The Eskay Creek Project is located in the Golden Triangle region of British Columbia, Canada. (Credit: Calistemon/
Skeena plans to develop the Eskay Creek Revitalization Project as an open pit mine. (Credit: Skeena Resources)
The project would produce up to three million tonnes of ore per year. (Credit: Khusen Rustamov from Pixabay)

The Eskay Creek Revitalization Project involves restarting the past producing Eskay Creek mine in British Columbia, Canada.

Skeena Resources (Skeena) acquired 100% ownership of Eskay Creek in October 2020. The project was in operation as an underground mine from 1995–2008.

Skeena plans to develop the Eskay Creek Revitalization Project as an open pit mine.

Skeena announced the completion of the Preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of the Eskay Creek Revitalization Project in December 2019. The company released a Prefeasibility Study of the project in July 2021 and completed a Feasibility Study in September 2022.

The total life of mine (LOM) is estimated to be nearly ten years.

The First concentrate from the mine is expected in Q1 2026.

Location and Background

The Eskay Creek Project is located 83 km northwest of Stewart, on the eastern flanks of the Coast Mountain ranges.

The Project covers an area of 5,745.49 ha, consisting of 47 mineral claims (3,915.23 ha), and eight mineral leases (1,830.26 ha).

In August 2018, Skeena announced the commencement of surface drilling at the Eskay Creek Gold-Silver Project.

Eskay Creek Geology and Mineralisation

The property is located along the western margin of the Stikine Terrane, within the Intermontane Tectonic Belt of the Northern Cordillera. The deposit is classified as a high-grade, precious metals-rich epithermal volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposit.

The project area is underlain by volcanic and sedimentary rocks of the regionally extensive Lower to Middle Jurassic Hazelton Group. The stratigraphy in the property consists of an upright succession of andesite, marine sediments, intermediate to felsic volcaniclastic rocks, rhyolite, contact mudstone, and basaltic/andesitic sills and flows.

Eskay Creek Reserves

The mineral reserve estimate as of June 2022 indicates the proven and probable mineral reserves at 29.9 million tonnes, grading 2.99g/t gold and 79g/t silver, and 4.00 AuEq (g/t).

Mining and Processing

The Eskay Creek Project is planned to be developed as an open pit operation using conventional mining equipment. The Project includes two deposits, a 260 m deep North pit, and an 80 m deep South pit.

The processing facility will have an initial operation nominal throughput of 8,220 t/d or 3.0 Mt/a for 1 to 5 years. The processing facility will include a semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill, a pebble crusher (installed for year 4 operations), and a ball mill in a closed circuit with hydrocyclones.

Starting from year six, the processing plant capacity will be expanded to nominal throughput of 10,140 t/d or 3.7 Mt/a for the remaining mine life.

The existing Tom MacKay Storage Facility (TMSF) was selected as the preferred tailings storage as it is permitted as tailings storage facility. The Gold and silver concentrate from the mine will be transported to the port of Stewart via Highway 37.

Key Infrastructure

The project development envisages the construction of an electrical substation at Volcano Creek, a 20 km-long overhead powerline, and the widening of the access road.

Water required for operation processes will be pumped directly from the wells via a short pipeline to the water storage tank within the plant.

BC Hydro will supply power to the Eskay Creek Project through the existing Volcano Creek interconnection point, located approximately 17 km to the northwest of the mine. The estimated power demand for the Project is 21 MW.

The project development includes the construction of a 17 km long, 69 kV wood pole transmission line to connect the Volcano Creek interconnection point to the new Eskay Creek Substation.

A 69 kV/13.8 kV transformer, located at the mine site will step down the transmission voltage for utilisation and a main substation will distribute power from a 13.8 kV switchgear to various infrastructure areas.

Contractors Involved

SRK Consulting was commissioned to complete the mineral resource estimates for the project.

Rescan Tahltan Environmental Consultants (RTEC) has been engaged to carry out the environmental studies for the project.

AGP Mining Consultants Inc. (AGP) was commissioned to design the open pit mine plan, mine production schedule, and mine capital and operating costs.

Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was contracted to support environmental planning, assessment, licensing, permitting, feasibility-level design, and bulk material estimates of the water management structures.

McElhanney Consulting Services flew an airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and photo acquisition survey in December 2018.

In 2020, Dias Geophysical carried out a 3D direct-current (DC) resistivity and induced polarization (DCIP) survey on the project over the axis of the Eskay Creek anticline from the Bowser Basin south to the Tom MacKay Zones using the DIAS32 system in the UTM Zone 9N WGS84.

The feasibility study (FS) programme was completed by Base Metallurgical Laboratories over the period from June 2021 to August 2022.

Ausenco Engineering, Hemmera Envirochem, SRK Consulting, and AGP Mining Consultants, prepared a technical report on the results of a pre-feasibility study (2021 PFS) for the project.

In May 2023, Sedgman has been selected to deliver the basic engineering and feasibility study update for Eskay Creek Revitalization Project.