life by a few more years.
The company has been a very active explorer and strong flow-through fundraiser in recent years in discovering a number of satellite gold deposits on its 7,000-hectare property and its kingpin Black Fox Mine.
Over in the West Timmins camp, Galleon Gold has been steadily expanding its on-the-ground presence in an area thought to already have solid mine potential.
Located 13 kilometres west of the city, the Toronto-headquartered explorer grafted on more ground to its West Cache Gold Project with an 2,760-hectare acquisition in Price Township. It was the company's second land acquisition in as many months, bringing Galleon's total land package to 10,350 hectares.
The company released a preliminary economic assessment for West Cache in January showing the early economic potential for an 11-year underground mine life.
The newly acquired Price Property is 10 kilometres southwest of the West Cache resource. This area has seen gold exploration since the 1940s when companies began looking and finding gold inside the iron formations and quartz veins near the surface. But there was limited follow-up exploration work or drilling performed.
In early February, company president-CEO R. David Russell remarked in a news release that West Cache has "blue-sky potential" with only eight per cent of the property explored.
"By adding to our land position, we reinforce that we are planting our flag in the Timmins Camp, and believe we are in the early stages of developing the next significant mine complex in the area."
Galleon said it has a "multi-stage exploration program" queued up for this year and in 2023 to identify new targets while they work through planning for initial mine development.