The historic Wilcox mine is located in southeastern British Columbia, approximately 30km southeast of Nelson. In June 2020, Ximen acquired the Ymir Protection gold property which spans 1,600ha and includes former gold and silver mines. Its mineral claims also cover a tailings deposit from the Wilcox mine.
Operating between 1900 and 1940, the Wilcox mine processed approximately 14,555t of material from high grade gold veins. The ore was processed adjacent to the mine site at a stamp mill. Ximen noted that mill processing during this time period yielded low gold recovery, so there is still unrecovered gold in the tailings deposit.
The resource potential of the tailings deposit has been estimated before. In September 2005, a report called ‘Wilcox Mine Tailings - Gold Resource Evaluation' by Doug Warkentin at Crucible Engineering Services estimated the average grade of the tailings as 3.09g gold per tonne, based on assays of 65 samples that were collected on a grid pattern. It also used depth and specific gravity measurements to estimate the tonnage at 12,387t, and the in-situ gold potential was estimated as 1,230oz of gold. Based on metallurgical test results available, the report projected an average gold recovery rate of 80%.
Ximen plans to undertake a detailed survey and sampling programme of the tailings area this season, with the aim of better defining the physiography and resource potential of the tailings from the Wilcox mine. Its plans include grid surface sampling, auger drilling, high resolution drone photogrammetry, metallurgical testing and detailed GPS surveys.
The company will use the results of its exploration programme to evaluate the potential of recovering the gold from the tailings material. It will also sample the mine waste dumps at the Ymir mine and other former mines to check their precious metal content.