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MINING IN THE

FAR NORTH Pages B1-B8

Feasibility Studies ... www.snowdengroup.com

Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2008 AGNICO-EAGLE MINES

Newmont rethinks New Nadina sees Monumental potential in Lac de Gras Hope Bay GOLD MAJOR FOREGOING MIRAMAR’S HIGH-GRADING PLAN Rather than proceed with a mine in Hope Bay in 2005, seeing the projplan conceived by former owner Mi- ect as a “potential strategic mining ramar Mining that would see pro- opportunity.” duction begin this year, Denver, Hope Bay is one of the largest Colo.-based Newmont undeveloped gold projMining (nmc-t, nem-n) ects in North America. The project covers more has taken a step back at than 1,000 sq. km on the the Hope Bay gold projArctic coast and has a ect in Nunavut, in order gold resource of about 10 to evaluate the entire million oz. in three sepagreenstone belt as a furate gold deposits. The ture mining opportunity. largest deposit, Boston, is “Miramar planned to located near the south high-grade part of the BY VIRGINIA end of the north-southDoris deposit and that HEFFERNAN trending Hope Bay belt, was a good strategy for SPECIAL TO THE a junior,” says Chris while the Doris and NORTHERN MINER Hanks, director of enviMadrid deposits lie on the ronment and social responsibility north end. The project is close to for Hope Bay Mining, a subsidiary Bathurst Inlet, allowing supplies of Newmont. “But we bought Hope to be barged into the site during Bay because it is an undeveloped the summer. greenstone belt, and we want to Hope Bay is a typical Archean make sure that we go forward with greenstone belt comparable to the the right set of plans that will allow Yellowknife and Kirkland Lake us to develop the belt.” gold belts. It is more than 80 km As a result, Newmont will review long and 7-20 km wide. and expand upon previous work at The belt consists of mafic the Doris deposit and extend metavolcanic and metasedimendrilling at the nearby Madrid and tary rocks that are bound by granBoston deposits in order to better ite intrusives and gneisses and understand the total resource transected by shear zones that appackage at Hope Bay and devise a pear to control the occurrence of plan for future development. mineralization. Similar to other Newmont took control of Hope Archean greenstone gold camps, Bay in March, when the gold giant major flexures coincident with spent $1.5 billion to acquire the antiforms are often the locus for shares of Miramar Mining that it gold deposits. did not already own. Miramar had Newmont has spent a good part acquired the project a decade ear- of this year building the infralier from BHP Billiton (bhp-n, structure required to run an adblt-l) predecessor BHP Minerals vanced exploration camp. This infor $25 million after the senior cludes: a 900-metre, all-weather spent about $90 million exploring airstrip at the north end of the the region. Newmont first invested See HOPE BAY, Page B4

Study puts Stornoway’s Aviat on the diamond map BY SUSAN KIRWIN

A conceptual study suggests that Stornoway Diamond (swy-t, swydf-o) could find 24.1 to 40.3 million carats of diamonds in the Eastern Sheet Complex of its Aviat project, in eastern Nunavut. The study, done by SRK Consulting, notes that testing to date on the Eastern Sheet Complex (ESC) is insufficient for a National Instrument 43-101 resource estimate, but Stornoway CEO Eira Thomas says the results from a 202tonne mini-bulk sample, expected in early 2009, will provide more insight into the grade, diamond value and economic potential of the project. In the meantime, Thomas says the figures from the conceptual study put the company on the map in the diamond exploration world.

“There are few deposits around the world right now that are bigger than 10,000 carats in size,” Thomas says. “The combination of grade and tonnage has given us the potential for an economic diamond deposit.” According to the study, the ESC has a conceptual resource of 235 carats per hundred tonnes (accurate to within 30 carats per hundred tonnes), assuming 100% recovery and based on limited micro and macrodiamond data collected between 2003 and 2007. The ESC is thought to contain four kimberlite dykes totalling 12.4 to 16 million tonnes of kimb e rl i te m a t e r i a l . O n e o f t h e dykes, ES 1, spans an area of 2.6 sq. km and represents 78% of the See AVIAT, Page B5

BY GWEN PRESTON

Canadian diamond legends Stewart Blusson (left) and Chris Jennings at New Nadina Explorations’ Monument diamond project camp, near Lac de Gras, in the Northwest Territories. Blusson is a director of New Nadina and his company, Archon Minerals, owns 21% of the Monument project, while Jennings and his wife Jeanne hold 22%.

SITE VISIT

Ekati was Canada’s first diamond mine, and it has been producing 3 to 5 million carats of diamonds annually since production began in 1998. At Diavik, some 8 million carats of rough stones are pulled from the ground every year. But location only gets you so far. Geologists first found diamonds in Canada’s North in 1991 and hopeful prospectors have been scouring the tundra since. People have looked around Lac de Gras before. What New Nadina has that others haven’t is a duo of diamond experts united for the first time. Ask anyone who knows diamonds in

Lac de Gras, Northwest Territories — It’s commonly said that the best place to look for an economic deposit is beside a mine. Well, New Nadina Explorations (nna-v, nnadf-o) is taking that logic one step further. The company’s Monument project sits just about equidistant between two of the world’s premier diamond mines: it is 30 km south along a kimberlite emplacement corridor from BHP Billiton’s (bhp-n, blt-l) Ekati mine and about the same distance west of Rio Tinto (rtp-n, rio-l) and Harry Winston Diamond’s (hw-t, hwd-n) Diavik BY GWEN PRESTON mine.

See NEW NADINA, Page B2


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Mining in the Far North

New Nadina sees Monumental potential in Lac de Gras NEW NADINA, From Page B1

Canada to name the small group of people who started that industry and chances are two of those names will be Stewart Blusson and Chris Jennings. In short, Blusson along with his partner Chuck Fipke found the kimberlite pipes that feed Ekati. Jennings, with his partner Grenville Thomas, discovered the diamonds that feed Diavik. Jennings and Blusson are as big as it gets in Canadian diamonds. The two have been competitors for years; they both have stories about racing across the Northwest Territories trying to stake and sample more quickly than the other. Now the two are working together. New Nadina owns 57% of Monument, while Blusson is a director of the junior and his company, Archon Minerals (acs-v,

ahnmf-o), holds 21% of the kimberlite project. Jennings, along with his wife Jeanne, holds the rest of monument privately. “It’s kind of like golfing with the pros, like playing with Tiger Woods and Mike Weir,” says the project’s head geologist, Kevin Kivi. “They’ve been competitors until now — this is kind of like getting all the secret weapons in one place.”

Diamonds and Lac de Gras When The Northern Miner visited Monument, which is roughly 300 km northeast of Yellowknife on the south shore of Lac de Gras, Blusson and Jennings had been at the project poring over geophysical data and tromping around the tundra for a week. By the end, the pair had identified more than 100 targets to drill, to add to the numerous diamondiferous kimberlites

they’ve already located. Searching for diamonds first means searching for the type of geological conduit that can bring diamonds from deep within the Earth up to a minable depth. Those conduits are called kimberlite pipes, the name kimberlite coming from the town of Kimberley in South Africa, where the first pipes were found. Volcanic eruptions deep within the Earth’s mantle, at 150 to 450 km depth, shot kimberlitic material towards the surface in the fastest manner possible — in a carrot-shaped column. On cooling, the material formed kimberlite pipes. It is the depth — and therefore pressure and heat — at which kimberlite magma is generated, that makes it prone to hosting diamonds. Over the millions of years since they were formed — Jennings

BY GWEN PRESTON

Ellen Clements took over as president and CEO of New Nadina Explorations in 2006, after her husband and long-time work partner George Stewart passed away. She steped into lead the company because Stewart had always believed in the potential of New Nadina’s Monument diamond project, near Lac de Gras in the Northwest Territories.

thinks the pipes around Lac de Gras are around 50 million years old — the ash-covered tops of the pipes have eroded, leaving circu-

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lar depressions. That is perhaps the first sign. Blusson says vegetation can also indicate the presence of kimberlite because some tundra grasses thrive on the potassic chemistry of the pipes. There are, of course, more sophisticated methods of searching for kimberlites. Kimberlite pipes appear as perfectly circular lows in airborne magnetic surveys. But that data is often rather imprecise. “Looking at the first derivative gives more discreet location information,” Jennings says. “But to narrow it down even more — this new technology we have to manipulate the first derivative information is pretty well proprietary.” Indeed, the partners refuse to explain how they parlayed the magnetics data into the lovely sequence of circular targets on the computer screen, but there they are. And now the challenge is to drill them all, because the only way to confirm a diamond-bearing kimberlite is to drill and search the core for indicator minerals and hopefully actual diamonds. If any of the core displays indicator minerals — beautiful xenocrysts in brilliant reds, greens, and purples — it is sent to a lab for caustic fusion. In that process only the diamonds in the core are left behind. Even when kimberlites are found, the work is not over because only a small percentage of pipes carry sufficient diamond grades to be economic. Jennings estimates that in Canada, 1% of pipes are economic; in Southern Africa, where he also has significant experience, he says the odds are even worse. But Blusson and Jennings both See NEW NADINA, Page B7


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Azimut on Ungava uranium hunt JUNIOR SHARES NORTHERN QUEBEC NEIGHBOURHOOD WITH AREVA BY RON MANDEL

One thing you can’t say about JeanMarc Lulin, president and CEO of Azimut Exploration (azm-v, azmtf-o), is that he thinks small. Under Lulin’s leadership, Azimut has become likely the largest claim holder in Quebec, with no less than 48 projects on about 13,300 sq. km that are prospective for uranium, gold and nickel. And he has done it using a proprietary computer-based exploration methodology, allowing Azimut to generate projects it then options to other companies, min-

imizing risk for itself, reducing expenses and avoiding dilution. Now Lulin is going a step further. He wants to buy back the options already granted on two earlystage uranium projects, North Rae and Daniel Lake, in the northeastern part of the Ungava Bay region of Nunavik, in northern Quebec. Azimut has until Nov. 6 to buy back the options to earn up to 65% of the properties from NWT Uranium (nwt-v, nwurf-o), for $4 million in cash and shares. Instead of optioning the two properties to another explorer, Azimut is plan-

ning to drill the projects itself, advancing them rapidly using its own exploration technology. Obviously, Lulin believes that the two projects are highly prospective, or he would not have strayed from Azimut’s usual modus operandi. The company conducted an exploration program in the summer, and identified eight outcropping mineralized zones that are 18.4 km long in total. Grab samples of surface material on the eight zones returned maximum values of 0.24% to 3.3% uranium oxide. Typical maximum values hover

Fortress looks to Russia’s Far East Getting to Fortress Minerals’ (fst-v, ftmnf-o) flagship Svetloye property, in Russia’s Far East, isn’t easy. The gold project lies 750 km west of Magadan, a port city on the sea of Okhotsk, where the harbor is frozen nearly eight months of the year and the city rests on frozen subsoil. Supplies and personnel are typically flown to Svetloye on commercial aircraft, a 1,300-km route from Khabarovsk to Okhotsk, and then transported by helicopter to the site. A winter road can only be used from December through March. But clearly, Fortress Minerals thinks the property is well worth the effort. Highlights from six recent drill holes at Svetloye’s Amy prospect included one interval of 91 metres grading 2.67 grams gold per tonne and another that cut 52.2 metres grading 2.97 grams gold. The Amy prospect is one of nine within the 86.4-sq.-km Svetloye exploration licence. So far, resources have been estimated for just three of the nine mineralized zones: Elena, Amy and Tamara. Data suggest that the project has an inferred resource of roughly 16.23 million tonnes, grading 2.11 grams gold per tonne for total contained gold of 1.1 million oz. The resource was calculated on the basis of 123 drill holes totalling 18,557 metres and more than 7,000 samples. Fortress has mapped more than 17 sq. km of alteration within the licence area, which lies in the basin of the Alalindya and Onemna rivers, both of which are tributaries of the Ulenma River. The alteration areas consist of a northwesterly trending belt across the project territory that is about 10 km long by up to 4 km wide. Most of the mineralization is at surface on hilltops, the company says. Gold mineralization at Svetloye was formed by a high-sulphidation epithermal system and is associated with zones of vuggy silica, quartzalunite and quartz-dickite-kaolinite alteration. The style of mineralization is similar to Barrick Gold’s (abx-t, abx-n) Pierina gold mine in the Andean Cordillera of north-central Peru, and of its Veladero gold mine, in Argentina’s San Juan province. Fortress currently owns the project outright, with Gazprombank holding an option to acquire a 51% interest. Gazprombank is the banking arm of Russian energy giant Gazprom. Svetloye is about 260 km southwest of Polymetal’s (pmtl-l) Khakanja low-sulphidation goldsilver mine, which has been in pro-

duction since 2004. In August, Fortress reported that a company insider had agreed to provide a $4-million loan at an interest rate of prime plus 2% for short-term working capital purposes. As a condition, the lender will

receive a bonus payment of 1.05 million shares in Fortress. Apart from Svetloye, Fortress has acquired a 100% stake in the Dubaki exploration licence, 20 km northeast. The company also has properties in Mongolia and Nicaragua.

around 0.6% uranium oxide. Outcropping on the properties is abundant. Helicopter-borne geophysics surveying is used to search for mineralized zones, and anomalies are directly correlated to uranium in lake-bottom sediments. Some anomalies are yet to be prospected, but Lulin is confident enough in the potential of North Rae and Daniel Lake that he is ready to start drilling next year on the best mineralized zones discovered so far. The geological model is based on two geological domains. The first is Archean basement granite on gneisses — a highly metamorphic context. The second is Proterozoic metasediments. Most mineralized zones are related to regional-scale pegmatitic dyke swarms. There are deep-seated crustal-scale faults that are Proterozoic, and control several mineralized zones, so the faults are exploration targets, too. There is a 70-km-long unconformity between Archean rocks and

Proterozoic metasediment. This contact has been tectonized by a subsequent orogenic event. Proterozoic sediments were deposited above Archean granitic and gneissic rock formations (basement). “This is a fantastic environment to look for uranium,” Lulin says. Most of the mineralized zones are located along the tectonized unconformity, in particular the Jonas zone (700 metres long), Puqila zone (6 km long), Cirrus zone (2.4 km long) and Amittujaq zone (3.5 km long). There is a strong uranium background in the lake-bottom sediments (from 50 to 1,800 parts per million uranium oxide) in the region, especially in the sectors See AZIMUT, Page B6

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Discovering Yukon’s Underworld

Hope Bay HOPE BAY, From Page B1

JUNIOR HITTING GOLD IN TINTINA BELT Underworld Resources (uw-v, undwf-o) recently released promising results from three drill holes at its White Gold property, in the Yukon. The best of the recently assayed holes was hole 21, from the Golden Saddle zone at the property. It returned the thickest intercept to date for Underworld with 3.1 grams gold per tonne over 50.7 metres from a depth of 96 metres. The hole is the northernmost intercept at the property and was drilled as an 80-metre stepout northeast of a previous hole that returned 3.4 grams gold over 14.2 metres. A second hole, WD-20, was collared in gold mineralization at surface and returned 1.87 grams gold over 27.7 metres. That hole sits 100 metres east of a previous hole that returned 4.2 grams gold over 16 metres.

At the second zone being drilled, the Arc zone, hole WD-17 returned 1.47 grams gold over 29 metres from 100 metres. The hole is the second to hit mineralization at the zone, with the previous hole returning 1.18 grams gold over 28.5 metres from surface. Underworld describes Golden Saddle and Arc as two separate, shallowly dipping, near-surface, gold-mineralized zones with significant strike lengths that may be amenable to open-pit mining. Both zones are open in multiple directions. The company compares the style of mineralization — shallowly dipping breccia and quartz veins — to Teck’s (tck.b-t, tck-n) Pogo gold mine in Alaska. The two zones lie in the same belt as Pogo, the Tintina gold belt, which stretches eastward out of

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central Alaska into the Yukon. Underworld’s White Gold property covers roughly 47 sq. km and is about 95 km south of Dawson City. A road passed within 30 km of the site, which is accessible by commercial river barge from Dawson along the Yukon River. Vancouver-based Underworld has already finished its first phase of drilling at White Gold — a total of 3,431 metres in 27 holes — and phase two began in August. Thus far, 2,188 metres have been drilled with assays from six other holes pending. News of the intervals was released on a tough day for the markets and as a result, Underworld’s shares fell 8% or 5¢ to 55¢ on roughly 42,000 shares traded. The company has just over 11 million shares outstanding and its share price has moved between $1.30 and 44¢ over the last 52 weeks.

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belt to complement a similar airstrip at the south end; a 16-km, all-weather road between the Doris camp and the Windy exploration camp; a 118-person lodging facility; a 5-million-litre fuel storage site; and upgrades to existing facilities. “We cut the drilling back a bit

‘The plan for next year is to have a full-fledged advanced exploration program going.’ — Chris Hanks, director of environment and social responsibility for Hope Bay Mining this year in order to complete the infrastructure work, but the plan for next year is to have a fullfledged advanced exploration program going,� Hanks says. Newmont’s go-slow approach at Hope Bay is radically different from Agnico Eagle Mines’ (aem-t, aem-n) plan for the other advanced

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gold deposit in the vast region, Meadowbank. Agnico is expecting to reach production at Meadowbank six months earlier than planned, in January 2010, allowing the mine to contribute to the company’s ambitious goal of producing 1.4 million oz. gold annually by 2011, up from about 231,000 oz. last year.

Agnico took control of Meadowbank just over a year ago, when it bought Cumberland Resources in a deal valued at $710 million. The project has probable gold reserves of 3.5 million oz. in four separate deposits that are all amenable to open-pit mining. Meadowbank is expected to produce an average of 360,000 oz. gold per year over a nine-year mine life. An all-season road has been completed and mine construction is under way. Hope Bay has the potential to produce at a much higher annual mining rate from a large open-pit and underground mining and milling complex, but the optimal mining scenario will take time to determine. Miramar had planned to begin production from Doris North at a rate of 150,000 oz. gold annually for four years. Production was expected to grow to about 500,000 oz. per year as the Madrid and Boston orebodies were brought on-stream and the longer-term goal was to increase output to 1 million oz. per year by expanding resources and making new discoveries along the belt. “We are only at stage two, which means we’re looking at all our options,� Hanks says. “At the end of stage two, we’ll have a preferred list of options. At stage three, we’ll narrow that down to one option. Stage four is advanced engineering and stage five is execution.� Hope Bay will be Newmont’s first foray into the challenging work environment of the Arctic. Its other core assets are in the U.S, Indonesia, Australia, Peru and Ghana. But the company is confident it can overcome the lack of infrastructure and difficult working conditions by planning carefully and hiring northern expertise. “We had a meeting in July to devise the flow sheets for all the various studies we are doing. There were about forty people at the table, and about sixty per cent had significant experience in the Arctic,� says Hanks, who was the environmental manager for Hope Bay when it was owned by BHP and went on to become the chief environmental officer at the company’s Ekati diamond mine. The 2008 budget for secondstage studies at Hope Bay is US$40 million. This summer, Newmont secured a permit for tailings disposal in Tail Lake and obtained a commercial lease for a portion of the Hope Bay belt from the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KIA). Permitting for the road between the Doris and Windy camps continues. Newmont will also continue exSee HOPE BAY, Page B5


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Aviat AVIAT, From Page B1

kimberlite volume, while the entire Aviat project covers almost 2,000 sq. km. The company’s been developing the project, located 50 km from the coast along the Melville Peninsula, since 2002. But it wasn’t until 2006 that, in what Thomas describes as a eureka! moment, Stornoway realized how big the deposit might be. “We thought we were chasing a bunch of vertical kimberlite dykes,” Thomas explains. “Then one of our geologists postulated that the kimberlites could represent flat sheets.” This revelation proved correct — Eira says the company went back the following year and consistently and predictably intercepted kimberlite in a major drilling campaign. SRK took all the data and put it into a model and came up with the latest results. “The study confirmed that the sheets were contiguous and sizable, but also a good grade,” Thomas says. None of the kimberlites are under major bodies of water and all are high-grade, laterally contiguous and shallowly dipping, with about 80% of the deposit within 100 metres of surface. The deposit also shows significant expansion potential for downdip extensions elsewhere within the ESC, and in other pipe-like bodies that were not included in the SRK study. Thomas says that if the bulk sample is also positive, Stornoway will have to decide whether the kimberlite sheets would be best mined by open-pit or underground methods. She says Aviat is shaping up to be a key project for the company. Its top focus though, is the prefeasibility-level Renard diamond project in the Otish Mountains of Quebec, a 50% joint venture with Quebec government-owned Soquem. Although Renard is more developed — the company expects a new resource calculation in the coming weeks — the deposit was last estimated to hold 17 to 21 million carats, or about half of the blue sky potential of Aviat. Plus, Stornoway has a larger interest in Aviat, controlling 90% of the project and holding 100% of the marketing rights, while Hunter Exploration has a 10% carried interest. “So it’s potentially much larger for Stornoway itself,” Thomas says. Aviat’s location also has its merits when compared with other diamond projects in the Far North. The project is close to the coast, which is moderated by a fairly warm stream current — meaning that the waters are ice-free for six months of the year and only a light ice-breaking vessel is needed for the remainder. BHP Billiton’s (bhp-n, blt-l) Ekati mine and the Diavik diamond mine, owned by Rio Tinto

Hope Bay HOPE BAY, From Page B4

ploration with a 2008 budget of US$30 million. To secure the staff to operate up to five drills, Newmont is sponsoring a diamonddrill training program for local Inuit along with other local and regional partners. Meanwhile, the company is meeting with the KIA, surrounding communities, regulators and local and regional elected officials to update key stakeholders while soliciting their input on the project. —The author is a freelance writer specializing in mining issues, and principal of Toronto-based GeoPen Commnications. www.geopen.com

(rtp-n, rio-l) and Harry Winston Diamond (hw-t, hwd-n), on the other hand, are landlocked and dependent on winter ice roads for supplies. Both mines are located in the Northwest Territories. “So all around it’s a very accessible part of the Arctic,” Thomas says of Aviat’s location. “It has its challenges climatically, but we’re Canadians and we’re good at mining in the North.” As for the current financial storm, Stornoway is prepared to weather that too. The company’s share price was 11¢ at presstime, half a penny above its 52-week low and far from its high of 95¢. “Given where our share price is trading, there is no question we are looking to prioritize and focus on our key projects in 2009,” Thomas says. She says the company isn’t planning to spend a lot of money next year, but won’t have any idea of a budget until the results are in for Renard. At Aviat, Thomas says the company’s land position is secure. “We aren’t compelled to go in and spend a lot of money in 2009 if we don’t wish to,” Thomas says. “It will all come down to how the market behaves in the next six months, the opportunities for fi-

THE NORTHERN MINER

OCTOBER 27-NOVEMBER 2, 2008

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STORNOWAY DIAMOND

Megabags surround the AV1 outcrop at Stornoway Diamond’s Aviat project, on the Melville Peninsula in Nunavut, last summer. A total of 49 tonnes of kimberlite were extracted from AV1 and processed by dense media separation, returning 43.41 carats of diamonds, or 89 carats per hundred tonnes. nancing and how aggressive we want to be with raising capital in this kind of environment.”

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Mining in the Far North

Azimut on Ungava uranium hunt AZIMUT, From Page B3

corresponding to the Archean basement and along the ArcheanProterozoic geological contact. The exploration model is Archean-Proterozoic contact. Mineralization will be explored along late-stage crustal scale faults, and marbles will also be explored. It is possible that most mineralization could be found in pegmatites in host sediments. Pegmatitic dykes are continuous at a regional scale. They can be 5 to 80 metres wide, and individual dykes can be 2 to 3 km long. Lulin will be looking for mineralization starting at surface that could be mined by open pit. French nuclear giant Areva (arvcf-o) operates the CAGE uranium exploration project in the

Ungava Bay area, and is reportedly planning to spend $10 million on exploration there. Remarkably, Areva has also staked ground that Azimut left open between its claims — a tacit indication that Azimut’s properties could have merit. Azimut controls six properties in the Ungava Bay region, for a total of 8,772 claims, covering about 4,200 sq. km. The company uses an exploration camp on site. The nearest settlement in the area is the Inuit village of Kangiqsualujjuaq, about 15 km northwest of the North Rae property, and it has an airstrip and a small port. Basic provisions are available at the village. There are daily flights from Montreal to Kangiqsualujjuaq via Kuujjuaq, and the trip takes half a day.

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Lulin says that Azimut’s special expertise is project generation. “Our core business is targeting. On a routine basis, we do numerical data processing in order to identify targets in a better way and reduce the initial-stage exploration risk.� Azimut is one of the more innovative explorers around. Instead of kicking rocks on one project at a time, it prefers to scan massive geological databases first, narrowing them down to the most interesting prospects. “Our core business, the way we generate projects, is data processing, in a very sophisticated way. We take large-scale databases, and we have the capability to recognize quality targets based on a statistical or probablilistic approach,� Lulin says, adding he developed the method over the past 15 years. “We use an algorithm to recognize a footprint. As soon as we identify targets, we stake them, and that way we have been able to develop partnerships.� Over four years, these earlystage targets have attracted 15 op-

tion agreements with companies wishing to earn into the projects. The options entail a combined $50 million in exploration commitments by the option holders, plus payments in cash and shares to Azimut. This year, the agreements called for $13 million in work commitments. Not many explorers can boast such a large number of active projects. Azimut’s 27,637 claims are about 10% of the staked claims in Quebec. The company is one of the largest uranium explorers in the province, with about 20,000 claims, or 70% of the total targeting uranium. These are spread among 20 projects, of which 11 are under option. Under the option agreements, there is $42 million in work commitments for these uranium projects over the next five years, of which $7 million is scheduled to be spent this year. From the start, Azimut decided to look at Quebec, specifically searching for large prospects. “We developed a global vision about Quebec based on the processing of the exhaustive data-

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base existing in Quebec. Looking through a small window or keyhole, it’s not the way we work. We try to develop, as much as possible, a province-scale approach, or a geological province-scale approach or sub-province scale approach, or a country-scale approach,â€? Lulin says. “We are looking for districts. We are looking for major deposits.â€? He gives an instance of how Azimut has gone about generating uranium prospects. “For example, lake-bottom sediments. We put together seventy different surveys of lake-bottom sediments collected over thirty years in Quebec and Labrador. This represents 350,000 samples, or a database of eleven million analyses,â€? Lulin says. “You have to be able to manage a large and complex database. In addition we have the ability to process it according to our unique way, to be able to narrow down targets to the very best and retain the very best targets.â€? He outlines the narrowing-down process that takes place once initial targets are identified. “For Quebec, if we are looking for uranium, we have the capacity to produce uranium maps in lakebottom sediments. But you cannot stake this target — it is too big. In the target map we further narrow down to very few targets,â€? Lulin says. By adding other parameters, Azimut narrows those targets down even more, then stakes all the significant ones in the region, Lulin says. Despite their expertise in ferreting out geological information from large databases, Azimut geologists do not spend 100% of their time in front of a computer screen. “We have not only the processing ability with a computer, but we have also the practical know-how of exploration,â€? Lulin says. “We are not only computer geologists. We have the capability, and this is very critical, to recognize which numeric targets are the right ones.â€? Counterintuitively, those targets are not always associated with known mineralization or historic showings. Lulin says the attitude toward uranium exploration is generally good in Quebec, adding that the fact that Azimut is exploring remote regions is an asset. He notes that the company’s relationship with the nearby Inuit population is positive. In addition to its six properties in the Ungava Bay area, Azimut has projects in two other clusters: an underexplored 350-km-long region in central Quebec, and the 320-kmlong North Shore region. So far, Azimut has received $3.8 million in cash payments from option holders. At presstime, its stock traded at around 50¢ in a 12-month window of 46¢-$5.68. The company has 18.7 million shares fully diluted.

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THE NORTHERN MINER

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Agnico-Eagle on track with Meadowbank for 2010 Gold-bearing Archean greenstone belts were first discovered in the Baker Lake area of what is now Nunavut in the 1980s. Fast-forward 28 years and Agnico-Eagle Mines (aem-t, aem-n) is in the midst of building an open-pit gold mine 70 km north of Baker Lake, near the western shores of Hudson Bay.

If all goes according to plan, production at a mine on its 100%owned Meadowbank property will start in the first quarter of 2010 — about six months ahead of schedule. The deposit in Nunavut has probable reserves of 3.5 million oz. gold, with 29.3 million tonnes grading 3.7 grams gold per tonne.

It is open on strike and at depth. Meadowbank is forecast to produce an average of 360,000 oz. gold per year over a nine-year mine life. Total cash costs are anticipated to be in the US$300-peroz. range over the life of the mine. Agnico says four gold deposits have been discovered along the

gold trend — a 25-km trend that incorporates 350 sq. km. The known gold resources lie within 225 metres of the surface. The deposit’s Cannu zone, identified in 2005, is a zone of highgrade, near-surface gold mineralization. The Portage gold deposits have been pinpointed over a strike length of 1.85 km and cross lateral extents of between 100 and 230 metres. The Goose Island deposit is defined over a 750-km strike length and down to 500 metres at depth. Finally, the Vault deposit is shallow dipping with a strike length of about 1,100 metres. Agnico describes the geology of the deposit as hosted within

“polydeformed rocks of the Woodburn Lake Group, which are part of the series of Archean Supracrustal assemblages forming the Western Churchill supergroup in Northern Canada.” A scoping study is under way to assess the potential of an underground operation at the southern end of the deposit. “We think we’ve got an underground component at Meadowbank,” Agnico-Eagle’s president and chief executive, Sean Boyd, told investors and analysts at the Denver Gold Forum in September. Exploration is continuing to extend zones and test new targets.

AGNICO-EAGLE MINES

New Nadina NEW NADINA, From Page B2

say this is the place to be looking. “We’re right in the centre of the Slave Shield, which is really old, cold crust with a lot of fractures that continue a long way down,” Blusson says. “There are only a few places in the world where the rocks are this old.”

Monumental work New Nadina started that long exploration process in 2004, when the company picked up the claims that make up Monument. At that time, the company was led by George Stewart, another wellknown name in the world of Canadian diamonds exploration. Just as work was getting under way at Monument, Stewart died suddenly and unexpectedly. The company vowed “to continue in the spirit that George had intended.” As Stewart’s long-time partner, in life and in work, Ellen Clements took time to grieve and then got back to work. “I started to get involved in the company again and it soon became clear that if this was going to happen, if we were going to pursue this the way George would have pursued it, I was going to have to lead the charge,” she says. Clements took over as president and CEO in early 2006. By then, the company had already identified three kimberlite pipes at Monument, which it named DD-17, DD-39, and DD-42. Two of the pipes had been drilled before, by Kennecott Canada Exploration in the mid1990s. At DD-42, Kennecott produced 44 diamonds from about 230 kg of kimberlite. The best drill hole on DD-42 gave better numbers: 40 stones from 146 kg of kimberlite, or about 275 stones per tonne. Over at DD-17, Kennecott saw enough promise that it collected nearly 950 kg of kimberlite from several drill holes, coming up with 188 diamonds. That worked out to about 200 stones per tonne. There were 54 macrodiamonds in the DD-17 parcel, which compared well with many of the better finds of the era, including two of the four rich Diavik pipes. But

Kennecott got distracted by Diavik and decided to abandon Monument. After a few months of Clements’ leadership, New Nadina hit another pipe, previously undiscovered, and named it RIP in memory of Stewart. A month later, the company reported finding another two pipes, named Nic and Sonja. Then microdiamond analysis results started coming in. The samples from DD-17 produced 354 diamonds from 465 kg of drill core, including two diamonds greater than 0.85 mm in size. A small, 62kg sample of core from DD-42 produced 20 microdiamonds. RIP results were also promising: 385 kg of kimberlite core returned 198 diamonds, including one that measured 2.3 by 1.6 mm and four others retained on the 0.85-mm sieve. Encouragement continued with results from DD17-11, another old Kennecott pipe located just

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Oct 27_Nov 2 B Far North Spec

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THE NORTHERN MINER

New Nadina sees Monumental potential in Lac de Gras NEW NADINA, From Page B7

east of RIP; 280 kg of kimberlite returned 182 diamonds, including one measuring 2.6 by 1.8 mm and another that was 2.6 by 1.5 mm. Finally, a 168-kg sample from Nic returned 165 diamonds, including one that was 4.2 by 1.3 mm, or 0.17 carat, and an 80-kg sample from Sonja yielded 50 diamonds. By the end of 2006, the company had outlined a series of kimberlite pipes, all diamondiferous, that line up almost east-west and appear as circular blue magnetic lows on a map. “It looks just like a string of blue pearls,� Kivi says. “We’re hoping there’s a big diamond on the end of the string.� In the spring program, with the area still completely frozen, the company drilled four holes in DD17 to collect 3 tonnes of sample. DD-17 sits underwater, in a small bay off Lac de Gras, and therefore can only be drilled when the lake is frozen. In another winter-inspired move, the partners conducted a detailed ground magnetics survey by dragging a non-ferrous dog sled behind a snowmobile for 1,200 line-km.

“In the early days, the survey lines were 200 metres apart,� Jennings recalls. “As time went on we discovered that some pipes are very small, but boy were they rich. Now the lines are only ten metres apart.�

ument partners had a promising string of kimberlite pipes with solid drilling results. The spring program added another pipe to the string, which they called Bling. The summer program uncovered three more pipes: Sparky and

“This Lac de Gras area has more kimberlite than any other place in the world,� Jennings says. “I’ve always believed that there are serious discoveries to be made under the lake.� Blusson agrees. “One thing this

‘This Lac de Gras area has more kimberlite than any other place in the world. I’ve always believed that there are serious discoveries to be made under the lake.’ — Chris Jennings, 22% owner of the Monument project DD-17 returned more promising results, including five diamonds on the 0.85-mm sieve, one on the 1.18-mm mesh, and one bigger than 1.7 mm. In the summer program, the partners further tested the pipes along the blue string of pearls, as well as several other targets, uncovering a new pipe called Genie and several kimberlite dykes in between targets. RIP returned the biggest diamond from the property to date: a 0.445-carat stone from core. By the spring of 2008, the Mon-

Gemini sit on either side of DD39, making a three-pipe cluster that sits 750 metres south of the centre of the blue string of pearls, and Trio sits near the north side of the property, near the underwater DD-42 pipe. Trio was named because it was one of three similar anomalies in the area, but was the only one drill-accessible in the summer as the other two lie under water. That makes Trio Jennings’ favourite target because he has long believed that the best pipes in the area lie under Lac de Gras.

property really shows is that areas that were passed over quickly should be looked at in more detail,� he says. “There are still a lot more pipes to be found in the Lac area, and definitely one place we need to look is underwater.� By the end of the recent summer program, two drill rigs completed 17 holes for 3,465 metres of core drilling. In mid-September, the partners submitted 2.2 tonnes of kimberlite sample for caustic fusion testing. Roughly half of the sample is from Trio and the rest consists of small sam-

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ples from Sonja, Genie, Sparky, Gemini and DD-39. The partners are eagerly awaiting the results. Blusson and Jennings are both encouraged by the results to date. The partners have identified 11 kimberlite pipes on the property and all are diamondiferous. The question now is which ones carry economic grades. “This core has a lot of possibility,� Blusson says. Jennings chimes in: “The core we’re pulling here doesn’t look dramatically different from the core at Diavik. And coarse porphyryoblastic kimberlite with lots of coarse crystals is a good sign. But after forty years I’m still learning.� The possibility they see comes of course from the fact that every sample has returned diamonds, but even more so, it comes from the size distribution. “The biggest yet was almost half a carat,� Jennings says. “It’s very encouraging to get a bigger diamond like that just in core.�

Monumental motivation With targets and defined kimberlites aplenty, perhaps the biggest challenge is for New Nadina alone, and that’s money. The Jennings are well placed to continue funding their portion of exploration costs; the couple sold their controlling interest in the highly successful SouthernEra Diamonds, which Chris founded, in 2007. And with Blusson’s backing, Archon likewise will have no trouble finding the money, since Blusson retains 10% ownership of the Ekati mine. But New Nadina has no such well-heeled support. Clements has closed private placements for up to $1 million regularly over the last few years but now is not the best time to have to rely on public financings. Nevertheless, New Nadina closed a $769,000 private placement in September, so the company is fine for the short term. Blusson knows well the importance of patience, and of raising money. When he and Fipke were sampling in the Lac de Gras area in the 1990s, the two were constantly searching for funding. “The whole Ekati project would have started three years earlier if we’d had another $20,000,� Blusson says. “The key sample sat in Chuck’s garage for three years because we didn’t have the money to process it!� And from being at the project with Clements, Blusson, and Jennings, it soon becomes clear that money is not the main driver at Monument. “It’s not about the money, it’s about finding something,� Jennings says. “That excitement never gets old.� For Blusson, the drive is very similar. “Scientific curiosity drives me more than anything else,� he says. “So this is not really work; it’s a love of science. And I can hardly retire because, the way I look at it, I’ve never worked. I was lucky enough to have chosen this and I’m still enjoying it immensely.� As for Clements, she is endlessly motivated by the desire to fulfill her late husband’s dream. “I never thought I could do what I’m doing,� she says. “It’s all the people who have gathered around, the amazing partners I’m working with, who keep me going. And George and I worked together for thirty-five years — I think he would have been awfully disappointed if I hadn’t taken the bull by the horns.�

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