AU-WEN Project

AU-Wen Project


The AU/Wen Property comprised of two claim groups are located 30 kilometres southeast of Merritt, British Columbia in the Nicola Mining Division. The Au/Wen claim group comprises 92 units in 14 contiguous claims while the Toe claim group 4km east of the AU/Wen comprises 12 units in 4 contiguous claims. Both claim groups cover a total area of 2,600 hectares. The claims are close to infrastructure and are accessible through a network of logging roads starting north of Highway 3 at the Loon Lake exit. The climate in the area is characterized by mild winters which would allow for an expanded work program year round.

The claims are situated within the Quesnel Trough, a prominent geological sub- province wherein are located the major copper deposits of the old Craigmont and Ingerbelle mines. Numerous copper and gold showings within the Quesnel Trough are currently under investigation. The immediate area of the claims is underlain by andesitic volcanics and associated intercalated pyroclastics and sediments of the Upper Triassic Nicola group. Subvolcanic dioritic intrusives occur within this succession and are more likely related to the Pennask Batholith. Within the Au/Wen group of claims, three mineral prospects, i.e., the Au, Mal and Wen prospects have been the focus of previous work. In the Au prospect free gold occurs in the Hodge and Nesbitt quartz veins with values of up to 20 gpt from the veins and up to 6.6 gpt in the wall rock. The prospect is characterized by heavy clay and limonite alteration. In the Mal prospect, copper with minor amounts of gold is associated with skarn (garnet, epidote and magnetite) in Nicola volcanics. In the Wen prospect, copper and gold occur in shear zones and also in stockwork zones in Nicola volcanics.

Previous exploration in the area carried out from the early 1960’s to 1980’s included ground geophysical surveys, soil geochemical surveys, trenching and diamond drilling. In 1996, George Resource Company Ltd., the predecessor of Commerce, drilled a strongly mineralized vein where assays across a 6.55 metres intercept averaged 16.578 gm/t Au, 12.901 gm/t Ag and 0.75% Cu, with a higher grade section averaging 28.426 gm/t Au, 18.185 gm/t Ag and 0.98% Cu over 3.81 metres. More recent work by Commerce in 2000 was limited to geologic mapping, surface sampling and reconnaissance IP survey. In 2002, Lateegra optioned the claims and carried out prospecting, magnetometer surveys, soil geochemistry and diamond drilling. Drilling in the Sol claim (Mal Prospect) confirmed the presence of copper mineralisation associated with skarn. Other potential skarn areas have been defined by magnetometer surveys. On the northwest part of the Wen claim soil geochemistry disclosed high gold anomalies suggesting geological extensions of known gold occurrences.

Additional photos can be viewed in the slideshow.


The AU/WEN and TOE claim groups comprising the AU/WEN Property are located 8 kilometres east of Aspen Grove, British Columbia in the Nicola Mining Division. Both claim groups are approximately centered at latitude 49° 57'N and longitude 120° 30'W and are within NTS map-sheets 92H/15E and 92H/16W.

The AU/WEN claim group comprises 92 units in 14 contiguous claims while the TOE claim group 12 units in 4 contiguous claims. Both groups cover an aggregate area of 2,600 hectares. The TOE claims are approximately 4km east southeast of the southeastern limits of the AU/WEN claims. Commerce Resources Corporation currently holds the mineral rights to the claims.

The Au/Wen Property is host to quartz vein gold deposits at the Au claim, skarn copper and gold occurrences at the Sol claim and vein and stockwork copper and gold occurrences at the Wen claim. No mineral occurrences have been found on the Toe claims although previous workers defined a large copper anomaly in a soil survey.


Geological Setting

Regional and Local Setting
The AU/WEN Property is situated within the so-called Quesnel Trough, a regional geologic feature extending northwestward from the US border to just south of the Yukon. Locally, the property lies in the Nicola Belt, a geologic feature extending from Princeton to Kamploops and described by Campbell (1966) and Schau (1968) as being zoned with “the central part predominantly of volcanic rocks flanked on the east and west by broader zones with frequent occurrences of sedimentary rocks”. This zonal relationship was studied by Preto (1979) and described in detail in Bulletin 69. Essentially the AU-WEN property is situated on the east flank of the zone, predominantly underlain by “mafic volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks, their intrusive equivalents and associated clastic and chemical sedimentary rocks” (Preto, 1977). Locally, the property is bounded on the west by the northerly Kentucky – Alleyne fault zone. The Pennask batholith occurring on the northern part of the claims is part of Jurassic granite that intrudes the Nicola. North to northeasterly faults traverses the property and its immediate vicinity.

Property Geology

The AU/WEN Property is chiefly underlain by a folded and faulted succession of steeply- dipping, northerly trending Upper Triassic Nicola Group. The dominant lithologies are volcanics, volcaniclastics and interbedded siltstone and flow breccias. On the AU claims, the lithologies mapped by Preto (1979) as confirmed by Freeze (1986) consists of greenish grey augite porphyry flows and related breccia intruded by microdiorite dykes as off shoots of the Pennask batholith. Similar lithologies occur on the MAL claim with the addition of siltstone and tuffaceous volcanics and on the WEN claim with the addition of flow breccia. The TOE claims are underlain by Upper Triassic Nicola volcanics, which at the northern part of the claim is in contact with quartz diorite of the Pennask Batholith. Dioritic intrusions inside the TOE claims may be related to the Pennask batholith.

Deposite Types

The AU/WEN Property lies within a part of the Quesnel terrane that has been prospective for economic minerals. Within the confines of the so-called Nicola Belt, the Ingerbelle copper deposit near Princeton and the Afton copper deposit near Kamloops are examples of successful producers. The Aspen Grove district has a history of active exploration and within the district, some 23 km south of the AU/WEN Property the Siwash gold deposit of Fairfield Minerals Ltd. has been mined successfully. Other notable prospects in the Aspen Grove copper camp are the Big Soux 2.5 km northeast of Aspen Grove, the Copper Star between Merritt and Princeton and the volcanic red bed Paycinci copper deposit south of Aspen Grove.

Mineral occurrences at the AU/WEN Property appear related to the Pennask Batholith, their distances to the Nicola – Pennask Batholith contact being only within one or two kilometres. At the AU and WEN claims, quartz veins and quartz stockworks in extensively propylitized country rock suggests an epithermal environment. At the SOL claim copper and gold values occur in concordant skarn seen as replacement of calcareous units of the Nicola.

Interpretation and Conclusions

The AU/WEN Property covers a large area where widespread copper and gold mineralisation in the Upper Triassic Nicola Group occurs within a short distance of the Pennask Batholith contact. The property is within the regionally prospective Nicola Belt that hosts the major deposits of the Ingerbelle, Craigmont and Afton mines and is locally within the well-known Aspen Grove copper-gold camp.

At the WEN Prospect, although gold mineralisation at the Hodge and Nesbitt showings are restricted to narrow veins, the occurrence of higher values in “microdiorite” is significant in that other mineralized microdiorite bodies may lie concealed at depth as apophyses of the Pennask Batholith. The area remains prospective with future exploration designed towards the investigation of deeper targets.

At the SOL claim, the magnetic anomalies are related to magnetite and copper-bearing skarn. The two untested anomalies B and C are prospective targets for future drilling.

Soil sampling at the WEN claim that was conducted east of the drilled area suggest that additional sampling should be extended west of the sampling grid. The northwesterly trends of gold anomalies near the center of the grid are suggestive of concealed gold- bearing veins similar to the “Main” vein outside of the grid area to the northwest.

The TOE claims sitting astride the contact between the Nicola Group and the Pennask Batholith contains a large copper soil anomaly that has not been properly evaluated. The erratically distributed copper values in soil are seen as a function of the absence of a consistent sampling horizon.

On the basis of the above, the AU/WEN Property remains a property of merit and warrants a comprehensive exploration program.