“Plan Nord” is one of the more ambitious economic, social and environmental projects ever proposed in Canada. It’s a massive development project in Quebec that started in May 2011, and since then has been described as everything from “foolhardy and a pipe dream,” to “outstanding and long overdue.”
But regardless of varying opinions on the 25-year, $80-billion plan for the 1.2 million square-kilometer territory north of the 49th parallel that comprises roughly 72% of Quebec’s geographical area, there`s no denying that Plan Nord is a unique project that will be in the headlines around the world for years to come.
The scope and scale of the project alone make it newsworthy. The territory covered by Plan Nord has one of the larger fresh water reserves and accounts for more than three quarters of Quebec` s installed hydroelectric power generation capacity, as well as approximately the same potential of untapped water, wind and solar energy resources.
It contains more than 200,000 square kilometers of commercial forests, representing over 50% of the province`s usable forests, as well as a vast array of mineral ore deposits. Because of these resources, it`s anticipated that Plan Nord will generate and maintain an average of 20,000 jobs over its 25-year life span. And that`s truly remarkable.
But what`s equally impressive is the amount of work that is also going on elsewhere in Quebec. Here`s a quick look and just a few companies and what they`re working on right now.
LITHIUM: Nemaska drills new zone at Whabouchi
Nemaska Lithium of Quebec City has drilled a new mineralized zone at its Whabouchi lithium project 300 km northwest of Chibougamau, in the James Bay region. The company recently expanded its definition drilling campaign to 50 holes, and the discovery was made at the southwest end of the planned pit area.
Hole WHA-16-190 intersected the new zone along 29.1 metres of core length at a vertical depth of 150 metres. So far 12 holes have cut the new mineralized zone. Results from fi e holes confirm that the lateral extent of the zone is as much as 100 metres. Additional details will become available as the company receives assay results.
Nemaska is preparing the Whabouchi site to take a 60,000- tonne bulk sample by installing a modular mill. The feasibility study outlines a combined open pit and unground operation with a mineral processing plant adjacent to the mines. The concentrate would be further treated in a hydrometallurgical plant to be established in Shawinigan, QC.
The project has a measured and indicated resource of 27.99 million tonnes grading 1.57% Li2O and an inferred resource of 4.69 million tonnes grading 1.51%.
GOLD: Osisko cuts 15.4 g/t to expand new Wolf zone at Windfall Lake
Osisko Mining of Montreal has released more results from drilling at its Windfall Lake gold project 100 km east of Lebel-sur- Quevillon. The best intersections are coming from the recently discovered Wolf zone. The results have allowed the company to expand the new zone.
Hole OSK-W-16-708-W1 intersected 12.2 g/t Au over 4.0 metres in the hanging wall (765.5m – 769.5m), 12.5 g/t Au over 3.8 metres in the Wolf zone, and significant additional intercepts in the footwall including 4.79 g/t Au over 2.4 metres, and 15.4 g/t Au over 6.4 metres, all at depths between 765 and 845 metres.
The new intercepts are located approximately 100 metres vertically below the previously described Wolf zone mineralization. And these were not the only high grade intercepts.
Hole 718 returned 23.2 g/t over 3.0 metres that led Osisko to expand an unnamed zone for 95 metres up-dip. The Caribou S3 zone was expanded 95 metres down-dip thanks to 22.6 g/t over 3.0 metres in hole 715.
“These new intercepts demonstrate the high potential for significant new mineralization near the known Windfall mineral inventory through continued definition and exploratory drilling, more specifically in the eastern extension of the deposit,” Osisko said in a release.
GOLD: Osisko makes new find in Urban Township
Osisko Mining of Montreal has made a new gold discovery during exploration of its Urban-Barry property about 200 km northeast of Val d’Or. The company has one drill turning on this part of its Windfall Lake gold project.
The discovery hole, OSX-W-16-717, returned 3.22 g/t Au over 11.6 metres. The hole was drilled 3.7 km west-northwest of the main Windfall deposit. Gold mineralization occurs within a zone of strong texturally destructive sericite and silica alteration and andesite volcanics containing 2% to 3% pyrite stringers with tourmaline, fine grained pyrite disseminations and zones of silica filled brecciated stringers cross-cutting the interval, according to Osisko in a news release.
The current resource of the Windfall Lake deposit is 2.76 million indicated tonnes averaging 8.42 g/t Au (748,000 oz) and 3.51 million inferred tonnes at 7.62 g/t Au (860,000 oz).
GOLD: Integra begins drilling Lamaque Deep target
Vancouver’s Integra Gold Corp. has begun a 2,000-metre pilot hole to reach the Lamaque Deep target at its Lamaque South project in Val d’Or. When the pilot hole is complete, probably by the end of the year, the target will be drilled with at least 15 wedged holes at various intervals. The entire program will total about 10,000 metres of drilling.
When Integra acquired the Sigma/Lamaque complex next to its Lamaque South project, experts pored over the historic data from the two past producing mines. The company says the historic data that has been compiled provides compelling evidence that down dip extension of the Lamaque Main plug system continues at depth, particularly where the plug intersects shear structures dipping south from the Sigma mine side of the original property boundary.
The company went on to say, “Geological compilation work has also demonstrated that the Lamaque Deep target area hosts most of the gold bearing structures and favorable host rocks from both mines providing optimal gold discovery conditions: pipe-like intrusive dioritic ‘plugs,’ a favorable host rock which dips northeast towards the Sigma mine, and similar quartz-tourmaline-pyrite gold-bearing vertical and ‘flat ’ veining arrays related to shear zones.”
GOLD: Integra begins driving new ramp at Lamaque South
Vancouver-based Integra Gold has begun driving an underground exploration ramp at the Lamaque South gold project at Val d’Or. The ramp will make it possible to drill closely spaced holes from underground, and it will provide access to a bulk sample.
Promec Mining, also of Val d’Or, has been awarded the $26-million contract. The necessary equipment and most of the crew is on the site. The first blast for the ramp took place this week. The project will be complete in 12 to 15 months.
The ramp will be 5.1 metres wide and 5.0 metre high and reach a vertical depth of 180 metres below surface. Included in the work are 420 metres of lateral development in mineralized zones within the C1 and C2 zones. Promec will use Integra’s facilities at the Triangle site for equipment maintenance and, if required, its own facilities located 3 km from the portal.
The proposed underground exploration program will also include a bulk sample of more than 20,000 tonnes with which to reconcile gold content versus resource estimates as well as to conduct detailed metallurgical tests. The ultimate size, location and timing of the bulk sample will be determined using information gathered from the results of the ongoing surface exploration drilling and from underground drilling as results become available.
NICKEL-COPPER: Balmoral releases maiden estimate for Grasset deposit
Balmoral Resources of Vancouver has released the maiden resource estimate for the Grasset nickel-copper deposit at the Detour Trend in the Matagami region.
With a 1.00% NiEq cut-off grade, the indicated resource is 3.45 million tonnes averaging 1.79% NiEq. Separately the indicated tonnage grades 1.56% Ni, 0.17% Cu, 0.03% Co, 0.34 g/t Pt and 0.84 g/t Pd. The inferred resource is 91,000 tonnes at 1.19% NiEq, or 1.06% Ni, 0.11% Cu, 0.03% Co, 0.20 g/t Pt, and 0.48 g/t Pd.
The Grasset deposit is comprised of the sub-parallel H3 and H1 zones. The H3 zone has been intersected from the bedrock surface to a depth of approximately 550 vertical metres and remains open below that level. TheH1 zone, targeted by considerably less drilling to date, has been intersected for over 1,000 metres along strike and to a vertical depth of 450 metres. It remains open along strike to the northwest and to depth across its entire strike length.
Balmoral said the estimate focuses on the higher grade centre core of the Grasset deposit. Approximately 99 % of the indicated resource is contained within the H3 zone.