The Castle Rock project is an early-stage copper-gold porphyry prospect situated on northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Covering of 3,108 hectares or prospective land, the claims are located approximately 70 km northwest of Campbell River, BC. The property is easily accessible via active Forest Service Roads that branch off of Highway 19. The project is 100%-owned by a partnership between Trailbreaker Resources and Cazador Resources.
Northern Vancouver Island is host to several large Cu-Au porphyry deposits including Northisle’s Hushamu deposit that contains an Inferred Resource of over 5.57 Moz AuEq and BHP Billiton’s past producing Island Copper deposit that produced >2.7 B lb Cu and >1.0 Moz Au. The Merry Widow gold camp is situated 75 km to the northwest and the Zebellos gold camp is located 40 km to the west.
Castle Rock represents a relatively new gold discovery within a part of Vancouver Island that has seen limited exploration to date and was not previously known for its gold potential. The steep, rugged terrain of the Schoen Creek drainage has kept this area underexplored. The area was first opened to logging activity in the early 2000s. The new logging road networks allowed for a property-scale geochemical silt survey in 2012 which led to the discovery of a large gossanous outcrop (coined the Heart zone) with a chip sample returning 2.0 g/t Au over a 30 meter interval. The gold is hosted in Jurassic age granodiorite dykes that have intruded along a regional-scale fault zone separating Lower to Middle Triassic age sediments from the Upper Triassic Karmutsen basalts. The auriferous intrusive displays strong hydrothermal alteration and brecciation with gold mineralization associated with disseminated and veined pyrite.
Trailbreaker Resources completed a 3-day project evaluation program in 2022, focusing attention on the Heart zone. The program included a detailed soil sample survey consisting of 116 samples as well as 32 meters of channel sampling designed to confirm the historic grades and thickness. The program successfully confirmed historic gold grades, with 2022 values up to 0.680 g/t Au over 13.11m, including a subinterval of 1.85 g/t Au over 2.92m.
The soil sample survey outlined a 50m x 400m, northwest-southeast trending gold-in-soil anomaly interpreted to represent the surface footprint of the gold-bearing dyke exposed at the Heart showing. The soil values reached a maximum of 5.44 g/t Au, and the anomaly remains open.
No past systematic geochemical or geophysical work has been done on the property. Trailbreaker plans to execute a property-wide geochemical soil survey to further expand the Heart zone and identify other mineralized intrusive dykes. Historic silt sampling has outlined additional targets on the property, with samples returning up to 860 ppb Au that have undergone no follow-up exploration to date. Furthermore, a second historic gold showing (Flan showing) discovered in 2000, approximately 1.5 km west of the Heart showing, consists of numerous high-grade boulders assaying up to 135 g/t Au. These boulders are believed to be sourced from Heart showing which is located upstream. This indicates potential for the Heart zone to host much higher-grade gold than that identified to date.
Trailbreaker’s team believes the Castle Rock project represents an exciting discovery that has been overlooked in the past, and, given its association with large regional-scale structures and open-ended anomalies, has potential to be rapidly expanded into a significant gold prospect.
Location / Infrastructure
Castle Rock is located on northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, approximately 70 km northwest of Campbell River. The property is accessed via a 25 km stretch of a well-maintained Forest Service Roads branching off of Highway 19. The small town of Woss is located 30 km northwest of the property and the deep-water seaport of Port McNeill is located 75 km north. A major transmission line servicing the community of Gold River is located 10 km west of the Castle Rock property.
2000 – 2010
The Schoen Creek drainage was first prospected in the early 2000s. Prospector/geologist Mikkel Schau followed up on anomalous Cu-Au regional stream sediment samples, which led to the Flan zone discovery near the confluence of Jackpot and Schoen Creeks. Vuggy quartz veins yielded up to 67.8 g/t Au across a 30 cm wide sulphide vein hosted in a fault zone. Prospecting in the vicinity of the Flan showing continued to return encouraging gold values from large boulders with values up to 135 g/t Au and till samples with values up to 104 g/t Au.
2011 – 2014
In 2011, Interwest Enterprises (a private oil and gas company) took a 20% interest in the property and funded the first significant exploration program on the property. The program involved property-wide stream sediment sampling and geological mapping which led to several new exploration targets, ultimately leading to the discovery of the Heart and Kokummi zones. In 2013, the Heart showing was sampled with a 30 meter chip sample of gossanous granodiorite breccia returning 2.08 g/t Au. In 2014, new logging roads and clear cuts at the base of the Heart zone provided good access and exposure for geological mapping and sampling.
2014 – 2022
The claim package sat idle with no work filed and expired in early 2022. Trailbreaker acquired the property via staking and purchase of mineral claims. A 3-day first pass-evaluation program was completed at Heart zone. A total of 32 meters of channel sampling, 9 rock grab samples, and 116 soil samples were acquired. Based on the positive results, a partnership was formed with Cazador Resources, who owned the surrounding claim block.
Geology and Mineralization
The property is situated in the heavily glaciated Schoen Creek drainage basin that is best described as steep rugged terrain with numerous first growth, high elevation forests remaining intact. Limited bedrock mapping has been completed on the property due to thick forest cover and lack of access. The recent logging activity in the Schoen Lake drainage has exposed many outcrops in the lower valleys, resulting in a significant contrast to previous geological mapping efforts. The new mapping efforts show widespread intrusive activity in an area previously not recognized for the presence of younger intrusive rocks.
The property covers a Middle Triassic unit of black shale and siliceous tuffaceous cherts (Daonella beds) which is overlain by the lower Triassic Karmutsen basalts: a thick pile of pillowed and massive sub-aqueous to sub-aerial lavas. Intrusive rocks include Triassic gabbro sills and later Jurassic plutons that were previously mapped to the northwest and to the southeast. Property-scale mapping shows widespread smaller intrusive dykes and plugs of Jurassic age which are observed throughout the property, including at the Heart zone. A north-trending fault zone cuts through the center of the property, dividing the metasediments and Karmutsen basalts. The felsic dykes and small plutons preferentially tend to intrude along this fault zone.
The Heart zone is characterized by a steeply dipping, approximately 15 – 20 meter wide, strongly altered, and brecciated Jurassic age granodiorite dyke that strikes northwest-southeast and intrudes along a regional-scale fault zone. This fault zone separates the Lower to Middle Triassic age sediments from the Upper Triassic Karmutsen basalts. The showing is confined to a cliff exposure in a steeply incised creek drainage, with the reminder of the intrusive unit masked by glacial till and first growth forest. Gold mineralization occurs with disseminated and veined pyrite and sulfosalts, with the dioritic dyke averaging approximately 1 g/t Au. A higher-grade, 3-meter-wide center of the showing averages approximately 2 g/t Au, and displays stronger brecciation and sulfur alteration. High-grade skarn gold mineralization is also observed in massive pyrite lenses hosted in the metasediments surrounding the auriferous dyke with historic grab samples assaying up to 21 g/t Au.