Drill taps germanium, gallium at Pine Point
Last updated 1/15/2018 at 7:24pm
Darnley Bay Resources Ltd. May 3 reported assay results for the first hole of the winter 2017 drill program at the Pine Point zinc project near Hay River, Northwest Territories. The results have confirmed high-grade zinc and lead mineralization with good continuity.
The company also identified high-grade gallium and germanium in this first hole.
Drilled into the W85 deposit, hole W85-17-DBL-001 cut 50.5 meters averaging 9.03 percent zinc, 4.1 percent lead, 16.9 grams per metric ton germanium and 4.4 g/t gallium.
As part of the 2017 program, Darnley Bay has begun assaying for germanium and gallium, which have properties that make them important minerals in a number of modern applications including solar cells, infrared optics, LEDs, semiconductors and smartphones.
Germanium was recovered by Cominco when the historical Pine Point Mine was in operation from 1964-1987.
It is not currently known whether these elements will be economically recoverable due to the limited capacity of zinc smelters worldwide to recover them.
Germanium currently sells for around C$1.10 per gram for the refined metal and is mainly used in fiber and infrared optics.
Gallium currently sells for about C30 cents per gram and is used primarily in semiconductors.
W85 is one of 10 deposits considered in a preliminary economic assessment completed for Darnley Bay in April.
Based on the currently identified resources, this PEA anticipates that a newly established Pine Point Mine could produce 1.35 billion pounds of zinc and 536 million pounds of lead over a 13-year mine life.
A C$5 million program being carried out by Darnley Bay this year aims to confirm and possibly expand known historical deposits that were not included in the PEA, test undrilled geophysical anomalies, and obtain metallurgical samples in order to improve recoveries.
Estimated recoveries in the PEA were lower than historically obtained by Cominco and Darnley Bay expects that additional testing will improve recoveries in the final feasibility study.
The company is also preparing to start a large geophysical program, consisting mainly induced polarization surveys, on underexplored portions of the Pine Point property.
The company said many of the more than 100 deposits discovered in the past were discovered by drilling IP anomalies.
The company plans to follow up on any new anomalies discovered by this geophysical work with drilling.
"Historically, the 50 open pit deposits mined out by Cominco were in the range of 10 percent combined lead and zinc," said Darnley Bay President and CEO Jamie Levy. "Our goal with the 2017 program is to find more of these high grade deposits which would significantly improve the already robust economics at Pine Point."