Equity Metals Corp. (TSXV:EQTY) is a Canada-based mineral exploration company. The company owns 100 per cent interest, with no underlying royalties, in its flagship Silver Queen Project along the Skeena Arch in the Omineca Mining Division in British Columbia.
Equity also has varying degrees of interest in other Canadian properties, including the La Ronge Silica Project in Saskatchewan and the Monument and WO Diamond exploration projects in the Northwest Territories. President and Director Joseph Kizis met with The Market Herald Canada to share Equity’s updates with a focus on its flagship Silver Queen Project.
TMH: Let’s dive into the Silver Queen Project in British Columbia – it has over 100 years of historic exploration and development. Talk about the history of this area and resulting infrastructure you are working with.
Kizis: It’s had a long history of exploration in which more than 20 mineralized veins were identified. Historically there was only a small amount of production, but there was an extensive amount of predevelopment work on one of these veins, the No. 3 vein. Surface access is excellent, both getting to the property and getting around the property on existing roads and trails. And there’s about nine kilometres of underground workings that are part of that predevelopment work. They’re flooded now but with dewatering that gives us access right into the mineralization.
In 2019, the previous management was planning to put a small resource that they were evaluating into production. They were looking into that as an option, but that was mostly only the No. 3 vein. One of their directors had worked with us in the past, and they asked our group to look at the exploration potential to see if we could expand that mineralization to the point where we could develop a larger, more efficient, more profitable mining operation, and so we did. We took a look at that.
Our group is really focused on discovery. That’s our passion. And while we were impressed with the grades that were in the initial small 2019 resource, we’re really most excited about the scattered number of pretty exciting mineralized holes that were drilled by the past operators there. So, our thought was that we could take on the project, maybe give it a little bit more detailed evaluation from a geologic standpoint, see if we could figure out what some of the guidelines were for the mineralization, the controls on those mineralized veins, and then project that into those areas where there were a few interesting intercepts but really not a resource developed. We’ve been successful with that approach, not only at Silver Queen but on other projects, and that’s what we’ve been doing. And we continue to do that.
TMH: The Silver Queen Property consists of 45 mineral claims, 17 Crown grants, and two surface Crown grants covering over 18,000 hectares with no underlying royalties. Where are we on the overall exploration with more than 20 different veins identified? What potential are you seeing in this project?
Kizis: We wanted to get an independent evaluation of where we are on the project. We drilled 84 holes as of late 2022, and at that time we commissioned an independent group to do an update on the resource. So now in addition to the No. 3 vein, we have mineralization that’s 43-101 compliant for the Camp vein, the Sveinson zone, and the NG-3 vein as well.
The goal of our initial drilling programs over the last few years has really been, for those four areas that we’re focusing on, to try to develop a resource that was at least 1 million-ounces gold equivalent in various categories. It’s poly-metallic mineralization and we look at that 1 million-ounce gold equivalent as being an indication that there’s enough mineralization here to develop into a significant deposit. We did reach that goal, and we did it at a very effective cost. Since it is poly-metallic, we typically like to look at this as a gold equivalent or a silver equivalent. So those ounces that we added, we added at 14 cents an ounce as silver equivalent or $11 an ounce as a gold equivalent. Those were some of the areas where we had the most data, so our finding costs may be higher in the future, but those are excellent finding costs. We’re really proud of that.
TMH: Since late 2020, you’ve completed 87 holes with nine new holes completed in 2023. As you focus on your surface rock and soil sampling program, what results are coming back?
Kizis: We had to shut down due to the wildfire danger potentially cutting off our access from the north, but prior to doing that, we did our first drilling project on a new target, one of the 20 that we hadn’t drilled in the past, and that was the George Lake vein zone. Those samples are in the lab, and we should be getting results back pretty soon. Now that the fire danger is down, we are preparing to go back to drilling, and we will do that on our next target area, which is the Cole Lake target.
Both of these areas have had some pretty interesting historic mineralization that has been identified. So, yeah, we’re pretty excited about that, and as you mentioned, we did do a large soil sampling program. The reason is that a large part of the property is covered by soil, shallow gravel and grassland. There’s real potential to have extensions of the known veins as well as discover brand new veins that nobody’s ever found before. The results have come in, and it’s pretty exciting. We’ve seen some extensions on the known veins, and we’ve also found areas that we need to go back to and start doing a little bit more detailed work to see if we can develop drill targets. We have no shortage of drill targets that could significantly add a large amount of high-grade resource. We prioritize them, and then we systematically start drilling them to test those areas.
TMH: How does the Silver Queen project fit into your portfolio of projects?
Kizis: When we took over, there were quite a few interesting projects in the portfolio, but our opinion was at that time, and continues to be, that the Silver Queen project is going to be the place where we can add value most quickly, and so that’s what we’re doing. We’re focusing our effort and our funding there, although we are maintaining our other assets because there’s some pretty interesting things in the portfolio.
TMH: Are there any updates you would like to share on your other projects?
Kizis: The market for diamonds is pretty tough right now, so we’re not really doing much other than monitoring the projects, but both of those projects have diamond-bearing kimberlites already partially defined by drilling. So that’s something we think that will be of some value to the company as we go along. It’s in the same area as Canada’s existing diamond mines in Northwest Territories. That’s not really our expertise, in diamonds, so that may mean joint venturing or even selling of our interests in those projects.
The La Ronge Silica project is pretty interesting because it has very clean, very friable sand, and that can be converted into silicon. Silicon metal can be used to make battery anodes, and there’s quite a bit of research underway, as you know, on trying to improve batteries for electrification. Silica anodes may be an important solution.
It’s not really clear at this time that’s going to be the best route to take so we’re taking a wait and see attitude and really just monitoring the developments in battery anodes. It’s kind of a nice surprise to the portfolio that we discovered what might be a very valuable use for the sand on that property.
TMH: What is next for Equity Metals?
Kizis: Our focus will remain on the Silver Queen Project where we expect to be able to increase the resource base to a point that’ll justify a much larger precious metal-rich polymetallic deposit, and as part of that process, in addition to increasing the resource, we’re continuing to de-risk the project by conducting metallurgical testing, continuing with our ESG (environmental, social and governance) programs and that sort of thing.
For more information on Equity Metals, check out equitymetals.com.
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