Canadian miner Pancontinental Resources (TSXV: PUC) and American engineering company Environmental Risk Transfer were selected in a competitive process to explore the former Brewer gold mine in South Carolina, near Pancon’s Jefferson project.
Brewer is located 12 kilometres northeast and along trend from OceanaGold’s (TSX, ASX: OGC) Haile gold mine, on the underexplored Carolina Slate Belt.
According to Pancontinental, gold was discovered at the site in the early 1800s. Between 1987-1995, Brewer produced 178,000 ounces of oxide gold from open pits that extended to 50-metre depths, where copper and gold-rich sulfides were exposed but could not be processed by the oxide heap leach processing facility.
Based on documents archived at the U.S. Geological Survey, it is possible that Brewer contains a large porphyry copper-gold system at depth, as indicated by widely known prospective geology, including diatreme breccias, as well as by associated high sulphidation alteration, gold and copper mineralization, and geophysics.
In a press release, the Toronto-based company said that the team selected to work in North Carolina includes the geologists that discovered Brewer’s near-surface oxide gold mineralization 40 years ago. These experts also discovered the high-grade, near-surface Buzzard gold project, on trend less than a kilometre southwest of Brewer, and they also intersected near-surface gold mineralization at Jefferson in 2016.
Brewer was explored up to 1997. Two years later, England’s Brewer Gold Company abandoned the site and left the responsibility of land reclamation activities in the hands of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Later on, in 2005, Brewer was designated a Superfund site.
This is where Environmental Risk Transfer comes in. Given the status of the mine and the fact that its previous owners did not address conditions posing environmental risks, the St. Louis-based firm will work on mitigating the impacts of mining activities in surrounding areas based on the expertise it has gained at the Missouri Cobalt mine. There, Environmental Risk transformed a formerly contaminated site into a hub of economic activity.
“Pancon and ERT worked together since March 2019 to win the competitive selection process led by the Brewer Gold Receiver,” Layton Croft, the miner’s president and CEO, said in the media brief. “We are ready to quickly investigate this underexplored project, with the goal of discovering new oxide gold mineralization and the underlying copper-gold porphyry system by 2021.”