The Cariboo got its modern cred from the gold rush, and it is still B.C.’s heart of gold. The 19th century had its nuggets of success, but modern mining is thick and aggressive, and one of the home-based diggers is a company based right in town. Companies like Osisko Mining and Omineca Mining and Metals and others working in the area are based outside of town. That’s normal, there’s nothing untoward about that, but Green River Gold Corp. is headquartered right in Quesnel, with an administrative hub also in Edmonton.
“There’s a book, here, somewhere,” said company CEO and president Perry Little, speaking at the Minerals North mining conference in Quesnel.
He was a stock broker, by previous trade, and decided to apply his mining industry knowledge to boots on the ground, hands in the dirt.
“We got our butts kicked pretty good,” he said, of the startup in 2016. But knowledge was accrued, and he and his investment group launched Green River as a public company in 2017. Also launched was an affiliated goods and services store, Gold Rush Supplies, as a commercial sibling business located in the same building. Little said having the large space with the retail store “creates many synergies with Green River Gold Corp. This facility is used as a location to scan, log, cut, and store our core. It also serves as the office space for our geologist, project manager and administrators.”
The public, including placer-style miners, can also buy a lot of stuff, there. It’s got core boxes, drilling services, custom wash-plant fabrication, placer mining supplies, metal detectors, outdoor survival items, Jenco lighting, even clothing for the job, and much more for the outdoor enthusiast.
But Green River is first and foremost a junior mining company out on the land, looking for the most lucrative commodities possible, below the surface of the local earth. Their first big claim staking program was the Fontaine Gold play near Barkerville in 2019 and in the past year they about doubled their claim size, so it now sits at about 200 square kms, in between Osisko claims to their east and Omineca on their west flank.
As the old song goes, you don’t want to overlook an orchid while searching for a rose. Gold was their target, throughout their startup research phase, but their geology analysts pointed out something quite different and significantly exciting in the indicator data. It is now their main operational focus: the Quesnel Nickel Project.
“Once we saw that magnetic survey in late 2021, we drilled 44 holes,” said Little. “We’ve only gone down 129 metres, is the deepest one. Most of them are drilled off two large outcrops on a 14-kilometre-long deep purple magnetic anomaly, we call it, and in every hole, as soon as we hit bedrock – sometimes there was a bit of glacial till sitting on top of it – we have nickel, chromium, magnesium and cobalt in the first foot and all the way to the bottom. (Talc has also been detected.) The nickel grades are very similar to what Giga Metals is showing. We’ve got huge potential on this thing. If we have this over the entire deep purple magnetic anomaly, it’s going to be big. We have not yet drilled a hole that hasn’t hit the same stuff. And you can’t tell the first metre from the 50th, in the core box.
“The funny thing is, we’re still Green River Gold,” he said. “We still have the gold potential we staked this thing for. We also have a silver property near Invermere, and we just staked a property we think has a potential for lithium near 100 Mile House.”
Green River holds 100 per cent ownership over all these claims. It is largely in-house financed, helped by public trading under the CCR moniker on the Canadian Securities Exchange (because Green River was a hit song in 1969 for Credence Clearwater Revival, aka CCR). They employ up to 15 people at a time, at this stage, depending on the time of year.
Little said he is buoyed by such business developments as Mitsubishi investing $8-million in Giga Metals for 15 per cent of their Turnagain Nickel project based in Tahltan and Kaska Dene territory. It’s a hot metal, right now, as an ingredient in batteries, on top of all its traditional uses.
However, times are not economically ripe for companies like his.
“What a terrible junior market. I was a broker for years. This is absolutely brutal. We are cheaper than heck; all the juniors are,” he said, but added that such conditions often lead to strong partnerships in promising ventures by investors who recognize the “buy low-sell high” opportunity.
He said Green River is in a great position, quite literally, because of proximity to the claim site. Their work is only 42.5 kms from the City of Quesnel so their drillers can wake up in their own bed, go do a day’s work in the field, and be back to watch their kids’ hockey practice and have dinner at home the same night.
“I don’t know if we all understand how good we have it. Everybody wants to be in B.C. right now,” he said, with his former broker’s lens on. “There are a lot of reasons for it: mining-friendly regulations, stable political environment, carbon-neutral hydroelectricity, eco-friendly rail lines, top-ranked mining jurisdiction, respect for Indigenous people…this is where you want to go to mine.”
In Quesnel, we’re already here doing it.