Nicole Brewster, President and CEO of Renforth Resources, examines the Victoria West area of Renforth’s Surimeau District Property in Quebec, Canada, as the newest polymetallic resource; arriving at a time when a North American source of these metals is a critical issue.
Renforth Resources, publicly traded in Canada on the CSE under the symbol RFR and in the USA on the OTCQB under the symbol RFHRF, aspires to prove their polymetallic Surimeau District Property to be one of Canada’s newest and largest EV battery metals deposits.
Surimeau hosts identified nickel, copper, zinc, cobalt, PGEs, gold and silver in several locations and high priority lithium target areas within our underexplored >300km2 property. Located near Malartic, Quebec, covering a geographic footprint five times the size of Manhattan, New York, it is larger than many urban jurisdictions.
The initial Victoria West discovery was ‘hiding in plain sight’ and has not been explored in more than 40 years. The Victoria West district is a ~6km surface mineralised system at Surimeau and has attracted the attention of neighbouring mining companies and peers. It contains Ni, Cu, Co, Zn, PGEs, other base and precious metals and mineralised occurrences. This new mineralised district continues to be under the radar of general investors as the value, with an initial emphasis on the development of Victoria West, of the property comes into focus.
The polymetallic resource at Victoria West
The process of proving a resource at Victoria West takes some time due to COVID staffing issues with assay laboratories increasing turnaround time; however, Renforth is aggressively pursuing an initial NI43-101 estimate. This document, which sets out an estimate of the mineralisation in an area, is frequently what investors without expertise in junior resource investing wait for before entering the market.
Renforth currently has an airborne survey to provide greater detail on the mineralised structure, followed by a drill campaign planned at Victoria West for the first part of the year. Acquired via staking, wholly-owned and with no patents in place (except for a small area of the property with no verified mineralisation), the Surimeau property, with no ongoing capital requirements other than compulsory minor claim maintenance expenditures, does not place an undue burden on Renforth, despite its size, and can be worked as and when Renforth elects to do so.
Management is paid in shares to conserve cash resources, taking no compensation money from the treasury. In addition to this, Renforth is backed by shareholdings in other listed exploration companies, which could provide several million dollars in financing and a wholly-owned gold deposit adjacent to Canada’s largest open-pit gold mine. Renforth’s gold deposit has been the target of attention; it is realistic to expect that this asset will be sold at some point.
The gold at Parbec occurs on the surface, over 1.8km of the Cadillac Break, Canada’s most valuable gold structure, and has not yet been fully defined on the surface. Previously the Parbec gold deposit was Renforth’s primary asset and was the focus until the discovery at Victoria West. At this time, Renforth will update the resource at Parbec to benefit from recent transformative drilling, yielding some of the best results to date, and then reassess while focusing on Surimeau. The management feels that Surimeau will continue to be under the radar of generalists until such time as a maiden 43-101 is calculated for Victoria West, offering the technically informed and sophisticated investor an advantageous entry window.
Our focus for development
In addition to the initial focus of presenting a NI43-101 resource estimate for Victoria West, Renforth has an aggressive multi-target exploration plan for the property, touching on each of the six identified areas of polymetallic mineralisation. At Victoria West, nickel, copper, zinc, cobalt, and PGEs have been assayed on the surface, continuously within the stripped area, and at depth in various holes drilled over ~6km in strike length. Renforth is engaged in carrying out sufficient work to calculate a maiden 43-101 resource at Victoria West while exploring the balance of the 20km magnetic anomaly, which hosts Victoria West at its Western end and another showing, Colonie, at its Eastern end, with no exploration on the anomaly between the two.
In addition to this, the polymetallic LaLonde, Surimau, Huston and Foullaic areas will each receive some level of attention, along with prospective lithium sites. While the Surimeau District Property has several known areas of mineralisation, there is also lots of unexplored and prospective ground around these mineralised areas. Also, the mineralised areas have been outlined, with very little work done, including Victoria West. Renforth is very early in the process of identifying the total amount of EV metals at Surimeau; management expects the metal endowment of the property to grow as work is completed, perhaps surprisingly.
Renforth views the Victoria West area, with its ultramafic hosted nickel/cobalt/PGE mineralisation occurring coincident with a VMS copper/zinc mineralised system to be a bulk tonnage open pit target, with mineralisation under very little overburden stretching for ~6km. More work is required to deliver a 43-101 and explore development options; that work is underway.
Mineralisation at Victoria West comes from two mineralised bodies juxtaposed together, occurring simultaneously. From results to date, we see an ultramafic body that carries nickel and cobalt, along with platinum and palladium, occurring alongside and intertwined with a VMS, which is copper and zinc-rich at this time.
Recent surface stripping and channelling and existing drill results gave us a good look at this intertwined mineralisation. Airborne geophysics and additional drilling will help us round out the geometry of this mineralisation, partly because the ultramafic nickel body is magnetic and visible in existing geophysics as a magnetic anomaly. Detailed magnetic and EM geophysics, which will also add sensitivity to sulphides, will aid in planning follow up drilling, which will start to answer whether the 20km magnetic anomaly, which hosts the 6km of Victoria West in its Western end and the Colonie mineralisation in its Eastern end, is continuously mineralised.
Metallurgical work to date and the comparative analysis of a limited number of samples indicates a >65% sulphide nickel population within the overall nickel resource, which suggests that the nickel would be appropriate for Class 1 nickel applications and be recoverable with conventional mining technology, which is currently in operation at polymetallic sites worldwide. The potential simplicity of the recovery of the metals at Surimeau would enable bulk mining of all the mineralisation, allowing for a low-cost operation that will be able to mine material similar to drill results which include 111m of 0.21% Ni equivalent (0.17 Ni and 139.58 ppm Co), within which 44m is a 0.27% Ni equivalent and intervals such as 5.5m of 0.68% Cu on the surface (from channel sampling) which includes a 0.8m interval of 2.02% Cu on the surface.
Surimeau’s strategic location
Surimeau is strategically located ~65km from Canada’s only copper smelter, Glencore’s Horne Smelter, which handles the concentrate and recycling of strategic and precious metals. Anodes produced at Horne are sent to Glencore’s CCR Refinery, Canada’s only copper refinery, located in Montreal, Quebec. In addition to copper, CCR produces nickel sulphate, gold and silver. For Surimeau, any material mined in the future is efficiently located within an hour by road or rail to Canada’s only processing solution.
In addition to having a customer on its doorstep, Surimeau benefits from being a truly green nickel and copper solution; within ~25km to the South are two major hydroelectric dams generating electricity. Their transmission cables run across the property and will provide a future source of cheap green electricity. Surimeau has road access to the property in several places, on thinly tread, largely flat-lying ground within a short distance of several urban population centres which support numerous nearby mines with labour, equipment and expertise. This includes Canada’s largest open-pit gold mine, Canadian Malartic, contiguous to Surimeau. The province of Quebec is frequently within the world’s top ten mining jurisdictions, offering Renforth clear political and legal security regulations with an emphasis on ESG values.
Renforth’s Surimeau District Property is wholly owned with no royalties in place or any payments due. The only fixed costs associated with the property are typical work requirements laid out by the Province of Quebec. The management, which possesses expertise in exploration, has assembled a team of consulting professionals who are leaders within their specialities to move Victoria West forward to an exceptional resource decisively.
Looking ahead, Renforth will be consistently releasing data as Victoria West, and the rest of Surimeau is developed into Canada’s newest polymetallic (nickel/copper/cobalt/zinc/PGEs) resource at a time when a North American source of these metals is a critical issue.
Please note, this article will also appear in the ninth edition of our quarterly publication