Osisko adds 1.4B lb of zinc to Pine Point
Last updated 11/15/2019 at 8:56am
Osisko Metals Inc. Nov. 13 reported that its Pine Point project in Northwest Territories now hosts 5.3 billion pounds of zinc and 2.1 billion lb of lead, a roughly 36 percent increase since a resource was calculated at the end of 2018.
According to this new calculation, Pine Point hosts 52.4 million metric tons of inferred resource grading 4.64 percent zinc and 1.83 percent lead, which equates to 6.47 percent zinc-equivalent.
This includes 47.9 million metric tons of surface mineable inferred resource averaging 4.54 percent zinc and 1.78 percent lead, or 6.31 percent zinc-equivalent; and 4.5 million metric tons of underground inferred resource averaging 5.76 percent zinc and 2.43 percent lead, or 8.19 percent zinc-equivalent.
"Following our maiden MRE (mineral resource estimate) in December 2018, we are very pleased to again demonstrate significant asset growth at Pine Point," said Osisko Metals President and CEO Jeff Hussey. "Global zinc and lead projects with all supportive infrastructure and more than 50Mt (50 million metric tons) in near-surface resources are extremely rare and we are delighted that Pine Point now enters this select group. There is a depleted pipeline of quality zinc development projects globally and we believe Pine Point will place Osisko Metals at the forefront of junior base metal exploration and development companies."
The fact that Pine Point is a significant historical zinc producing property provides an additional boost for Osisko.
From 1964 to 1988, Cominco (now Teck Resources) produced roughly 14 billion lb of zinc and 4 billion lb of lead from around 64 million metric tons of ore averaging about 10 percent zinc-equivalent.
While the mill, town and other facilities from the Cominco-era mining at Pine Point were removed, the commercial grade electrical infrastructure, highway access to a railhead at Hay River and a significant amount of zinc-rich mineralization remains.
A drill program that got underway in August and is expected to extend into the first half of 2020 is looking to expand and upgrade the zinc resources at Pine Point.
"Having achieved our objective of increasing the resource base to the 50Mt threshold, we now believe that the project could develop into a mine large enough to enter the top 10 global zinc mines on an annual zinc-in-concentrate basis," said Hussey. "We would also emphasize that exploration at Pine Point has been minimal in the last 30 years, we believe there is more to come for the project."
One of the primary focuses of the current drill program is testing areas highly prospective for high-grade prismatic-type zinc-lead deposits.
A recently completed airborne gradiometry survey and high-resolution Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) topographic survey flown in 2018 are helping the Osisko team identify breccia structures indicative of the high-grade prismatic zinc-lead deposits the company is seeking.
In addition to expanding the tonnage and potentially the grade, Osisko continues to work on upgrading the resource to higher confidence categories.
Though the drill density in certain areas of the project would have permitted portions of the resource to be elevated to the indicated category, management decided to classify the entire resource as inferred until the entire Cominco-era database can be validated, including an ongoing resampling of the historical core, which is stored on the property.
An updated resource estimate that includes the results from this resampling and ongoing drilling, along with a preliminary economic assessment that investigates reestablishing a mine at the historic Pine Point property are slated for completion during the second half of 2020.