District Metals’ polymetallic Tomtebo project in Sweden
Located in the central area of the country, the Bergslagen district is home to some world-class metal mines like Garpenberg, Zinkgruvan, and Falun. But despite its long history of mining, Sweden is still off the radar of many international investors. The country is Europe’s leading mining nation, accounting for 91% of the continent’s iron ore, 9% of the copper, and 24-39% of its lead, zinc, silver, and gold.
Sweden’s Boliden, which owns Garpenberg, is its largest mining company, but the country is also home to projects being explored by Lundin Mining and Agnico Eagle Mines. That said, international investment in exploration is still extremely limited – deterred by the notion of high taxes, an active environmental movement, and elevated labour costs.
Vancouver-based District is hoping to change that perception with its Tomtebo property, an advanced exploration project that covers an area of 5,144 hectares around 175 kilometers (km) northwest from Stockholm, Sweden’s capital. Thanks to the district’s long history of mining, infrastructure like roads, railway, and power lines surround the project. Boliden’s Garpenberg, which was once referred to as the world’s most productive underground zinc mine, is 25km south of Tomtebo. District Metals sees a number of geological similarities between Garpenberg and Tomtebo, from host rocks, structure, alteration, and mineralization styles. Historic production at Tomtebo comprised 120,000 tonnes at 4.4% copper intermittently for over 200 years, but the area has seen little to no exploration in the intervening period. In 2018, former owner EMX Royalties Corp assayed eight rock grab samples from dump piles that ranged from 0.2% to 3% copper, 0.1 to 2.5 grams per ton (g/t) gold, 0.1 to 20.1% zinc, 0.1% to 10.8% lead, and 3.1 to 383 g/t silver. Today, District Metals is looking to apply modern systemic exploration techniques at Tomtebo in an effort to unlock the property’s potential – and put an under-the-radar mining district on the international map.
Since acquiring the project from EMX in February 2020, District Metals has been busy assembling the pieces to start its aggressive exploration campaign at Tomtebo.
In July 2020, the firm began an airborne electromagnetic and magnetic survey at Tomtebo – the first time a deep penetrating airborne study has been carried out at the site. The survey covered the entire Tomtebo property with around 600 line-kilometers at a line spacing of 100 metres (m) and detecting conductive polymetallic sulphide mineralization at depths of 500m or more.
On March 15, 2021, after months of preparation and armed with nearly $5 million raised in a private placement, the company finally started drilling with a 5,000m, 21-hole program targeting four zones — Oscarsgruvan, Steffenburgs, Gårdsgruvans, and Gamla Gruvans.
Two weeks later, District Metals announced that a ground survey revealed numerous gravity high anomalies on the property. The anomalies were located at the historic Tomtebo mine, both within and outside of the known mineralized zones, confirming the mineralized domains that offer “immense expansion potential.”
The gravity high anomalies at the mine reveal an exploration target of over 72 million tons (Mt) at a density of 3.5 grams per square centimetre (g/cm3) from near-surface down to a depth of 650m.
Another significant blind gravity high anomaly was identified 1 km northeast along trend from the historic Tomtebo mine that is open to the northeast and at depth where an exploration target of 34Mt at a density of 3.5 g/cm3 was modeled at shallow depths. Yet another anomaly was identified 600m southwest of the mine that is associated with historic iron sulphide occurrences, which are known to sometimes coalesce with polymetallic sulphide mineralization in the Bergslagen Mining District. In April, after drilling 1,377m in seven holes, the company sent drill core samples from three holes for analysis. It expects the results to arrive by late May.
On the personnel front, the company recently appointed Marlis Yassin as its new chief financial officer, taking over from Gavin Cooper who had been in the role since 2017. Cooper will continue to work with District Metals as a consultant. Yassin has over 15 years’ experience working with companies in various sectors, including mining, technology, and industrial products.
District Metals also named Hein Raat as its country manager for Sweden in the run-up to the Tomtebo drilling program. Raat is a professional geologist (EurGeol) with extensive experience exploring for base and precious metal deposits in Scandinavia and Europe. He was a geologist for the Boliden Group in Sweden for eight years, with the last four years being focused on polymetallic projects in the Bergslagen district. In addition, Rodney Allen, who did his PhD in volcanic resources, has been appointed as a technical advisor to the company. He was manager of Geology Research and Development for the Boliden Group in Sweden for 10 years.
“We are very pleased with the progression of our maiden drill program at Tomtebo,” District Metals CEO Garrett Ainsworth said in a recent statement.
“Our technical team and drill crew in the field are firing on all cylinders, which has resulted in optimized production from the drill rig with best practices being carried out with regards to health, safety, and the environment,” he added.
United Lithium’s purification protocol for lithium project in Sweden
The Bergby lithium project, located in central Sweden 25km north of Gavle, was staked by Leading Edge in 2016. It covers three exploration permits for a total of 1903Ha.
Canadian producer United Lithium has chosen Process Research Ortech to develop a leaching and purification protocol for the hard rock lithium deposits at United’s Bergby Lithium Project in Sweden.
Process Research Ortech has been tasked with developing mineral processing and metallurgical process flow-sheets for the recovery of lithium from hard rock spodumene mineralisation. The process will take around 16-22 weeks, and is a necessary step towards commercialisation of lithium extraction and purification from the spodumene through a planned pilot project, said United.
United Lithium signed a non-binding Letter of Intent with Leading Edge Materials covering the 100% acquisition of the Bergby Lithium project last December.
New investments for Sweden’s mining industry transformation
In early November, Sweden’s state-owned mining company LKAB announced it had created the world’s first “fossil-free” iron ore pellets, with biofuel taking the place of oil and coal during the heating process.
LKAB said it would invest up to 400 billion Swedish kronor ($46.6 billion) to “achieve net-zero carbon emissions from its own processes and products by 2045”.
LKAB has committed to investing hundreds of billions of kronor to go carbon-neutral by 2045, described as potentially the largest industrial investment ever in the Nordic country. Investments of between 10 and 20 billion kronor would be made yearly over a period of 15 to 20 years, the company said.
“This is the biggest transformation in the company’s 130-year history and could end up being the largest industrial investment ever made in Sweden,” Jan Moström, president and CEO of LKAB, said in a statement.
The strategy to reach net-zero emissions would focus on three branches, one being a new standard for mining and another the use of fossil-free technology to extract strategic minerals from today’s mining waste. Lastly the company would leverage green energy, likely using hydrogen, to produce another form of iron known as “sponge iron” rather than traditional iron ore pellets, greatly reducing emissions during the steel-making process.
“In switching from iron ore pellets to carbon-free sponge iron we are taking an important step forward in the value chain, increasing the value of our products and at the same time giving our customers direct access to carbon-free iron,” Moström said.
The development of fossil-free “sponge iron” is part of a joint project between LKAB, steelmaker SSAB and state-owned utility Vattenfall with the aim of developing a fossil-free process for producing steel, which relies on the combination of iron ore and coal. According to LKAB, their Swedish operations currently produce 700,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, or about four percent of Sweden’s industrial emissions, making it Sweden’s fourth largest emitter. The mining giant added that global steel and iron production today accounted for about seven percent of the world’s emissions, and that widespread use of “sponge iron” could greatly reduce global emissions. LKAB also said the transition would mean the creation of 3,000 jobs but with the steel market “forecasted to grow by 50 percent by the year 2050”, LKAB also expected their carbon-free offering would also greatly increase its revenues. During the transition, LKAB would continue to sell “iron ore pellets in parallel with developing carbon-free sponge iron”, the company said. During a press conference, Moström however also pointed to a number of challenges that had to be overcome to achieve the transition, including the need for technological developments and large-scale production of green energy to power facilities.
Isadora Wronski, head of Greenpeace Sweden, said they welcomed LKAB’s “ambition to remove fossil energy from their processes”. but added that the aim of going fossil-free was “not enough.”
“Industries first and foremost need to reduce their use of resources… and the energy used needs to be sustainable, eliminating any plans for large-scale bio energy use,” Wronski said in an emailed statement to AFP.
Swedish LKAB intends to start graphite mining and battery production
“Having more legs to stand on that can deliver for the company is a good thing”, says David Högnelid of LKAB as this Swedish mining company signed a non-binding Letter of Intent with Talga and Mitsui with the intent to jointly develop the Talga project in Northern Sweden, according to an LKAB press release.
Australian-based Talga owns 100 percent of the graphite mining project Vittangi in Kiruna municipality, Northern Sweden. The development plan includes the construction of a facility for producing lithium batteries in North Bothnia. Mitsui is a global trade and investment company with headquarters in Japan.
Feasibility study coming up
According to Chief Marketing & Communications Officer David Högnelid at LKAB’s special products business area, Talga will conduct and submit a feasibility study prior to the parties’ negotiating ownership and investments. The detailed feasibility study is expected to be submitted in March 2021.
“We are now three parties having a dialogue and our ambition is to realize this together. Once we have a detailed feasibility study, we can go into more detail about how to do this”, Högnelid says to High North News.
Wants to diversify
LKAB refers to growth in the market for industrial minerals being a “strategic activity to reduce dependency on the iron ore market, which today accounts for some 90 percent of external sales”.
“Reducing this dependency is one of the reasons why we strengthen our industry and mineral activity, Högnelid says.
“We are mainly an iron ore company and right now that market is good. We recently introduced our most recent quarterly report demonstrating solid results; however, we are also affected by external factors such as the dollar exchange rate and the iron ore index, as well as prices on the world market, which we do not control. Thus, we are subject to market fluctuations. It is therefore good for us to have more than one leg to stand on, to deliver to the company.”
The company further states that there is also a clear sustainability-based rationale coupled with the growth ambition, to recycle and upgrade by-products and waste streams.
“Additionally, the growth will be accelerated through selected acquisitions and investments that offer synergies with LKAB’s market, operations and sustainability ambitions. Talga, with its proximity to LKAB’s existing mining operations in Northern Sweden, may offer synergies with resources, skills and infrastructure.”
“Graphite, which Talga works with, is a product classified as a critical raw material by the EU, and we see that there are many potential synergies between our and Talga’s products. Operationally, we have mining near where Talga is planning on operating. We are a major mining actor and there are interests which we want to explore further”, Högnelid adds.
Gungnir Resources’ gold exploring in Sweden
Gungnir Resources Inc is an explorer with gold and base metal permits in the prolific Vasterbotten district of Sweden, which has a long history of mining. The district hosts 12 million ounces of gold, which has been defined in existing and mined resources. The area is also home to several past-producing and producing volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) base metal mines. For example, there is the is the Boliden mine, a 4 million ounce (Moz) past-producer, and the Agnico Eagle joint ventured Barsele gold deposit where over 2 million ounces of the yellow metal had been defined as of February last year..
Gungnir’s main focus is the Knaften project, which lies at the south end of the so-called Knaften-Barsele Arc (Gold Line), which hosts a number of gold deposits including Faboliden and Svartliden (Dragon Mining), and the above mentioned Barsele Gold-VMS project. The asset hosts high-grade gold, VMS (zinc-copper) and copper-nickel targets, all open for expansion. Notably, in the past three years – 2017, 2018 and 2019 – the company has carried out drilling it has made three new discoveries at Knaften.
Gungnir also holds permits covering two nickel deposits called Lappvattnet and Rormyrberget, which together host about 71 million pounds of nickel in historic resources, and lie 100 kilometres (km) and 60 km, respectively, from Knaften, covering 471.3 hectares.
It also holds the Norrbotten gold and base metal claims, namely five permits totalling 25 square kilometres (sq km). The permits cover significant gold, silver and copper mineralized boulders/blocks alone a north-west trending corridor, which sits around 200 km north of the Knaften project.
Gungnir has said it is fully funded to continue drilling in 2020. On August 7, it reported material exploration news, saying it had “significantly” expanded mineralization via drilling at the Knaften 300 gold zone at the Knaften project. Last year at the zone, Gungnir identified a stacked gold system including a new lower zone with high-grade gold including 59.6 grams per ton (g/t) gold over 1 metre within a broader interval grading 14.07 g/t of the yellow metal over 4.25 metres at Knaften.
Gold mineralization at Knaften 300 is associated with disseminated arsenopyrite zones ranging from about two to 20 metres wide, typically five metres, the firm has said. The zone is open at depth and along strike, and regionally, a magnetic low trend is an obvious target extending several kilometres along strike. In 2018, the firm discovered a new VMS target called Rodingstrask and only nine holes have so far tested it, while in 2017 it discovered a Knaften copper-nickel target.
In July 2020 the group reported re-sampling results of archived drill core from its two nickel deposits. At Rormyrberget, the results included 2.33% nickel over 12.5 metres. Looking ahead, Gungnir says the next steps at Knaften are to drill-test several targets focused on high-grade gold. East of Knaften, the firm plans to update historic nickel-copper-cobalt resources on its Lappvattnet and Rormyrberget claims. Also at these assets, Gungnir continues to evaluate archived drill core for platinum group metals (PGEs).
In a statement in July, Gungnir’s chief executive Jari Paakki said: “The next planned step at our nickel projects is to update the historic estimates to current resources with a view of strengthening nickel prices in the near-future. Our current exploration focus in Sweden is gold.”
“Drilling is on-going at our Knaften project focused on expanding our 2019 high-grade gold discovery of 59.60 g/t Au over 1.0 metre within a mineralized interval grading 14.07 g/t Au over 4.25 metres. Results of our exploration work will be made available through the summer and fall,” he added.
Dark Horse’s explorations and acquisitions in Finland and Sweden
Australian resource company Dark Horse Resources Ltd is exploring for large gold deposits. Dark Horse announced in June to have entered a partially binding term sheet with Sotkamo Silver AB to acquire Tampere Gold Project in Finland and Bergslagen Tungsten Project in Sweden. The transaction is planned to be completed against an upfront payment of €150,000 and transaction documentation expenses in the European countries.
The company has released an update on the acquisition of Finland gold and Sweden tungsten exploration tenements and the ongoing share purchase plan for existing shareholders.
Dark Horse’s Finnish and Swedish Exploration Permits
The Tampere Gold Project includes 7 highly prospective gold exploration permits in the Tampere region of Finland, Hopeavuori (2 permits), Isovesi, Järvenpää, Kalliojärvi, Lavajärvi and Metsäkylä. These permits are in close proximity, covering a total area of 286Ha. Moreover, the project lies within 100km of Tampere that currently hosts 3 gold mines- Orivesi, Jokisivu and Kaapelinkulma, and a processing facility at Vammala- all operated by Dragon Mining Limited.
The Bergslagen Tungsten Project holds 7 exploration permits in the fecund Bergslagen mining district of Sweden, covering a total area of 11,012Ha. The project consists of Yxsjöberg, Gubbo, Hörken, Högfors, Sandudden and Gänsen Prospects. On 7 July 2020, Dark Horse Resources updated to have established two separate wholly owned subsidiaries to hold the Finnish gold permits and Swedish tungsten permits, respectively. The Company has already appointed a Company Administrator to manage its corporate affairs in Finland. Additionally, accountants, auditors and legal counsel have been appointed. The Permit Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Dark Horse and Sotkamo Silver AB has advanced and is expected to close within the very near future. The agreement also includes a 45-day exclusivity term between the two parties. Upon completion of the agreement, the permits will be transferred from Sotkamo to Dark Horse’s wholly owned subsidiaries. The process for such permit transfers in Sweden and Finland is anticipated to take 1 to 2 months.
Tampere Gears Up for Upcoming Drilling Program
An extensive re-evaluation of the geological and exploration data is underway by Dark Horse’s exploration team, which is also finalising the design of a drilling program at the Finland Tampere Gold project. Dark Horse plans to give special attention to the Hopeavuori prospect, which exhibited high-grade assay results from historic drilling programs. A total of 54 diamond drilling holes amounting to 3,341 metres at Hopeavuori have been drilled with maximum depth of 75 to 100 metres.
Here are the assay results from some of the drilling sections
R305: 11.5 metres Intercept with gold grades of 19.4 grams per tonne, 30.6 metres downhole
R313: 10.7 metres intercept with gold grades of 14.4 grams per tonne, 4 metres downhole
R330: 3 metres intercept with gold grades of 7 grams per tonne, 22 metres downhole
The assay results confirmed the presence of high-grade, shallow mineralisation in the mining friendly jurisdiction. Dark Horse believes that the historical results may not be entirely compliant to the JORC 2012 code due to which the historical information may or may not be included in the future exploration or evaluation results and the estimation of JORC 2012 code compliant mineral reserves and resources.
Share Purchase Plan Closing on 15 July 2020
Dark Horse reiterated that the explorer has successfully raised $675,000 through the recently concluded placement and is currently raising more funds through the Share Purchase Plan (SPP), which is scheduled to close on 15 July 2020.
Proceeds from the capital raising would be utilised for the Hopeavuori drilling program, which is anticipated to commence following the permit transfer and settlement of acquisition in September/October 2020. All eligible shareholders may buy shares up to a value of $30,000 to raise another $750,000 (before costs). Dark Horse may accept oversubscriptions of up to another $250,000, further increasing the fund raising to $1 million value.
DHR closed at $0.002 a share on 8 July 2020, with a market capitalisation of $5.89 million.
Mandalay Resources reports continued exploration success from its producing Australian and Swedish mines
Metals miner Mandalay Resources Corp told investors that the recent successful exploration at its Australian and Swedish mines has underlined the positive potential at both operations.
The Toronto-headquartered miner released diamond drill results since its last update in September. Three exploration programs are continuing at Costerfield in Australia, while at Björkdal, Sweden, the group has assayed 27 drill holes in the Aurora zone and four test holes to the north of the current mining operations.
Notably, in Australia, the group has continued to develop and optimize extraction at its high-grade Youle vein, where mining is now underway.
Step-out drilling on the vein to the north has yielded mineralized extensions, Mandalay said.
Meanwhile, at the Costerfield Deeps target, the firm has now completed a daughter hole wedged off the first Costerfield Deeps hole beneath the Youle orebody, increasing the geological understanding of this prospective area.
The miner is now planning the second deep parent and daughter holes to target under the Augusta system, which will be drilled later this year.
In Sweden, extensional drilling at the Aurora zone continues to enlarge the high-grade mineralization, said Mandalay which trends at depth towards the east
Drilling of high-grade targets, including skarn mineralization near underground infrastructure, have also improved mine planning to deliver sustainable high head grades for processing.
Continuation of mineralization
Meanwhile, target holes have confirmed the continuation of mineralization in new veins up to 500 metres northward from the presently defined Aurora zone, added the company.
“We are pleased to report continued exploration success at both of our sites. The most recent drilling results at Costerfield and Björkdal confirm the significant upside potential value of our operations,” said Dominic Duffy, the chief executive at Mandalay.
“At Costerfield, optimization drilling within the upper part of the Youle vein has confirmed the high-grade resources previously published for the vein and filled in previous wide-spaced intercepts along a strike of 450 m. These results will support improved planning and execution of mining operations and longer life of the Youle vein.”
Duffy added: “At Björkdal, drilling to extend orebodies currently being mined has allowed us to bring higher head grade into the mine plan.
“Both the Aurora zone and skarn mineralization have been significantly extended. Meanwhile, target testing as much as 500 m north of the Aurora zone has intersected new gold bearing veins.”
Mandalay has producing mines in Australia and Sweden, and care and maintenance and development projects in Chile.
It aims to grow production at its gold and antimony operation in Australia, and gold production from its operation in Sweden to generate near term cash flow.