The Bralorne Gold Mine, located in southwestern British Columbia, operated under trial production status between 2010 and 2014 and remains in the exploration and evaluation stage.
Avino Silver & Gold Mines acquired Bralorne Gold Mines in October of 2014, giving Avino full control and ownership of the Bralorne camp. Avino is implementing a multi-stage, multi-year plan to discover new mineralized zones, increase gold resources, expand the mine’s operating capacity and realize a much more efficient operation that will have the potential to contribute significantly to Avino’s overall production in the coming years.
The Bralorne gold camp represents one of Canada’s most prolific mining operations. From 1928 to 1971, the Bralorne and nearby Pioneer and King Mines, all of which are owned by Avino, produced 4.15 million ounces of gold from 7.9 million tons of ore. Average head grades exceeded half-an-ounce per ton.
Historically the operations mined high-grade material delineated by driving drifts on the veins at successively lower levels. Minimal exploration work was conducted beyond the known veins, and the areas between the historical mines were left undeveloped. In recent years, exploration of these undeveloped gaps led to new high-grade discoveries. As a result, the mine was re-furbished and re-opened in 2010 and operated under trial production at 100 tons per day through the end of 2014.
Shortly after Avino’s acquisition of Bralorne in the fall of 2014, in the wake of the Mt. Polley tailings breach and in the midst of an unusually wet fall season, the difficult decision was made to suspend operations to address certain legacy issues left from the previous operator.
To address these legacy issues, in 2015 and 2016, Avino increased the height of the embankment dam for the tailings storage facility, added buttressing for additional stability and installed a new state of the art PAL micro-filtration water treatment plant which provides the operation the ability to remain compliant with its permits even in the most adverse weather conditions.
During this period and into 2017, the Company also developed a new strategic operating plan to enhance the mines productivity and profitability. New mining methods, mill configurations and throughput rates were studied and improvements were made to surface infrastructure to accommodate a larger operation. In addition, existing mining and environmental permits were modernized and granted by the BC Provincial Government and the Company developed strong relations with the St’at’imc First Nation, its affected communities as well as with the communities directly around the operation. (For more information please visit our page our Canada Sustainability page).
Following a successful 32 hole, 7,793 meter drill program in 2015 and the validation of historic exploration data, On October 21, 2016, Avino announced the results of an updated NI 43-101 resource estimate for the Bralorne property. The resource estimate was been included in an updated NI 43-101 technical report, prepared by Kirkham Geosystems Ltd., which was filed on SEDAR on October 27, 2016.
The following is a summary of current resources at the Bralorne Property, grouped into the measured, indicated, and inferred categories. The effective date of the resource estimates is October 20, 2016. The resource estimates were prepared by Garth Kirkham, P. Geo., who is a “qualified person” within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101, and who is an employee of Kirkham Geosystems Ltd. and independent of Avino, as defined by Section 1.5 of NI 43-101.
Measured and Indicated
2018 – 2019 Exploration
To facilitate an operation capable of sustaining profitable production at a higher throughput over the long term, the decision was made in late 2017 to pause development and expansion activities and renew focus on exploration. The goal of current exploration is to target underexplored portions of known veins as well as to target new discoveries in nearby underexplored areas that share similar geological structural attributes to the Bralorne, Pioneer and King Mines.
In December 2017, the Company announced that plans were finalized for an 8,000 metre drill program. The program began in January 2018, but following the completion of four holes, Avino decided to expand the scope of the program and raised $6 million (CAD) through a flow through financing in April 2017 (details concerning the Flow-Through Share Offering can be found in Avino’s press release dated April 27, 2018).
The expanded program is the most expansive in the camps 100+ year history and includes structural modelling and geological mapping, airborne and ground geophysics surveys, geochemical sampling along with 24,000 – 28,000 metres of drilling as well as the digitization of over 13,000 historical data sets from past surface and underground exploration.
Flow-through funds for this campaign are available to be used by December 31, 2019. An estimated CDN $4.4 million will be spent diamond drilling which is planned in two phases, as described below:
- Phase One Drilling, Q4 2018 through Q1 2019 – Targeting underexplored portions of known veins
- Phase Two Drilling, Q1 to Q4 2019 – Targeting new discoveries in unexplored portions of the property
Detailed results from Phase One can be found in Avino’s press releases dating December 17, 2018 and April 1, 2019. Preliminary results from Phase Two are also outlined in the April 1, 2019 press release.
Avino’s Bralorne Gold Mine project is under the supervision of Fred Sveinson, B.A., B.Sc., P.Eng, Senior Mining Advisor, who is a qualified person within the context of National Instrument 43-101, and Mr. Garth Kirkham, P. Geo., Principal of Kirkham Geosystems Ltd., who is an “independent qualified person”, as defined by Section 1.5 of NI 43-101. Both have reviewed and approved the technical data herein.