The Surimeau mineral deposit in Quebec being developed by Renforth Resources (CSE:RFR, OTCQB:RFHRF, FSE:9RR) is mostly considered a battery and critical metals play, with nickel, copper and most recently, lithium, being the dominant metals.
A relatively new geological interpretation suggests the 330-square-km property also contains precious metals, in particular gold and silver.
For over two years, Renforth’s exploration focus has been on the more advanced Victoria mineralized battery metals horizon and parts of the longer Lalonde horizon lying parallel to the north.
Victoria is a ~20-km-long magnetic structure bearing nickel, copper, zinc and cobalt mineralization at surface. It stretches between the Victoria West mineralization, which has been drilled over 2.2 km, and the Colonie mineralization, drilled and surface-sampled by Renforth in the eastern part of the property.
The Lalonde mineralization, ~3 km north of Victoria West, was only recently drilled by Renforth. This surface mineralized system, similar to Victoria, currently stretches over ~9 km of ground-truthed strike.
Both zones are about 250-500 meters thick, running east-west across the central portion of the property. The two systems are interpreted by the company as two arms of a fold, with the fold nose located off the property and to the east.
While the defined area of mineralization spans a total length of ~29 km, which by industry standards is a long distance to cover, this is just a small portion of a district-scale property that remains underexplored.
Earlier this year, the Renforth team started to move farther out, drilling in an area about 4 km west of the Victoria structure where work first began on the property.
An airborne electromagnetic/magnetic survey interpreted the western end of Victoria as showing an interesting curvature, possibly representing folding which may have resulted in mineralized fluid entrapment.
As far as we know, the ~20 km Victoria trend consists of ultramafic flows intercalated with graphitic mudstones, albite shears and calc-silicate rocks. The ultramafics and calc-silicates are what host most of the higher-grade nickel and cobalt mineralization, while the graphitic mudstones and albite shears host most of the higher-grade zinc and copper mineralization as sphalerite and chalcopyrite, respectively.
Surface sampling identified mineralization within the ultramafic rocks, with bands of calc-silicates typical of the Victoria system. Except for Renforth’s prospecting, the western end of Victoria had not been previously explored or drilled.
A six-hole drill program was carried out in March/April, with each hole encountering graphitic mudstones hosting copper, zinc and nickel. These holes were drilled over an approximate 700-meter strike length.
The main finding of the drill program, as indicated by Renforth in a June press release, is an increase in the frequency and thickness of the graphitic mudstone layers. Moreover, this mudstone is similar to the mineralization seen in the first holes drilled at Surimeau, about 6 km to the east, and it is also exposed at surface south of the previously drilled 2.2 km of Victoria strike.
Based on visuals and XRF readings, the mudstones deliver a consistent nickel value, along with higher levels of zinc and copper.
Beginning in 2022, Renforth started paying more attention to the potential presence of lithium, separate from Victoria and Lalonde, through the sampling of pegmatites — coarse-grained intrusive igneous rocks formed from crystallized magma below the Earth’s crust — and anomaly clusters with the potential to contain lithium.
Pegmatites can contain extractable amounts of lithium, most commonly found in the mineral spodumene. This is why pegmatite lithium deposits are also known as hard-rock lithium.
Renforth commissioned J.J. Minerals Inc. of Sudbury, Ontario, to write a report interpreting the lithium assays, to help the company plan its summer 2023 prospecting season for lithium.
Based on a review of Renforth’s and Quebec government data sets, J.J. Minerals has identified three exploration targets:
Renforth announced on Feb. 15 that gold has been intersected during drilling at Victoria — the first such instance of the precious metal within the 20-km-long mineralized system.
Also, Lalonde has been confirmed as a mineralized system with drill results similar to surface samples.
Renforth’s first drilling at Lalonde, in December 2022, delivered grades and widths that justify further exploration. They include hole SUR-22-34, which yielded 26.7m of 0.21% nickel (Ni) and 159 parts per million (ppm) cobalt (Co), as well as 1m of 0.41% Ni. This hole also returned 52.75m of 0.45 g/t silver (Ag). A lengthy intercept, albeit at a relatively low grade, that Renforth says is indicative of a silver-endowed zone, including 1.1m of 1.10% zinc (Zn). It may also signal a volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) system; Renforth is working with an expert to vector in on the mineralization.
New nickel property
While Surimeau remains Renforth’s exploration focus, the company has also been keeping an eye on new opportunities. This week, it announced the acquisition of a new nickel property, McCart, located about 15 kilometers west of Iroquois Falls, Ontario, on Highway 11.
While records show nickel first documented on the project as early as 1917, there have been less than a dozen exploration programs conducted since then. However, the historical work defined nickel occurrences resulting in an approximately 600-meter-long strike.
According to Renforth, the strike length is limited only be a lack of outcrop and consists of nickel mineralization controlled by the basalt contact of the intrusive body.
The main sulfide zone, which is between 3 and 4 meters wide on surface, consists of disseminated and net-textured pyrrhotite with minor chalcopyrite and pentlandite. In addition, a historical trench exposes graphitic mudstones, and there is also a large body of unexplored felsic volcanics on the southern part of the property.
Grab samples taken during a site visit in November, 2022 confirmed the presence of nickel, the highlight being 0.236% Ni from a historical trench showing 10-15% pyrrhotite. The sample was near a historical result of 4,100 parts per million (ppm) Ni, taken from prospecting and thin section work completed between 1991 and 1993.
Renforth anticipates the nine claims encompassing the McCart property will be visited in the fall for initial prospecting work.
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