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Mineral Roundup in Nunavut Territory


Last updated 2/22/2009 at Noon

Producing mines

Early in 2008, Tahera Diamond Corp., owner and operator of Jericho Diamond Mine - Canada's third, and Nunavut's first diamond mine - filed bankruptcy and sought creditor protection.

Tahera opened the Jericho in 2006 and recovered and processed 155,000 metric tons (average grade of 0.79 carats per metric ton) during the fourth quarter of 2007, resulting in production of 122,500 carats valued at US$11.6 million, compared with US$8.4 million in the third quarter of 2007.

However, financial losses were reported as a result of operational difficulties, a high Canadian dollar, higher oil prices and an early closure of the ice-road in 2006.

In February 2008, Tahera suspended its mining operations, but continued ore processing and diamond recovery until high-grade ore stockpiles were exhausted.

A plan sponsorship agreement hatched in September had fizzled by November.

In early February 2009, Tahera said it had determined that any plan for restructuring or liquidating the company would not result in any return for its stockholders.

Advanced exploration & development projects

Areva Resources Canada Inc. with partners DAEWoo International Corp. and JCU Canada Exploration Company Ltd. are exploring the Kiggavik property, 75 kilometers, or 43 miles, west of Baker Lake and the Sissons site, about 17 kilometers, 11 miles, southwest of Kiggavik.

Kiggavik consists of 17 mineral leases totaling 3,972 hectares, or 9,811 acres, and all currently on Crown land.

Sissons consists of 22 mineral leases totaling 14,730 hectares, or 36,383 acres, on both Crown and Inuit-owned land.

Eighteen claims make up the St. Tropez block to the north of the Kiggavik property.

Geological resources on the properties are currently estimated at 52,000 metric tons uranium, or 134 million pounds U3O8 at an average grade of 0.23 percent uranium.

Recoverable reserves are currently estimated at about 44,000 metric tons uranium, or 114 million pounds.


In 2007, AREVA collected engineering and environmental data at Kiggavik and Sissons to support a pre-feasibility study.

Following completion of the study, AREVA and its joint venture partners elected to initiate a feasibility study in 2008.

Based on a November 2008 project description, three Kiggavik deposits and the Andrew Lake deposit at Sissons would be mined via truck-shovel open pit, while the End Grid deposit would be developed as an underground mine.

Studies to date support a proposed mine life of about 17 years, with pre-operation construction requiring three years and any post-operation decommissioning requiring five years.

With submission of a project description in November 2008, the Kiggavik Project entered the Nunavut regulatory review process and is awaiting a decision on its conformity with the Kivalliq Land Use Plan.

If the project receives conformity, its description will be forwarded to the Nunavut Impact Review Board for an environmental impact review.

Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. continued development of its Meadowbank Project, located 75 kilometers, or 43 miles, north of Baker Lake, in 2008 with C$9 million of aggressive exploration that identified significant mineralization outside the currently known reserve and resource.

The company also established a project office in Baker Lake and obtained Type A Water License for the project from the Nunavut Water Board.

Current plans call for mining three of the four gold deposits that have been discovered along the Meadowbank trend, a 25-kilometer-long shallow feature encompassing 35,000 hectares, or 86,500 acres, of land.

Meadowbank has proven and probable gold reserves of 3.5 million ounces, however, results from 2008 drilling will be incorporated into a new resource estimate due in early 2009.

The project is still on track for first production in 2010.

Advanced Explorations Inc. is advancing its Roche Bay Magnetite Project located 60 kilometers, or 37 miles, southwest of Hall Beach on the Melville Peninsula in northern Nunavut.

The Roche Bay iron deposit was discovered in the 1950s and has a non-NI 43-101-compliant historic resource estimate of 1 billion metric tons of iron ore.

Located near a natural deepwater harbor, Roche Bay enjoys transportation efficiencies that could enhance its prospects for development.

In 2008, Advanced Explorations focused on developing a preliminary economic assessment and a pre-feasibility study of the project, now pending completion.

The Toronto-based junior also updated its business plan for the Roche Bay project and is currently considering moving from a traditional iron-pellet operation to a granulated pig iron (nugget) business.

Newmont Mining Corp. of Canada Ltd. acquired the Doris North Project 130 kilometers, or 81 miles, southwest of Cambridge Bay in the Hope Bay greenstone belt of Nunavut with its US$1.53 billion purchase of Miramar Mining Corp. in March. The property is estimated to have a combined resource of more than 10 million ounces of gold. In one of the largest exploration programs in Nunavut, Newmont spent US$33 million drilling up to 80,000 meters with 12 core drills in the belt in 2008 in a half-dozen areas including the Doris, Madrid and Boston deposits. The Nunavut Water Board issued a Type A water license to Newmont for the proposed mining project.

Comaplex Minerals Corp. is advancing the Meliadine Project about 25 kilometers, or 16 miles, northeast and northwest of Rankin Inlet in Nunavut, toward feasibility and production.

The Calgary-based junior recently reported positive results of a NI 43-101-compliant preliminary assessment of the gold property, which it co-owns with Meliadine Resources Ltd., a private company held by a Denver investment fund.

Comaplex completed an underground bulk sample program on the Tiriganiaq Deposit during the summer of 2008.

Results were incorporated into the scoping study.

In late 2008 after extensive drilling over three deposits on Meliadine East and Meliadine West, Comaplex reported an independent estimate for the property of 2.16 million ounces gold in indicated resources and 1.65 million ounces gold in inferred resources.

Meliadine could produce 2.29 million ounces of gold over a mine life of 9.5 years, using a combination of open pit and underground mining, according to the study.

Comaplex plans to begin regulatory permitting for the project as soon as possible.

Baffinland Iron Mines is advancing the Mary River Iron Ore project, located 160 kilometers, or 99 miles, south of Pond Inlet. The project is Nunavut's single-largest exploration program. In 2008, Baffinland completed a two-year, C$90 million project of bulk sampling as well as road construction from site to tidewater, expansion of its camp to a year-round facility with 200-worker capacity and ongoing geotechnical and geo-mechanical studies. The company also expanded its land holdings through a joint venture with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. to include Inuit-owned land covering 16,695 hectares, or 41,236 acres that surrounds, but excludes, the existing wholly owned mining leases.

Sabina Silver Corp. is advancing the Hackett River Project, located 104 kilometers, or 62 miles, south-southwest of Bathurst Inlet in the West Kitikmeot Region in Nunavut.

Hackett River is one of the largest undeveloped silver-zinc deposits of its type in the world with indicated resources totaling 47.1 million metric tons grading 4.67 percent zinc, 149.9 g/t silver, 0.32 percent copper, 0.68 percent lead and 0.32 g/t gold and an additional inferred open resource totaling 12.4 million tons grading 3.77 percent zinc, 142.4 g/t silver, 0.27 percent copper, 0.52 percent lead and 0.31 g/t gold.

Sabina envisions an open pit and underground operation with a mine life of about 14 years and use of the proposed Bathurst Inlet Port and Road to transport mine output about 82 kilometers, or 51 miles, to tidewater.

In January 2008, Sabina filed a Type A water license application with the Nunavut Water Board, triggering the permitting for the project, which is ongoing.

This year, Sabina is focused on reducing costs and following up on high copper values being encountered near surface in the Jo Zone at Hackett River with C$4.5 million in spending on a 6,700-meter drill program to test 11 targets.

Starfield Resources Inc. is advancing the Ferguson Lake Project from exploration to development.

A full scoping study was completed last spring, and Starfield is working on an energy-efficient hydrometallurgical flow sheet to recover nickel, copper, cobalt, palladium and platinum from the potential massive sulphide ore.

The Ferguson Lake property, located 160 kilometers, or 99 miles, south of Baker Lake, consists of 261 minerals claims over 622,270 hectares, or 1.54 million acres.

Nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum and palladium-bearing semi-massive to massive sulphides occur in lenses intercepted in drill hole intersections over 15.5 kilometers, or 9.6 miles, of east-west strike length across the property.

During the 2008 drilling season, Starfield punched 51 diamond drill holes totaling 19,902 meters to upgrade additional resources to the indicated status, and to further define the low-sulphide, high-grade PGE mineralization in the West zone.

Additional drilling for this target is warranted and planned for the future.

Starfield also initiated exploration on three geophysical targets away from the central Ferguson Lake area, and conducted grassroots surface exploration to evaluate gold potential of its 207 active claims surrounding the Ferguson Lake Project.

Pending results, a small-scale drill program to test targets will be considered for the 2009 season.

Stornoway Diamond Corp. is pursuing advanced exploration of 5.04 million acres in Nunavut, including the Aviat and Qilalugaq diamond projects on the Melville Peninsula with partners Hunter Exploration Group and BHP Billiton and the Churchill Diamond Project as a partner with Shear Minerals Ltd. Exploration work in 2007 and 2008 at Aviat led to a revised geological model and nomenclature for bodies termed the Eastern Sheet Complex.

Stornoway engaged SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc. to provide a conceptual resource study of the complex based on existing diamond recovery data, which outlined the potential for 24.1 million to 40.3 million carats of diamonds in 12.4 million to 16.0 million metric tons of kimberlite, using a diamond content of 235 ± 30 carats per hundred metric tons.

A mini-bulk sample was extracted for DMS processing to provide additional insights into the grade, diamond value and overall economic potential of the property.

Results are pending.

At the 420,870-hectare Qilalugaq project, more till samples were collected in 2008 to help identify the source bodies.

Stornoway also reported encouraging results from work on the Nanuq, Nanuq North and Churchill properties.

During the 2008 field season, Stornoway undertook ground geophysical surveys over 20 targets optioned from Bayswater Uranium Corp. that had been selected from an airborne survey previously undertaken by that company.

Stornoway also collected 115 till and sediment samples from the property

Early stage exploration projects

UNOR Inc. is the operator on the 86,700-hectare Asiak River and 126,100-hectare Coppermine properties and the 211,130-hectare Lac Rouviere joint venture with Cameco Corp. The properties are located 50 kilometers, or 32 miles, southeast of Kugluktuk; 100 kilometers, or 60 miles, south of Kugluktuk; and 110 kilometers, or 67 miles, southwest of Kugluktuk, respectively.

Cameco owns 19 percent of UNOR. In 2008, a detailed (150-meter flight line spacing) airborne magnetic-gamma-ray spectrometer survey (1,490 line-kilometer) was completed over the northern parts of the Coppermine property.

Ground geophysical surveys (160.75 kilometers) were conducted and, as a result of this work, a new conductor was discovered on claim CM 56.

The Wolf Creek conductor was extended to the north.

Drilling at hole HB-08-60 intersected a 6.4-meter radioactive interval on the western fault boundary of the Hot Creek graben.

Assays of samples from this interval indicate a peak content of 0.105 percent U3O8 over 0.7 meters.

Geological, geophysical and drill data confirm the importance of this structure as a secondary control of mineralization.

Imaging studies (using natural electromagnetic field information) indicate major basement uplift in the centre of the property.

On the Lac Rouviere Option and Joint Venture, UNOR must incur exploration and development expenditures of C$3 million by March 31, 2010.

In 2008, progress was made on the mapping and prospecting that started in 2007, particularly in the western half of the property which is mainly till-covered.

During this work, 123 radioactive boulders and 21 bedrock occurrences were discovered.

A cluster of 16 radioactive fault-rock boulders were found in the southeastern part of the property, at the contact between the Lady Nye Sandstone and the granitic basement.

One of these boulders returned values of uranium up to 345 parts per million, high values of arsenic (1,270 ppm), and high values of nickel (873 ppm); these latter elements are commonly found within Athabasca unconformity deposits.

A total of 110.7 kilometers , or 68 miles, of ground geophysics was undertaken on the Lac Rouviere property.

Newmont Canada Mining Ltd. is also exploring Kiyuk Lake, an early-stage gold exploration property with multiple arsenic anomalies in lake sediments and several gold showings in boulders and outcrops. The 2008 field program was a follow-up of the previous year's geophysical and prospecting program. Several targets were drill tested; results have not been released.

Adriana Resources Inc. is pursuing the Bear Valley uranium project, which covers 350 square kilometers, or about 135 square miles, along the eastern edge of the Hornby Bay Basin. Part of a larger exploration program that included work on Adriana's MIE nickel-copper-platinum-group elements project and the UNAD joint venture project with UNOR Inc., Bear Valley is also a joint venture with UNOR. In 2008, the project underwent a detailed (150-meter flight line spacing) airborne magnetic-gamma-ray spectrometer survey (1,810 line-kilometers) covering the UNAD-JV flown in 2008. The processing of the data is continuing.

Cameco Corp. explored the Aberdeen and Turqavik uranium deposits in 2008 with a 1,500-meter diamond drill and in-fill prospecting program; sampling of outcrops and boulders covering 1,039 field stations; and detailed mapping over selected outcrops. Pervasive hematite alteration in TUR-003 was identified to a depth of 280 meters where the drill hole ended, and a single boulder of mafic volcanic rock with hematite alteration and sooty pitchblende mineralization was discovered during the ground prospecting and mapping program. Interpretation of the results is ongoing.

Committee Bay Resources Ltd. holds more than 360,000 hectares of land in the Committee Bay greenstone belt with prospective geology and controls more than 85 percent of the belt.

More than 40 zones on the belt have gold potential, including the Three Bluffs Deposit, which has a near-surface high-grade inferred mineral resource of 1.9 million metric tons at 8.0 g/t gold for 487,000 contained ounces. Using a lower cutoff grade, this inferred mineral resource converts to 5.1 million metric tons grading 4.0 g/t Au for 657,000 ozs. Exploration work in 2008 consisted of mapping, sampling, prospecting, ground geophysical surveys, and drilling.

Corsa Capital Ltd. and partner, Kaminak Gold Corp., are pursuing the SY gold project covering 101,170 hectares, or 250,000 acres, in the Archean Yathkyed greenstone belt. The mineral rights to the property do not include diamond rights, which are held by Indicator Minerals Inc. and Hunter Exploration Group. There is a 2 percent net smelter royalty/gross over-riding royalty payable to Hunter Exploration Group. Corsa Capital Ltd. is the project operator for exploration programs at the property. In 2008, exploration work began in August and consisted of prospecting and soil/till sampling.

Diamondex Resources Ltd. is exploring the 425,000-acre Brodeur Project optioned from Kennecott in 2005. Kennecott had spent C$9.5 million between 2001 and 2005. Diamondex operated exploration programs 2005-2008 to complete an earn-in by spending C$6 million by the fourth quarter of 2007 to acquire 100 percent interest in project.

In 2008, Diamondex released details of microdiamond results from drill core samples, showing 2,873 kilograms of hypabyssal, fine- to medium-grained macrocrystic kimberlite was collected from 12 holes drilled into Tuwawi, and analyzed for microdiamonds by caustic fusion. The largest stone recovered was 0.237 carats.

Diamonds North Resources Ltd. explored numerous targets over more than 300 million acres in Nunavut in 2008 and recovered significant quantities of diamonds and kimberlites in various prospects, including Amaruk, Qavvik, Tuktu-1B and Victoria Island.

Indicator Minerals Inc. is exploring for diamonds on three key projects - Darby, Barrow and Nanuq North - in Nunavut.

The junior also conducted grassroots exploration work in 2008 with Hunter Exploration Group on prospecting permits and claims.

On the Darby Project, Indicator followed up on earlier discoveries and found more kimberlite boulders.

It acquired 32 prospecting permits covering 495,000 hectares, 200 kilometers southwest of the Darby project.

A till sampling program was undertaken in the 2008 field season.

In partnership with Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. and Hunter Exploration Group, Indicator explored the Nanuq North property 300 kilometers northeast of Baker Lake.

Late in the field season, a reverse circulation drilling program tested five targets and resulted in the discovery of a new kimberlite, NQN-001.

Plans for an aggressive 2009 exploration program will include more drilling.

Intrepid Mines Ltd. and its partner, Aura Silver Resources Inc., are exploring the Greyhound polymetallic property about 40 kilometers, or 25 miles, north of Baker Lake.

Samples from volcanogenic massive sulphide, or VMS-style, mineralization discovered in 2007 contained 2.4 percent zinc, 8.2 percent lead, 1.0 percent copper, 10 grams per metric ton gold and 51 g/t silver.

During 2008, an airborne EM and magnetic survey was completed.

Based on results of this survey and prospecting results from 2007, the 2008 field work focused on additional prospecting and evaluating the potential of the area using litho-geochemical analyses.

Fifty-five assay samples and 146 litho-geochemical samples also were collected for further analysis.

Kaminak Gold Corp. became the first company to be awarded rights to explore for uranium on privately-held Inuit-owned land in Nunavut with the signing of an exploration agreement with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. for the historic Lac Cinquante, now known as the Angilak property.

Kaminak spun out its uranium interests into a new company, Kivalliq Energy Corp., of which NTI is a shareholder.

The Angilak property hosts the near-surface Lac Cinquante uranium deposit and numerous untested occurrences of uranium, copper, silver and gold.

Historic resource estimates (NI 43-101 noncompliant) suggest uranium resources of 11.6 million pounds at an average grade of 1.03 percent U3O8.

The property also has gold and base metal potential.

Field work in 2008 successfully re-established historical work and showings including survey grids, trenches, and mineral occurrences.

A geophysical anomaly representing the Lac Cinquante uranium deposit and its possible strike extension to the southeast was identified through ground surveying.

Collars for 123 diamond drill holes were re-located and historical drill core was re-logged and sampled.

A program of confirmation drilling at Lac Cinquante and testing of new targets is currently proposed for the 2009 field season.

Laurentian Goldfields Ltd. with partner Terrane Metals Corp. pursued the Maze Lake Project 55 kilometers, or 32 miles, west of Whale Cove in 2008. Located in the eastern part of the Kaminak greenstone belt, the property shows significant indication of gold mineralization. Large zones of pervasive carbonate alteration with disseminated sulphide mineralization occur along the northeast-trending structural splays. During 2008, Laurentian Goldfields prospected and collected 80 till samples and 395 rock grab samples collected. Results are pending.

North Arrow Minerals Inc. is exploring seven precious and base metals properties in Nunavut on 191,000 hectares, or 472,000 acres, including 19,000 ha, or 47,000 acres, of Inuit-owned lands held by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. Projects include Anialik, an under-explored greenstone belt near the Arctic Ocean; Oro Property in Hope Bay District along strike from the Doris North Project; Canoe Lake/Bamako; Silvertip and Regan Lake; and other properties scattered across northern Nunavut's Interior. One property was optioned to Zinifex Ltd. last spring, and North Arrow is hoping to option others.

Northrock Resources Inc. is exploring the Bathurst Inlet area with partner Rockgate Capital Corp. on proper


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