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Gold, battery metals exploration brisk in the Sudbury district

Winter drilling campaigns underway for properties with open-pit potential
MacDonald Mines core shack 2
(MacDonald Mines Exploration Facebook photo)

The Sudbury Basin is known as one of the world's most prolific mining camps for nickel and base metals. But on underexplored ground in the outlying areas many exploration-stage junior miners continue to actively drill and sample for gold and metals related to the electric vehicle battery revolution.

East of Sudbury, New Age Metals reported it's found rhodium at its River Valley Palladium Project.

The company is in the advanced stages of planning for an open-pit mine, 60 kilometres east of the city.

In a March 2 news release, New Age calls rhodium is the "rarest and most valuable" of all the platinum group metals. Recent spot prices have reached highs of more than US$24,000 per ounce, the company said.

Rhodium is used in catalytic converters, designed to clean vehicle emissions.

The metal was found in samples from a drill program in the north end of the deposit on the 15,800-acre property.

With a preliminary economic study of the mine project finished, the company is out raising more than $5.2 million to do a next-stage pre-feasibility study for River Valley.

The deposit contains 2.8 million ounces of palladium in the measured and indicated category, and 1.0 million ounces of the metal in the inferred category.

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Near the site of a former gold mine, MacDonald Mines Exploration continues to find mineralization at its SPJ Gold Project, 40 kilometres east of the city.

The Toronto explorer recently released assay results from last fall's drilling program at its Scadding Deposit showing intersections of 17.30 grams per tonne (g/t) of gold over 1.0 metre and 5.73 g/t over 3.67 metres.

The company has 18,340 hectares to work with in Davis, Street and Scadding Townships on a land package that includes the former Scadding gold mine.

Drilling began in the summer of 2018 and the company continues to identify several targets and showings of cobalt, copper, silver, nickel and rare earth metals.

MacDonald resumed drilling to January to outline a likely gold-rich iron-oxide-copper-gold deposit.

The company also announced in February that Mia Boiridy is the new president and CEO.

Inventus Mining is running a 3,000-metre drill program on its Sudbury 2.0 project, a 240-square-kilometre land package, 45 kilometres outside the city.

The property has been historically known for gold but there's also been occurrences of copper, cobalt and nickel in the area.

Once the results from the winter program are assessed, the plan is to transition into a 10,000-metre drill program in the Wolf Lake and Cobalt Hill sections of the property this summer.

Geophysics and drilling are also planned for a spot on the southern part of the property called Laundry Lake.

Inventus also holds interest in another nearby property called the Pardo Paleoplacer Gold Project, a 180-square-kilometre holding of claims, 65 kilomeres northeast of Sudbury.

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North of Capreol, Transition Metals is working a property with high-grade gold potential.

The Sudbury-based junior miner entered into an option agreement last October on the Sawmill property, 70 kilometres northeast of the city in Parkin and Hutton townships.

The 825-hectare property has shown signs of high-grade gold, copper and silver over the years.

A drill rig was deployed to do a small 500-metre program to test some gold targets along with a campaign of ground geophysics, trenching and mapping.

The property sits on a geological feature known as the Benny Greenstone belt.

In the past, other companies found zones of gold mineralization on the southwestern portion of this property. On the northeastern side, there's a marble formation that was deemed suitable for building construction purposes, but there were also base and precious metals identified.

Sawmill is one of three properties Transition holds in the Sudbury basin, totalling 7,385 hectares. The company regards Sudbury as an underexplored and emerging polymetallic gold district.

The Sudbury explorer also announced that it's cashed up with a $2.5-million exploration budget and big plans this year to do field work on some priority projects.

West of Sudbury, two junior miners are knee-deep into exploration programs to find palladium.

Toronto's Grid Metals is picking up where it left off last fall with another round of drilling on its East Bull Lake property, north of Massey.

Last year, the company tapped into significant widths of near-surface palladium and nickel on its holdings, 80 kilometres west of Sudbury.

With $2.74 million raised in exploration financing last December, the company hauled in two rigs to resume drilling on Jan. 21 with plans to do 4,000 metres over the next few months in the Parisien Lake area of the property.

The company has been making the comparison at East Bull Lake with that of the geological structure of Impala's Lac des Iles palladium mine, north of Thunder Bay, and other globally significant finds.

Their property covers an intrusion, which is a series of palladium-rich complexes that the company thinks could host multiple deposits with significant quantities of copper, platinum, gold and nickel mixed in.

Since the early 1950s, the area has been intermittently explored by the likes of the Atomic Energy of Canada, Inco and the Ontario Geological Survey.

Grid's neighbour, Canadian Palladium is in the midst of a 10,000-metre drilling program to expand the resources for a potential open-pit mine in the Massey area.

The company acquired the 992-hectare property in Gerow Township two years ago through an option agreement with Pavey Ark Minerals.

They inherited an almost turn-key project with inferred resource of 523,000 ounces of palladium identified in the ground.

The company reported last fall that exploration drilling continues to find high-grade mineralization to the west and deeper down. There's also been showings of rhodium, platinum and copper on the property, 90 kilometres west of Sudbury.