If you want to find nickel mineralization in Quebec, probably one good place to start is near the past-producing Marbridge nickel mine — the only mine to have produced nickel in the Abitibi region and the first nickel sulphide deposit in the province associated with komatiitic volcanics.
It was that thinking that encouraged the management team at Donner Metals (TSXV: DON; US-OTC: DONFF), a Quebec-focused junior explorer, to buy from Virginia Mines (TSX: VGQ; US-OTC: VGMNF) 100% of its Preissac nickel–copper–platinum group metals (PGM) property, 1.5 km west of the Marbridge mine. The underground operation produced 774,227 tonnes of ore grading 2.28% nickel and 0.1% copper between 1962 and 1968.
Four of the mine’s deposits were operated under a joint venture between Falconbridge Nickel Mines and Marchant Mining, and are now 100% owned by Royal Nickel (TSX: RNX; US-OTC: RNKLF). Royal Nickel bought the Marbridge assets from Xstrata for $1 million in July 2009. The Marbridge property is 60 km southeast of Royal Nickel’s flagship Dumont nickel project and 40 km northwest of Val-d’Or.
Donner’s president and CEO Normand Champigny says one of the things that appealed to him about Virginia’s Preissac property, 25 km northwest of the town of Malartic, was that it has received little modern-day exploration.
“Virginia Mines recognized that it was prospective for nickel and copper and PGMs, and is an extension of the same belt of rocks from Val-d’Or that has VMS deposits and gold deposits,” Champigny says. “They told us that, although they thought it was an interesting prospect, it was not really their focus — which is gold in the James Bay region.”
Champigny says “there’s no reason why we can’t find more nickel deposits” in the Abitibi region, and that the current downturn in the mining industry is a good time for companies to acquire assets. “Prices have dropped quite a bit, and not a lot of companies have cash to develop their projects,” he continues. “We want to take the opportunity to do that in Quebec.
Under the transaction announced on July 17, Donner has bought 100% of Preissac in an all-share deal worth $100,000, and will pay a 2% net smelter return royalty to Virginia Mines. Donner issued 588,235 of its shares priced at 17¢ apiece.
The 55 claims that make up the Preissac land package spans a 26 sq. km surface area. The property covers a more than 14 km strike length and is comprised of Archean volcanic rocks (the Malartic and Louvicourt groups) and sedimentary rocks of the Kewagama group.
Donner says the area represents the extension of volcanic units found in the Val-d’Or area, which is well known for its many volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits and gold deposits. The property includes a sequence of ultramafic rocks near the Mainville South regional fault and wedged between the plutons of La Motte to the north, Preissac to the south and La Corne to the east.
At press time Donner traded at 8¢ per share within a 52-week range of 7.5¢ and $2.70. The company has 15 million shares outstanding.
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