Mega Precious Metals Inc., based in Thunder Bay, Ontario with a Canadian project focus, has navigated the current market’s challenges to attain a uniquely enviable position. The company is well-funded following a $12.3 million private placement in March 2012, and holds a substantial resource portfolio, with greater than four million NI 43-101 compliant gold ounces (see Fig. 1) and a strong pipeline of mineralized targets between its two advanced projects in proven Canadian gold belts.
Perhaps of even greater note is that Mega’s low burn rate continues to convert mineralized targets, expanding the company’s regional footprint. This not only significantly accelerates growth but delivers sustained shareholder value as well, expected to build considerably over the next 12-18 months. The combined experience of the company’s board, management, and technical teams further enhances this value, with backgrounds and proven execution experience in developing advanced stage projects that are highly attractive to larger mining companies.
Mega’s 100 per cent owned Monument Bay property is both the company’s most advanced project and one of the top most active exploration projects in the region, with over 140,000 metres of drilling completed since 2000. Located 570 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, and 340 kilometres southeast of Thompson, Manitoba, Monument Bay has developed at a steady clip over the past year, building a considerable regional potential.
The project has been significantly de-risked over the years through historical work conducted by Amax, Noranda, Wolfden, Bema, and Rolling Rock. Mega has outlined greater than 2.8 million ounces within a four-kilometre footprint out of the total 318 square-kilometre land package.
In late 2011, Mega partnered with the University of Manitoba, together outlining a structural geological framework that outlines the key mineralization controls both at a macro and micro scale. This combined effort determined numerous mineralized zones across the property. Mineralization is shown to start at surface, is repetitious, and has long extensions within multiple structural corridors that are open along strike and depth. Each mineralized zone has a strong correlation of economic gold mineralization with tungsten. The repetitious nature of this mineralization has converted initial waste areas to economic mineralization which deepens and widens open pit mineralization, augmenting the value and potential of the project as a whole.
Mega’s unique and focused approach to outlining this mineralization, including the sampling of broad mineralized systems in previously unsampled old drill core, has added significant ounces to the resource base, improving the conversion rate of mineralized targets by 500 per cent and reducing “wait time” for assay results by four to six weeks due to the addition of an onsite lab. The determined combination of geological, structural, and geochemical controls created a geological model that closely resembles the Hollinger Mine in Timmins, Ontario, which has produced more than 19 million ounces.
The company’s advancements at Monument Bay over the past 18 months have been swift and significant, marked first by the announcement of a 47 per cent increase in gold resources at the project in June 2011. Early and ongoing work indicated positive economics not only for underground mining operations but for open pit mining as well, with multiple open-pit regional potential. The company anticipates a targeted production model of over 300,000 ounces per year from open pits and underground mining, emphasizing Monument Bay’s position as an impending key player in the region.
Regional exploration has been critical in developing the project into a potentially substantial gold camp, with two new parallel mineralized zones encountered in the footwall of the current resources during 2011 exploration. The first of these zones, located approximately 80 metres in the footwall of the Burn Zone and open along strike and dip, returned drill intersections including 4.43 g/t gold over 7.0 meters and 1.84 g/t gold over 1.0 metres. Mapping and rock chip sampling of the AZ zone, located approximately 600 metrse in the footwall of the Twin Lake Shear zone, suggested strong potential for additional high-grade gold vein and bulk disseminated gold mineralization.
An updated calculation of mineral resources released in February 2012, further built upon this position, reporting 1.05 million ounces Measured and Indicated at a grade of 2.5 g/t and 1.73 million Inferred ounces at a grade of 3.78 g/t. Representing the second substantial increase in the overall Monument Bay resource in less than a year, this estimate was followed closely by ongoing exploration programs aimed at further expanding and optimizing the project by targeting plunging high-grade trends, drilling gaps, and filling in assay gaps by assaying previously un-sampled material between veins from available drill core.
A 2012 winter step-out drill program comprised 30 holes totaling 9,162 metres, successfully expanding current near-surface open-pit mineralization and outlining a new satellite gold deposit within 2.2 kilometres of the current resource. Notable intersections include 26.0 metres at 1.60 g/t gold within the Burn zone and 6.0 metres at 1.70 g/t gold in the newly delineated Mid East zone. Over 25 near-surface targets with enriched gold/tungsten anomalies were outlined, the conversion of which is expected to substantially increase overall resource inventory and potentially prolong mine life. Multiple holes intersected significant gold mineralization directly below the current open pit, each returning higher grades that were estimated for the current block model for the given area. Drilling on eastern zones outside of the existing pit-resource boundary intersected broad mineralization and remain open at depth.
At the Mid East Zone, drilling expanded mineralization 200 metres to the east and intersected multiple near-surface vertical zones open to the east and south, where gold/tungsten soil anomalies have been identified. This target, coupled with open pit expansion, underscores Monument Bay’s capacity for additional gold mineralization beyond the current resource boundary.
Notably, all of the current mineralization in the open pit resource has a strong proximal correlation between tungsten (scheelite) and gold mineralization, a quality shared by many of the largest Archean gold camps (comprising more than 10 million ounces). The satellite gold mineralization at Monument Bay is also enriched with scheelite, combining to support the strong potential for a large gold system and major new gold camp. Patterns determined by Mega’s exploration programs could contribute to a multi-deposit, centralized mill-type production model.
Government-initiated key infrastructure continues to develop in the Monument Bay area, including upgradeable power lines and a regionally low electricity rate. Further, Mega’s emphasis on building and sustaining value was highlighted by cash-preservation measures during the rougher markets of summer 2012, assuring that capital was channeled into focused field work.
In addition to its most advanced project, Monument Bay Gold Camp, Mega also has projects in the Red Lake Gold Camp and a copper project in Nunavut. Mega remains considerably undervalued given its project portfolio and resource inventory, creating substantial opportunity as the company moves forward with focused, results-driven, cost-effective exploration and development.
The company trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol MGP.