A geophysical “fingerprint” like this may help geologists identify other similar intrusions of the same age and (and possibly the same source) which may contain platinum, palladium and other PGM’s.
Sudbury, March 31, 2014 – Transition Metals Corp. (XTM – TSX.V) (“Transition”, “the Company”) is pleased to announce that it has initiated a 2,500 metre diamond drilling program at its Sunday Lake Platinum discovery near Thunder Bay Ontario, with Joint Venture Partner Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats). The program objective is to further expand the extent of mineralization reported in January (please refer to news release dated January 27, 2014 – Transition Metals and Implats Make Platinum Discovery at Sunday Lake, Intersecting 20.2 meters grading 3.22 Combined PGM’s). The discovery was the culmination of a 5 year strategic alliance between Implats and Transition (through its wholly owned subsidiary, HTX Minerals Corp) which has now been converted into a new Joint Venture at Sunday Lake. Under the terms of the Joint Venture agreement, Implats will fund 100% of expenses on the project and Transition will hold a 25% free carried interest through to the completion of a Feasibility Study. Transition retains the right to secure a controlling interest in the project in the event that Implats chooses to discontinue or limit future funding.
This review is a follow-up to our visit to the Northwestern Ontario Mining Symposium in Thunder Bay, Canada where we listened to an interesting presentation by a Transition Metals geologist on the Sunday Lake Intrusion, a newly discovered PGM (platinum group metals) play. We talked earlier this week about the state of the industry and the general tone of the conference, but today we’ll stick to a discussion on this project. This is a fairly short release, but it mainly serves as a vehicle for us to talk about this project and share a few of it’s interesting characteristics.
Transition Metals is a “Project Generator” company, meaning that they are focused on building value through exploration on multiple projects and advancing them to a stage where they become attractive to joint venture partners. If you look at our article on the life cycle of a mineral deposit, project generator’s fit in the front end of the cycle focusing on discovery and exploration. This particular project is a joint venture with South African based, Implats and is located in Northern Ontario near Thunder Bay.
Sunday Lake Project Update
The next phase of exploration work at Sunday Lake will focus on expanding the extent of mineralization intersected during the discovery program. The planned drill program will include physical properties and borehole EM surveys to further advance the geological, geochemical and geophysical understanding of the Sunday Lake Intrusion. Roads and drill pads to facilitate the next phase of drilling are being cleared and the drill has been mobilized to site.
The company has now assembled approximately 2,590 hectares of property consisting of staked and optioned claims and privately owned property at Sunday Lake which included the acquisition of an additional 290 hectares following the discovery of the platinum-rich mineralization.
The diagram below shows some of the drilling to date. The PGM values are not world-class, but they are not bad either and there are hints of high grades at depth. The highest values have been close to 8 g/t PGM’s and drilling encountered a 20m interval assaying more than 3 g/t PGM’s. There are also minor gold, copper and nickel values.
At surface the intrusion presents as a circular magnetic anomaly. What’s interesting is that the center of the circular anomaly (on the right) is buried under 400m (~1300 ft) of barren rock, while the edge of the intrusion is fairly close to the surface. When planning to drill a geophysical anomaly it can be tempting to drill the center, but in the case of this intrusion a drill-hole on the center might have been abandoned in the thick overlying barren rock. Future holes will likely attempt to reach the even deeper, higher temperature ultramafic rocks that assayed the higher grades from previous drilling.
Implats Strategic Alliance and Sunday Lake Joint Venture Agreement
The Strategic Alliance agreement between Transition and Implats has been converted in to a new Joint Venture agreement on the Sunday Lake Property. As part of the new arrangement, the balance of projects generated under the Alliance, totaling 26,960 hectares, have been assigned 100% to Transition Metals subject to 1.0% to 1.5% net smelter return royalty payable to Implats. Transition is now actively seeking other partners to further advance these properties using the successful exploration model developed for Sunday Lake.
About the Sunday Lake Property
The Sunday Lake Property is located approximately 25 km north of Thunder Bay and 25 km west of Panoramic Resources Limited’s, Thunder Bay North deposit and consists of staked claims and privately owned land optioned in 2013 from Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. (RTEC) and other property holders. The property covers a 3.5 km diameter circular reversely-polarized magnetic anomaly associated with a large buried mafic-ultramafic intrusion interpreted to be Proterozoic in age and related to the Midcontinental Rift (MCR). The MCR is a 2,000 km long geological rift in the center of North America that formed when the North American craton began to split apart about 1.1 billion years ago. Early phases (‘early-rift’) of mafic to ultramafic intrusive rocks, with high associated PGMs occur within the MCR. In recent years, several deposits have been discovered in the MCR, including:
- Lundin Mining Corporation’s Eagle deposit: 5.33 Mt @ 3.1% Ni, 2.5% Cu, 1.32 g/t PGM (Probable)
- Panoramic Resource Limited’s Thunder Bay North deposit: 9.83 Mt @ 2.87 g/t Pt-Eq for 0.741 Moz Pt-Eq (Indicated) + 0.53 Mt @ 2.87 g/t Pt-Eq for 0.05 Moz Pt-Eq (Inferred)
The above paragraph discusses the interpreted history of the intrusion. An intrusion is a magma body which has “intruded” into existing bedrock from depth, but did not result in a volcanic eruption. (Though sometimes intrusive rocks can be associated with nearby volcanism.)
We’ve talked before about the various ways that mining companies make use of geophysics to explore prospective areas and hone in on potential drill targets. Magnetics combined with EM surveys are often employed to help define sub-surface structural targets and identify magnetic or conductive rocks. Below are a few images from an earlier company news release which show the total magnetics for the Sunday Lake property and surrounding area. Let’s take a look.
What’s readily apparent from the images is the crater-like appearance of the magnetic field. The red and pink represent intense magnetic-highs – rocks that are strongly magnetic compared to the surrounding rock. Minerals like magnetite (iron oxide), ilmenite (iron-titanium oxide) and pyrrhotite (iron sulfide) are magnetic and their presence can be associated with base metal or precious metal deposits. What’s fascinating is that the blue in the image doesn’t represent a magnetic low, but rather an intense reverse-polarity magnetic signature – a backwards mag-high.
Geologic evidence shows that throughout history, the Earth’s magnetic field has reversed polarity several times. It is not know why exactly this happened, but it is the literal “flipping” of the magnetic poles. Magnetic north becomes magnetic south. Compasses point south instead of north. It appears that the during the emplacement of the magma body that became the Sunday Lake Intrusion, a magnetic reversal occurred whose signature was locked in place when the magma crystallized to solid rock. How very nice of nature to present exploration geologists with a literal bullseye in the Sunday Lake Intrusion!
If you look on the larger scale map you’ll also notice that another company, Panoramic Resources, appears to show the same strong reverse magnetics in their project area to the northeast. A geophysical “fingerprint” like this may help geologists identify other similar intrusions of the same age and (and possibly the same source) which may contain platinum, palladium and other PGM’s.
The technical elements of this press release have been reviewed and approved by Mr. Grant Mourre, P.Geo. (APGO), a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101.
About Transition Metals Corp
Transition Metals Corp (XTM -TSX.V) is a Canadian-based, multi-commodity project generator that specializes in converting new exploration ideas into Canadian discoveries. The award-winning team of geoscientists has extensive exploration experience in established, emerging and historic mining camps, and actively develops and tests new ideas for discovering mineralization in places that others have not looked, which often allows the company to acquire properties inexpensively. The team is rigorous in its fieldwork, and combines traditional techniques with newer ones to help unearth compelling prospects and drill targets. Transition uses the project generator business model to acquire and advance multiple exploration projects simultaneously, thereby maximizing shareholder exposure to discovery and capital gain. Joint venture partners earn an interest in the projects by funding a portion of higher-risk drilling and exploration, allowing Transition to conserve capital and minimize shareholder’s equity dilution. The company, which went public in 2011, has an expanding portfolio that currently includes 30 gold, copper, nickel and platinum projects primarily in Ontario, Nunavut and Saskatchewan.