It seems of late that every time I get excited about the technicals of the gold chart and then go on to make a comment about it I quickly get taught a lesson in humility. Well, enough of that, there are plenty of other commodities out there and many of them are far more important to the future build-out of the green economy. I’m talking about key electric vehicle and clean energy production and storage metals like nickel, copper, cobalt, and silver to name a few. Perhaps these commodities and their underlying prices will be a little kinder to me and not crash a day or two after I extol their virtues. Although nickel is trading at 5-year highs and copper isn’t far off of its recent highs. At least cobalt is only near 3-year highs and well off the peak it reached in early 2018. So fingers crossed I’m not some sort of a short-term price jinx and fundamentals will rule the day.
A Canadian company developing numerous projects that provide exposure to cobalt, copper, nickel, zinc and silver is Murchison Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: MUR). Murchison is focused on the exploration and development of the 100% owned Brabant Lake zinc‐copper‐silver project in north‐central Saskatchewan. The Company also owns 100% of the Haut Plateau de la Manicouagan (HPM) nickel‐copper‐cobalt project in Quebec and holds an option to earn 100% interest in the Barraute VMS exploration project also located in Quebec, north of Val d’Or. Saskatchewan and Quebec are two of the best mining jurisdictions in Canada and, arguably, in the world. Additionally, these projects are surrounded by excellent, established infrastructure.
The last time I had a look at Murchison I focused on the Betty Zone at Brabant Lake given that was where I saw the bulk of the news being generated at that time. So today we’ll focus on the HPM project because that’s been the source of most of the excitement for the Company over the last couple of months. The HPM property is located between Baie-Comeau and Fermont, Québec, about 20 km from an all-season road connecting the two communities, 8 km to railroad, and about 225 km to the Port of Sept Iles. The property is associated with the Manicouagan Metamorphic Complex and hosts several nickel-copper cobalt occurrences.
Most activity at the HPM project has been focused on the highly prospective PYC target area where the Company identified significant sulphide mineralization on the surface over a strike length in excess of 1.7 km. Assay results from its June prospecting program, from grab samples and short backpack drill core samples, feature assays as high as 1.27% nickel equivalent or 2.59% copper equivalent (0.79% Ni, 0.14% Cu, 0.15% Co) from 0.83 metres of backpack drill core. Assay results also confirm mineralization south-east of the PYC target at the newly discovered Dix showing, which assayed as high as 0.90% Nickel Equivalent or 1.83% Copper Equivalent (0.44% Ni, 0.39% Cu, 0.10% Co) from 0.45 metre of backpack drill core.
Source: Murchison Minerals Aug 16, 2021 Press Release
Following a successful capital raise of $4 million that closed in October, the Company is in an excellent financial position to unlock the potential of HPM. To that end, on November 2nd Murchison announced it had commenced a 3,550 m drilling program focusing on the PYC target while concurrently prospecting a number of significant geophysical anomalies that were identified on the HPM project during a 655 line-kilometre airborne electromagnetic survey completed earlier this year. To date, the Company has successfully completed seven drill holes totaling 1,599 m testing approximately 550 m of the airborne electromagnetic anomaly with significant pyrrhotite and minor chalcopyrite mineralization observed in all seven holes. A handheld portable Niton XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence analyzer that enables real-time, quantitative sample analysis in the field) confirms the presence of nickel, copper and cobalt within the sulphide intervals. Now we await the assays to learn just how much of those valuable commodities are present in these rocks.
One need look no further than the bidding war that broke out over Noront Resources and its nickel-copper-PGE project in neighbouring Ontario, where it looks like BHP Group Ltd will be the successful suitor, to understand the value of these types of resources. Granted Murchison has a bit of work ahead of them to define a comparable asset but that’s why they only have a market cap of $22 million today. A successful winter drilling program at HPM could put Murchison Minerals on the radar of companies like BHP.