The summer prospecting program at Renforth Resources Inc.’s (CSE: RFR) (OTCQB: RFHRF) (FSE: 9RR) Surimeau project has officially concluded with the discovery of a new, previously unrecorded battery metals mineralization in an albitized shear zone on surface northeast of the Lalonde area.
In addition, there were numerous pegmatites not previously mapped or sampled in the southern part of the property. Additional samples were taken from these and other locations in the latter half of the program, and have been delivered for assay. Results will be released once available.
Renforth is now proceeding to file permit applications to drill in the central area of Victoria this fall. The purpose of this program is to tighten the drill pattern within 2.2 kilometers of the mineralized horizon, which the company says is a requirement as it moves towards an initial resource statement.
“In this program, by collaring holes further to the north, we will be drilling deeper into the Victoria mineralization and anticipate seeing all three of the mineralized zones we have currently identified in this central area,” Renforth stated in a Sept. 13 news release.
The company is also awaiting assay results in order to determine if certain pegmatites should be stripped to create better surface exposure to allow additional investigation.
Additionally, Renforth will also be permitting stripping northeast of Lalonde and at the Beaupré showing in the northeastern part of the property to expand on where prospecting and minor trenching in 2019 returned copper values of up to 3.59%.
District-Scale Battery Metals System
The latest discovery more or less confirms that Renforth is sitting on a district-scale mineralized system at the Surimeau property, which hosts several areas prospective for battery/industrial metals (nickel, copper, zinc, lead, cobalt, lithium and manganese), all located within a 330-square-kilometer land package in Quebec.
For the better part of 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 (see map below).
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.
2023 Exploration Overview
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 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.
According to Renforth, Victoria’s geological setting is quite similar to the Outokumpu polymetallic district in eastern Finland, where mining between 1913-1988 from three deposits produced approximately 50 million tonnes of ore containing 2.8% copper, 1% zinc, 0.2% cobalt, and minor amount of nickel and gold.
These deposits are formed by the rare structural juxtaposition of two types of mineralization — magmatic nickel-copper-platinum group metals and stratabound syngenetic zinc-copper VMS types.
Renforth’s Surimeau project is best described as a sulfide nickel magmatic deposit, juxtaposed with a copper-zinc massive sulfide deposit.
Lithium Presence at Surimeau
Beginning in 2022, Renforth started paying more attention to the potential presence of lithium, separate from Victoria and Lalonde, through the sampling of pegmatites and anomaly clusters.
Pegmatites, which are coarse-grained intrusive igneous rocks formed from crystallized magma below the Earth’s crust, 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.
Between May and June of last year, Renforth conducted grab sampling and mapping on the Surimeau property. A total of 229 samples were sent for assay. The program focused on the southern end of the property, along the metasedimentary and Decelles batholith contact.
(The prospective metasedimentary/batholith contact, which forms the bottom portion of the Surimeau property, is approximately 24 km long. About 16 km of strike length has been explored historically and by Renforth, leaving 8 km unexplored.)
A total of 11 anomalies were identified based on elevated levels of lithium, rubidium, cesium, beryllium, niobium, tantalum and tin within the assayed samples.
Renforth then 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.
Of the 11 rare-element anomalies identified by J. J. Minerals, anomaly clusters A and D have the most potential to host lithium mineralization and are recommended for stripping.
Anomaly cluster D has a 440-meter strike length, contiguous to and in a similar setting as the only lithium occurrence in the camp — Vision Lithium’s property and its Cadillac spodumene occurrences.
The pegmatitic granites enriched in rubidium, beryllium, niobium and tantalum, consistently contain coarse-grained muscovite based on eight assayed grab samples collected by Renforth. The rare-element enrichment and the presence of coarse-grained muscovite are recognized indicators for lithium pegmatites.
Cluster D plots within the Decelles batholith, which is the same setting as Vision Lithium’s Cadillac spodumene pegmatites.
Anomaly cluster A has a 150-metre strike length with increasing lithium, beryllium, niobium and tantalum content, increasing from NW to SE based on 11 assayed grab samples. The pegmatitic granite samples contain coarse-grained muscovite and tourmaline clots, which again, are indicator minerals for lithium pegmatites.
The anomaly is located within metasedimentary rocks about half a km north of the contact with the Decelles batholith. The NW-SE trend is the same orientation as Vision Lithium’s Cadillac spodumene dikes.
Based on a review of Renforth’s and Quebec government data sets, J.J. Minerals has identified three exploration targets:
“This report, authored by rare element pegmatite experts, demonstrates that there is lithium potential at Surimeau, which we will explore. Lithium is another facet to Surimeau, adding to our ~29 km of magnetic structures bearing nickel polymetallic mineralization and our copper discovery in the north of the ~330 sqkm property. We look forward to learning more about lithium on our property with our work this summer,” chief executive Brewster said in the May 31 news release.
J. J. Minerals’ follow-up recommendations include stripping anomaly clusters A and D, as well as exploring unexplored target areas.
While Renforth’s Surimeau property is described as a multi-commodity asset with a dominant land position in Quebec’s Abitibi region, the focus of exploration has always been battery metals, in particular nickel.
The discovery from August/September prospecting strengthens the case for further exploration beyond where the company has already drilled, and the potential presence of pegmatite mineralization (i.e. lithium) adds another layer to the project.
The upcoming drilling at Victoria should at least reveal more about the extent of the battery metals mineralization, one that is compared with the unique, prolific kind found in eastern Finland.
After that comes the initial resource for the Surimeau project, which we imagine should create plenty of buzz given the dearth of nickel exploration projects in this part of the world.
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