The Northway diamond exploration project is located in the James Bay region of northern Ontario,
Canada. Staked directly
by VR in 2022 as part of regional exploration for large-footprint, magmatic-hydrothermal mineral
systems along the
Kapuskasing Structural zone, the Northway property is a rare opportunity to test a previously
unknown kimberlite breccia
pipe and potential new field of pipes with new exploration technologies and modern mineral deposit
Northway is a direct extension of our work at Hecla-Kilmer using modern, innovative geophysical
technologies to explore
large-footprint anomalies within the Kapuskasing Structural Zone, but covered by a regional blanket
of till. The
kimberlite diatreme breccia pipe discovered at Northway is the result of this model and approach:
Northway is centered
on a large circular magnetic low 900 – 1,200 m across, and just 10 km west of the Ontario Northlands
Railway. There is
no outcrop in the region; the near-surface target is under cover and not previously explored or
The magnetic anomaly at Northway is located along the western margin of the KSZ, a crustal-scale
shear zone and
Proterozoic failed rift hundreds of kilometres long which bisects the Archean Superior province
between James Bay and
Lake Superior. The KSZ is well defined based on geophysical surveys and geologic mapping; it is a
mega-structure with a
long-lived history of repeated ultrabasic and alkaline intrusions spanning 1.6 billion years. The
province is a prospective setting for kimberlite pipes tapping the mantle, as illustrated with the
Victor diamond mine located to north at Attiwapiskat.
Prior to drill testing Northway in November 2022, the Company completed a low-cost, ultra – high
magnetic survey over the core of the property in March. The survey was designed to map and delineate
the large magnetic low observed in regional government surveys. The final survey covers a 2 x 3 km
block, comprising 108
line at 50 m spacing and 8 tie lines for a total of 120 line-km. The survey produces a very high
resolution of data
because of the tight line spacing, the low “tree-top” flight altitude of the drone at just 30 metres
above ground, and a
computerized flight control paired with a new, very high sensitivity potassium-vapour magnetometer.
In addition to the standard, processed deliverables from the survey, VR contracted an independent 3D
MVI inversion model
to refine the external boundaries and internal geometries of the anomaly in three dimensional space.
As illustrated on
the resultant RTP plan map and 3D MVI section shown on this Project Page, the magnetic anomaly at
Northway is from 900 –
1,200 m across, sub-vertical in nature, and open to depth beyond the 1,000 – 1,500 metre vertical
extent of the model.
Drill Hole NW022-001 was completed to 282m in November, 2022, on the southeastern margin of the
feature. It intersected a kimberlite diatreme breccia pipe preserved below Paleozoic limestone and
starting at a depth of approximately 240 m. Follow-up drill hole NW23-002 was completed to 357 m
depth in May, 2023.
Located in the center of the anomaly, it is a 450 metre step-out from Hole 001, and it intersected
kimberlite at exactly
the same depth as in Hole 001, preserved below the cover of Devonian limestone and sandstone. The
entirety of the
kimberlite intersections from holes 001 and 002 will be submitted to the SRC laboratory in
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for
caustic fushion process and micro-diamond evaluation, planned for the summer of 2023.
Drill core photos included on this website provide a snapshot of the array of textures and important
to-date, including accretionary Kimberley-type pyroclastic kimberlite breccia textures (“KPK”), and
hypabyssal or coherent kimberlite (“CK”) phases. Overall, lower curst and mantle-derived eclogite
xenoliths are observed
in KPK rock in both drill holes, together with phlogopite and olivine megacrysts and spherulitic
cored by olivine increase in abundance downwards in hole 002. Kelyphite rimmed garnet-bearing
eclogite xenoliths occur
at 330.8 m near the bottom of the hole.
VR has initiated a range of petrology, whole-rock geochemistry and mineral chemistry studies of drill
core samples from
both holes which are in progress and ongoing.
Crater facies kimberlitic mudstone and reworked volcaniclastic kimberlite (“RVK”) which formed at the
very top of
kimberlite breccia complex at Northway are preserved immediately below the cover of Devonian
sandstone in Hole 001. As
such, the MVI magnetic inversion model shown on this Project Page and taken from News Release
NR23-10 dated May 18,
2023, demonstrates the potential vertical extent of the kimberlite breccia intersected to date in
both drill holes at
The Northway property is in the Moose River basin in northern Ontario, Canada. It is located between
the Mattagami and
Missinaibi rivers. The nearest town is Moosonee located on tide water at James Bay some 125
kilometres to the northeast.
Kapuskasing is located about the same distance to the southwest, on the Trans-Canada Highway
(Provincial HWY 11).
Exploration at Northway is based out of a road-accessed camp established on private land at Otter
Rapids, an Ontario
hydroelectric facility located on the Abitibi River about 50 kilometres to the southeast of the
Highway 634 provides road access to Otter Rapids from Smooth Rock Falls, located at the junction of
HWY 634 with the
The property itself is located just 15 kilometers west of the active ONR railway spur line which
connects the town of
Moosonee with the mainline at Cochrane on the Trans Canada Highway, thus providing port access to
the Moose River region.
The Northway property is located in a boreal region of lowland muskeg, with black spruce forest along
Topographic relief is minimal and there is no outcrop; Northway is a few tens of kilometres north of
the northern limit
of exposed Archean Superior Province shield in northern Ontario.
The Northway project consists of 64 contiguous claims in a single block and is surrounded by
19 additional claim blocks, for a total of 284
claims over similar magnetic anomalies, within an area of approximately 50 x 70 kilometres in size.
The properties are on provincial crown land. Mineral rights are managed by the provincial Ontario
Ministry of Energy,
Northern Development and Mines (MENDM). There are no annual payments, but the MENDM requires certain
expenditures and reporting (ie. mineral assessment reports) in order to maintain a mineral claim in
good standing. The
properties falls within the Moose Cree First Nation traditional territories.
The property group is owned 100% by VR. There are no underlying annual lease payments, nor are there
any joint venture
or carried interests associated with the property. There are no royalties attached to the property.
As a result of the kimberlite breccia pipe discovery at Northway, VR staked 19 new, Tier 1 and Tier 2
targets in the
region. The upside potential of the expanded project is two-fold. First, it relates the sheer
breadth of kimberlite now
intersected in two holes 450 m apart at Northway, within the magnetic anomaly from 900 – 1,200 m
across. Second, the
breadth and energy of the Northway pipe speaks to potential for a field of pipes around it, that is
a kimberlite event
recorded by the numerous magnetic anomalies staked by VR around Northway.
Observations from drill core indicate that the upper-most crater facies of the kimberlite complex
is preserved, and
infilled by Devonian sandstone and limestone of the Hudson shelf. As such, Northway is not simply
the discovery of yet
another thoroughly explored Jurassic kimberlite in eastern Canada, but rather the discovery of a new
pipe and potential
field of pipes related to a previously unrecognized mid-Paleozoic kimberlite event in Canada’s
northern Superior Craton.
The area west of James Bay was explored extensively for diamonds from the 1960s through 1990s,
culminating in the
discovery and development by DeBeers of the Victor mine located 300km to the north of Northway.
Northway, however, is
different from the anomalies targeted during that exploration:
- Northway is a magnetic low, not a magnetic high;
- The Northway anomaly and breccia pipe complex is from 900 – 1,200 m across, much larger compared
to the small magnetic highs
typically a few hundred metres across drilled historically, and;
- Northway is older than the Paleozoic strata (410MA*) which cover it, as opposed to
the younger, Mesozoic kimberlite pipes (170MA)
targeted previously in the region which come through the Paleozoic limestone to the base of the
glacial till cover.
The Northway target is previously unexplored: it is under cover, it is north of exposed
Archean Superior Province shield, and it is north of easy road access in
northern Ontario. The specific area of the Northway property is not included in any mineral
reports filed with the MENDM, and there are no historic drill holes located at Northway in the MENDM
drill hole database.
The Northway property occurs on the western margin of the Kapuskasing Structural Zone (KSZ), a
crustal-scale shear zone
which bisects the Superior craton in a complex, northeast-southwest trending zone of uplifted, high
rocks extending for more than 500 kilometres between Lake Superior and James Bay. There is believed
to be more than 20
kilometres of vertical crustal displacement along the KSZ. It is clearly defined by positive gravity
domains on regional-scale geophysical maps.
The KSZ has a long-lived history of repeated ultra-basic, alkaline and carbonatite intrusions and
diatremes which collectively span more than 1.6 billion years of earth history, to as young as 125
million years ago.
Intrusions in and around Coral Rapids and along the western margin of the KSZ where Archean rocks
are exposed in major
river drainages such as the Abitibi have been explored since the early 1960’s, and many have been
The Northway property is near the southeastern margin of the Paleozoic Hudson shallow marine shelf, a
platform assemblage of limestone above a basal sandstone. The Moose River Basin developed on the
margin of the shelf in Cretaceous time; a small successor basin less than 50 kilometres across, and
preserved as finely
laminated and poorly indurated mudstone and siltstone. These Devonian and Cretaceous strata in the
Moose River area were
deposited on a gneissic crystalline basement of metamorphosed sedimentary assemblages and lesser
complexes of the Archean English River domain in what is believed to be the thickest part of the
Superior craton in
The Moose River Basin has a long and varied if not sporadic checkerboard history of mineral
exploration during the past
100 years. Overall, Cretaceous coal seams were the focus at the turn of the previous century, the
at the base of the Paleozoic shelf was the focus for base metal exploration in the 1970’s, and there
was active diamond
exploration through the 1980’s and 90’s, extending and eventually focusing in the region west of
James Bay at
Attawapiskat, far to the north of Northway.
Overall, exploration in the region is hindered by the lack of outcrop in the boggy, lowland terrain,
and by the cover of
up to 400 metres of mid-Paleozoic (Devonian) marine shelf strata and Cretaceous in-land basinal
strata overlying Archean
basement. Archean VMS and Proterozoic orogenic gold deposits occur in the surrounding sub-provinces
of the Superior
craton, but there are no active base metal or precious metal mines in the Moose River Basin region.
diamond mine (“Victor”) of Debeer’s located well to the north along the Attawapiskat River has
reached the end of its
mine life after more than a decade in production.
There are lignite occurrences exposed in the banks of the Abitibi River north of Coral Rapids. The
coal seams were first
studied in detail by the Geological Survey between 1871 and 1912. They extend westward from the
Abitibi River within the
confines the Cretaceous Moose River Basin. More than one hundred shallow drill holes were completed
by the Ontario
Department of Mines between 1926 and 1930 to evaluate the resource, leading ultimately to the
completion of two shafts
and some 389 metres of interconnecting drifts. Drilling resumed in the early 1950’s with the
completion of an additional
182 holes. In 1981, the Ontario Energy Corporation re-visited the potential of the coal and
stratigraphy farther to the west. Hundreds of shallow drill holes were completed on a lease which
exceeded 1 million
acres. Drill holes were completed around, but not on, VR’s current Northway kimberlite
The Aquitane Company of Canada Ltd. completed airborne and ground geophysics between 1972 and 1974 to
hydro-carbon potential of Paleozoic strata, and twelve diamond drill holes to test for base metal,
In 1978, Kerr-Addison Mines complete a series of reverse circulation drill holes near Coral Rapids
to test exposed basal
sandstone at the eastern edge of the Hudson Platform for uranium. These targets were re-visited and
re-tested in 2006.
Diamonds were the focus of modern mineral exploration in the James Bay region. Exploration started in
the 1960’s by
DeBeers (Monoprose Canada), focused initially in the Attawapiskat River region well to the north of
the Moose River
Basin, and built on the pioneering regional aeromagnetic program of the Geological Survey of Canada.
extensive regional till and alluvium heavy mineral sampling and high-resolution magnetic surveys
through the late 1980’s
eventually led to the discovery of numerous kimberlite pipes, including Victor.
Selection Trust (later named Selco Exploration Company) began alluvial sampling in the KSZ region in
1962, and were
joined by Esso Minerals in 1979. The first composite kimerlite – lamprophyry dyke was drilled in
1967, followed by
drilling of the Valentine carbonatite complex in 1969. Between 1979 and 1983, the Selco – Esso
regional heavy mineral sampling of till and alluvium over an area exceeding 100,000 hectares, and an
program launched in 1980 led to the identification of numerous post-Paleozoic, pipe-like anomalies,
of which 45 were
drill-tested; most were non- copper-bearing, ultra-basic and alkaline intrusions, and four were
Regional-scale exploration in the KSZ - Moose River Basin region waned after 1983. Various
small-scale airborne magnetic
surveys and ground-based EM surveys, and local alluvium sampling programs were completed at the
1983 and 2006, with the focus mostly on previously known, ultra-basic and alkaline intrusions and
diatremes exposed at
surface in and around Coral rapids, but also on limestone for industrial mineral applications.
Some 40 years later, VR has taken the opportunity to be the first company to apply new exploration
modern mineral deposit models to explore the region for large footprint mineral systems in the
presence of both Archean
tectonic suture boundaries of the Superior craton and the Proterozoic KSZ, a crustal-scale failed
rift and host to a
myriad of intrusions and hydrothermal and volcanic breccia bodies which span some 1.6 billion years
of earth history.