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Platinum group metals boom draws eyeballs to northeastern Ontario

Spearmint Resources stakes ground next to New Age’s River Valley pit project
New Age River Valley exploration
Exploration at New Age Metals' River Valley project, east of Sudbury. (New Age photo)

A new neighbour has sidled up next to the developer of a potential open-pit mine near Sudbury.

Spearmint Resources announced it has acquired 4,700 acres bordering New Age Metals’ River Valley PGM Project, 60 kilometres east of the city.

The Vancouver junior miner has a number of gold, copper, nickel, lithium and vanadium prospects in Quebec, British Columbia and Nevada. This is their first platinum group metals property.

The company did not announce any immediate plans for their claims, now dubbed the River Valley East Platinum-Palladium Prospect.

"The acquisition of the River Valley East prospect significantly adds to Spearmints asset base and positions us well in the burgeoning PGM boom,” said company president James Nelson in a Jan. 28 news release.

“The mining community seems to have now woken up to the potential underlying value of New Age Metals River Valley project and we are excited to now have a footprint directly bordering them in this PGM district at a time when PGMs are experiencing a significant surge in price. Management is currently formulating plans for this new prospect and is expecting a very active 2020."

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Last June, New Age Metals pegged a 14-year mine life with jobs for 325 in a preliminary economic assessment.

On the 15,800-acre property in Dana and Pardo Townships, the company is proposing a $495-million bulk mining operation that would produce 119,000 ounces of palladium a year.

New Age recently raised $2 million through a private placement to continue exploration this year at River Valley.

Of that amount, mining financier Eric Sprott spent $700,000 to take an 18 per cent ownership stake in the company.

New Age promotes River Valley as the “largest undeveloped primary PGM resource in North America.”

Besides River Valley, New Age has a PGM-Rare Metals exploration project in Alaska and eight lithium-rare metals plays in southeastern Manitoba.