SLAM Returns to Superjack Zinc Project in New Brunswick
Teck Resources ($TCK) end of year report revealed that zinc was the biggest contributor to its gross profit in Q4, 2014, for the second quarter in a row.
The world’s largest zinc mines are shutting down. Global zinc consumption is growing at 5% a year, catalysed by an automobile industry that requires zinc to protect steel components from rust and corrosion. Supply constraints could propel zinc prices much higher over the coming years.
SLAM Resources‘ ($SXL) Superjack project is a zinc-lead-silver deposit located in the the Bathurst Mining Camp (“BMC”) of New Brunswick. With the imminent start-up of the Caribou mine and mill by Trevali Mining Corp, a significant play for zinc, lead and silver is developing in the BMC area.
The BMC is noted for large mineral deposits such as Glencore’s Brunswick No. 12 mine which processed 150 million tonnes of ore prior to closure in 2013. Located 30 kilometers southeast of Caribou and 15 kilometers west of Brunswick No. 12, Superjack is at the center of this base metal play.
“We staked Superjack in 2002,” stated SLAM President and CEO Mike Taylor in an exclusive interview with the Bottom Line Report, “We control two claims totalling 1,680 hectares in the vicinity of major base metal deposits.”
On February 11, 2015 SLAM announced it had mobilized a rig to begin diamond drilling on Superjack. The primary target is a deep massive sulphide zone discovered in the 2011-2012 exploration program.
The deepest previous intercept was drilled in at a vertical depth of 230 meters. Taylor and his team have drilled 85 holes on the property. The current drill program is chasing the mineralisation zone down. In SLAM’s last campaign, the two deepest holes hit significant mineralization, including NP11-39 which hit 4.1 meters grading about 10% zinc.
“We’ve already proved up about 3 million tonnes,” explains Taylor, “The key for us is to build up enough tonnes to construct an economic mine. Once we’ve done that we can finance it and get our own operation going.”
Mr. Taylor is a professional geologist and prospector with four decades of exploration and project generation experience in gold and base metals. Under Taylor’s tenure, SLAM has established a significant portfolio of gold and base metal deposits in New Brunswick and Ontario.
“Some analysts are worried about China’s growth,” states Taylor, “But it’s still 7% a year, and zinc demand is driven by the auto and construction industry, so China is a massive part of the story. Lower oil prices appear to be driving automobile sales in the States. That is also positive for zinc demand.”
Taylor states that recent and pending closures of large zinc mines combined with modest but steady demand growth in China and India could lead to a global zinc deficit, as predicted by some industry experts.
“We’re expanding our zinc resource steadily at the drill bit,” explains Taylor, “We’ve got some good gold assets, but we want to stay focused on Superjack.”
Although the junior mining landscape has been challenging, Taylor is confident that SLAM can access the capital markets to fund continued expansion. SLAM recently announced a $600,000 financing to fund additional activities at Superjack.
Zinc stored in the London Metal Exchange’s warehouses is down 27% in the last 12 months. Total stored supply is equivalent now to 15 days of global production. With the big mines continuing to run out of ore, international investors are looking to zinc explorers in mature mining districts like Canada.
A 2012 NI43-101 technical report on SLAM’s Superjack deposit estimated an inferred resource of 206 million pounds of zinc, 53 million pounds of lead, 15 million pounds of copper and 3 million oz silver – with a combined current value of $321 million.
SLAM currently trades at .04 with a market cap of 650,000.
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