The Hecla-Kilmer project is located in northern Ontario, and is a direct extension of the Company’s ongoing exploration strategy at its nearby Ranoke property towards a blue-sky discovery of a large footprint iron oxide - copper-gold hydrothermal breccia system using new exploration technologies and modern mineral deposit models on previously untested targets. The Company has been working on Ranoke for the past three years, and the reader is referred to the Ranoke project page on this Website for a detailed description of its mineral exploration potential, and work completed by VR to date.
The Ranoke and Hecla-Kilmer properties are remote and the targets are covered and previously untested, yet they are proximal to regional infrastructure including rail, power and highway which enable cost-effective exploration and would facilitate efficient development if a discovery is made.
Both Ranoke and Hecla-Kilmer (H-K) are large magnetic anomalies associated with regional gravity features along the western margin of the Kapuskasing Structural Zone (KSZ), a crustal-scale shear zone hundreds of kilometres long which bisects the Archean Superior province between James Bay and Lake Superior. The KSZ has a long-lived history of repeated ultrabasic and alkaline intrusions spanning 1.6 billion years, and it is a prospective setting for a large IOCG or carbonatite-hosted hydrothermal copper-gold breccia system.
Hecla-Kilmer is a polyphase alkaline intrusive complex with carbonatite approximately 4 – 6 km’s across. A cursory historic drill program in 1971 for rare metals, and base metals in the Paleozoic cover rocks over Hecla-Kilmer identified gold-bearing magnetite-chalcopyrite-fluorite veins and hydrothermal vein breccia within carbonatite rocks in the basement; this was prior to the discovery of Olympic Dam and the development of the IOCG mineral deposit model, and prior to a high resolution airborne magnetic survey flown in the region in 1993. There has been no modern exploration or drill-testing of the core of the H-K complex for a large-scale magnetite-copper-gold-fluorite hydrothermal breccia system with IOCG affinity.
VR completed a high resolution and sophisticated airborne EM survey over H-K in June, 2020, in order to identify low resistivity bodies and/or finite conductors associated with major magnetic gradients within the untested core of the complex. In October the Company initiated first-pass drilling at H-K and completed four drill holes on the northern MVI (magnetic inversion) anomaly for a total of 1,971 metres. VR intersected a hydrothermal breccia and ultra-high temperature sulfide alteration system which comes to surface and has more than 600 m of continuous vertical extent in two drill holes, HK20-002 and 004. Chalcopyrite (copper sulfide) occurs in veinlets and scattered semi-solid sulfide replacement zones within hydrothermal breccia, and is associated with hematite, magnetite and pyrite; sulfide zones are elevated in phosphorous and the light rare earth elements Ce and Y. Phonolite porphyry dykes consistently elevated in gold, and together with sulfide in iron-rich breccia underscore the potential for Hecla-Kilmer to host a copper-gold breccia deposit with IOCG affinity.
The results demand follow-up drilling in order to completely test other areas across the large H-K complex for copper and gold mineralization which are similar in style but stronger compared to that discovered in this program. Beforehand, however, VR plans to complete a detailed, ground-based gravity survey this winter (Feb. 2021) when the ground is frozen enabling a more cost-effective program. The survey will cover most of the H-K complex in order to further refine specific target areas for dense sulfide concentrations associated with either the peaks and/or the boundaries of the main magnetic lows and magnetic highs in the central and southern part of the complex, respectively.
The Hecla-Kilmer property is located in the Moose River basin in northern Ontario, Canada. It is approximately 35 kilometres southwest of the Company’s Ranoke property, and only 23 km’s to northwest of the Ontario hydro-electric facility at Otter Rapids at the northern terminus of Highway 634 which links the region to the towns of Cochrane and Kapuskasing situated on the northern Trans-Canada Highway located some 100 km’s to the south.
The town of Moosonee located on tide water at James Bay is located about 125 km’s to the northeast of the property. The Ontario Northern railway connects Moosonee with the mainline at Cochrane along the Trans Canada Highway, and is only 23 km’s west of the property.
Hecla-Kilmer is a large property. It comprises 224 mineral claims in one contiguous block covering 4,618 hectares in an area approximately 6 x 7 km’s in sizeIt comprises 224 mineral claims in one contiguous block covering 4,618 hectares in an area approximately 6 x 7 km’s in size.
The property is located on provincial crown land, with mineral rights administered by the provincial Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (MENDM). There are no annual lease payments, but the MENDM requires certain annual exploration expenditures and reporting (ie. mineral assessment reports) in order to maintain a mineral claim in good standing. The property falls within the Moose Cree and Taykwa Tagamou First Nations traditional territories.
The property is owned 100% by VR. There are no underlying annual lease payments to previous owners, nor are there any joint venture or back-in interests. There is an industry-standard royalty attached to the property, including a buy-back provision to VR.
VR has completed the compilation, synthesis and interpretation of all available federal and provincial government regional data, and archived provincial mineral exploration assessment data in the Hecla-Kilmer area, and integrated it with the Ranoke project data base.
Ranoke and H-K are amenable for the effective use of modern exploration technologies for base and precious metal deposits. Near-by towns with road access facilitate cost-effective exploration. Subdued topography will allow for optimal airborne geophysical surveys such as EM and magnetics. Historic drilling demonstrates that overburden thickness is in the range of 40 – 70 m, average for the region and easily penetrated by modern drilling technology. Historic drilling also demonstrates that copper-gold-fluorite hydrothermal breccia comes to surface, that is, to the base of overburden and till, making the use of geophysics effective for basement targets.
The Company completed the first-ever airborne EM survey ever over the H-K complex in June, 2020, using the sophisticated VTEM+ system of Geotech Ltd. Flown at 100 m line spacing over a 6 x 7 km survey block for a total of 450 line-km’s, the data provide a high resolution of detail. The Company also had an independent, 3-D inversion of both magnetic and EM data completed for improved modeling for a potential magnetite-copper hydrothermal breccia body within the polyphase carbonatite complex. There are two prominent, high contrast and deeply rooted MVI anomalies (magnetic vectorization peaks) in the central part of the complex. The northern MVI anomaly is the highest priority because it correlates with the largest and strongest basement conductor identified in the VTEM+ survey.
Magnetite-copper-fluorite veins and vein breccia replacement are evident in core retrieved and restored from the cursory historic drill holes completed in 1970 which targeted base metals in the Paleozoic limestone cover sequence in the region, and were located on the margins of the basement MVI anomalies at H-K. VR will test the centers of the large basement MVI anomalies as the potential center of large, discrete magnetite-copper-gold-fluorite breccia bodies based on the presence of magnetite-fluorite veins and magnetite-copper-gold-fluorite vein breccia in the historic drill core.
The Company completed four drill holes on the northern MVI (magnetic inversion) anomaly at H-K for a total of 1,971 metres (Figure 1). The crew, rig and road-accessible camp demobilized at the end of October before the onset of winter weather.
VR intersected a hydrothermal breccia and ultra-high temperature sulfide alteration system which comes to surface and has more than 600 m of continuous vertical extent in two drill holes, HK20-002 and 004. Chalcopyrite (copper sulfide) occurs in veinlets and scattered semi-solid sulfide replacement zones within hydrothermal breccia, and is associated with hematite, magnetite and pyrite; sulfide zones are elevated in phosphorous and the light rare earth elements Ce and Y. Phonolite porphyry dykes consistently elevated in gold, and together with sulfide in iron-rich breccia underscore the potential for Hecla-Kilmer to host a copper-gold breccia deposit with IOCG affinity. More specifically:
- Pyrite, pyrrhotite, marcasite and lesser chalcopyrite occur as seams and clots in fluorite-calcite veins and poly-lithic hydrothermal breccia, and as disseminated grains in sovite dykes;
- A high temperature potassic alteration facies overprints all rock types with a complete replacement of original minerals by magnetite, biotite, fluorite and carbonate; magnetite veins occur with inter-vein sulfide, and fluorite-carbonate-sulfide veins occurring throughout the 600 metre intersections have a hydrothermal biotite alteration halo from cm’s to metres in scale;
- Dark, iron-rich poly-lithic hydrothermal breccia is abundant: it overprints all rock types; the groundmass contains carbonate, biotite, magnetite and fluorite; it commonly disaggregates mineralized sovite dykes, and is itself cut by fluorite-carbonate-sulfide veinlets;
- Alkaline, porphyritic phonolite dykes and sovite dykes with variable fluorite occur throughout, and are believed to be the overall driver of the intense alteration and replacement at H-K;
- Geochemical data show an enrichment of P and the rare earth elements La, Ce and Y in the sulfide-heavy hydrothermal breccia and replacement zones, confirming a critical component of an IOCG fluid model for the high-temperature hydrothermal alteration system at H-K.
The results demand follow-up drilling in order to complete the first-pass test of other areas across the large H-K complex for copper and gold mineralization which are similar in style but stronger compared to that discovered in holes HK20-002 and 004. Beforehand, however, VR plans to complete a detailed, ground-based gravity survey this winter (Feb. 2021) when the ground is frozen enabling a more cost-effective program. The survey will cover most of the H-K complex in order to further refine specific target areas for dense sulfide concentrations associated with either the peaks and/or the boundaries of the main magnetic lows and magnetic highs in the central and southern part of the complex, respectively.
Cost-effective drilling at Hecla-Kilmer and Ranoke are facilitated by a road-accessible camp located nearby at Otter Rapids, the Ontario hydro-electric facility at the northern terminus of Highway 634.
Both the Ranoke and Hecla-Kilmer properties are centered on large magnetic anomalies associated with regional gravity features which occur along the western margin of the Kapuskasing Structural Zone, a long-lived, crustal-scale fault zone with bisects the Archean Superior craton between James Bay and Lake Superior, and hosts numerous alkaline, ultrabasic and carbonatite intrusions and kimberlites which span more than 1.6 billion years of activity. This tectonic setting is prospective for the development of large IOCG or carbonatite-hosted copper-gold hydrothermal breccia systems.
Hecla-Kilmer is a large, roughly circular and concentrically zoned polyphase alkaline intrusive complex with carbonatite approximately 4 – 6 km’s across. The complex was emplaced along the regional-scale tectonic suture between two sub-provinces of the Archean Superior Craton; the volcanic-dominated Wabigoon province to the north, and the sediment-dominated Quetico province to the south. Research published by the Ontario Geological Survey in 1988 and based on the petrography and geochemistry of pieces of core obtained from the historic drilling in 1970 described below described the core of the H-K complex as mostly nepheline syenite and phonolite, surrounded by a myriad of ultra-basic and carbonatite intrusive phases including olivine essexite, ijolite, pyroxenite and sovite.
Six diamond drill holes were completed at H-K by Ashland Oil and Elgin Petroleum in 1970 as part of a regional base metal exploration program of the Paleozoic shelf carbonate succession which covers Archean basement rocks in the region. One hole was abandoned, and only 854 m were completed in total in 5 holes, all on magnetic highs in the outer zones of the H-K complex. Importantly, the historic drilling for base metals in 1970 proved that the H-K carbonatite complex comes to surface, to the base of glacial till and overburden.
Ten years later in 1981, Selco Exploration Company completed two drill holes on peripheral magnetic highs of the complex as part of a regional diamond exploration program, and intersected ultra-basic rocks and mafic breccia.
A high-resolution airborne magnetic survey was flown in the region in 1993 for diamond exploration. The survey shows clearly that Hecla-Kilmer is a concentrically zoned, high contrast magnetic anomaly 4 – 6 km’s across. Magnetic boundaries within the complex are sharply defined on RTP, 1VD and 2VD magnetic products. The historic drilling at H-K was done before this high-resolution survey, and before the discovery of the Olympic Dam copper-gold deposit in Australia and the development of the IOCG mineral deposit model, which helps explain why all five holes in 1970 were located in the outer concentric zones of the complex, and why copper-gold-fluorite hydrothermal breccia intersected in drill core in at least one of the holes was not sampled or followed up.
There has been no modern, systematic exploration or drilling of the core of the Hecla-Kilmer intrusive complex for copper and gold in the basement. The opportunity for VR is to be the first to apply modern IOCG and carbonatite mineral deposit models and the first to use modern exploration technologies to explore the core of the H-K complex for a magnetite-copper-gold-fluorite hydrothermal breccia system.