First Mining Finance Corp. ("First Mining" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:FF)(OTCQX:FFMGF) is pleased to provide an update of its current exploration and corporate activities and to provide some guidance for its proposed activities in 2017.
At the Springpole Gold Project in northern Ontario the Company has completed its fall metallurgical drilling program in which four drill holes were completed comprising 1,712 metres. The intent of the metallurgical testing program is to determine the optimal grind size and processing flow sheet so as to maximize metallurgical recoveries. Assay results from the drill holes are expected to be released in early 2017 and the results from the metallurgical testing program are expected to be incorporated into a new Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") for the Springpole project which is expected to be released during the first half of 2017.
Drilling has also been completed at the Pickle Crow Gold Project, also located in northern Ontario, in which nine drill holes were completed comprising 1,319 metres. The intent of this drilling campaign is to test the strike extent of Pickle Crow's Core Mine Trend and the Western Extension of the Core Mine Trend. Samples from the drilling program have been extracted with assay results expected to be available in early 2017.
Recently, the Company's Board of Directors approved a CDN$21 million exploration and development budget for 2017, including 47,000 metres of infill and exploration drill programs to advance the Company's Canadian priority assets.
The salient highlights of the proposed 2017 exploration program are detailed below.
Goldlund Gold Project
An infill and resource expansion program of up to 27,000 metres of drilling is to be carried out at the Goldlund project. The intent of this program is to upgrade the current mineral resource to a higher NI 43-101 category. The Company further intends to use the new resource estimate for the preparation of a PEA, the timing of which is to be determined at a later date. Drilling is expected to commence in the middle of the first quarter of 2017 and is expected to be mostly focused on Zone Seven, which hosts a significant portion of the mineralized material at the project.
Cameron Gold Project
An infill drilling program of up to 9,000 metres is to be carried out at the Cameron project in northern Ontario. The intent of this drilling program is to upgrade the current NI 43-101 Inferred Mineral Resource into the Measured and Indicated categories and to prepare the project for a PEA. Drilling is expected to commence during the summer of 2017.
Springpole Gold Project
An additional 6,000 metres of infill drilling is planned for the Springpole project during the summer of 2017. The program is expected to upgrade a substantial portion of the current NI 43-101 Inferred Mineral Resource into the Indicated category. In addition, the intent of this program is to prepare the Springpole project for a pre-feasibility study. In addition, environmental and baseline work intended to be used for the permitting process will soon commence at this project.
Hope Brook Gold Project
A 5,000 metre infill and exploration drilling program is to be carried out at the Hope Brook project in Newfoundland. The intent of this drilling program is to expand the current NI 43-101 complaint resources and to upgrade a majority of the Inferred Resource into the Measured and Indicated categories. The goal of the drilling campaign is to prepare Hope Brook for a PEA in late 2017.
Additional work is also to be carried out at the Company's other Canadian, U.S. and Mexican mineral assets which will be announced throughout 2017 as events unfold.
Keith Neumeyer, Chairman of First Mining stated, "Over a period of just over one year we have assembled one of the best portfolios of gold assets in the world. That being said we believe that there is tremendous organic value that can be unlocked by investing in our portfolio of assets. Given our robust treasury of approximately CDN$35 million we are confident the time is right to advance and de-risk our assets. In conclusion I believe that, given our new aggressive exploration strategy, 2017 could prove to be another transformational year for the Company."
The option agreement between First Mining and Exploraciones Mineras Peñoles, S.A. de C.V. (an indirect Mexican subsidiary of Industrias Peñoles S.A.B. de C.V. (Peñoles, BMV: PE)), which was previously announced on November 20, 2015 and which granted Peñoles an option to acquire First Mining's Puertecitos and Los Tamales copper properties in northern Sonora, Mexico, has been mutually terminated.