Imperial Mining Group Ltd. (TSX-V: IPG) is pleased to announce that the final three holes from the 2019 winter drilling program all intersected significant widths and grades of scandium and rare earths (REE) mineralization in the TG Zone target, Crater Lake project, northeastern Québec.
A five-hole diamond drilling program for 1,014 m was completed on April 20, 2019 over the TG Zone target to evaluate the scandium potential of a high-intensity magnetic anomaly (Figure 1, see Press Release: May 22, 2019). The new drilling is located 600 m north of a historical drill hole which had returned scandium grades of up to 506 g/t Sc2O3 over 19.0m along the western side of the Crater Lake intrusion on the same magnetic trend. The current results represent the remaining significant analyses from the drilling program. The diamond drill contractor was Avataa Rouillier Drilling Inc. of Amos, Quebec.
“The winter drilling results for the Crater Lake property continues to exceed all expectations, as they confirm wide intervals of scandium and TREO+Y at the TGZ target,” said Peter Cashin, Imperial’s President & Chief Executive Officer. “This new drill section 100N, fully 400 m south of the previously announced results of Section 500N, is now defining an important zone of mineralization that can be traced to surface, making it a likely low-cost, open pit mining opportunity. Using a Sc2O3 price of $1,500US per kg, these scandium results have a gold (Au) equivalent value of up to 12.4 g/t (0.40 oz/t), assuming the recent gold price close of $1,330US per ounce.”
Table 1 – Crater Lake Drilling Best Assay Results:
|Hole #||From (m)||To (m)||Interval (m)||Sc (ppm)||Sc2O3 (ppm)||TREO+Y (%)|
NOTES: – * 1 ppm of Sc metal equals 1.5338 ppm scandium oxide (Sc2O3); ** 1 g/t equals 1 ppm
TG Zone Geology
Drilling has currently defined the TGZ to be upwards of 125 m thick, steeply east-dipping, arcuate Crater Collapse ring-fault zone containing large fragments and clasts of felsic syenite and feldspar crystals in a matrix of pyroxenite-rich material. The pyroxenite-rich matrix contains all the scandium and REE in the mineralized system. Individual assays from this material grade as high as 730 g/t Sc2O3. The mineralized zone has been traced from surface to at least 200 m down-dip and at least 400 m of strike length and remains open at depth and along strike. A 15-25 m wide alteration halo characterizes the contacts to the mineralized system. There is an apparent increase in scandium grade at depth along the drill section. The new drilling has also identified a second mineralized horizon to the east of the main trend (see Figure 3, top of drillhole CL19034) that may hold important economic implications for the project. Imperial’s intention now is to intensify the surface investigation work to evaluate the economic potential along the full 4.5 km strike length of the magnetic anomaly.
Scandium and Rare Earth Markets
The broader adoption of scandium in the aluminum alloys sector has been constrained by the limited availability of scandium in western commercial markets from the primary supply sources in China and Russia. The lack of reliable long-term supply sources to provide material for additional applications has also limited scandium market growth. This has resulted in much higher prices for Sc compared to competing alloy materials, such as titanium, and has limited its broader use. The current price of the metal oxide published by USGS indicates that it trades in a range of approximately US$2,000-4,000/kg for 99.99% purity.
Scandium acts as a grain-refiner and hardener of aluminum alloys. Aluminum-scandium alloys combine high strength, ductility, weldability, improved corrosion resistance and a lower density. The combination of all these properties makes aluminum-scandium alloys well-suited for the aerospace, automotive and defense industries. Scandium-modified aluminium alloys is highly valued as an important lightweighting material as it is one-third the weight of steel and is 60 % of the weight of titanium alloys.
In addition, Imperial is actively monitoring the impact of the current trade war between the US & China and what this means for investors, manufacturers and producers of Rare Earth and Technology material products for the Defence, Electronics and Automotive industries. China now controls over 70% of the global rare earth supply chain and provides 80% of the US rare earth demand. With China threatening to cut off supplies to the US and Global rare earth supply chains face significant risk of disruption, much like what happened in 2010 when China cut off supplying Japan with rare earths leading to a dramatic rise in global REE prices.. Major consumers of rare earths have just been reminded of the need to establish their own domestic critical materials supply chains.
Strict QA/QC protocols have been implemented for the Crater Lake Project, including the insertion of certified reference materials (standards), duplicates and blanks at regular intervals throughout the sequence of samples.
A total of 820 samples, including 48 QA-QC samples, were sent to an analytical laboratory. All sample preparation and analytical work was carried out by Actlabs at their facilities in Ancaster, Ontario. Several analytical techniques were used to characterize the samples, which are combined at Actlabs into the analytical package “8-REE”. This package includes whole-rock and trace element analytic techniques. Whole Rock analyses are done via a lithium metaborate/tetraborate fusion inductively coupled plasma (ICP) finish. Trace elements are also analyzed by fusion ICP/MS.
The technical content in this press release was prepared, reviewed and certified by Pierre Guay, P. Geo., Imperial’s Vice-President, Exploration, a Geologist and Qualified Person as defined by NI43-101.
ABOUT IMPERIAL MINING GROUP LTD.
Imperial is a Canadian mineral exploration and development company focussed on the advancement of its copper-zinc, gold and technology metals properties in Québec. Imperial is publicly listed on the TSX Venture Exchange as “IPG” and is led by an experienced team of mineral exploration and development professionals with a strong track record of mineral deposit discovery in numerous metal commodities.
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