FIREWEED ZINC LTD. (TSX-V: FWZ) (OTCQB: FWEDF) is pleased to announce the signing of a binding Letter of Intent for the acquisition of 100% interest in the Mactung Tungsten Project located in Yukon and Northwest Territories, Canada, immediately adjacent to its Macmillan Pass Zinc-Lead-Silver Project.
Fireweed CEO Brandon Macdonald commented, “While Macmillan Pass continues to be our flagship project, the recent staking of Gayna River and the addition of Mactung turns Fireweed into one of the leading critical mineral exploration companies. We now have not only one of the largest undeveloped zinc resources in the world at our Macmillan Pass Project, but also one of the world’s largest and highest-grade undeveloped tungsten projects at the advanced stage Mactung Project. With both zinc and tungsten being designated as critical minerals by Canada, the US, and the EU, Fireweed is positioned to leverage the transition to a sustainable green economy. We are excited to be advancing both projects under the Fireweed umbrella to not just maximize value for Fireweed shareholders, but to also create increased opportunities for local Indigenous groups and the people of both Yukon and Northwest Territories.”
Mactung Project Overview
Mactung is one of the largest and highest-grade tungsten deposits in the world. It is an advanced stage project with extensive drilling, engineering, metallurgy, geotechnical, and environmental baseline data collected by previous owners that supported a Feasibility study in 20092. Skarn mineralization is developed in carbonate rocks near the contact with a granite intrusion. Historic 2007 indicated resources1 totaled 33.0 million tonnes grading 0.88% WO3 (tungsten trioxide) plus historic inferred resources of 11.8 million tonnes grading 0.78% WO3. The 37.6 km2 property is located adjacent to Fireweed’s Macmillan Pass Property (Figure 1) and accessed by the same road providing potential for future project synergies.
Mactung Deposit Location & History
The Mactung Property adjoins Fireweed’s Macmillan Pass Property and straddles the boundary between the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The Mactung tungsten deposit is located 13 km north of the Tom deposit (Figure 1). The Mactung Property can be reached by an access road that joins the North Canol Highway 230 km from Ross River, or by the government-maintained Macmillan Pass airstrip near the Tom deposit.
Mactung was discovered and staked in 1962 by an Amax geologist. Extensive drilling, metallurgical testing, and multiple historical resource estimates were completed over the next twenty years. The property changed ownership several times and was subsequently acquired by the North American Tungsten Corporation (NATC) in 1997. In 2007 NATC published updated mineral resources (see below) and in 2009 published a positive feasibility study (available at www.sedar.com under the NATC profile). The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board issued a positive screening report for the Mactung Project in June 2014 and recommended it proceed to licensing without review, subject to terms and conditions, which were subsequently adopted and supplemented by the Yukon Government in its September 2014 Decision Document. However, in June 2015 NATC filed for and was granted creditor protection mainly related to operation of their Cantung mine located further south. The GNWT purchased the Mactung Project for $4.5 million in the fall of 2015, and subsequently obtained a Class 4 Mining Land Use Approval in 2020. Fireweed Zinc has now signed a binding LOI for acquisition of the Mactung Project with the GNWT (see details below).
Fireweed respectfully acknowledges that the Mactung Project is located within the traditional territories of the Kaska Dena and First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun, and the Sahtú Settlement Area. For the benefit of present and future generations, Fireweed will conduct mineral development activities in a sustainable manner by working collaboratively with Indigenous groups and local communities, establishing a respectful and safe working environment, achieving a high standard of environmental stewardship, and undertaking studies and implementing measures to address local interests and issues.
Mactung Geology & Mineralization
Mactung is a tungsten skarn deposit located on the eastern margin of the Selwyn basin in the Canadian Cordillera’s Tombstone-Tungsten Belt (TTB). The mid-Cretaceous TTB spans Alaska, Yukon, and NWT, and hosts many other significant mineral deposits. The Mactung deposit is associated with Tungsten suite intrusions that intruded late Precambrian to Palaeozoic, variably metamorphosed clastic and interbedded carbonate rocks of the Selwyn basin. The tungsten mineralization at Mactung is comprised mostly of scheelite (CaWO4) and is dominated by calcic mineral assemblages associated with abundant pyrrhotite that developed within permeable limestone units of the Cambrian-Ordovician host rocks. Although the previous feasibility study considered only underground development, the vast majority of tungsten mineralization at Mactung can be found within 200 m from surface.
Mactung Historic Drilling and Historic Estimates
Geological mapping and surface sample programs were conducted in the early and mid-1960’s, with drilling beginning in 1968. To date, approximately 38,000 m of drilling in 312 holes have been completed on the property, in addition to multiple historic resource estimates. An adit was opened in 1973 to enable underground exploration and bulk sampling; at least 1,200 metres of lateral underground development has occurred, including bulk samples of 270 tonnes in 1973, 3.5 tonnes in 1979, 650 tonnes in 1983, and 79 tonnes in 2005, enabling extensive metallurgical test work2.
|Year||Zone||Territory||Historic Estimate Type||Tonnage
|2009||2B||YT only||Probable Mineral Reserve2||10.79||1.187%||0.616%|
|Yukon NWT||Indicated Mineral Resource1||33.03||0.88%||0.5%|
|Yukon NWT||Inferred Mineral Resource1||11.86||0.78%||0.5%|
Table 1*. Most recent historic mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates from reports on www.sedar.com under NATC profile. (See Cautionary and Background Statements regarding Historic Minerals Resources below.)
Mactung Future Plans
Following final due diligence work and signing of the definitive asset purchase agreement with GNWT, Fireweed will undertake validation programs on previous work in order to support the development of a new mineral resource estimate for the project. Fireweed plans to follow this work with a new PEA on the project in 2023 and will also be evaluating synergies with the Macmillan Pass Project for the future.
Tungsten is the hardest metal with the highest melting point which makes it an important and often essential metal for use in the automotive, technology, energy, military and manufacturing industries. World tungsten production is dominated by China and there is currently little Western tungsten production which has led tungsten to be listed as a critical mineral by many governments, including Canada. The Canadian government has developed several initiatives to support and advance the exploration and mining of critical metals in Canada, including zinc and tungsten.
Terms of the Mactung Acquisition Agreement
Fireweed and the GNWT have signed a binding Letter of Intent (LOI) under which the GNWT will sell the Mactung Project to Fireweed for a total purchase price of C$15,000,000 staged as follows:
The final definitive agreement is targeted before the end of 2022, after which ownership of the project assets will be transferred to Fireweed. Mactung carries an existing NSR Royalty of 4% which is held by a third party, 2% of which can be purchased at any time for $2.5M. This binding LOI does not include responsibility for any assets or liabilities related to the defunct Cantung mine located further south; this LOI is solely related to the Mactung Project (Fig. 1).
Qualified Person Statement
Technical information in this news release has been approved by Brandon Macdonald, P.Geo., and a ‘Qualified Person’ as defined under Canadian National Instrument 43-101.
About Fireweed Zinc Ltd.:
Fireweed Zinc is a public mineral exploration company on the leading edge of critical minerals project development. The Company has three projects located in northern Canada:
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We acknowledge the [financial] support of the Government of Canada.