Geovic Mining Corp intends to convert historical resources at the Nautilus Mineral Sands Project in New Caledonia into NI 43-101 compliant resources and reserves through a geo-statistically approved program independently confirmed by a qualified person at such time that permits are obtained to drill to the desired depth within the historic exploration area.
The Union Oil Company of California (UNOCAL) recognized the economic chromite mineral sands deposits in New Caledonia in the early 1980s and applied for several exploration licences. Early nickel mining also discovered chromite deposits over the past century. The secondary enrichment of chromite in coastal environments spurred UNOCAL’s initial interest, however it divested itself from mineral exploration and did not pursue chromite mineral sands further.
UNOCAL reported on April 18, 1986, in a final report it issued to Ministry of Mines of New Caledonia, a historic chromite resource, which was classified as an indicated resource, contained within the exploration licence areas it held. UNOCAL reported that the deposit contained 5.67 million tonnes of chromium oxide. It was reported that the mineralization occurs within a 6.1sqkm area, averages 12.31 metres thick, and ranges from surface to 20 metres depth.
The chromite sands have an average density of 1.96 tonnes/cubic metre, equivalent to a total 148.1 million tonnes of chromite-bearing sediment. This report also reported additional inferred resources at the Mouea project area of 47.3 million tonnes of chromite-bearing sediment containing 1.53 million tonnes of chromium oxide.
UNOCAL’s resource areas now form a portion of Geovic’s exploration licences. Geovic currently has 31 licences in New Caledonia which are being explored for chromite.
These resources are historical in nature and do not comply with NI 43-101. Geovic believes that the resource categories are very similar to those set out in NI 43-101. In order to convert the historic resources to NI 43-101-compliant resources, additional geologic evaluation, including drilling and metallurgical testing, under the direction of a qualified person and reviewed by an independent qualified person will be necessary.
After completion and/or parallel with the above exploration effort, Geovic intends to commence selective expansion of a permitted program allowing drilling to the desired depths within several of the other exploration areas assigned to Geovic New Caledonia in order to expand the total resources and reserves of the project. Geovic further intends, once NI 43-101 compliant reserves have been established, to commission a feasibility study to advance the project toward development and production.
Geovic has applied for the extension of its exploration licences in New Caledonia, which is expected to cover all 31 licence areas in New Caledonia originally granted, of which four are the original UNOCAL exploration areas. The Geovic Nautilus mineral sands deposits cover a total of 100sqkm that host approximately 55sqkm of unconsolidated chromite mineralized sediments.
The company has conducted metallurgical testing, geochemical assaying, geophysical and environmental studies as well as hand auguring and drilling on over half of the licence areas under its control. More than 425 holes for a total depth of 1807 metres have been drilled. The sampling depth ranged from 1 to 10 metres. Geovic is awaiting assay results from the drilling.