Thundermin Resources (TSX: THR) and Rambler Metals and Mining (TSXV: RAB; LSE-AIM: RMM) hope to bring Rambler’s expertise in bringing the past-producing Ming Ming copper-gold mine back into commercial production in northeastern Newfoundland to a nearby copper project in the province they jointly own called Little Deer.
The Little Deer project, 10 km north of the town of Springdale, hosts two deposits called Little Deer and Whalesback. The past-producing Little Deer and Whalesback underground mines produced copper in the 1960s and 1970s and are situated just 30 km from Rambler's port facilities at Goodyear's Cove, a fully integrated concentrate storage and shipping facility, and less than 140 km from Rambler's Nugget Pond mill on the Baie Verte peninsula.
Rambler bought the processing facilities for $3.5 million in October 2009 as a gold processing carbon in pulp circuit, but with the addition of a copper flotation circuit, the facility can now process both gold and copper bearing ore. The copper concentrator is designed for 1,000 tonnes per day. Because the Little Deer project is so close to Rambler's port and mill infrastructure, the partners believe they can minimize future capital and operating costs. Rambler hopes one day to become Atlantic Canada's leading mine operator and resource developer through expanding the Ming Ming mine, discovering new deposits and through mergers and acquisitions. (Rambler listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange in 2007 and in London in 2005.)
About $8 million has been invested in the Little Deer project since 2007, including 55,000 metres of diamond drilling, scoping level metallurgical testwork, resource estimates and a preliminary economic assessment.
A resource estimate from June 2011 demonstrated that the Little Deer deposit has an indicated resource of 1.91 million tonnes at an average grade of 2.37% copper for 99.8 million pounds of copper and inferred resources of 3.75 million tonnes grading 2.13% copper for 176 million pounds of contained copper. A preliminary economic assessment of the Little Deer deposit completed the same year concluded that there was potential to develop the asset on an attractive economic basis.
A resource estimate in July 2012 on Whalesback found that the deposit held indicated resources of 797,000 tonnes grading 1.67% copper for 29.3 million pounds of copper and inferred resources of 443,000 tonnes grading 1.57% copper for 15.3 million pounds of the metal.
On a combined basis the two deposits contain indicated resources of 2.71 million tonnes of 2.16% copper for 129.1 million pounds of contained copper and inferred resources of 4.19 million tonnes of 2.07% copper for 191.3 million pound of the red metal.
Rambler Metals announced it would purchase 50% of the project from Cornerstone Capital Resources in September. Thundermin is the operator and under the joint-venture agreement, has the option to raise its stake in the project to 75%. The deal closed on Oct. 16.
Elsewhere in Eastern Canada, Thundermin has the right to earn a 100% interest in eight exploration licences covering a large portion of the Stirling volcanogenic massive zinc-lead-copper-silver-gold sulphide belt on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island.
A diamond-drill program there last year intersected copper mineralization in porphyritic volcanic rocks similar to those known to host massive sulphide deposits elsewhere.
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