What happened

Shares of Seabridge Gold Inc. (SA 0.46%) rose more than 14% by 10:30 a.m. EDT on Monday after the gold exploration company updated investors on a key development program.

So what

Seabridge Gold stated that the summer program at its 100%-owned KSM project in British Columbia met its objectives despite some early delays due to the weather and the impact that fires in the region had on equipment and labor availability. The company said that it is now past these issues and plans to complete its program by extending the work time by several weeks. However, it also noted that the "results thus far indicate that all of our confirmation work is consistent with our development model and the inferred resource at Iron Cap will grow substantially," according to CEO Rudi Fronk.

Gold nuggets on top of cash.

Image source: Getty Images.

Overall, the company has drilled five holes at sites that have confirmed mineral reserves in areas where it would eventually begin production. Further, the company drilled eight exploration holes at its Iron Cap prospect, which have confirmed the extension of that deposit. Those results suggest the company is sitting on a promising prospect, which improves its chances of landing a partner to help develop this resource.

Now what

Seabridge Gold is still an early-stage company, which makes it a riskier option for investors. While the company appears to have discovered a promising gold prospect, it will take years and lots of money to turn it into a profitable gold mine, and that's assuming gold prices cooperate. That's why investors who are looking for an option in the gold mining sector might want to look at these top gold stocks instead.