VANCOUVER — The 4,800-km2 Maniitsoq nickel sulphide project in southwest Greenland may seem like a large scale play for a junior, but that ambition may pay off for Vancouver-based North American Nickel (TSXV: NAN). The company has had boots on the ground at the property for just over a year, and on Aug. 23 it released preliminary drill results from its Imiak Hill target that triggered a 62% jump in its share price.
North American Nickel has thus far outlined three closely spaced, north trending, near vertically dipping, steeply south plunging mineralized zones at Imiak Hill. Though the company does not expect to receive multi-element assays on its results for six weeks, it announced that hole 13-026 cut 19 metres of sulphide mineralization averaging around 40% to 45% total sulphides, including numerous sections containing 65% to 80% sulphides, within noritic host rocks at Imiak Hill’s nickel-copper-cobalt zone.
“It is impossible to say anything about grade at this point, but we are optimistic. The nickel tenure method is a fairly standard way to evaluate, and our guys out there are familiar with it,” commented chairman and CEO Rick Mark during an interview, noting that Falconbridge determined that 100% sulphides correspond with around an 8% nickel grade based on work completed in the 1990s.
“A good way to look at the model is like the palm of your hand with fingers coming up. We have Imiak, we have the [Spotty target], and we’re looking for a third one in the triangle,” he continues.
During preliminary drilling in 2012 the company cut 123 metres grading 0.81% Ni, 0.21% Cu, 0.029% Co, 0.12 g/t Pt, and 0.11% Pd at Spotty Hill in hole 12-005. Meanwhile at Imiak, North American Nickel’s drilling was highlighted by 26 metres averaging 0.98% Ni, 0.44% Cu, and 0.04% Co.
“If we get something there we can start to talk about three of these structures coming up from a source. And the question then is whether it is large enough. [Chief geologist] John Patterson has told us since the beginning that what you expect from a nickel deposit is that it will get better at depth, and down below you typically find the major deposit,” Mark adds.
Back in mid-June North American Nickel also had some good news stemming from a mineralogical analysis on recoveries from Spotty Hill and Imiak Hill. The company was aiming to quantify nickel, copper and cobalt bearing minerals within the samples and to determine the liberation and association characteristics of the nickel and copper sulphides. All three samples demonstrated high potential nickel recovery. Mineralogical limiting grade recovery curves indicated maximum potential nickel grades of 35% at recoveries of 84% to 87%.
“The first question asked by many experts and guys experienced with nickel is ‘where is the pentlandite?'” Mark explains. “And I really don’t think the news could have been better on that front. [Quantitative Evaluation of Minerals by Scanning Electron Microscopy] is a new technology, and it’s interesting because historically it would have taken much longer to get that kind of data. The neat thing is that adds up to another positive for us, and we haven’t really encountered many negatives on the project yet.”
Over the first half of 2013 North American Nickel has closed two tranches of a non-brokered private placement worth roughly $7 million. The company placed around 41 million shares at a price of 17¢ per share, which brings it to just over 116 million shares outstanding. North American Nickel has traded within a 52-week window of 12¢ and 38¢, and jumped around 62% following the Imiak Hill drill results on nearly 3 million share trade volumes. The company closed at 27.5¢ per share at the time of writing.
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