Finore Mining Inc CNX:FIN announced an updated NI 43-101 resource estimate for its Läntinen Koillismaa palladium-platinum-gold-copper-nickel project in north-central Finland. The LK project’s Kaukua deposit is calculated to have indicated resources of 2.6 million tonnes containing 56,112 ounces palladium, 18,425 ounces platinum, 5,862 ounces gold, 4,429 tonnes copper and 3,126 tonnes nickel. The Kaukua and Haukiaho deposits together have inferred resources of 28.1 million tonnes containing 370,998 ounces palladium, 130,311 ounces platinum, 84,770 ounces gold, 60,567 tonnes copper and 38,703 tonnes nickel. Finore is currently earning an undivided 80% interest in the LK Project as part of the Option Agreement with Nortec Minerals Corp TSXV:NVT.
Finore CEO Ian Laurent tells ResourceClips.com, “It’s a project that was initially discovered by the Geological Survey of Finland in the late 1960s. They drilled a few holes every odd year between the late 1960s up until 2004. They had intersected some mineralization but never really drilled it to any resource level. But they kept all the core in an all-weather storage facility just outside of Helsinki, and you’re allowed to go in and log it and even sample it. In 2007 [the project] was presented to Nortec Minerals for an option agreement for 70% initially, then 100%. I was VP of Nortec at the time, and it was my responsibility to take that project at least to a resource stage. So we drilled 10,000 metres on Kaukua, and we relogged the 7,000 metres on Haukiaho. Kaukua is the northern prospect, and Haukiaho is the southern one.
“With all that drilling in 2010 Nortec commissioned a 43-101 technical report. That mineral resource estimate came back with inferred resources at both projects combined of just over 32 million tonnes for nearly 700,000 ounces of palladium, platinum and gold combined, 60,000-odd tonnes of copper, and 40,000-odd tonnes of nickel. In the meantime, we’d also conducted some metallurgical test work through a consultant out of Vancouver by the name of Chris Martin, who’s done a lot of work on this style of deposit, which is a layered mafic-intrusion hosted complex. Chris had a lot of experience with this type of deposits in Russia, Finland, South Africa and northern Ontario. So he was instrumental in finding the right recipe for this and was quite encouraged. Even more so, because he was working on a project 80 kilometres to the west of ours, owned by Gold Fields, called the Arctic Platinum project. It sits at about 250 million tonnes of indicated and measured resources, with over 12 million ounces of palladium-platinum-gold and about 2 million tonnes of copper and nickel. Coincidentally, when Nortec released the metallurgical results, Gold Fields had got in contact with Chris Martin and commissioned him to help unlock the recipe for their project. Now Gold Fields have already put in a pilot plant; it was quite successful; and their now moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Their project is 10 years older than ours, and they’ve drilled 10 times as much.
The upside is we’re hoping to triple the resource. And that’s going to be maybe only 20% of the known mineralization—Ian Laurent
“In 2011, Nortec was trying hard to develop its Ecuadorian interests, with mixed results, and the Finnish project got a bit of a back seat,” Laurent continues. “Cash flow was quite tough for the company. So a decision was made to develop a spinoff or find a suitor. And Otterburn Ventures—renamed Finore Mining—was a perfect vehicle for that. We had $4.5 million to $5 million dollars in the kitty and already had a very strong team. They saw the opportunity. They saw that this project had substantial value because, let’s face it, at the moment it has an inferred resource of nearly 700,000 ounces of palladium, platinum and gold, which has a weighted average spot price of $1,000 an ounce. As well as 60,000 tonnes of copper, 40,000 tonnes of nickel. You’re already dealing with a multimillion-dollar project in the ground. And of course, there’s the upside.
“So Finore—Otterburn at the time—signed a deal to option an 80% interest from Nortec, and one of the provisos was that I leave Nortec and take on the role of CEO for Finore. Since then, we’ve commissioned the drill rigs—we’re drilling now—and you’ll get results soon.”
Regarding the LK project’s recent press release, Laurent comments, “Even the original [resource estimate] that was done for Nortec in March of last year was not up to my expectations.” He explains, “The qualified person that carried out the resource estimate—a very experienced resource geologist—was very biased to nickel and base metals. What I struggled to tell him was that over 40% of the mineralization is held in the precious metals. So if you’re going to be limiting your geological model to anything, it should be the precious metals. He disagreed, so it was like it or lump it. I lumped it.
“It’s not a bad thing,” Laurent continues, “because it helps me when I’m explaining to others where the upside is, that the resource we will do after Finore’s drilling campaign is complete will show a much more realistic estimate based on the precious metals. And the copper and nickel credits, which are very substantial, will support this resource. The importance is the upside of the project. This southern target Haukiaho is 3.8 kilometres of strike right now which we’re testing, which is going to involve a lot of drilling. We have another seven kilometres of strike with drilling every 200 or 300 metres that has intersected exactly the same sort of mineralization. So the upside is we’re hoping to triple the resource. And that’s going to be maybe only 20% of the known mineralization.
“There is the perception that the CNSX is not a strong liquid marketplace, which is a reason to move the company across to the TSXV. Finore still has $2 million to $3 million in the kitty, and we already have a lot of strong interest on this side of the ditch, and in Canada as well, to participate up to $10 million. Canaccord’s been a very strong supporter of Finore; they’ve seen the story now and like what it is and what it’s got. So now it’s just a matter of getting that information out there.
Laurent adds, “The claim areas of the project make up 3,750 hectares. It’s Finland, so low political risk. Groups like Agnico-Eagle TSX:AEM, First Quantum TSX:FM, Australian companies Altona Mining and Dragon Mining, and of course Anglo American are all quite active operators in the country. It’s not necessarily known by the North American market that you have two large Canadian-listed companies operating in Finland, or that you have the fourth largest gold producer—Gold Fields—operating there. And their’s isn’t even a gold project. We can operate all year round; we’re close to infrastructure; we have sealed roads all the way through the project. So from an operating point of view it’s quite pleasing to be in Finland. And we have huge community support.
“We’re an exploration company first and foremost, and have an excellent exploration team out there. Our experience is taking the projects to prefeasibility, with the view that once we have this project fully permitted and ready to go it then becomes a product of value to a lot of the majors that are already operating in Scandinavia, and a lot of majors who wish to get into Scandinavia. Gold Fields hopes to be in production with their project by 2015, which fits in well because they could easily look at us as the next target acquisition. So there are a lot of potential exit strategies as well.
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by Ted Niles