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Grid Metals Corp
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Close 2024-05-03 C$ 0.07
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Grid Metals pegs Mayville at 32Mt at 0.61% CuEq ind.

2024-05-06 11:45 ET - News Release

Mr. Robin Dunbar reports


Grid Metals Corp. has released an updated mineral resource estimate (MRE) for its copper/nickel MM (previously Makwa Mayville) project in southeastern Manitoba, prepared in accordance with CIM (Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum) (2019) best practice guidelines. The resource estimate contains two separate deposits located 35 kilometres apart and approximately 145 kilometres from Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba. Grid has consolidated the majority of the prospective copper-nickel mineral tenure of the highly prospective Bird River greenstone belt, including several other deposits near the Makwa and Mayville resources. Concurrently with the new resource estimate, the company has completed a project-wide geophysical review which has identified a number of new high-potential targets for drilling. An initial drill program is in planning and expected to commence later in 2024. The company is seeking financing and/or strategic partnerships to actively develop the project.

Mineral resource and project highlights

The indicated mineral resource, amenable to open-pit mining and constrained within pit-shells, is shown in the associated table.

  • Contained metal content in the indicated open-pit category includes 317 million pounds (Mlb) of copper, 263 million pounds of nickel, and 452,000 ounces of combined palladium, platinum and gold.
  • Both deposits remain partly open along strike and at depth, and the company holds the mineral rights to three other near-surface mineral deposits in the belt that could augment the mineral resource inventory in the future.
  • Both deposits have had extensive metallurgical test work completed over multiple campaigns with results indicating that saleable sulphide concentrates can be produced (nickel at Makwa, separate copper and nickel concentrates at Mayville).
  • The main factors contributing to the increased resources from previous estimates are improvements in modelled metallurgical recoveries, changes in metal prices and forex (foreign exchange) used in the resource calculation and additional drilling.
  • The Mayville deposit has no royalty and the Makwa deposit has a 1-per-cent NSR (net smelter return) royalty of which one-half of a per cent can be repurchased for $500,000.
  • There are no offtake obligations on either of the deposits. The company is currently seeking expressions of interest to finance resource expansion and project development through marketing of nickel and copper offtake rights for the project.
  • The target/model for the project is over 80 million tonnes of open-pit resources augmented by the delineation of high-grade massive sulphide deposits throughout the belt.
  • The company has the mineral rights to the majority of the prospective Bird River greenstone belt which has a geologic analogue to the McFaulds Lake greenstone belt, which hosts the Ring of Fire deposits.
  • Among the economic parameters used in the mineral resource estimate, metal prices for the key metals are $3.75 (U.S.) per pound for copper and $9/lb for nickel.
  • Strip ratios for the resource shells were 3.2 for Mayville and 4.7 for Makwa, and are provided in the resource tables entitled "Mayville pit-constrained and underground resource as of Dec. 31, 2023" and "Makwa pit-constrained and underground resources as of Dec. 31, 2023."
  • The company plans to commence an initial phase of exploration drilling later in 2024 to test high-priority nearby targets, including possible massive sulphide targets identified from the recent geophysical review.

Robin Dunbar, chief executive officer of Grid Metals, commented: "The resource estimate announced today provides impetus for further exploration and continued expansion of the MM copper/nickel project. The MM project resource is a conventional and near-surface copper-nickel sulphide resource with readily apparent upside. The project is ideally located to service critical metals demand in North America. The Mayville deposit is located directly adjacent to the company's advanced-exploration-stage Donner lithium project, which is currently progressing through the mine permitting process. We see tremendous synergies between our copper/nickel and lithium project development plans as we continue to build the mineral resources necessary to develop an important critical metals production and processing hub in a Tier 1 mining jurisdiction."

Project overview

The MM project includes a copper-rich (Mayville) and a nickel-rich (Makwa) disseminated magmatic sulphide deposit, along with three additional near-surface deposits (Page, Ore Fault and New Manitoba) which were acquired by Grid in April, 2023. The Mayville and Makwa deposits are located in the northern and southern parts of the Bird River greenstone belt, respectively, in southeastern Manitoba. The Bird River greenstone belt and its mineral occurrences have been the subject of multiple research projects, including research work completed under the Targeted Geoscience Initiative by the Canadian Geological Survey. The project area has been identified as being a direct analogue to the Ring of Fire belt in Northwestern Ontario (Houle et al., 2020) which hosts several significant mineral deposits.

The project consists of a mining lease and mineral claims held by the company and its subsidiaries. It is readily accessible year-round, by provincial highways from the capital city of Winnipeg located approximately 145 kilometres to the southwest. The Mayville deposit is situated two km north of the company's Donner lithium project where the company has published a National Instrument 43-101 resource estimate technical report. Both the Donner and MM projects will benefit from efficiencies in exploration, government and first nations relations, permitting, and infrastructure.

In total, 99 mineral claims and one mineral lease (Makwa) are held for base metal exploration by the company and its subsidiaries. A further 51 mining claims are under option from Gossan Resources with a $300,000 option payment remaining under the option, due in April, 2025. The Makwa deposit is held under a mineral lease granted by the Province of Manitoba that expires in 2040, and is subject to annual payments of approximately $10,000 per year. Under the mineral tenure system in Manitoba, assessment credits are banked to enable the claims to be held without annual payments provided sufficient exploration credits are expended on the property. Currently, the company has sufficient exploration credits to keep the project in good standing for over 10 years.

Exploration potential

The company views the updated MM resource estimate as an important base upon which it can expand. The company notes that by far the majority of the exploration completed to date has focused on near-surface disseminated mineralization. The higher-grade cores of the deposits and higher-grade values associated with massive sulphides in multiple drill holes give clear indication that the potential for higher-grade massive sulphide is evident throughout the belt as well as proximal to the known deposits.

The project has several walk-up targets that could provide immediate upside to the current mineral resource. These include the newly acquired New Manitoba Cu-Ni (copper-nickel) historical occurrence and the untested EM (electromagnetic) conductors between New Manitoba and the Mayville Cu-Ni deposit approximately 10 km to the west. As well, the newly acquired Page and Ore fault deposits, and their potential extensions, are also priority targets. The company plans to complete an initial drill program to test these priority targets later this year and will provide further details on the targets and timing as soon as possible.

The other deposits and mineral occurrence in the MM project area are:

  • The New Manitoba deposit, which has a historical mineral resource estimate of 1.8 million tonnes (Mt) at 0.75 per cent Cu and 0.33 per cent Ni (Manitoba mineral inventory card No. 217) (note: the company has not been able to verify the historical estimate as relevant and the historical estimate should not be relied on);
  • The Ore fault deposit, containing a previously NI 43-101 reported indicated resource of 900,000 tonnes at 0.32 per cent Ni and 0.24 per cent Cu, and an inferred resource of 2.5 Mt 0.35 per cent Ni and 0.19 per cent (Ewert et al., 2009);
  • The Page deposit, containing a previously NI 43-101 reported indicated resource of 1.5 Mt at 0.32 per cent Ni and 0.13 per cent Cu (Ewert et al., 2009).

Note that all previous mineral resource estimates mentioned above need to be updated following the CIM 2019 best practice guidelines to make them current.

The Ore fault and Page deposit MREs were prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101. The company considers these estimates to be reasonable but has not independently verified them and will be required to take additional steps, including drilling to complete the verification process.

Mineral resource estimate

The updated mineral resource estimate for the MM project is provided in the tables entitled ("Mayville pit-constrained and underground resource as of Dec. 31, 2023," "Makwa pit-constrained and underground resources as of Dec. 31, 2023," and "Contained metal values for the open-pit resources at the Makwaa and Mayville properties (indicated category only)." The new estimate was prepared by Micon International Ltd. following the CIM 2019 best practice guidelines, and is reported in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 -- Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects and its companion Policy 43-101CP. The current mineral resource was estimated by Micon using an updated drill hole database and new mineralization wire frames that capture all verified historical drill hole data sets. Block grade interpolation was performed using the kriging technique). The resource modelling was completed by Micon in accordance with both CIM guidelines and the relevant parts of the JORC (Joint Ore Reserve Committee) 2012 code, and in keeping with regulatory requirements for the filing of technical reports for mineral resource estimates at both the TSX Venture Exchange and the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

The technical report incorporating the new resource estimate will be accessible on SEDAR+ within 45 days of this news release.

In summary, the updated open-pit resource estimate for the Mayville deposit includes 32 million tonnes in the indicated category with 0.40 per cent Cu and 0.16 per cent Ni, and byproduct concentrations of cobalt, palladium, platinum and gold (0.61 per cent copper equivalent grade). The open-pit resources at Makwa include 14.2 million tonnes in the indicated category with 0.48 per cent Ni, 0.11 per cent Cu, 0.02 per cent cobalt (Co), 0.37 g/t palladium (Pd) and 0.10 g/t platinum (Pt) (0.75 per cent nickel equivalent (NiEq) grade). The Makwa deposit is subdivided into a central, higher-grade zone (HG1) and a flanking (both hanging-wall and footwall) lower-grade (LG1) zone. The new resource estimate includes 4.8 million tonnes of the HG1 zone grading 0.89 per cent Ni (1.26 per cent nickel equivalent grade).

The previous resource estimate for the MM project was published by RPA Inc. (2014) and supported a preliminary economic assessment based on two open-pit mines feeding a central concentrator to be located at the Mayville property. Low base metal prices during the period of 2014 to 2020 precluded any significant new development activity and drilling at the project. However, with an improved outlook for copper prices and the increasing strategic importance of nickel as a critical metal, the project ranks favourably for future exploration and development.

Compared with the previous published resource estimate for the MM project (RPA, 2014), the combined open-pit resources (indicated category) increased by 12.4 million tonnes, or 36.8 per cent. This increase is largely attributable to the inclusion of recent infill drilling (Makwa -- 2022), improved metallurgical recoveries from test work completed after the previous resource estimate was published, and a more favourable United States dollar to Canadian dollar exchange rate.

Mayville deposit

The Mayville magmatic sulphide deposit is a copper-rich disseminated sulphide deposit hosted by the western part of the approximately 17 km long late Archean Mayville mafic-ultramafic complex. The Mayville deposit is approximately 1.5 km long, up to 200 metres wide and has been delineated to maximum depth of approximately 500 metres. It dips steeply to the south. The deposit includes the Main zone and two satellite zones located at the eastern end of the deposit. The two satellite zones have not been included in the current resource estimate.

The mineralization in the Mayville deposit occurs principally as disseminations of chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite, with lesser pentlandite and pyrite hosted in what has been described as an intrusive breccia unit emplaced near the base of the Mayville complex.

Makwa deposit

The Makwa deposit is a conventional, basal-contact related, Ni- and Pd-rich disseminated magmatic sulphide deposit. The steep south-dipping and west-plunging Makwa deposit has a minimum strike length of 1.1 km, an average vertical depth of approximately 350 metres and an average width of 30 m to 50 m. The Makwa deposit remains open along strike to the east and partially down-dip below its currently defined vertical extent. The deposit was briefly mined from a shallow open pit by a subsidiary of Falconbridge Ltd. in 1974. It was the subject of a stand-alone prefeasibility study completed in 2008 (Micon International) for the mining and production of nickel concentrate for sale to a smelter.

The Micon resource estimate discussed here subdivides the deposit into a central higher-grade zone (HG1) and a flanking lower-grade zone (LG1). The metal tenor in both zones is very similar, such that the Ni (and Pd) grades are strongly correlative with the total amount of sulphide present. Localized high-grade nickel mineralization is present in association with narrow lenses of net-textured and semi-massive sulphides.

Resource modelling methods

The mineral resource estimation (MRE) strategy adopted for the Makwa and Mayville deposits comprises the following sequence:

  • Exploratory data analysis/review;
  • Modelling;
  • Compositing/grade capping/statistics;
  • Geostatistics/variography/spatial analysis;
  • Definition of block model and search parameters;
  • Grade interpolation and validation;
  • Determination of tonnage;
  • Establishment of parameters/prospects for economic recovery;
  • Mineral resource definition: parameters, classification.

While both the Makwa and Mayville deposits belong to the same deposit class, the former is nickel dominant while the later is copper dominant. Accordingly, the two deposits have been estimated separately.

The bulk of the new resources estimated are constrained by optimized pit shells. In addition, a small underground resource was also estimated by Micon for both Makwa and Mayville.

Qualified persons statements

The Grid Metals' MM project 2024 mineral resource estimate with an effective date of Dec. 31, 2023, was prepared by Alan J. San Martin, MAusIMM (CP), and Charley Murahwi, PGeo, FAusIMM, from Micon International, both of whom are independent qualified persons in accordance with the guidelines of the Canadian Securities Administrators' National Instrument 43-101 -- Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

Dr. Dave Peck, PGeo, is the qualified person for purposes of National Instrument 43-101, and has reviewed and approved the technical content of this release.

About Grid Metals Corp.

Grid Metals is focused on both lithium and copper/nickel projects in the Bird River area, approximately 150 km northeast of Winnipeg, Man. The Donner Lake lithium project is a 75-per-cent-owned property subject to a joint venture agreement. Grid has a lease agreement on the True North mill where it plans to process feed from Donner Lake. Grid also has a memorandum of understanding with Tantalum Mining Corp. of Canada Ltd., which operates the nearby producing Tanco mine. The MM copper/nickel project is a resource-stage project that is undergoing exploration and development work, as reported in this press release.

All of the company's southeastern Manitoba projects are located on the traditional lands of the Sagkeeng First Nation, with which the company maintains an exploration agreement.

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