Talon Metals Corp. (TSX: TLO), the majority owner and operator of the Tamarack Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Project located in central Minnesota, has confirmed the presence of high-grade nickel in the newly discovered “Raptor Zone”. With grades up to 6.93% nickel intersected, Talon believes it has confirmed a new “system” of high-grade nickel-copper mineralization within the Tamarack Intrusive Complex.
Talon has been advancing its dual strategy of new exploration along the Tamarack Intrusive Complex and progressing the requisite drilling, data collection, modelling, and engineering studies and designs to commence the environmental review process that starts the permitting process in the state of Minnesota. The company is also progressing planning, design and permitting of its Battery Minerals Processing Facility in Mercer County, North Dakota, which was selected by the US Department of Energy for $114m in grant funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in October 2022.
Talon CEO, Henri van Rooyen, commented in a press release: “Today’s assay results further demonstrate that the United States has additional high-grade nickel growth potential in its mineral endowment. In 1997, the Department of the Interior and US Geological Survey predicted that there were high-grade nickel mineralization zones in the US that are similar to zones in Canada and Russia. They focused on the US Mid-Continental Rift (MCR), which extends from Kansas up through Michigan. Talon is singularly focused on exploring for additional high-grade nickel in the United States to help meet the goals set by Congress and President Biden for a domestic supply chain for electric vehicles and batteries from mining through to recycling.”
Assay results have been received for the six holes in the newly identified Raptor Zone, located nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) outside of the Tamarack Nickel Project’s resource area. These assays confirm that high-grade nickel mineralization exists well outside the Tamarack Nickel Project’s resource area in the largely unexplored Raptor Zone.
Talon believes it has confirmed a new “system” of high-grade nickel-copper mineralization within the Tamarack Intrusive Complex and is planning to drill an additional 20,000 meters within the Raptor Zone to determine if the 1-2 meters of identified high-grade massive nickel sulphide mineralization further thickens. During the winter drilling program, Talon had two drill rigs focused solely on exploration drilling, with a total of eight drill rigs operating.
Exploration drilling during the winter season has also focused on drilling various geophysical targets located within and outside of Tamarack Nickel Project’s resource area, and drilling of these targets remains ongoing. With the completion of the company’s winter drilling program, Talon has plans for additional exploration drilling, with three to four drill rigs turning for the remainder of 2023. Exploration will focus on further drilling within the new Raptor Zone, with an additional 20,000 meters of drilling planned. Additionally, the company plans to drill between 3,000-5,000 meters in an area located approximately 1 km south of the Tamarack Nickel Project’s resource area, where historic high-grade massive nickel sulphides have been identified but not yet followed up on.
Table 1: Notable Assay Results from New Drill Holes in the Raptor Zone
|Raptor Zone: Head Area
|Raptor Zone: Crest Area
Talon Metals (TSX:TLO) has intercepted a new high-grade nickel-copper mineralization approximately 2 miles outside of the current nickel-copper resource area at the Tamarack Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Project in Minnesota. The company believes it has confirmed a new “system” of high-grade nickel-copper mineralization in the Tamarack Intrusive Complex. The exploration team has called the new nickel mineralization the “Raptor Zone”, which intersects high-grade nickel in the first 6 out of 9 holes roughly 2 miles from the current resource area.
Brian Goldner, Chief Exploration and Operations Officer of Talon, commented in a press release: “New drilling shows us that the Tamarack Intrusive Complex can be a district-scale nickel-copper resource right here in the United States. We’ve moved nearly 2 miles outside of the Company’s current nickel-copper resource area and successfully intercepted high-grade nickel-copper in a different intrusion (new system) as compared to the current resource area.
“While still early in the process, these preliminary results provide definitive evidence that the Tamarack Intrusive Complex has district-scale potential, and as a consequence of these exciting initial results, we intend to make further exploration along the Tamarack Intrusive Complex a priority in 2023.
“Last year’s discovery of the shallow high-grade nickel mineralization in the CGO West area started with only a small 1.3-meter intercept of high-grade nickel massive sulphide – that mineralization ultimately grew to nearly 14 meters thick only 25 meters away. I expect this same thickening could occur in the new area called the “Raptor Zone”, especially with the amount of unexplored space we have to work with.”
Highlights from the results are as follows:
The potential for additional high-grade nickel-copper mineralization within the 11-mile-long Tamarack Intrusive Complex has been recognized by Talon for some time. Talon’s primary focus to date has been the discovery and delineation of the Main Zone, the CGO West area and the CGO East area (collectively referred to as the “Company’s nickel-copper resource area”). To accomplish this growth, Talon spent the past 2 years building a complete in-house exploration team, incorporating among other things, a fleet of five Talon-owned and staffed drill rigs, along with precision borehole and surface geophysical guidance equipment. With the advancement of the delineation work, Talon’s in-house team has now been tasked with evaluating the exploration upside over the entire length of the 11-mile-long Tamarack Intrusive Complex starting at the northern end of the complex where the “Raptor Zone” has been identified. The name “Raptor” has been chosen given the resemblance to the iconic predator’s profile that shows up in the magnetic survey (see Figure 2).
Since September 2022, Talon has completed 9 new drill holes outside of the Company’s nickel-copper resource area, 6 of which have already intersected high-grade nickel-copper mineralization. These intercepts occur in 2 new areas of mineralization within the larger “Raptor Zone”, including the “Raptor’s Crest” (previously referred to as the 264 Zone) located approximately 1.8 miles (3 km) north of the Company’s nickel-copper resource area and the “Raptor’s Head” (previously referred to as the 221 Zone) located approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the Company’s nickel-copper resource area (see Figure 2). These two areas (Raptor’s Crest and Raptor’s Head) have very limited historic drilling, but assays do include high-grade nickel massive sulphide intercepts of up to 9.95% Ni1 and 9.33% Ni2 within these respective zones. Of note, in between the drill holes lie 1-mile (1.6 km) of ground that has never been drilled and therefore, this ground represents a high priority exploration target for the Company in 2023, given that it is bookended with high-grade nickel massive sulphide intercepts on both sides.
The Company’s recent drilling in the Raptor Zone has suggested that the intrusive depositing the high-grade nickel mineralization appears to be a completely different intrusive (i.e., a brand new “system” of mineralization) as compared to the Company’s nickel-copper resource area. Additionally, the nickel mineralization found in the Raptor Zone appears to be dominantly massive sulphide rip ups, suggesting that the massive sulphide was originally formed elsewhere and has been eroded and transported to where it currently resides. The Raptor Zone is following a similar trend (plunge and dip) and is parallel to the intrusive units in the Company’s nickel-coper resource area but lies at a different elevation below the resource and the down-dip projection of that structure lines up with the top of the Magnetotelluric (MT) anomaly, now named “Raptor’s Nest” (see Figure 3).
The nickel shortage and growing demand is pushing miners to expand exploration and production. This also comes on the heels of companies like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), that have announced plans to source more nickel for their electric vehicle batteries from environmentally sound projects.
Talon Metals (TSX:TLO) is one of the latest miners to announce expansion plans at their Minnesota-based nickel project. Tesla is a client of Talon’s and the Tamarack nickel-copper-cobalt project is one of the company’s major projects, of which is holds a 51% interest. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) holds the remaining 49%.
The Tamarack North and South projects are located in an 18-kilometer stretch of strike length with a significant land position (18 kilometers of strike length) and numerous high-grade intercepts outside the current resource area. The new rigs will be utilized outside of the main resource zone. If Talon chooses, it has an earn-in option to increase its interest to 60%.
The goal is for the firm to make staggered payments worth $22.5 million in cash and shares to partner Rio Tinto, invest $10 million in exploration and development, and complete a feasibility study in order to reach it.
The Supply Race is On
Rising demand from EV companies is driving automakers to secure steady supply of battery metals which include nickel, cobalt, and lithium. While most of the world’s nickel is used in stainless steel production, an increasing amount is being gobbled up by the battery sector as the production of EVs ramps up.
The market for electric vehicles is expected to grow rapidly in coming years, alongside the demand for these metals.
Nickel is beneficial to the development of lithium-ion batteries, which are increasingly being used in automobiles. It allows EVs to charge faster and farther between plug-ins by increasing the energy density of battery packs.
The price of nickel has increased to previously unseen heights in recent months, not surprisingly. In March, the price rose by an unprecedented 250 percent in a day, forcing the London Metal Exchange (LME) to halt trading in the metal.
EV Giants Scramble
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has noted that nickel supply is one of the company’s top concerns because of the amount used in each battery pack. The company is also eying a move into more direct control of raw materials, which would give it more control over its supply chain.
For now, however, miners are benefiting from the electric vehicle boom as they race to increase exploration and production. Talon Metals is just one of the many firms looking to take advantage of the perfect climate for them.
The sanctions against Russia resulting from the invasion of Ukraine have further heightened the need for nickel, which it holds about 17% of global capacity for refined Class 1 nickel, the type used for EVs.
Figure 1: 15.08 meters of mixed and massive sulphide nickel and copper mineralization in 21TK0355 beginning at 202.86 meters depth
Talon Metals Corp. reported that its Minnesota-based Tamarack Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Project is expanding. The company reported 31 new drill holes are located in the CGO West area, approximately 100 meters north-northwest of the Tamarack Nickel Project resource area. The new holes have intercepted nickel-copper mineralization, with assays pending.
Additional significant drill core intervals reported today (with assays pending) are as follows:
Notably, drill hole 21TK0355 intercepted 15.08 meters of mixed and massive nickel-copper mineralization starting at only 202.86 meters depth. With the intercept being deeper than the previously reported large layer of nickel and copper mineralization in the immediate vicinity, it is suspected that another layer of massive mineralization may be present at this location. Investigations of this location will continue in 2022.
The layer of nickel and copper mineralization lies within the CGO West area, to the southwest and at depth so drilling in 2022 will focus on this area.
Talon Metals CEO. Henri van Rooyen, said, “Our in-house geology, geophysics and geotechnical teams are going from strength to strength with the drilling program at the Tamarack Nickel Project. While maintaining a zealous focus on safety in a prolonged pandemic, the team is still able to deploy rigs in the right places, set records for meters drilled per day and significantly increase our understanding of the CGO West area.”
Dr. Etienne Dinel, Talon’s Vice President of Geology, has confirmed that the analytical and test procedures used are industry standard operating procedures and methodologies and has reviewed, approved and verified the technical information disclosed, including the sampling, analytical and test data underlying the technical information.
Figure 2: Plan view geological map of the northern portion of the Tamarack Nickel Project showing drill hole locations with nickel-copper mineralization intervals in the CGO West area
Figure 3: Section A represents a portion of the CGO West area looking east showing the thick intersections of nickel-copper mineralization
Figure 4: Section B represents a portion of the CGO West area looking east showing the thick intersections of nickel-copper mineralization
Talon is a TSX-listed base metals company in a joint venture with Rio Tinto on the high-grade Tamarack Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Project located in central Minnesota. Talon is focused on expanding its current resource of high-grade nickel mineralization prepared in accordance with NI 43-101; identifying additional high-grade nickel mineralization; and developing responsible processing capacity in the United States.
Talon recently entered into an agreement with Tesla Inc (Tesla) for the supply and purchase of nickel concentrate to be produced at the Tamarack Nickel Project. The deal will be execute following a due-diligence period performed by Tesla and negotiations.
Highlights of the agreement include:
Source: Green Car Congress
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|Lincoln Minerals Limited