Platinum mining in Canada began after the metal was first discovered in Ontario in 1888 among nickel–copper ores. In deposits, the metal can usually be found alongside other platinum-group metals (PGMs).
Today, the majority of the world’s platinum comes from South Africa, while Canada is the fourth-largest producer. It put out 9,000 kilograms of platinum last year — that’s just 5 percent of the world’s total output, but a significant increase from the 7,600 kilograms mined in the country in 2015.
Most platinum mined in Canada is a by-product of nickel mining, and the majority of the country’s platinum-producing mines are in Ontario’s Sudbury Basin. Ontario accounts for nearly 80 percent of Canada’s platinum output and leads Canadian output for gold and nickel as well. The area’s mineral deposits have been formed in multiple ways, such as a meteorite strike and volcanic belt activity.
Platinum is also produced at Quebec’s Raglan nickel mine and at the Lac des Iles mine in Western Ontario. The former is owned by major diversified miner Glencore (LSE:GLEN), while the latter is owned by North American Palladium (TSX:PDL).
While those large miners are key platinum producers in Canada, there are also smaller companies that are exploring and developing platinum-focused projects in the country. Here’s a look at four of them.
New Age Metals (TSX:NAM)
New Age Metals is focused on the exploration and development of its River Valley PGMs project, one of the largest primary PGMs assets in Canada. Located in the Sudbury Basin, River Valley has a measured plus indicated mineral resource of 2.5 million ounces of PGMs.
The company is currently conducting a drill program and induced polarization survey at River Valley in order to establish a resource base for a preliminary economic assessment (PEA). The company plans to complete the report before the end of 2018.
Transition Metals (TSXV:XTM)
Project generator Transition Metals holds interests in a number of different exploration projects in Canada, but its main platinum asset is the Ontario-based Sunday Lake nickel-copper-PGMs project. Sunday Lake is a joint venture with Impala Platinum (JSE:IMP), and in June the companies signed a definitive option agreement for the project with North American Palladium. The agreement allows North American Palladium to acquire 75-percent ownership of Sunday Lake by completing $4.5 million in work commitments and paying $3.5 million in cash over five years.
Transition Metals also owns the Aer-Kidd nickel-copper-PGMs project in Ontario, but it has not been active at the asset since 2016.
Wallbridge Mining Company (TSX:WM)
Wallbridge Mining is focused on the acquisition, discovery and development of gold, copper, nickel and PGMs projects. In July, the company closed a private placement of just over $1.5 million to fund surface and bulk sample exploration at its Fenelon gold project in Quebec. The plan is to follow up on high-grade nickel, copper and PGMs mineralization intersected in 2016.
Under a September 2015 agreement, major PGMs producer Lonmin (LSE:LMI) may earn up to a 50-percent interest in Wallbridge’s Parkin properties by funding aggregate payments and exploration expenditures of C$11.083 million over four years. Lonmin can then earn up to an additional 15-percent stake in the properties by funding them through to a feasibility study. The joint venture is currently conducting exploration drilling at the properties.
Wellgreen Platinum (TSX:WG)
Wellgreen Platinum is advancing its Yukon-based Wellgreen PGMs and nickel project toward production. According to a 2015 PEA, the project is envisioned as a conventional open-pit operation with selective higher-grade underground mining. The company’s recent developments include a private placement of $9.53 million and an update on an infill drilling program. The program is nearly 40 percent complete and is aimed at obatining samples for use in metallurgical testwork.
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This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2013.
Securities Disclosure: I, Sivansh Padhy, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Wallbridge Mining Company is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.