Murchison Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: MUR | OTCQB: MURMF) has recently announced results of its summer exploration program at its wholly owned HPM (Haut-Plateau de la Manicouagan) property. This included an aerial geophysical survey of the 648 km2 (250 square miles), ground prospecting and diamond drilling with the plan to produce a maiden resource early 2023. The original discovery by Falconbridge of a Nickel-Copper-Cobalt mineralization dates to 1999.
What is interesting about the location is that it is only 8 kms (5 miles) to the rail line from Fermont/Labrador city and Port Cartier:
Source: Company website
As you can see it is also close to hydro-electric power which gives this opportunity two very important and strategic advantages over a lot of other potential mining opportunities in the Canadian north. It should also reduce CAPEX and OPEX as power will not have to be generated on site and material can be shipped in and out with relative ease. It is also 40 kms (25 miles) from the provincial Highway 389.
Two years ago, the Quebec government started the Quebec Action Plan on Critical Materials, which this deposit would fall under should the project move forward. The Quebec government is very supportive and proactive in the mining industry and the development of projects, particularly in the northern part of the province.
There are several targets of interest at HPM, the key one being their Barre de Fer target which reported an intercept of 43.15 meters grading 1.74% Ni, 0.90% Cu and 0.09% Co. By comparison, Voisey’s Bay on average was 1.63% nickel, 0.85% copper and 0.09% cobalt. On September 7th Murchison reported the pXRF results from a new 404 m drill hole that intersected four broad zones of Ni-Cu-Co sulphide bearing mineralization totalling 130.00 m of composite thickness, and returning 18.05 m estimated at 1.98% pXRF Ni Eq. (89.95 to 108.0 m) including 8.1 m at 3.45% pXRF Ni Eq., and 69.90 m estimated at 0.68% pXRF Ni Eq. (267.0 to 336.90 m) including 16.1 m at 1.4% pXRF Ni Eq. This ongoing exploration, the company says, is aimed at completing a maiden resource on Barre de Fer by early Q1 of 2023. The question is will they approach the 141 million tonnes of ore of Voisey’s Bay, which made it a world class discovery.
The other project Murchison is working on is the 100% – owned Brabant McKenzie (BMK) zinc‐copper‐silver project in Northern Saskatchewan, located about 170km northeast of La Ronge. This is a VMS (volcanogenic massive sulphide) Zn-Cu-Pb-Ag-Au deposit which was originally prospected in the 1950s and 1960s. In September 2018 there was a NI 43-101 upgraded report with an indicated resource of 2.1 million tonnes at 9.98% zinc equivalent and an inferred resource of 7.6 million tonnes at 6.29% zinc equivalent. This was based on 138 drill holes with a cutoff of 3.5% zinc equivalent.
VMS deposits are widely distributed with major deposits in Canada being Kidd Creek, near Timmins, Ontario, and Bathurst in New Brunswick. The Kidd Creek mine, which has operated since 1966, is run by Glencore and is the deepest base metal mine in the world at 2,735 meters (8,973 feet) below sea level. The Bathurst mine suspended operations last month and the owner, Trevali, has delisted its shares from the TSX. The following table compares the Murchison deposit to Kidd Creek:
|Tonnes||Zinc %||Copper %||Silver g/t|
|Kidd Creek 2020||5 million||3.60%||1.80%||44.0|
|Murchison indicated||2.1 million||7.08%||0.69%||39.6|
|Murchison inferred||7.6 million||4.46%||0.57%||18.42|
Murchison’s Brabant Lake project has a maintained road – Saskatchewan Highway 102 – and existing power lines running through the property, which again points to management looking at projects with strong infrastructure. The drive from the local community of Brabant Lake to Saskatoon is about six hours. Last year’s preliminary metallurgical work produced a 50% zinc concentrate with an 85% recovery.
Both projects are early stage but have promising potential and looking forward to additional results. Certainly worth keeping an eye on this company as more updates come out on these properties.