QMC Quantum Minerals’ flagship project, the Irgon Lithium Mine is just 20 km from Tantalum Mining Corporation of Canada ("TANCO") TANCO Mine, North America’s most successful lithium mine to date—and shows even richer ores. With a shaft already drilled and a historic (non NI 43-103 compliant) resource estimate of 1.2 million tons grading 1.51% Li20 over a strike length of 365 metres (1,200 ft) and to a depth of 213 metres (700 ft), Irgon is projected to be QMC’s first mine to reach production. Our Namew Lake District Project has the potential for a significant discovery of copper, nickel, gold, silver, palladium and platinum.
QMC Quantum Minerals’ Irgon project is a resurrection story.
Shortly after World War II, Lithium Corporation of Canada (LCOC), began work on this property located in Manitoba, just north of Cat Lake 150 km (93 miles) from Winnipeg.
In 1953-1954, LCOC drilled 25 holes into a geological formation at Cat Lake called the Irgon Pegmatite Dike. The Lithium assays obtained from this sampling were outstanding. Geologists estimated the part of the Irgon Dike lithium resource they looked at contained 1.2 million tons of ore grading 1.51% Li20 over a strike length of 365 meters and to a depth of 213 meters.
LCOC excavated a 3-compartment shaft descending 74 meters into the ground . It also constructed a processing plant on the site to process the ore, and a road to connect the mine site to nearby Provincial Routes 324 and 315, but lithium prices plunged, and LCOC shut down its Irgon Mine in 1957, announcing, "work was suspended, awaiting a more favorable market for lithium oxides."
After re-evaluating LCOC’s historic data, we believed the numbers were reasonable given the technology of the day. More than that—they hinted at greater promise for a number of reasons.
First, the local geology is supportive. Irgon Dike lies in the Winnipeg River Pegmatite Field. The entire area is prime lithium-hunting country because it is rich in a mineral called spodumene.
Also, you can see on the map, the TANCO lithium mine, which was discovered in the late 1920's and has been mined intermittently since 1929 is a near neighbour. The Irgon Mine shaft is less than 20 km (about 12 miles) away from the TANCO deposit. During its peak operating years, the TANCO mine was North America’s largest producer of lithium.
We were also encouraged that the original metallurgical tests showed an 87% recovery rate for lithium from the Irgon Dike samples.
In October 2016, QMC took an option on four mineral claims at Irgon, covering 700 hectares. A few months later we began to re-evaluate LCOC’s historic data and generated a 3D model.
In September 2017, the government of Manitoba granted us a work permit for the Irgon Dike Property. Our first task was to move in equipment and begin peeling back the overburden to make the area ready for grab samples, channel sampling, and trenching.
It is important for investors to understand how much work goes into bringing a site on board—even one like our Irgon Dike mine that had already been explored.
On QMC's evaluation of the historic 1950's data of LCOC, plus data collected in this area by TANCO during the 1970's and results from the 2011 exploration program obtained by the optionor, 101162742 Saskatchewan Ltd. there were more than enough positive indicators to make us very excited to push this project forward into a production decision.
In November 2017, while QMC's sampling program was under way, we also sent samples from areas with anomalously high lithium content—greater than 2%— off for professional assay. Then, in December, we completed the channel sampling and sent another 104 samples out for analysis.
In January 2018 we added 9 contiguous claims, bringing the total to 13 claims covering 6,538 acres (2,647 hectares) increasing our land position by 378%.
During 2019, we completed a 2,300 drill program on the Irgon Mine Property as we evaluate the best approach to mining this property. We expect to bring data up to NI 43-01 standards this year. Results of the work completed to date are here.
Once our qualifying geologist files an approved NI 43-101 report, QMC Quantum Minerals can move rapidly to bring the first parts of the Irgon Lithium Project into production. There’s already a 3-compartment shaft on the site that was excavated by LCOC in the 1950’s, although the processing plant built at the same time has been dismantled.
Manitoba is a mining-friendly province and we expect all permitting and environmental approvals to proceed smoothly.
In March 2018, we received a drill permit from Manitoba’s Sustainable Development Office that allows us to begin a 6,500-foot drill program to confirm the 1953/1954 data as part of the process to produce a report on the property that will comply with current NI 43-101 standards
At the same time, we are drilling deeper and covering a wider area along the strike of the dike in this new drill program. We hope to extend laterally the strike of the dike to both the east and the west. Ultimately, we think our NI 43-01 will establish much more than the 1.2 million tons of 1.5% lithium oxide along the strike of the dike than the old survey estimated.
The facts we have so far are very positive for economic lithium production, but when we sent out the big batch of samples in December, we asked the lab to assay our samples for 56 different elements.
This is one of the big advantages that hard rock mining has over brining operations. It’s very likely that other elements can be recovered as well. The possibilities we are looking at include the rare earth minerals beryllium, tantalum, niobium, cesium and rubidium.
Once our qualifying geologist files an approved NI 43-01, QMC Quantum Minerals can move rapidly to bring the first parts of the Irgon Lithium project into production. There’s already a 3-compartment shaft and a portable pilot plant can be quickly moved onsite. Brines take years to produce lithium, but with hard rock, as soon as you start digging, you are in business.