The analogous suite of ultramafic intrusions are hosts to widely disseminated, coarse grained awaruite mineralization on the Decar (Murray Ridge) property of the First Point Minerals, approximately 60 km northwest.
Compositionally, awaruite (Ni2Fe-Ni3Fe) is comprised of approximately 75% nickel, 25% iron and 0% sulfur, and therefore it is considered “natural steel”. Absence of sulfur allows a concentrate to be shipped directly to steel mills without incurring smelting and refining costs, and minimal environmental problems.
The economics of nickel-iron alloy deposits are potentially very favorable as they avoid the significant cost associated with nickel sulphide deposits required for smelting and environmental mitigation and large amounts of energy and acid required for the processing of laterite nickel deposits.
Exploration activity in the region dates back to mid 1860’s when placer gold was discovered on lower Fraser and Thompson Rivers. In 1937, a modern exploration followed the discovery of cinnabar (ore of mercury) by J.G. Gray, a geologist with the Geological Survey of Canada, in the Cache Creek limestone on the north shore of the Pinchi Lake. Subsequently numerous other mercury showings were discovered within the Pinchi Lake fault zone in a variety of host rocks including limestone, serpentinized ultramafic and non-calcareous rocks. The property was optioned by the Consolidated Mining and Smelting of Canada Ltd. (CMSC) which developed the occurrence into the well-known Pinchi Lake Mercury Mine in 1940. From 1940- 1944 the mine produced 4 million pounds of mercury.
In the 1940’s carbonatized and serpentinized float containing cinnabar was also discovered south of the Murray Ridge (Midnight claims) along the extension of the regional Pinchi Lake fault system. Canadian Exploration Ltd. conducted a 10-hole diamond drilling program in 1957, and was subsequently followed by Darbar Exploration Ltd. completing trenching and stripping of some carbonate altered zones in 1965. In 1969, Cominco Ltd. Conducted further exploration in the area for mercury mineralization. The prospect was staked by again in 1982 by M. Morrison. This time it was believed that mercury might represent a halo over a buried epithermal gold system. The results of 35 rock samples confirmed the presence of mercury, elevated Ba, Ni, Cr and As with negligible Au and Ag in association with carbonate altered ultramafic dykes (Morrison, 1983).
In 1986, the MR property covering the Trembleur ultramafic intrusion along the Murray Ridge crest was staked and explored for chromite and associated platinum group elements (PGE) (Morrison, 1987). The initial results of geological mapping and rock-chip sampling were not encouraging. The best values returned from 30 select samples returned Pt, Pa, and Ir values of 38, 13, and 13 ppm, respectively. In 2000, M. Morrison (with joint venture partner Doublestar Resources) conducted a program of geological mapping and sampling on the Murray property, in the lower portions of the ultramafic intrusion (Morrison, 2001). The program results failed to find anomalous PGE’s in the ultramafic bodies.
In 2011, Nanton Nickel Corp. engaged New-Sense Geophysics Ltd. of Markham Ont. and conducted a 1055 line-kilometer helicopter-borne high resolution magnetic survey. The objective of the survey was to provide high-resolution total field magnetic maps suitable for anomaly delineation and in turn provide a tool for detailed geological evaluation and identification of structural and lithologic trends. Based off of results from the airborne survey, a follow-up reconnaissance geological mapping, prospecting and geochemical sampling program was designed to better assess the areas potential for awaruite mineralization with a total of 31 rock, 25 stream sediment and 13 soil samples being collected. Initial results were encouraging with values of up to 0.25% Ni in rock samples and 881 ppm in soil samples.
Murray Ridge and Pinchi Lake Nickel projects. The Properties are located approximately 15 to 30 km northwest of Fort St. James and 120 km northwest of Prince George in central British Columbia. The project was previously explored by Nanton Nickel Corp The project consists of three separate claim blocks totalling 3354.64 hectares that were carefully selected to cover the best sampling results (greater than 0.20% nickel in rocks) reported by Nanton Nickel company in 2013 shortly after the discovery of the Decar Nickel property owned FPX NICKEL CORP. (FPX.TSX-V). Awerite was confirmed to be a constituent of the nickel values.
The Decar Nickel Project geology which lies 60km South West is analogous suite of ultramafic intrusions are hosts to widely disseminated coarse grained awaruite mineralization. Compositionally, awaruite (Ni2Fe-Ni3Fe) is comprised of approximately 75% nickel, 25% iron and 0% sulfur, and therefore it is considered “natural steel”. Absence of sulfur allows a concentrate to be shipped directly to steel mills without incurring smelting and refining costs, and minimal environmental problems.
Recent Work & Findings
Geological mapping, prospecting and geochemical soil sampling have confirmed the occurrence of favorable geology and structure on the property, and localized serpentinization associated with ultramafic rocks.