Bulk sample site in Zone III of the Sisson Brook deposit
Exploration and development in the minerals sector continued to proceed at a record pace in New Brunswick in 2008. Exploration companies are expected to spend a total of about $46 million this year searching for minerals in the province, an increase of 37 per cent over last year. The number of claims in good standing peaked at 37,700 in 2008, up over three per cent from the year before. Mineral production reached a new high of $1.57 billion in 2007.
As in other regions of Canada, increases in commodity prices over the past year led to a near-record number of mineral claims being staked in New Brunswick. Exploration for uranium in particular has been concentrated in populated areas in the southern part of the province. Addressing concerns raised by landowners over ground staking on private property, the provincial government has decided to introduce a system of map staking. New guidelines have also been prescribed to restrict drilling near watersheds, municipal well fields and residential wells in order to protect water supplies. These measures were taken to allay public concerns without unduly restricting land access to the exploration industry.
Gold: Freewest Resources Canada Inc. and Rockport Mining Corp. reported an updated NI 43-101-compliant mineral resource estimate on the Clarence Stream deposit. Indicated mineral resources are 815,000 tonnes grading 6.85 g/t Au, inferred mineral resources are 660,000 tonnes grading 5.94 g/t Au, and an indicated mineral resource of 114,000 tonnes grading 2.9% Sb amounting to 7,300,000 pounds. Assay results from recent holes on the Central Zone include 5.0 metres of 4.22 g/t Au in hole CS08-271, 12.0 metres of 7.98 g/t Au in hole CS08-272, and 5.0 metres of 17.25 g/t Au in hole CS08-290.
Stratabound Minerals Corp. reported a mineral resource estimate on the Elmtree gold property located 20 kilometres northwest of Bathurst. The Elmtree resource consists of 525,000 indicated tonnes grading 2.45 g/t Au (41,000 oz. Au) plus 4,624,000 inferred tonnes at an average grade of 1.37 g/t Au, and 41,000 inferred tonnes containing 201,000 ounces of silver, 7.0 million pounds zinc, and 2.4 million pounds lead.
Rockport Mining Corp. is continuing exploration on its Devil Pike Brook gold property in southern New Brunswick. Since it acquired the property in May 2007, 45 diamond drill holes have been completed for a total of 11,571 metres. Assay results include 10.06 metres of 32.26 g/t Au in hole DP-07-4, and 7.72 metres of 8.08 g/t Au in hole DP-08-15.
Polymetallic minerals: Geodex Minerals Ltd. reported an updated NI 43-101-compliant mineral resource estimate based on 128 drill holes on its Sisson Brook deposit. Measured resources of 18.6 million tonnes grading 0.154% WO3 equivalent, inferred resources of 225.3 million tonnes grading 0.125% WO3 equivalent, and indicated resources of 154.4 million tonnes grading 0.116% WO3 equivalent based on a cut-off grade of 0.025%. Recent assay results include 84.0 metres of 0.087% WO3 and 0.026% Mo in the Ellipse Zone and 249.0 metres of 0.118% WO3 and 0.038% Mo in the East Flank Zone.
Cadillac Ventures Inc. drilled nine drill holes totalling 2,837 metres on the Burnt Hill tungsten deposit. A total of 2,669 samples have been submitted for analysis.
Rockport Mining Corp. drilled 16 holes totalling 1,697 metres on its Bald Hill antimony and gold property. Assay results included 4.51 metres of 11.70% Sb in hole BH-08-3, and 5.0 metres of 1.12 g/t Au in hole BH-08-04.
Base Metals: SLAM Exploration Ltd. has conducted beneficiation tests on core samples from the Nash Creek deposit in northern New Brunswick that indicate an overall recovery rate of 90.5% for zinc and 81.5% for lead. The test produced a zinc concentrate grading 54.5% Zn, 0.9% Pb and 115 g/t Ag, and a lead concentrate grading 48.51% Pb, 5.88% Zn, and 160 g/t Ag.
Puma Exploration reported an NI 43-101-compliant indicated resource of 364,000 tonnes containing about one million ounces of silver, 11 million pounds of zinc, five million pounds of lead, and 6,200 ounces of gold, at a cutoff grade of 1% Zn equivalent for the central part of the Haché Lens on its Nicholas-Denys property. The data for the estimate comprised 5,849 samples from 33 drill holes and 569 samples from 21 channel samples. Since early 2008, another 78 holes have been drilled near the Haché and Shaft lenses and 10,115 samples have been collected.
First Narrows Resources Corp. has completed an NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate on the copper stringer zone of the Chester deposit located in the southwestern part of the Bathurst Mining Camp. Measured and indicated resources total 284,000 tonnes grading 2.78% Cu and 7.3 g/t Ag (2% Cu cutoff) based on 179 drill holes. An inferred resource of 298,000 tonnes grading 2.51% Cu and 3.1 g/t Ag lies immediately down dip from the measured and indicated resource.
Stratabound Minerals Corp. was awarded a $100,000 grant from New Brunswick’s new Deposit Evaluation Program to evaluate base metal reserves on the Captain base metal deposit in the Bathurst Mining Camp. Assay results on the first drilling program of 25 holes include 26 metres of 1.2% Cu and 0.05% Co in hole CP-7, and 20 metres of 1.02% Cu and 0.044% Co in hole CP-22.
Blue Note Mining Inc. is into the second year of a three-year advanced exploration program in the Bathurst Mining Camp. The objective is to identify new base metal reserves in the Caribou-Restigouche mines area. The Province of New Brunswick is contributing half of the funding, up to a maximum of $1 million per year.
Uranium: Tripple Uranium Resources Inc. completed a ten-hole diamond drill program totalling 2,880 metres on its Harvey property, 35 kilometres southwest of Fredericton. Assay results include an upper 2.3 metre intersection of 0.094% U3O8 and a deeper 1.2 metre intersection of 0.24% U3O8.
Vale Inco Ltd. has completed geochemical and prospecting surveys in southeastern New Brunswick and is currently drilling some uranium targets.
At the Caribou-Restigouche mine, Blue Note Mining Inc. achieved commercial production effective January 1, 2008. In August 2008, milling operations averaged 3,005 tonnes per day with zinc recovery of 83.4% and lead recovery of 70.4%. Metal in concentrate production for the month was 5,298,539 pounds of lead, 10,535,766 pounds of zinc and 2,818 kilograms of silver.
PotashCorp has begun construction on a new two million tonnes-per-year potash mine near Sussex. New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham and Natural Resources Minister Donald Arseneault participated in the sod-turning ceremony for the new headframe on March 19, 2008.
Adex Mining Inc. has completed 47 drill holes testing the North Zone (tin-indium-zinc-copper) and Fire Tower Zone (tungsten-molybdenum) at the former Mount Pleasant mine in southwestern New Brunswick. The drilling program is part of an independent review to produce an NI 43-101-compliant deposit model and resource estimate for the Mount Pleasant property. Assay results include 198 metres of 0.20% Sn, 154 g/t In, 2.10 wt. % Zn, 0.20 wt. % Cu, 0.08% WO3, and 0.09% MoS2 in hole AM08-3 from the North Zone; and 132 metres of 0.39% WO3, 0.23% MoS2, and 0.15% Bi in hole AM08-11 from the Fire Tower Zone.