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Friedland-backed Ivanhoe Electric funds South Voisey’s Bay survey

Friedland-backed Ivanhoe Electric funds South Voisey's Bay survey
The South Voisey’s Bay Complex in Labrador may hold more discovery potential. Image from Fjordland Exploration.

Mining magnate Robert Friedland is looking to make another potentially massive base metals discovery about 80 kilometres south of his famous Voisey’s Bay find from 1993.

Friedland’s privately held US-based firm Ivanhoe Electric Inc. (IVNE) has put up funding to conduct a low-temperature superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) moving loop transient electromagnetic survey on the South Voisey’s Bay (SVB) nickel-copper-cobalt project in Labrador, Canada.

The SVB Pants Lake Intrusive complex is analogous to the Voisey’s Bay discovery

The survey is being conducted by Discovery International Geophysics, headquartered in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

“Very low-frequency SQUID surveys are a relatively new tool being used in the hunt for highly conductive massive sulphide nickel deposits,” said Fjordland CEO James Tuer in a media release Wednesday.

The technology has been successfully applied in finding and expanding nickel deposits in Western Australia. In Canada, during the year, BHP-Midland and Wyloo Metals-Orford have also announced SQUID surveys on their nickel projects in northern Quebec.

The survey is expected to help classify the large number of graphite-related conductors that have complicated drill targeting in the past. Survey grids are also being prioritized over gravity anomalies, which may indicate high-density massive sulphide zones.

The SVB Pants Lake Intrusive complex is analogous to the Voisey’s Bay discovery. The proponents have already amassed a substantial project data set, including gravity, UTEM, pulse EM, Megatem, Radarsat and lithogeochemistry.

The SVB project is located 260 kilometres north-northwest of Goose Bay, Labrador, and 80 kilometres south of the Vale’s Voisey’s Bay nickel-copper-cobalt mine.

It covers most of the Pants Lake Gabbro Complex, which comprises several gabbro phases that are said to be similar to the ore-hosting gabbro at Voisey’s Bay nickel mine.

Drilling in 2017 and 2018 was centred on modelled conductors derived from re-processed historical UTEM-3 surveys conducted in 2002 and 2014 and incorporated the current geological concepts developed at Voisey’s Bay.

It was determined that geological structure plays an essential role in ore control at SVB, and that massive sulphide accumulations may also occur in wall rock structures. As a result, minor accumulations of nickel-copper sulphides in the drill core could indicate larger nearby massive bodies.

Geological structure plays an essential role in ore control at SVB. Source: Fjordland Exploration

Results to date have encountered several stacked Gabbro sills comprising multiple magma pulses. The best results to date were from hole 17-2 which returned 0.8 metres grading 0.63% nickel, 0.30% copper and 0.1% cobalt and hole 17-6 which returned 3.9 metres grading 0.37% nickel, 0.27% copper and 0.1 % cobalt.

According to Fjordland, once in a system like SVB, the idea is to look for conduits where the nickel-bearing magma has flowed back into structural traps and accumulated into economic volumes.

Positive survey results are expected to lead to a drill program in 2022.

Fjordland optioned 100% of the Pants Lake Intrusive Complex from Commander and then brought in Friedland’s other private exploration firm, High Power Exploration (HPX), to earn 65% of the project. HPX uses advanced in-house proprietary exploration and geophysical technologies to uncover hidden targets over previously explored areas.

According to Vale data, as of 2018, Voisey’s Bay resources are 29 million tonnes at 0.1% nickel, 0.9% copper and 0.1% cobalt, for 328,600 tonnes nickel, 145,700 tonnes copper and 19,380 tonnes of cobalt in the proven and probable reserve categories.

Fjordland will have earned a 75% interest in the SVB project under its option with Commander Resources (TSXV: CMD), subject to Commander receiving a C$40,000 option payment and an additional Fjordland 400,000 shares. Fjordland can increase its interest to 100% by funding an additional C$5 million ($3.9m) in exploration expenses by October 2024.

Under its agreement with Fjordland, IVNE can earn a 65% interest in the project by funding these commitments leaving Fjordland with a residual 35% interest. Following the survey, IVNE will have spent C$3 million of the C$8 million required under the Fjordland-Commander option agreement.

Fjoirdland shares last traded up more than 5% in Toronto at C$0.10 apiece, capitalizing it at C$7.53 million ($6 million).