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The Ontario Nickel portfolio consists of 3 nickel-copper-cobalt-platinum group element properties, situated in the Shebandowan Greenstone Belt, in northwestern Ontario. The properties are located proximal and in a similar geologic setting as to that of the past-producing Shebandowan Ni-Cu-Co-PGE deposit, mined by Inco Ltd., during the period of 1970 to 1998.
The properties are located between 80 to 125 kilometres west of the City of Thunder Bay and are accessed by the Trans Canada Highway (Highway 17) and a network of all-weather roads. Such transportation infrastructure provides good access to conduct mineral exploration programs on all 3 properties, year-round.
The Shebandowan Ni-Cu-Co-PGE mine of Archean-age comprises a world-class example of a premier magmatic nickel sulphide deposit, with mined reserves of 8.6 MT at a grade of 2.0% Ni, 1.0% Cu and 2.68 g/t Pt and Pd (cobalt grades unknown). The model for mineralization at the Shebandowan deposit invokes:
Past exploration efforts in looking for Shebandowan deposit look-alikes, have focussed on the chemistry of ultramafic rocks as the key to new discoveries, whereas the geologic setting in which the ultramafic rocks are emplaced, is likely more important for exploration and discovery success.
The Sungold property exhibits striking similarities with the geologic setting of the past producing Shebandowan mine. At Sungold, an extensive mafic to ultramafic sill complex, forms the base of the greenstone belt, proximal to the crustal-scale Knife Lake Fault. Additionally, the ultramafic rocks comprising the sill complex are strongly serpentinized, characterized by the presence of magnetite and talc. These altered ultramafic bodies, are reflected by the presence of linear magnetic highs, similar to what is seen at Shebandowan. Additionally, the chemistry of the ultramafic rocks is identical to that of the host rocks at the Shebandowan mine, in terms of MgO content (komatiites).
Most importantly, the altered, linear belts of ultramafic rocks comprising the sill complex are locally coincident with numerous discrete strong conductors, that have not been tested by diamond drilling. Preliminary modelling of such conductors (defined by a historic airborne VTEM survey in 2005) has been completed, yielding several high-quality targets for diamond drilling.
The Greenwater Lake property, situated approximately 10 km WSW of the Shebandowan mine, is largely underlain by ultramafic rocks. Data compilation indicates that there has been no historic drilling completed on the property. Regional glacial till sampling completed by the Ontario Geological Survey (Bajc, 2000) delineated a prominent cluster of Ni, Cu, Co, Cr, Pt and Pd in-till anomalies, situated east of Greenwater Lake. Notably, highly anomalous levels of Ni, Co and Cr obtained from this survey occur on the Greenwater Lake property, providing immediate targets for follow-up work. The till anomalies are also closely associated with a prominent fault, that cuts the ultramafic rocks. Detailed geochemical sampling is clearly warranted to enhance this target area.
A drill hole situated immediately east of the Greenwater Lake property, undertaken by North American Palladium in 2004, returned very compelling results. Hole SP04-001 returned 0.56 g/t platinum + palladium, as well as 0.30% nickel over 11.8 metres, within what is reported as strongly altered peridotite. No additional drilling was ever completed to follow-up on this drill result.
The Kekekuab Lake property is situated approximately 5 km due south of the Shebandowan mine site. As is the case with the Greenwater Lake property, minimal historic drilling has been undertaken at Kekekuab lake. Additionally, mafic and ultramafic rocks are prominent on available geology maps.
Compilation of the historic and Government data will continue in the near term on all properties, in efforts to consolidate and identify prospective targets.
Additionally, the process of engagement with the indigenous communities of Lac La Croix, Lac Des Milles Lacs, the Metis Nation of Ontario and Fort William First Nation in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, will commence as soon as practical, in preliminary efforts to secure exploration permits.