Exploring and Developing VMS Copper-Zinc Deposits in Saskatchewan
Foran Mining Corporation (TSXV:FOM) is a Canadian exploration and development company with copper and zinc projects in the Hanson Lake volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) camp in mining-friendly Saskatchewan. According to the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining 2018, Saskatchewan was named the top mining jurisdiction in Canada and third globally. An emerging copper-zinc base metal district, the Hanson Lake area displays similar geological characteristics as those found in the better-known Flin Flon and Snow Lake regions. Mining operations have occurred in and around Flin Flon for over 100 years.
Please see Foran’s company infographic here.
Foran is well-positioned to address an increase in copper and zinc demand along with a shortage of their supply. Copper and zinc have experienced increased demand from the rapidly growing automobile and electronics industries. These base metals are both anti-corrosive, which makes them ideal for a variety of materials, such as electrical wiring and galvanizing, useful in electric vehicles, renewable energy sources and related infrastructure necessary to meet our low-carbon future. Along with an increase in their uses, the copper and zinc supplies are currently strained due in part to production issues in top metal-producing jurisdictions in China and Indonesia. The high demand and constrained foreign supply places the Canadian market at an advantage.
Zinc’s depleted supply is in part due to China’s green initiatives and a crackdown on mining practices in 2006. In August 2017, eight Chinese provinces were shut down or suspended and more than 11 percent of China’s mined zinc output was lost. China’s zinc production dropped 4.6 percent in 2018 as smelters experienced longer maintenance periods. Meanwhile, the copper supply chain is also facing challenges as Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE:FCX) recently announced that production at its Indonesian Grasberg mine would be more than halved next year as it transitions to underground operations. This is expected to cut approximately 300,000 tonnes from the world’s supply, potentially speeding up an expected deficit.
Foran’s properties are located just across the provincial border from Flin Flon, Manitoba in eastern Saskatchewan. The company’s flagship McIlvenna Bay deposit boasts a 2019 mineral resource with an indicated resource of 22.95 million tonnes grading 1.17 percent copper, 3.05 percent zinc, 0.19 percent lead, 0.44 g/t gold and 16.68 g/t silver. The contained metal in the indicated resource includes over 590 million pounds of copper and over 1.5 billion pounds of zinc. It also has an additional inferred resource of 11.15 million tonnes grading 1.38 percent copper, 1.83 percent zinc, 0.10 percent lead, 0.47 g/t gold and 14.81 g/t silver, containing 340 million pounds of copper and 450 million pounds of zinc.
Foran’s Bigstone property also hosts a historic mineral resource that was completed by Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO) in 1990. The resource outlines an estimated 3.75 million tonnes that graded 2.03 percent copper and 0.33 g/t gold in the copper zone and an estimated 0.53 million tonnes that graded 9.62 percent zinc and 15.9 g/t silver in zinc-rich massive sulfides. Foran is not treating the historical resource as current.
Foran’s land holdings also include Target A, a deep EM conductor located two kilometers southeast of McIlvenna Bay and the Balsam claims, which are host to the Thunder Zone, a new VMS discovery from 2013. In addition, the Hanson Lake property has a number of potential exploration targets that require further work.
Major shareholder Pierre Lassonde, chairman of Franco-Nevada, holds 11.8 percent of Foran’s shares. Lassonde has held various roles in senior management for companies such as Newmont Goldcorp (NYSE:NEM,TSX:NGT), Euro-Nevada Mining Corporation Ltd. and New Gold Inc. (TSX:NGD). He has also been inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 2013. In addition to Lassonde’s stake in the company, Foran’s management team notably holds 17 percent of the company’s shares.
Foran’s Company Highlights
- Projects are located in the Fraser Institute’s top mining jurisdiction of Saskatchewan.
- Foran ground overlies known VMS deposits and rocks with similar geological characteristics as those found in Flin Flon and Snow Lake, Manitoba.
- McIlvenna Bay has an indicated resource of 22.95 million tonnes grading 1.17 percent copper, 3.05 percent zinc, 0.19 percent lead, 0.44 g/t gold and 16.68 g/t silver.
- The contained metal in the indicated resource includes over 590 million pounds of copper and over 1.5 billion pounds of zinc.
- McIlvenna Bay also has an additional inferred resource of 11.15 million tonnes grading 1.38 percent copper, 1.83 percent zinc, 0.10 percent lead, 0.47 g/t gold and 14.81 g/t silver.
- The contained metal in the inferred resource includes 340 million pounds of copper and 450 million pounds of zinc.
- An updated mineral resource estimate for McIlvenna Bay being prepared in cooperation with Glencore Canada Corporation and Micon International Limited.
- Bigstone historic mineral resource is an estimated 3.75 million tonnes grading 2.03 percent copper and 0.33 g/t gold and an additional 0.53 million tonnes grading 9.62 percent zinc and 15.9 g/t silver.
- Exploration opportunities at Balsam and Hanson Lake properties, particularly the Thunder Zone and Target A prospects.
- Canadian Mining Hall of Fame inductee Pierre Lassonde holds 11.5 percent of Foran’s shares.
- Foran’s management team owns 17 percent of the company’s shares.