Canadian North Resources Inc.- Going Green Metals
The Ferguson Lake mining property has seen extensive investment, and even more extensive opportunities.
Canadian North Resources Inc. (“Canadian North” or “the Company”) is an exploration and mining company with a large and high-grade base metal (nickel, copper, cobalt) and platinum-group metal (“PGM”, mainly palladium, and platinum) sulphide project in Canada. The Company is listed on Toronto Stock Exchange -Venture (TSXV) in Canada under symbol “CNRI”.
The Company owns a 100% interest in the Ferguson Lake mining property in Nunavut, Canada, which holds PGM-rich base metal sulphides across a 15-km long mineralized belt held in ten mining leases spanning 96.9 square kilometres. In addition, the Company has recently staked 156.9 square kilometres of exploration claims surrounding the mining leases, covering multiple prospective satellite targets which have been investigated and sampled by the Company during the past years. Totally the property covers an area of 253.8 square kilometres.
This late-stage exploration and development project was acquired by Canadian North in 2013 after being originally discovered by Inco Limited in the 1950s. It has had over $150 million invested in it with over 180,000 metres drilled and a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) completed by Starfield Resources in 2011.
“During the past nine years, the company has focused on drilling, surface sampling and geological mapping, assaying of rock chips, till and core samples. We also completed hundreds of historic reports, completed a ground geophysical survey and metallurgical work to extract the PGM and base metals economically, which were the basis for the completion of a NI43-101 technical report. In addition, we upgraded and completed all maintenance on the camp and all the equipment,” explains Kaihui Yang, President and CEO of Canadian North Resources Inc. “We have just released the updated resource estimates for the Ferguson Lake project, which indicates over 71 million tonnes containing substantial resources of copper (1,402 million pounds, M lb), nickel (872M lb), cobalt (99.9M lb), palladium (3.20 million ounces, M oz), and platinum (0.56M oz).”
The resource estimation was carried out by the independent Qualified Persons (QP) in compliance with Canadian National Instrument 43-101 Standards. The results indicate the Ferguson Lake mining property contains large and high-grade mineral resources for open pit (low-cost operation) and underground mining. In particular, the resources estimates for the project include high-grade open-pit Indicated mineral resources of 22.4 million tonnes at 0.84% copper, 0.60% nickel, 0.07% cobalt, 1.37g/t palladium and 0.23g/t platinum.
“Our mandate is to deliver world-class resources of key metals to enable growth and innovation in other industries,” Yang tells us. “These metals include nickel, copper, cobalt, palladium, platinum, and rhodium which are increasingly used in the development of clean energy, electric vehicle, and high-tech solutions. We aim to create shareholder value through the discovery, expansion, and development of world-class resources.”
Canadian North benefits from its project being based in a geopolitically stable and mining-friendly jurisdiction with the potential for high-grade, large-tonnage base metal and PGM resources. On top of the $150 million that has already been invested in the project for exploration and on-site development, the Company has also raised over $22 million just prior to going public in April, to advance the project.
“We have excellent onsite infrastructure on the Ferguson Lake mining property, including an airfield and a full camp for up to 55 people to live and work year-round,” Yang tells us proudly. “The field camp has a heating system, satellite network and internet, as well as heavy equipment for exploration and on-site construction, such as three drill rigs, bulldozer, front loader, haul trucks, skid steer, snowcat, grader, excavator, crusher, snowmobiles and ATVs, pick-up trucks, and three camp generators.”
A People-First Culture
The Ferguson Lake Project includes a large area rich in resources and has already seen substantial investment, but it has also faced challenges, particularly in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic over the last two years.
“Due to travel restrictions into Nunavut, we were unable to open the field camp which caused delays to our exploration programs,” Yang recalls. “Once restrictions lifted last year, we sent our crew up to continue our exploration. Since the team was smaller, they could maintain a safe social distance in the bunk rooms.”
Canadian North also developed and implemented a strict protocol to minimize the spread of Covid-19. All consultants and employees are now required to be fully vaccinated with at least two shots.
“They are tested before leaving for the camp, during their travels, and after they arrive at the field camp,” Yang insists. “We have also established a relationship with the hospitals in nearby towns for any emergency needs.”
Part of the reason that Canadian North has been able to adapt so well to this change in circumstances is the people-first culture that empowers team members to continuously learn and grow with the company.
“We have established a Nominating and Compensation Committee in the Board to recruit the best talent to join our team,” Yang tells us. “To provide team members with a sense of ownership and connection to the company, we have established a stock ownership program for all employees, consultants, and even students who work for the Company during the summer.”
That culture is also reflected in how Canada North interacts with the communities it works alongside. The Company works in consultation with the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) and other northern agencies to develop community initiatives that would benefit local people in northern Canada. It engages with local businesses, governments, and residents of nearby communities to understand their interests and concerns, and identify opportunities to support the community and local economies.
As well as working with local communities, Canada North’s Board has created the Environment, Social Responsibilities and Governance (ESG) Committee to define and implement Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies, support the local economy, respect cultural differences, and protect the environment, historic sites, and wildlife.
“We create a multi-cultural working environment within the Company and at the field camp. We run a dry field camp with no acholic at the project site,” Yang explains. “Local service providers, consultants and employees have been engaged to support the exploration programs and the maintenance of the project site for years to come.”
Canadian North maintains strict environmental protocols at the camp for waste management and recyclable materials and also mandates that local wildlife should not be disturbed- shutting down field operations entirely during caribou migration season and hiring local consultants to help with further wildlife protection in the area.
The future is bright for Canadian North. So far over the next three-to-five years, the Company is looking to further expand across its high-grade nickel, copper, palladium, and platinum resources by definition drilling on the Ferguson Lake mining property. The Company will increase metallurgical testing for the extraction of ore metals. It will also advance preliminary economic assessment (PEA) and feasibility studies for a potential mine with significant production of the base metals and PGM which are increasingly used in the green-energy, electric vehicle, battery, and high-tech industries.
“Our recent resources modelling indicates a large mineralization system with significant potential for resource expansion along strike and at depth over the 15-km-long major mineralized belts and other targets,” Yang tells us. “We are carrying out our $11 million exploration program for 2022 to further expand the potential high-grade large-tonnage base metal and PGM resources. We believe that the Ferguson Lake project has the potential to provide world-class resources of nickel, copper, palladium, and platinum. The large mineralization system may be comparable with the Norilsk mining area of Russia, one of the world’s most productive regions for nickel, copper, palladium, and platinum.”