Clean Air Metals expands high grade zone at Thunder Bay North

On the heels of a positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for its Thunder Bay North PGE-copper-nickel project, released in December, Clean Air Metals (TSXV: AIR) has reported more encouraging […]
The core shack at the Thunder Bay North PGE-copper-nickel project in Ontario. Clean Air Metals photo

On the heels of a positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for its Thunder Bay North PGE-copper-nickel project, released in December, Clean Air Metals (TSXV: AIR) has reported more encouraging results from drilling. The company plans to release an updated resource incorporating the results in the first quarter. 

The new batch of assays included results from 11 holes drilled at the Escape and Current deposits at the project (four from Escape and seven from Current), near Thunder Bay, Ont.. 

They included a highlight of 46 metres grading 19.6 g/t platinum equivalent from 399 metres downhole in hole 83A, a stepout hole at the southwest margin of the Escape South High Grade zone. The interval was composed of 3.03 g/t platinum, 3.94 g/t palladium, 1.33% copper and 0.51% nickel, and included a 31-metre section grading 25 g/t platinum equivalent composed of 3.9 g/t platinum, 5.1 g/t palladium, 1.7% copper and 0.63% nickel. 

Other holes included 20 metres of 8.1 g/t platinum equivalent (1.33 g/t platinum, 1.56 g/t palladium, 0.54% copper, and 0.2% nickel) starting at 373 metres downhole in hole 87A at Escape; and 12 metres of 6.5 platinum equivalent (0.96 g/t platinum, 0.95 g/t palladium, 0.47% copper, and 0.3% nickel) starting at 270 metres downhole in hole 32 at Current. 

True width of all holes is estimated at 95% of reported lengths. 

The company completed 37,000 metres of expansion drilling at the Escape deposit last year that is not included in the current resource. As of January 2021, Escape has indicated resources of 849,481 oz. platinum equivalent in 4.3 million tonnes grading 6.16 g/t platinum equivalent. 

The Current deposit, 2.5 km east of Escape, contains indicated resources of 2.2 million platinum-equivalent oz. in 12 million tonnes grading 5.79 g/t platinum equivalent. 

"Step-out drilling on the margins of the Escape South High Grade Zone (HGZ) continues to deliver impressive assay results,” said Clean Air Metals’ CEO Abraham Drost in a release. Drost added that the recent PEA identified the zone, which has grades of 5 g/t platinum plus palladium and higher, as a high value potential mining area at the base of the Escape deposit in years 5 and 6 of the mine plan. 

“Assay results to date, along with the 2,000 metres of core in the lab still awaiting assay, suggest good continuity of mineralization between sections along the 900-metre trend of mineralization between the Escape South High Grade zone and Steepledge South zone,” Drost said. 

Clean Air plans to resume drilling at Thunder Bay North this week, with 10,000 metres of drilling slated for the lower Current deposit to improve drill density and potentially add mineable material to the PEA. 

Up to 16,000 metres of additional drilling is planned to start this month on frozen muskeg at Thunder Bay North to follow up on discrete geophysical anomalies that could represent massive sulphide material at the base of the Escape and Current deposits within the Escape Lake Fault zone corridor. 

The Thunder Bay North PEA outlined a 10-year mine life for the project with an initial capital investment of $367 million and a post-tax net present value (at a 5% discount) of $389 million. Clean Air plans to advance the project toward a prefeasibility study next year. 

The combined indicated resource for the Current and Escape deposits is 14.6 million tonnes grading 1.54 g/t palladium, 1.58 g/t platinum, 0.20 g/t gold, 2.30 g/t silver, 0.42% copper, 0.23% nickel, 167 g/t cobalt, and 0.05% rhenium. The inferred resource is 8.1 million tonnes grading 0.69 g/t palladium, 0.67 g/t platinum, 0.07 g/t gold, 1.07 g/t silver, 0.33% copper, 0.15% nickel, 138 g/t cobalt, and 0.01% rhenium. 

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