James Bay Niobium Project
Niobay Metals Inc. 100 %,
The James Bay property is located east of the Township of Carroll in the district of Cochrane, on the Moose Cree First Nation Traditional Territory, 45 km south of Moosonee, in the James Bay Lowlands in the Province of Ontario, Canada.
The property comprises the Crown Mining Lease (# CLM11) and covers a total of 2,530 hectares.
The James Bay property was discovered in 1966 by Consolidated Morrison Explorations. Major exploration work carried out in 1968 and 1969, including about 14,600 meters of drilling in 85 holes established a deposit extending to 275 meters in depth and 500 meters longitudinally. Lakefield Research (now SGS Lakefield) carried out metallurgical tests in 1969, allowing for the development of a flow sheet for the niobium ore, to produce a niobium concentrate grading of about 65% pyrochlore (Nb2O5). The overall niobium recovery was 78% during the pilot tests which is by far the higher niobium recovery for this type of niobium deposit.
A historical feasibility study was completed by the firm Canadian Bechtel Ltd. at the end of 1969, and updated by the same firm in 1979.
Several studies dealing with specific aspects of the project were carried out between 1969 and 1979 by independent firms or companies for evaluation purposes, with a view to possible partnerships or acquisitions. At that time niobium price was a fraction of where it is today.
In June 2016, Niobay Metals Inc. acquired 100% of the property from Barrick Gold Inc., James Bay Columbium Ltd., and Goldcorp Inc.
Geology and Mineralization
A pyrochlore mineralization is contained in an intrusive complex of pyroxene-rich carbonatites dating from the Huronian Orogen and generally orientated north south. Intrusions of hornblende gneiss abut the complex on its east and west sides. The general dip is sub-vertical, orientated slightly to the east.
Paleozoic sediments consisting of altered, silty, sandy, argillaceous sandstones discordantly cover the carbonatite complex. These sandstones vary in thickness from 12 to 30 meters, and lie horizontally over the carbonatites, covering them completely. Unconsolidated silty glacial sediments between 6 and 10 meters deep cover these sandstones, and are themselves covered by spongy peat (muskeg) 1 to 2 meters deep.
A historical estimate was finalized by Dr. P. Price of Canadian Bechtel Ltd in 1967 and indicated 62 million tonnes at 0.52% Nb2O5. Moreover, an exploration shaft was sunk, and a 225-tonne bulk sample was extracted to subsequently be used in a pilot plant which demonstrated a recovery rate of 78%, which is considered high for niobium processing.
The historical resources estimate, the historical feasibility, and the historical metallurgical testing are based on data obtained by previous operators in the 1960s. Niobay Metals has not yet undertaken the work necessary to verify or classify those historical results except the mineral resources estimate. Economic studies completed in the 1960s do not mean the James Bay Niobium deposit would be found to be economic today. Niobay Metals is not treating the historical results as a current mineral resource nor as having been verified by a qualified person.
2016-2017 Validation Program / Mineral Resource Estimate
The first phase of the 2016-2017 validation program consists of re-logging and re-assaying 12 historical diamond drill holes distributed in six 122-meters apart transversal vertical sections, with two representative holes per section. Small numbers of laboratory metallurgical tests were also conducted from the historical cores which initial results are supporting the 1969 pilot plant one.
A Mineral Resource estimate was prepared by Roscoe Postle Associates Inc. (“RPA”) following a successful re-logging and re-sampling program of representative historical diamond drill holes conducted by NioBay
The effective date of the estimate is October 31, 2018 and the supporting NI 43-101 technical report is available on the website.
Highlights of the NI 43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate
1. Minerals Resources are reported in metric tonnes.
2. CIM (2014) definitions were followed for Mineral Resources.
3. Mineral Resources are reported at a cut-off grade of 0.3% Nb2O5 based on an underground mining operating cost of C$70/tonne and a metallurgical recovery of 70%.
4. Mineral Resources are estimated using a long-term niobium price of US$40 per kg and a US$/C$ exchange rate of 1:1.2.
5. A tonnage factor of 10.9 ft³/ton (2.93 g/cm³) was used.
6. A minimum mining width of approximately 25 ft (7.6m) was used to build the resource wireframes.
7. Resources situated in a 150 ft (45.7m) thick crown pillar have been excluded.
8. The RPA Qualified Persons for the estimate are Dorota El Rassi, P.Eng. and Paul Chamois, P.Geo.
The Mineral Resources estimate is supported by the results from the recent re-logging and re-sampling of 12 representative historical diamond drill holes, by preliminary metallurgical testing performed by SGS Lakefield on a composite sample and by all of the historical data Niobay recovered from the previous operator: drill logs, assay certificates, surveyed collar coordinates, interpreted geological surface and level plans, interpreted vertical sections, location of the exploration shaft and 1st level, and metallurgical tests.
The data used to estimate the Mineral Resource include 79 diamond drill holes totaling 13,230 m located within the resource model area. The data includes 2,517 assays, of which 56 have a value of zero for Nb2O5. The estimate was prepared using a block model constrained with 3-D wireframes of the mineralized zone. The niobium oxide grades were interpolated using ordinary kriging and three passes.
In December 2019, the Company signed a Protection Agreement (PA) with Moose Cree First Nation (MCFN). The PA supports the Company’s early exploration and reflects the shared commitment to environmental protection. The PA acknowledges that the exploration is undertaken on MCFN homeland and that the work will not impact MCFN members.
A 7 holes/3,450 m drill program began early February with the objective to test the high-grade extension laterally and at depth. The program will also provide fresh rock for further laboratory metallurgical tests, and also to provide geotechnical information.
The drill program is expected to last six weeks. The drill results will be published as they become available. A new 43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate will be performed following the completion of the drill program. Following by a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) to be completed by the end of 2020.