Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine has reinforced the need for countries around the world to accelerate their efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions, leading to clean energy technologies becoming one of the fastest growing segments of the economy. Some of the main inputs in these new technologies are critical metals like copper, cobalt, nickel and zinc. The World Bank forecasts that production of critical minerals and metals must increase by as much as 500% to produce the raw inputs necessary to meet projected demand. Analysts are expecting that over the next two decades nickel and cobalt will see a 20 fold increase in demand, with zinc and copper seeing an effective doubling in demand. That tells me inflation isn’t easing anytime soon but that can be a discussion for another day. In order for the world economy to meet this increasing demand in energy metals, discoveries of deposits will need to be made in the near term and as we watch sanctions mount against Russia, the location of those deposits becomes increasingly important.
Domestic supply and processing of these minerals and materials will become an increasingly crucial component to any nation looking to have a realistic ability to achieve emissions targets. That’s why junior mining companies, such as Murchison Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: MUR | OTCQB: MURMF), play a significant role in the discovery of the minerals needed for the quickly evolving clean energy revolution. Murchison is focused on the exploration and development of the 100% owned HPM (Haut-Plateau de la Manicouagan) project in Quebec and the exploration and development of the 100%-owned Brabant-McKenzie VMS zinc‐copper‐silver deposit located on the Brabant Lake property in north‐central Saskatchewan. The Company also has an option to earn 100% interest in the Barraute-Landrienne zinc-silver-gold project in Quebec. These are two of the best mining jurisdictions in Canada and arguably the world. Additionally, these projects are surrounded by excellent, established infrastructure.
The HPM property is located between Baie-Comeau and Fermont, Québec, about 20 km from an all-season road connecting the two communities, 8 km to railroad, and about 225 km to the deep water Port of Sept Iles. In December, 2021 the Company acquired the majority land position in the eastern Haut-Plateau region. With the newly acquired claims, Murchison has now increased the size of the HPM project area by a factor of 4, from 13,897 hectares to 57,586 hectares. First assay results from the inaugural drill program at the PYC Target include Hole PYC21-007 drilled to a depth of 158 m intersected three broad zones of Ni-Cu-Co-bearing sulphide mineralization totaling 62.21 m of composite thickness including 25.5 m grading 0.30% Ni Eq and 27.4 m grading 0.23% Ni Eq while Hole PYC21-008 drilled to a depth of 182 m intersected five broad zones totaling 69.9 m of composite thickness including 39.5 m grading 0.24% Ni Eq and 13.0 m grading 0.27% Ni Eq. Assay results for the remaining six holes, released two weeks ago, confirm the presence of broad zones of near surface low-grade nickel, copper, cobalt mineralization across the drilled portion of the target.
The PYC Target is only one of multiple Ni-Cu-Co prospects on the HPM Project where historical work and prospecting completed at Barre De Fer, located only 1.5 km away, resulted in the best historic results from HPM-08-03 of 43.15 m at 1.73% Ni, 0.90% Cu, and 0.09% Co. The Company also completed prospecting at the Syrah Target, located just 350 metres from the Barre de Fer prospect, during the 2021 fall drill program. Syrah results confirm Ni-Cu-Co sulphide mineralized outcrops and sub-crops over approximately a 375-metre strike length, within the footprint of an approximately 600- metre-long conductive geophysical anomaly. Newly discovered mineralization to the northeast extending the surface strike length by approximately 200 metres and assaying as high as 0.69% Ni Equivalent. Syrah is considered a high-priority exploration target, making it a priority for drill testing during the summer 2022 program.
One can be excused for focusing solely on the HPM Project with so much going on and prospect after prospect showing potential. But we can’t forget about the Brabant McKenzie deposit that already has an established resource of Inferred: 7.6 million tonnes @ 6.29% ZnEq and Indicated: 2.1 million tonnes @ 9.98% ZnEq. There are 10 highly prospective VMS targets, with VMS style mineralization already intersected at Main Lake and Betty target areas. But for now, the Company is focused on the HPM project with the recently completed recompilation and modeling of holes drilled at the Barre de Fer zone indicating significant potential for expansion of high-grade nickel-copper-cobalt zones. A VTEM survey covering all of HPM, commenced on April 21st, 2022 with Murchison moving forward with preparations for a summer drill program on the HPM property focusing on Barre de Fer and Syrah.
The completion of an early warrant incentive program has resulted in the addition of C$1.3 million in cash to go with the C$1.8 million the Company finished 2021 with. This capital will go a long way towards funding the 2022 summer program. With a market cap of only C$18.8 million there is plenty of leverage for investors looking for exposure to zinc, nickel and copper in a stable, mining friendly part of the world.