Image via Taranis Resources
When it comes to determining the likelihood of success in the mining sector, arguably the most valuable asset a company can have is the quality and experience of the team it has assembled. From evaluating a property’s potential to developing an exploration plan and creating a business model that maximizes value, both experience and industry knowledge are crucial. For that reason, Taranis Resources, Inc. (TRO:CA)(TNREF:OTCQB) stands out because its management team brings with it a century of collective industry experience in the mining and exploration business. So, when the team identifies that its Thor Deposit near Trout Lake, BC has terrific upside potential, it certainly warrants great attention.
The Thor Deposit, which is 100% owned by Taranis, is an advanced-stage gold-silver-lead-zinc-copper mineral deposit that has near-surface mineralization that can be extracted with a low cost, open pit mine. According to the NI 43-101 the company completed in 2013, the Thor deposit contains 6.9 million Oz silver, 35,000 Oz gold, 57 million lbs lead, 79.4 million lbs zinc and 3.3 million lbs of copper that resides in a low-cost, open pit mining scenario.
But recent discoveries at the project have revealed that the Thor Deposit could potentially be developed into a significantly bigger mine—multiplying what the original findings suggested.
The Deep Value of the Thor Deposit
While the known areas of the Thor Deposit have roughly 220 drill holes, Taranis has recently identified what it calls the Ridge Target, which is the previously untouched areas of the Thor property. The exploration target is located about 1.4 km north of where the furthest northern mineralization is known on the project. The Ridge Target took several years to develop, and is the culmination of 10 years of meticulous geological work.
“In terms of a geological model, it’s pretty much established now that it’s a Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide deposit,” said John Gardiner, President and CEO of Taranis Resources. “These typically have good size associated with them, and typically are between 5 million and 20 million tonnes, but can even be much larger. So, one of the things that we're going to try and do this summer, right out of the starting block, is get a drill over that mountain ridge to test that target.”
The company’s drill strategy is structured in two parts. The First Generation (“1G”) drilling will focus on development drilling in the known areas of the deposit, whereas the Second Generation will focus on the Ridge Target and some deep targets under the existing deposit.
“There are a lot of targets that exist around known areas of mineralization,” Gardiner said. “Basically, they are targets that are development drilling, and we're confident that, just drilling those targets, we can get this tonnage to 2.5 million tonnes, and that’s the production size threshold for this type of deposit. In terms of the Generation 2 (“2G”) targets that lie outside of the known deposit, drilling any of those targets and having success could ultimately move Thor well beyond the 5-million-tonne range.”
“So, there is kind of a balancing act here between doing the systematic drilling on the 1G targets, and then drilling some of these more perspective 2G targets,” Gardiner added. “But particularly the Ridge Target that we're drilling, if that does hit then it’s going to open the door in terms of size of the deposit.”
What’s Next for the Thor Deposit?
As Taranis focuses on execution of its 2017 strategy to actualize its drilling and exploration plan of the Thor Deposit, the company will be approaching the project from two fronts.
"The identification of the Ridge Target is potentially of major consequence at Thor, and success testing this target would enhance the size of the deposit considerably,” Gardiner said in a recent press release. “Owing to its importance, Taranis has aggressively sought to permit and test this target quickly. While definition drilling will continue around the known deposits under the 1G exploration program, successful results from the Ridge Target would have monumental consequences at Thor."
The company has five active permits on the Thor Project, including two new Notice of Work applications. The first permit pertains to level 1G exploration around the Broadview Mine, and another area north of the Blue Bell Mine, and a second permit that’s related to level 2G exploration and applies to the recently identified Ridge Target.
In addition, Taranis is preparing a revenue-producing gold pilot metallurgical plant by June 2017. The company has already leased mining equipment and is now obtaining a power plant and mining equipment for the operation. It has contracted Maxxam (Bureau Veritas) to perform the water quality analytical work.
Taranis will also collect a 100kg sample of sulfide ore from the main Thor deposit for gravity testing using heavy liquid separation, which will help to streamline production of a concentrate and possibly avoid flotation processing. This method would also reduce the environmental impact to the area, and consequently enhance permitting at Thor.
Leveraging Experience and Patience
The team at Taranis Resources consists of five directors, each with over 25 years of industry experience. After combing through several projects for multiple years, they identified Thor as the promising opportunity to pursue.
“They've got a good sense of what it takes to make a deposit and what it takes to explore it, and develop it into a mine,” Gardiner said. “We're focused on trying to delineate a resource that’s going to be minable, and ultimately this is the reward for long-term stakeholders in the company.…Thor does have the capability of becoming a +10 million tonne deposit, and that’s why we're singularly focused on growing this project.”
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