Omineca produces placer gold from underground at Wingdam

The camp at the Wingdam underground gold placer project in B.C. Credit: Omineca Mining and Metals

Omineca Mining and Metals (TSXV: OMM) and Lightning Creek Mining (LCM), its joint venture partner on the Wingdam project, have contracted Saskatoon-based Fortis Mining Engineering and Manufacturing to provide additional underground mining services.

Wingdam is a gold exploration and placer recovery project located along the Barkerville Highway 45 km east of the city of Quesnel, B.C. The property includes mineral tenures totalling over 613 km2 and in excess of 15 linear km of placer claims, all encompassing the Lightning Creek valley, where topographic conditions created thick layers of overburden, which preserved a large portion of a buried paleochannel containing placer gold-bearing gravels.

Omineca’s aim is to commercially extract the alluvial gold that has been trapped underneath a portion of Lightning Creek. Using a freeze technology to safely access the placer channel below the river, gold is extracted from the gold-bearing gravels by wash plant and gravity separation using an existing, reusable water supply; there will be no chemicals, leaching, mill, waste or tailings involved.

Hydraulic grouting operations were first initiated at the Wingdam underground in December 2021. Drilling was also initiated at the same time on the grout holes above the crosscut working space. A grout curtain was hydraulically placed, and mining began once it was hardened and tested.

With the services provided by Fortis, mining activities and the processing plant are now fully operational. Fortis has advanced several metres into the paleochannel while continuing to grout and drain the bedrock interface. Currently, at the interface and above the pay gravels, it is reinforcing the area at the paleochannel’s bedrock contact with grout, steel sets and cement to remediate expected ground water inflows.

Following the fortification of this section while carefully monitoring water and material, Fortis will advance into the pay zone, feed the pay gravel to the wash plant, and continue across the channel.  Extensive advance drilling indicates drier material through the channel until the crosscut reaches the opposite rim.

The wash plant, an in-house, custom-made trommel, sluice and boil box system, has also been reconfigured, optimized and is operating well. Interestingly, during test runs of the plant using presumed non-gold-bearing material (bedrock cuttings and material from layers above the pay gravels) flake and fine placer gold was recovered.

Ken Hamilton, president of LCM, commented, “We are very pleased to bring Fortis in as our lead underground mining contractor. Their scale, innovation and experience are ideally suited to execute this unusual but high-reward task. We are highly confident that we will achieve a sustainably accelerated mining and processing pace from here on as the base crosscut is established. I look forward to having them continue here at Wingdam and with related projects going forward.”

LCM has updated the mine plan and plant for optimal, continuous go-forward operations, in co-operation with provincial mines regulators.

Visit for more details on the placer gold project.

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