We are now on the second phase of drilling at our East Bull Lake Palladium property near Sudbury. Our goal is to find a palladium-dominant deposit that can support infrastructure that would produce a palladium-rich concentrate for sale to a smelter. This will require the size of the deposit to be in the multi-million ounce category. Generally speaking, a quality palladium concentrate product is a high value product that is sought after by global copper-nickel-PGE sulfide smelters. A high grade Pd-rich sulfide concentrate can be shipped anywhere in the world.
While the East Bull Lake intrusion has widespread palladium mineralization that has been known about for over 30 years, the breakthrough we need to make is finding economic tonnage and grade – ideally in a single deposit that is amenable to extraction using surface or underground bulk mining methods. One of the key challenges at East Bull Lake is that a small amount of sulfide can carry a significant amount of palladium (and platinum). This means that finding the sulfides that carry palladium is challenging for conventional geophysical survey methods which are a key exploration tool for most PGE projects but are generally not well suited to detect very low concentrations of sulfides. We are currently using the magnetotelluric survey method, which has a proven capability of detecting very small abundances of sulfide minerals in the same types of intrusive rocks that host the known Pd mineralization at East Bull Lake. To maximize the effectiveness of the MT survey data we are also integrating the data with previous geophysical survey results including data from ZTEM surveys, airborne and ground EM and magnetic surveys and IP surveys, as well as with previous mapping, drilling and prospecting results.
The roughly 12-15 drill holes we will have completed by the end of October are on a major, 12 km long structural trend on the property that is interpreted to represent a primary magmatic feeder zone. By drilling along this structural corridor we are testing different areas of the intrusion which have the size and intensity of geophysical anomalies that could represent a major Pd deposit.
We are also completing geochemical work to assess the relative Pd enrichment (or Pd tenor ) of any Pd mineralization we encounter. High tenor palladium-bearing sulfide remains the primary exploration target at East Bull Lake because it lends itself to the production of a high value concentrate.
Dr. Dave Peck, who is leading the exploration push at East Bull Lake, has unique experience from his recent time at North American Palladium and previous work with South African-based PGM producers. I believe that the exploration program is in the best possible hands. This exploration process is both exciting and nerve wracking! Grid Metals maintains a strong belief that continued exploration investment will unlock one or more major new discoveries at East Bull Lake and allow us to capitalize on its highly favourable location near Sudbury – a global mining and nickel-copper sulfide processing centre.