Aston Bay Property
“The Aston Bay Property is a district-scale exploration play prospective for high-grade sediment-hosted Cu and Zn, in an attractive mining district with proven potential for world-class deposits. Outcropping high-grade mineralization at the Storm Copper prospect and Seal Zinc deposit belong to the same regional mineralizing event that formed Polaris, and past exploration has focused almost exclusively on these surface showings. The >1 million acre project area remains remarkably unexplored and Aston Bay is well-positioned to make the next major discovery in this district.”
The Nunavut Property is 100% owned by Aston Bay and located 112 km south of the community of Resolute Bay, Nunavut on western Somerset Island. The property is adjacent to tidewater on Aston Bay and comprises 12 prospecting permits and 133 contiguous mineral claims, which comprises of Storm Copper and Seal Zinc, covering an area of approximately 1,024,345 acres (414,537.9 hectares). The property has good access to shipping lanes, and the landscape provides favorable conditions for development of roads and a protected deep-water port. Exploration is supported through excellent infrastructure in the nearby hamlet of Resolute Bay.
Historical exploration around the Nunavut Property has defined two distinct styles of mineralization, each associated with its own specific stratigraphic horizon. The stratabound Seal Zinc (“Zn”) deposit occurs in Early to Middle Ordovician Ship Point Formation rocks. The stratigraphic and structurally controlled Storm Copper (“Cu”) showings occur at least 800 metres (“m”) higher in the stratigraphic column in the Late Ordovician to Late Silurian Allen Bay Formation (Cook and Moreton, 2000).
Mineralization at the Seal Zn deposit is primarily hosted within a quartz arenite unit with interbedded dolostone and sandy dolostone of the Ordovician Ship Point Formation. Mineralization at the Storm Cu showings is epigenetic, carbonate-hosted and lies within an intracratonic rift basin that has been modified by folding and faulting. The mineralization is spatially associated with the north and south boundary faults of the Central Graben. This structure is interpreted as a pull-apart basin developed as a result of translational movement along basement-rooted faults. The basal Aston Formation red beds are thought to be a plausible source of metals for the mineralization at both the Seal Zn and Storm Cu showings.
The area has been an exploration target since 1960 when mineralization was first discovered while conducting oil and gas exploration in the region. From early 1964 until 2007, Teck Resources Ltd., formerly Cominco Ltd. (“Teck”), was actively conducting exploration within Aston Bay’s property. Commander Resources Ltd. acquired prospecting permits in the area after the land package held by Teck lapsed in 2007.
Exploration on the Property:
Aston Bay’s 2017 Geophysical Program
A property-wide Falcon Plus Airborne Gravity Gradiometry survey was conducted by CGG Multi-Physics. The new high-resolution survey was completed over two large blocks within the Nunavut Property area and acquired a total of 15,327 line-kilometres of data at a line spacing of 200m (Figure 1). The Property is underlain mainly by very shallow-dipping Paleozoic carbonate strata. The survey was designed to detect horst-graben features indicative of potentially favourable “structural plumbing” for stratiform base metal mineralization, as well as detection of blind, sub-surface mineralization within the carbonate strata.
Key areas covered by the survey include the Storm Copper prospect and Seal Zinc deposit in the northern block, and the Typhoon Zinc prospect and nearby target areas in the south. All three areas returned strong gravity responses that were evaluated in detail by the Company’s geological and geophysical team prior to selection of diamond drill targets for the 2018 summer field program currently underway.
The Storm Copper prospect and Seal Zinc deposit occur with the northern survey block, characterized by a mainly east-west structural-stratigraphic grain. The Storm prospect comprises four high-grade, dominantly chalcocite occurrences associated with an east-west graben, partially delineated by prior diamond drilling (Figure 2). Copper-silver mineralization occurs both in close association with steeply dipping graben-bounding faults and as broadly stratiform mineralization lateral to the faults. The gravity survey returned strong responses along and within the graben, including three anomalies spatially associated with the 4100N, 2750N and 2200N occurrences; these anomalies extend well beyond the current drilling and are potential drill targets.
A fourth composite gravity anomaly occurs along the eastern extension of the Storm graben and is spatially associated with the Tornado copper occurrence, which to date has seen only two diamond drill holes. The gravity data suggest the presence of a second-order graben on the northern flank of the main structure, to date untested. A fifth gravity anomaly occurs along the northern flank of the Storm graben, west along strike from the large 4100N occurrence, and is also poorly tested to date.
The Seal Zinc deposit occurs on tidewater west of the Storm prospect, and comprises disseminated to massive sphalerite-pyrite-marcasite mineralization primarily in arenaceous sandstone at the base of dolostones of the Ship Point Formation. Previous drilling by Teck outlined a small but high-grade historic zinc-silver resource that was constructed prior to the implementation of NI 43-101 standards and that should not be relied upon. The historic resource was the subject of an independent NI 43-101 resource estimation (see the Seal Zinc section below). Newly acquired gravity data over both the Seal Zinc deposit area and the rocks along stratigraphic trend to the NW and SE delineate a strong gravity response coincident with the mineralization and the trend. The anomalous areas to the NW and SE have not previously been tested by diamond drilling. The Polaris zinc-lead deposit was discovered by drilling a blind gravity target in the vicinity of small surface showings, and the Company is encouraged by the potential for blind mineralization associated with these targets.
The southern, relatively poorly known, part of the Nunavut Property is underlain by north-south trending Paleozoic carbonate and Precambrian basement strata, with several base metal showings and areas of geological complexity of interest to Aston Bay. The central part of this area was covered by the new survey, which outlined a strong north-south pattern of alternating gravity highs and lows, possibly indicative of favourable horst-and-graben structures. Further refinement of the geology and survey results will be completed to guide ongoing exploration.
Aston Bay’s 2018 Drill Program
Aston Bay’s 2018 drill program consisted of 3,135 metres of drilling over a total of nine drill holes targeting high-grade copper mineralization in the vicinity of Storm Copper and adjacent prospects, as well as targeting Polaris-type zinc mineralization at the Seal Zinc deposit and the Seal South prospect. The program comprised seven holes at the Storm copper prospect and two along strike from the Seal zinc deposit. Targets were based primarily on interpreted gravity gradiometry anomalies proximal to known mineralisation at Storm and Seal. Unusually challenging weather reduced the planned meterage for this drill season and several anomalies remain untested. The majority of the drill holes were relatively shallow at approximately 300m or less (Table 1).
VTEM and gravity gradiometry delineate copper mineralization at Storm
At Storm, hole AB18-09 targeted a 200 by 200 metre VTEM anomaly coincident with the western flank of a gravity anomaly, ~2.2 kilometres along strike from the 2750N zone (Figures 4 and 5). An historical drill hole, ST97-15, was drilled northwards to intersect local copper mineralisation (3m grading 1.5% Cu) on what Aston Bay’s modelling interpreted as the flank of the VTEM anomaly. Drill hole AB18-09 was drilled southwards and intersected significant copper in variably brecciated dolomudstone of the Allen Bay Formation from 39 to 83 metres downhole, primarily as fracture-controlled chalcocite with lesser to minor chalcopyrite, native copper and cuprite. Significant results within the 44m copper mineralized zone include:
- from 39.0 to 40.5m, 1.5 m grading 4.39% Cu and 9.76 g/t Ag
- and, from 62.5 to 83m, 20.5m grading 0.56% Cu
- including, from 74.0 to 76.0m, 2.0m grading 2.54% Cu
These results demonstrate the continued effectiveness of VTEM, in conjunction with modelled gravity gradiometry, in detecting shallow copper sulphides. The remaining holes at Storm intersected local pyrite mineralisation, primarily in Allen Bay dolomudstones (Figures 5 and 6). The origin of these targeted gravity gradiometry anomalies remains unclear: variations in bulk rock density, topography and depth to target are possible explanations being investigated in advance of targeting and drill planning for the 2019 season. Density data obtained from this year’s core drilling will be instrumental in improving the targeting. Numerous gravity targets in the vicinity of the ~5km-long Storm graben remain untested, and drilling to date has been shallow relative to the prospectivity for stratiform mineralisation at depth.
Gravity target yields new zinc mineralized zone south of Seal
At Seal, only two holes were completed due to challenging weather conditions and an initial focus on Storm targets (Figures 7 and 8). Nonetheless, drilling was successful in discovering an interpreted extension of the Seal mineralised system approximately 1.2 km southwards along strike, in the northernmost part of the Seal South area and adjacent to tidewater. Drill hole AB18-06B targeted the extreme northern end of an 800m long positive gravity gradiometry anomaly (S12 on Figure 8) coincident with local subcropping sphalerite-pyrite mineralisation. After passing through locally weakly mineralised sandstone and dolomite of the lower Ship Point Formation, host to the Seal deposit, the drill hole intersected significant sphalerite mineralisation between 109.5 m and 136.0 m within moderately to strongly altered pseudobreccia, pyrite/marcasite and rubbly dolostone and limestone of the Turner Cliffs Formation. Results include:
- from 125.0 to 131.0m, 6.0m grading 0.67% Zn,
- including from 127 to 129m, 2.0m grading 1.11% Zn.
As at Seal, the mineralised pseudobreccia in AB180-06B is considered analogous to pseudobreccia present at the Polaris deposit, where it occurs as a lateral hydrothermal alteration equivalent to ore. The discovery of mineralised pseudobreccia at Seal South in the Turner Cliffs Formation is interpreted as a favourable indicator of hydrothermal alteration and the potential for additional stratiform zinc mineralisation in vicinity of Seal.
The last hole of the 2018 Seal program, AB18-08, was collared 100 m southeast along strike from AB18-06B. It intersected, at a similar position in the Turner Cliffs Formation, a 1m zone of sphalerite mineralisation from 132.0 to 133.0m grading 0.16% Zn, within a broader zone of weak mineralisation. Core recoveries in the zone were poor, only 38% in the specified interval.
The remaining ~700m strike length of the S12 gravity anomaly is untested and is a promising drill target for 2019. Four additional priority anomalies, S13 – S16, occur in close proximity to the Seal deposit (Figure 8) and also are untested, as are several other anomalies at Seal North (see August 1, 2018 press release).
The Storm Copper project is located on Somerset Island, Nunavut, approximately 20 kilometres from tidewater at Aston Bay. Storm Copper is a strata-bound and structurally-hosted copper zone of mineralization, hosted in dolomitic sediments of the Allen Bay Formation. Hypogene copper mineralization is present at surface and identified to a depth of at least 100 metres in the form of chalcocite, bornite, covellite and chalcopyrite. Malachite and azurite are common oxide coatings. The geologic setting, mineralogy and zonation suggest affinities to sediment-hosted copper deposits.
Storm Copper has been explored intermittently since the 1960s; however, most of the historic work on the property was undertaken by Cominco Ltd. (now Teck Resources Ltd).
Sixty-seven holes (9,032.5 metres) were drilled at Storm between 1996 and 2000. These efforts defined four separate zones of copper mineralization — 2200N, 2750N, 3500N, and 4100N Zones — all of which remain open both laterally and vertically.
Highlights from the historic drilling at Storm Copper include:
- 110 metres (m) core length grading 2.45% copper (Cu) from surface at the 2750N Zone
- 56m core length grading 3.07% Cu from 12.2m depth at the 2750N Zone
- 49m core length grading 1.79% Cu starting at surface at the 2200N Zone
In addition to the historical drill results, a 3,970 line-kilometre Versatile Time Domain Electromagnetic (VTEM) airborne survey was completed over the property in 2011. The spatial correlation of conductance anomalies with mineralized intercepts in the historic drilling suggests that the near-surface copper mineralized zones of the Storm copper property can be accurately mapped and modeled with electromagnetic techniques. Three of the twelve holes drilled by BHP Billiton in 2016 targeted VTEM anomalies; all three intersected copper mineralization, including:
- 16m core length grading 3.07% Cu, starting at 93 m from surface at 4100N Zone (STOR1601D)
Aston Bay believes the Storm Copper project holds significant potential for further development, and is also indicates the potential for other mineralized zones concealed in the subsurface elsewhere on the property.
The Seal Zinc deposit is located at the base of a small peninsula approximately 350 m from tidewater at Aston Bay on Somerset Island, Nunavut. It is located 20 kilometres north-west of the Storm Copper project and is situated along the same structural trend.
The Seal Zinc deposit occurs predominantly as massive sphalerite and pyrite in the Ship Point Formation. Mineralization is hosted in an 8-to-10 metre (m) thick porous and permeable basal quartz-arenite with interbeds of dolostone and sandy dolostone. Zinc mineralization is present in two forms within the Seal Zinc showing: coarse-grained, reddish-brown blackjack sphalerite and honey yellow, colloform sphalerite. The zinc mineralization occurs as local to complete replacement of the sandy dolostone interbeds as well as interstitial disseminations in massive sandstone beds.
The prospect was evaluated with drilling by Cominco Ltd. between 1995 and 2001. During this time a total of 5,115 m of core was drilled in 32 holes. These efforts defined a zone of strata-bound zinc and silver mineralization that remains open. Highlights from the drilling are presented in the table below:
- 18.8 m core length grading 10.58% zinc (Zn) and 28.7 g/t silver (Ag) starting from 51 m depth.
- 30.8 m core length grading 5.11% Zn and 23.0 g/t Ag starting from 101 m depth.
2018 Technical Report on Seal Zinc Deposit
During the 2018 fiscal year, Aston Bay completed an initial mineral resource on its 100% owned Seal Zinc deposit. The deposit is a stratabound body hosted in sandy dolostone and sandstone within a thick section of Paleozoic dolostones, and was discovered by Teck in the mid-1990s. The Seal Zinc deposit is approximately 30 km to the west of the high-grade Storm Copper prospect.
The Seal Zinc deposit is estimated to contain 1.006 million tonnes (“Mt”) at a grade of 10.24% zinc and 46.5 grams per tonne (“g/t”) silver, using a cutoff of 4.0% zinc equivalent. The estimate is based on diamond drilling conducted by Teck in 1995-96 and Noranda in 2001.
Known mineralization has a thickness of up to 20 m, extends for over 400 m along strike and 50 to 100 m down-dip, and is partially fault-bound. Seal Zinc is interpreted to be a Mississippi Valley–type (“MVT”) deposit, with geological similarities to the Polaris deposit located to the north in the same Paleozoic dolostone succession. A large hydrothermal “pseudobreccia” alteration zone in the footwall of the deposit contains minor zinc mineralization and probably represents the feeder zone. MVT deposits are known to occur in clusters, and Aston Bay believes there is exploration potential along strike for discovery of additional mineralization.
The report titled “Initial Mineral Resource Estimate and Technical Report for the Seal Zinc Deposit, Nunavut Property, Somerset Island, Nunavut” is effective as of October 6, 2017 and signed January 17, 2018 (the “Technical Report”). The Technical Report was authored by independent Qualified Persons at P&E Mining Consultants Inc., and is in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. The Technical Report is available at the bottom of this webpage and at www.sedar.com under the Company’s profile.
Highlights of the Technical Report include:
- P&E considers that the zinc and silver mineralization of the Seal Zinc deposit is potentially amenable to underground extraction;
- Recent geochronology on the nearby Storm Copper mineralization produced an age of 378.1 ± 1.3 Ma (Stein, 2016), within the range of uncertainty for the age of zinc mineralization at the nearby past-producing (20.1 Mt @ 13.4% Zn) Polaris mine at 374 ± 9 Ma (Selby et al., 2005; Dewing et al., 2007), and hence linking the Cu and Zn-Ag mineralization to the same regional metalliferous fluid flow event; and
- The Nunavut Property hosts a geological environment that is very favourable for additional base metal discovery, and further regional exploration is warranted to identify new areas of mineralization.
Highlights of the recommendations include:
- Evaluate data from the 2017 property-wide Falcon Plus airborne gravity gradiometry survey conducted by CGG Multi-Physics to further inform target definition;
- Further investigate the numerous copper and zinc anomalies along the 144 km structural trend; and
- Identify and prioritize future drilling targets.
Qualified Person Statement:
Michael Dufresne, M.Sc. P.Geol., Consultant and Chief Geologist of Aston Bay Holdings is the “Qualified Person” as defined by National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Dufresne has supervised the preparation of the technical information contained on this website and materials herein as they relate to the Storm Copper and Seal Zinc projects.
© 2019, Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Not a solicitation to sell securities. Information herein may contain “forward-looking statements” and is not NI 43-101 compliant.