Noront Resources Ltd. [NOT-TSXV] reported a maiden resource estimate for the No.8 sulfide lens and updated resource estimates for the No.1 and No.3 sulfide lenses. Given their close proximity, these lenses will be known as the Nikka copper-zinc deposit at the 85%-owned McFaulds VMS property in the Ring of Fire.
Nikka means Canada Goose in Ojicree and maintains the boreal forest bird theme that Noront follows in naming its various deposits.
The company discovered the No.8 lens in 2017 after a bore-hole EM survey of a historic drill hole into the footwall of the No.3 lens identified a strong off-hole conductor. Between 2017 and 2019, Noront drilled 14 holes totalling 7,717 metres in the vicinity of the No.8 lens to define the maiden resource reported today.
“Discovery of the No.8 sulfide lens has increased the contained copper in Inferred resources at McFaulds by a factor of ten,” said Noront Vice President Exploration Ryan Weston. “Furthermore, based on our geological understanding and the promising targets we’ve generated since we began exploring here in 2017, we believe there is much more to be found at McFaulds.”
Indicated resources at the No.3 lens totals 0.85 million tonnes grading 2.92%b copper, 1.67% zinc, 8.33 g/t silver and 0.31 g/t gold, for a CuEq of 3.71%. Inferred resources for the No.3, No.8 Main, No.8 footwall and No.1 lenses are pegged at 4.8 million tonnes grading 2.1% copper, 1.4% zinc, 5.8 g/t silver and 0.2 g/t gold, for a CuEq of 2.7%.
The No.1 and No.3 sulfide lenses were discovered in 2002-03 by previous operators. In 2008 an initial resource estimate for these two lenses was prepared by RPA. In the fall of 2019, the company acquired more accurate down-hole orientation data through the No.3 lens with modern instrumentation and has since revised the geologic model for both the No.1 and No.3 lenses.
The McFaulds volcanic basin, at over 7 km in length and up to 3 km in thickness, possesses at least four productive VMS exhalative horizons, the most prospective to date being the Nikka horizon which hosts the No.1, 3, 6, 8, 9 and 10 sulfide lenses. Vertical stacking of sulfide lenses within the McFaulds basin is interpreted to reflect the presence of primary syn-volcanic faults along which hydrothermal fluids ascended during VMS mineralization.
Additional targets on the property have been identified through numerous ground and airborne geophysical surveys including a 2011 airborne gravity survey flown by the Ontario Geological Survey which identified several shallow gravity anomalies, some of which are coincident with known sulfide occurrences on the property. Several of these targets remain untested, including a broad anomaly between the No.8 and No.1 sulfide lenses which is interpreted to reflect a large, deep target given the wavelength of the anomaly. Ground gravity surveying in late 2018 confirmed the presence of this anomaly along strike of Nikka where shallow drilling along the edges have returned up to 22 metres grading 1.6% zinc and 8.1 g/t silver within intensely chlorite altered volcanic tuffs. These results suggest proximity to a significant hydrothermal system, making this target a high priority for the company.
Noront has prepared a follow-up exploration program for the McFaulds property which includes drill testing the large gravity anomaly along strike of the Nikka deposit, step-out drilling to expand the No.8 and No.1 lenses at Nikka, and additional ground gravity surveying to better resolve interpreted deep anomalies identified in past airborne surveys. The company is currently examining funding alternatives for this work.
“The updated resource at Nikka puts us well on our way to identifying a conceptual target of 5 to 10 million tonnes of copper-zinc mineralized material, which could feed a central milling complex on the McFaulds property. With additional drilling, we are optimistic that this goal is achievable and look forward to testing our highest priority targets soon,” said Noront Chief Development Officer Stephen Flewelling.