Peter Bernier and Dirk Tempelman-Kluit were the 2011 AME BC Award recipients for Excellence in Prospecting and Mineral Exploration. Mr. Bernier and Dr. Tempelman-Kluit were the Core Management Team of Richfield Ventures Corp. from 2005 to 2011.
H.H. "Spud" Huestis Award Excellence in Prospecting and Mineral Exploration
Dirk Tempelman-Kluit and Peter Bernier formed Richfield Ventures at a time when juniors were struggling to survive, yet through remarkable perseverance discovered and defined a multimillion-ounce gold deposit in an underexplored portion of the Interior Plateau of central British Columbia. Their discovery of the Blackwater bulk-tonnage gold deposit sparked a rush to find similar deposits in the Nechako region.
Tempelman-Kluit was a highly respected research geologist and a former director of the Cordilleran Division of the Geological Survey of Canada before teaming up with Bernier, a prospector with 30 years of exploration and project management experience. They formed Richfield in 2005 to focus on early-stage mineral projects.
While examining historic exploration data on the Blackwater property in 2009, Tempelman-Kluit recognized the presence of widespread hydrothermal alteration in drill core photographs, suggesting potential for associated bulk gold mineralization within the system. With help from local connections, Bernier successfully acquired the key claims, including the vital Silver Quest property, and consolidated a land package over the entire target area. Tempelman-Kluit and Bernier then focused on raising funds for an exploration program. Early drilling results returned long continuous intersections of gold mineralization, validating the conceptual deposit model proposed by Tempelman-Kluit. By mid-2010, drilling had defined a significant bulk tonnage deposit. An initial resource estimate (indicated and inferred) containing 4.2 million ounces of gold was announced in March of 2011.
New Gold Inc. acquired Richfield in April 2011, and continued to expand the deposit with an accelerated drilling campaign. An updated resource estimate of 204 million tonnes grading 1.0 g/t gold, for a total of 6.3 million contained ounces (including 5.35 million indicated ounces), was released in September 2011.
The Blackwater deposit (considered to be a low sulphidation epithermal type) is one of the most significant newly defined gold discoveries in British Columbia. The flat lying deposit measures 1,040 metres by 600 metres wide and 350 metres thick, and is presently being advanced by New Gold as a potential large-scale open pit mine.
Danielson, Vivian. "H.H. "Spud" Huestis Award Excellence in Prospecting and Mineral Exploration" Mineral Exploration Spring 2012: 39
Photograph by Brian Dennehy / AME BC