FREEPORT RESOURCES INC. : http://www.freeportresources.com/ : QwikReport
The Q is a major fluorite deposit with several distinct types of mineralization including molybdenite, celestite with accessory silver-bearing galena and niobium minerals. It is located near Quesnel Lake in south-central B.C, within a 100 km (62 mi) radius of the Boss Mountain (Mo), Mt. Polley (Cu-Mo) and Gibraltar (Cu-Mo) mines, all part of a well-known northwest trending belt of porphyry deposits.
Classed as a "Developed Prospect" by the BC government (Minfile 093A 046), past expenditures by Eaglet Mines Ltd. in the 1970-80's reportedly exceed $7,000,000. Work includes 21,336 metres (70,000 feet) of diamond drilling, with a total of 126 surface holes in 1973-1984, and an additional 809 metres (2,654 feet) of underground development, including 9 underground holes and 2 adits. Previous work defined historical reserves (not NI-43-101 compliant) of 24 million tonnes with 11.5% fluorite (also called fluorspar, or CaF2), widespread accessory celestite, and some recoverable silver-bearing galena and sphalerite. From an economic perspective, world shortages of supplies of acid-grade fluorspar are anticipated due to a rapid decrease in exports from China in recent years. As noted at the October Fluorspar08 conference, this may attract fluorspar mining interests to BC.
The Q is now being evaluated for widespread molybdenite mineralization, present in both adits and a number of drill holes, reaching values up to 0.19% MoS2. Furthermore, a new development has occurred, with elevated niobium values (837 ppm or 1197 g/t Nb2O5) in some randomly selected samples strongly suggests carbonatite-related mineralization in the deposit. On-going laboratory work confirmed the presence of pyrochlore (a niobium mineral), suggesting an igneous source for celestite (a strontium mineral) and established widespread occurence of rare earth minerals (such as bastnaesite, a REE carbonate) further reinforcing the possibility of a carbonatite source.
Because of favourable molybdenite (MoS2) results, Freeport's current goals are to assess the Q's molybdenum potential, confirm historical fluorite reserves, and investigate elevated niobium values. Although molydenite prices have decreased significantly in the recent economic crisis, fluorite prices remain high. Furthermore, the presence of nobium at the Q adds to its economic potential as this strategic metal remains in great demand.
Location & Access
Quesnel Lake, Cariboo Mining Division The Q claims (56 mineral units, 12 sq km, 4.6 sq mi) are located near Williams Lake in the Cariboo region of BC, near the highly active Horsefly and Spanish Mountain exploration camps and the and Mt. Polley mine.
Situated at the junction of the two main arms of Quesnel Lake, the Q is accessed by all-season gravel road 125 kilometres (78 miles) from Williams Lake to Haggens Point. The lake crossing from the south shore is 8 km (5 mi) to a landing on the property, which has several small access roads and trails across moderate terrain, to 175 m (574') above lake level.
The Q is located near the contact between granitic gneisses and metasedimentary rocks. Fluorite, molybdenite and celestite are found in both rock units, but mostly in granitic gneiss. The Q was previously evaluated mainly for fluorite content.
Present work is mainly focussed on molybdenite mineralization observed in both adits (300m, or 984' apart) and mentioned in a number of drill hole logs. Coarse-grained molybdenite has been observed along over 70 metres (230 feet) of Adit 2, confirmed by over 500 recent assays where one quarter had Mo >100 ppm, with values between 500 and 1100 ppm (0.083% and 0.18% MoS2) not uncommon in the northeast section.
Widespread molybdenite and large scale potassic feldspar alteration suggest some similarity to a porphyry type deposit. Freeport's preliminary metallurgical tests successfully produced an encouraging initial molybdenite (MoS2) concentrate with associated rhenium.
Molybdenite is used mainly in alloys with various metals when high strength, hardness, corrosion resistance and tolerance of high temperature ranges is required. Current information on molybdenum can be found at the International Molybdenum Association's Moly Info Center. For analyst John Kaiser's commentary on molybdenum, visit Molymania at www.kaiserbottomfish.com.
Historical fluorite (CaF2) reserves at the Q were reported at 24 million tonnes averaging 11.5% fluorite including 1.8 Mt of 15% ore, as calculated by Eaglet Mines in 1984. Although these are not NI43-101 compliant or to current standards, Freeport believes them relevant to continuing exploration (Minfile 093A 046).
Fluorite is a very important non-metallic mineral, a key component in steel manufacturing as well as aluminum smelting. Prices have increased in recent times due to reduced exports from China, increasing its demand globally.
Because of favourable assay results and widespread molybdenite at the Q, Freeport now actively seeks the involvement of a major company to assist in further developing the property. Importantly, molybdenum and fluorspar prices have increased significantly since 1984, when molybdenum prices were just US$ 3.40 per pound. Since the present price of fluorspar has more than doubled and MoS2 has more than tripled (January 2010), the Q also has potential to become an attractive Mo prospect. In closing, the Q is highly prospective for both molybdenum and fluorspar with possible celestite and silver by-products.
Freeport is now assessing the Q property's molybdenum potential, with work to confirm historical fluorite reserves also underway.
Fluorite (CaF2) showings have been known at the Q claims since 1947, with past work by Eaglet Mines Ltd. largely focussed on fluorspar and silver. Extensive underground workings and diamond drilling defined a 1500 by 900 metres (4920' by 2950') mineralized fluorite zone, with historical reserves reported at over 24MT in 1984 (see Historical Reserves below).
Widespread host rock potassic alteration suggests intense hydrothermal activity as often seen in porphyry deposits. The most obvious is the large-scale salmon pink potassic feldspar alteration in the fluorite-mineralized area. A recently completed study suggests that mineralization may be related to a well-differentiated Cretaceous granitic intrusion at depth.
Molybdenite has been observed in both adits -- 300 m (984') apart -- and mentioned in a number of drill hole logs. Extensive assays of samples from Adit 2 show many elevated Mo values greater than 100 ppm, with values between 500 and 1100 not uncommon in the northeast section. This area --the "East Drift" -- is near the contact with the sedimentary rock, and characterized by increased faulting and structural complexity.
Similarities to Porphyry Deposits
Porphyry deposits are typically low grade, high tonnage, and hosted by granitic intrusive rocks. Mineralization is found within the porphyritic granitic intrusion, within veinlets and fracture stockwork cross-cutting the intrusion, and also in the regional host rock.
Known BC porphyry deposits form a northwest trending belt from the US border to the Yukon. Some of the more important -- Endako, Boss Mountain, and MAC -- are also Cretaceous in age.
Fluorite, molybdenite, silver and celestite mineralization at the Q is hosted by Quesnel Lake orthogneiss of Late Devonian to Early Mississippian age near the contact with Late Proterozoic Snowshoe Group metasedimentary rocks. Overburden covers much of the property, with generally somewhat limited outcrop. Barrett Creek canyon crosses the mineralized zone from north-east to south-west, clearly exposing the intrusive contact where granitic gneiss crosscuts metasediments, with large blocks of metasediments included within the orthogneiss near its margins. Dykes and small bodies of aplitic rocks as well as a few narrow lamprophyre and feldspar porphyry dykes have also been observed.
Distribution of fluorspar (calcium fluoride) as well as celestite (strontium sulphate) is mainly controlled by fracturing of more brittle host rocks, and percolation by hydrothermal fluids. Review of high resolution air photo imagery confirms a concentration of linear fracture patterns at the northeast end of Adit 2, near the contact between granitic orthogneisses and metasedimentary rocks. This zone coincides with an area of significant fluorspar mineralization as well as elevated MoS2 in Adit 2 and nearby drill holes samples analyzed by Freeport.
Work at the property includes drilling of 126 surface holes (19,687 m, or 64,590'), and 9 underground holes (1,525 m, or 5003'). Two adits (No. 1: 292 m or 958'; and No. 2: 373 m or 1224') were also driven in the 1980's. This work defined eight fluorite lenses or zones.
Recent work at the Q includes completion of the first mineralogical and petrographic review, entitled Eaglet Property Revisited: Fluorite-Molybdenite Porphyry-like Hydrothermal System", (Hora et al., BCGS 2008). This study provides detailed information on different types of mineralization and relationships of individual minerals of economic interest. Pyrochlore (a niobium mineral), and a bastnaesite-related mineral (Ce, Y, CO3 F carbonate) were both newly discovered. Five randomly collected samples assayed for Nb resulted in values up to 857 ppm, with pyrochlore present in amounts up to several volume percent in some, found in association with microcline, zircon, and pyrite. Zinnwaldite, a potassium lithium mica, was also identified.
A study in 2009 by the same author, entitled Niobium-Thorium-Strontium-REE Mineralogy and Preliminary Sulfur Isotope Geochemistry of the Eaglet Property East-Central British Columbia (NTS 093A/10W), provides a more detailed evaluation of the Nb-Th-Sr-REE mineralogy, and based on sulfur isotope suggests at least two different sources of mineralization at the property -- namely that the sulfate minerals (celestite) and sulfide minerals (pyrite and molybdenite) were formed independently at different stages of the ore-forming process. This study is in progress.
Fluorite mineralization seems associated with late, unfoliated white and pink aplite dikes intruding the Quesnel Lake orthogneiss and the schists of the Snowshoe Group. It occurs as disseminated grains, fracture fillings, stockwork and irregular veins and replacement bodies within the gneiss and aplitic rock. Dark purple fluorite -- enriched in thorium and light REE relative to the later green and colourless varieties -- is possibly associated with molybdenite, while the later are associated with carbonates and celestite (Hora et al., 2008). Small quantities of galena, sphalerite, and pyrite are also common visible accessories with purple fluorite.
Described as 8 'stacked' sheet-like zones, the fluorite lenses range in thickness from 5 to 30 meters (98'), with an average of eight metres. Grade ranges from a few percent to 43% CaF2, generally increasing with depth. There are 4 'main zones', typically no more than 10-15 m (33-49') apart. The best zone is at the contact between the Snowshoe schist and the orthogneiss, forming a 100 m (328') east-west and 150 m (492') north-south sheet. It is intercepted by Adit 2 as well as drill holes, at approximately 100 to 150 m (328 to 492') depth from surface, with ~10% CaF2. Smaller fluorite lenses occur above and below the main zone.
Historical Fluorite Reserves
In 1984, Eaglet Mines calculated reserves at 24 million tonnes averaging 11.5% calcium fluoride (CaF2), with silver, molybdenum, and lead by-products, as follows:
Total: 24,000,000 tonnes (26,450,000 tons)
Including 1,800,000 tonnes of 15% CaF2 ore (Minfile 093A 046)
Reserves included at least 2,000,000 tonnes (2,205,000 tons) of higher grade fluorspar ore in a 6 metre (20') thick zone intersected by Adit 2. Preliminary metallurgical testing by Eaglet Mines produced both acid and metallurgical-grade concentrates in a cold water flotation circuit using an inexpensive, nontoxic, and readily biodegradable reagent scheme.
Please note that historical estimates pre-date and are not compliant with NI 43-101. Freeport has not verified the historical estimates and they should not be relied upon. However, Freeport believes that they provide a conceptual indication of mineral potential and are relevant to continuing exploration.
Molybdenite occurs as disseminated coarse grains throughout the deposit. It has been observed in both adits, some 300m (984') apart, as well as in various drill holes. Found in varied rock types, it is not always associated with fluorite. Molybdenite has been observed mostly along slickenside planes, schistosity and in quartz-filled veinlets. It is independent of higher lead and zinc.
The first comprehensive analytical results confirming widespread presence of molybdenum (Mo) in Adit No. 2 were released by Freeport. Approximately 25% of over 500 pulp samples have anomalous molybdenum, from 100 ppm to a maximum of 1143 ppm (0.19% MoS2).
A digital map of Adit 2 including geology, structure, Mo and fluorite rich zones has recently been prepared, as part of a 3D modelling study to compare distribution of molybdenite, fluorspar and also alkalic alteration zones similar to known porphyry deposit models.
A commercial grade molybdenum concentrate was first prepared in 1984 for Eaglet Mines. Mo was known at the claims since 1966, but underestimated until 1983 or 1984 when commercial concentrations were encountered rather unexpectedly during the driving of the second adit.
UBC Mining Research Ltd (BCMR - Dr. Bern Klein) recently completed a metallurgical test study for Freeport, to determine if it were possible to produce a commercial-grade molybdenum concentrate and design a process flow sheet. A 20 kg grab sample with a high grade of 0.16% Mo resulted in an initial concentrate with 31.0% Mo (51.7% MoS2), with associated rhenium (22.1 g/tonne, 0.64 oz/ton). These results are very encouraging and further work has been recommended.
Silver is commonly present in amounts up to 1 oz per ton (34.3 g/tonne), with a maximum reported value of 15 oz (514 g/tonne). In Adit 2, it occurs in galena in zones up to 30 cm (12") wide within the area of higher grade fluorite. Zones up to 3 m (10') wide have assayed 0.5 oz (17 g/tonne) silver per ton, and 1% lead (McDougall & Ball, 1994).
Celestite, or strontium sulfate (SrSO4), is mostly produced from sedimentary evaporate deposits. Elsewhere, it is also found in veins sometimes associated with galena, sphalerite and other sulfides. Carbonatites, intrusive carbonate rocks, are frequently celestite-enriched.
High values of strontium in all samples analyzed by Freeport (many over 10,000 ppm) indicate widespread presence of celestite disseminated throughout the deposit.
Alteration minerals observed by past and more recent work include Na-feldspar, K-feldspar, biotite, sericite, muscovite, gypsum, pyroxene, chlorite, and kaolinite. Newly identified alteration products include siderite, disseminated hematite, calcite, dickite, nakrite, kaolinite, and fluorapophyllite.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Freeport is now reassessing the Q as a potential molybdenum deposit and is seeking involvement of a major company. The following is recommended:
Verify the historical fluorite reserves.
Assessment of economic viability in respect to present commodity prices.
Relog diamond drill core for molybdenite, fluorite, and alteration minerals, particularly at the northeast section of Adit 2.
Three-dimensional modelling of mineralization and alteration zones to evaluate any similarities with porphyry systems.
Ongoing analysis for molybdenite, fluorspar, and other potentially economic minerals, notably niobium.
Ground geochemistry for Mo distribution, such as MMI (Mobile Metal Iron method).
Further metallurgical work, based on Adit 2 samples, to verify Mo content and recovery.
Possible ground and/or airborne geophysics to identify more fractured areas prospective for mineralization, as well as areas with potentially higher sulphide concentrations.
Fluorite, , also known as fluorspar, is calcium fluoride (CaF2), an industrial mineral with a broad spectrum of uses. Fluorite is important as a flux in steel manufacture and in aluminum production, as well as in the manufacture of hydrofluoric acid. Fluorine compounds are used in production of gasoline, plastics, insulating foams, refrigerants and also in refining of uranium concentrates. Fluorspar is also used in the glass and ceramic industries.
Fluorite appears in various colours such as green and purple, yellow-brown, rose and red. Its crystals, commonly cubic, are transparent or translucent and are fluorescent under certain conditions. (From www.USGS.gov)
Fluorspar is marketed in three grades according to end-use:
Containing min. 97% CaF2
Containing 60-80% CaF2
Containing 88-97% CaF2
As published in Industrial Minerals in 2006, "China, the world's biggest producer (with output at around 2.4M tonnes in 2005 or 48.2% of world total), has been reducing exports for its own mushrooming hydrofluoric acid (HF) industry. Prices for acidspar have risen steadily in the past year as demand has outpaced production. Waning supply has left other major producers around the world struggling to meet demand and prompted interest in new supply projects." "The industry is already operating at 90% capacity with limited ability to expand." (IM 2006 Fluorspar)
IM 2006 Fluorspar.pdf
Molybdenum (Mo) is a very soft (1-1.5) metallic element with a high melting point -- above 2,000 C. The basic ore mineral is molybdenite (MoS2), a distinctive bluish-gray, soft and flakey. The metal is used in many special alloys, particularly high-strength alloys and high-temperature steels. It is often combined with chromium, columbium (niobium), manganese, nickel, tungsten, or other alloy metals as well as cast iron to create hard, strong, and tough materials that are resistant to high stress, high temperature ranges and to highly corrosive environments (i.e. acids, salt and seawater). High-molybdenum content steels are often used in building applications such as bridges, swimming pool and water tank linings, and ship building. Steels used for cutting have high molybdenum content. It is one of the primary alloys in jet engine parts. It is also used as a dry lubricant resistant to high temperature. Molybdenite is also used as a catalyst in petroleum refining and plastics, and also as a pigment in paints, inks, plastics and rubber. It is used to form the anode in some x-ray tubes, particularly in mammography applications. Few of molybdenum's uses have acceptable substitutions.
Recent Moly oxide price: US$34 a pound (March 2008)
The majority of the world's molybdenum supply comes from the United States, China and South America. Ten companies account for roughly two-thirds of production with copper miners Codelco of Chile along with the U.S.'s Phelps Dodge producing about half of that. A Canadian company, Thompson Creek Metals Co., is expected to produce 21 million pounds this year, about 5 per cent of the world's supply. Two Chinese companies, Jinduicheng and Luanchuan, together produce about 23 million pounds a year. There are also hundreds of small molybdenum mines in China, many of which are being shut down over safety and environmental concerns. (From www.USGS.gov and Globe & Mail, March 5/07, "Is Moly on Brink of Being Mining Megastar", by Andy Hoffman and Sinclair Stewart)
Rhenium (Re), the last naturally-occurring element, was discovered in Germany in 1925. The process was so complicated and the cost so high that production was discontinued until early 1950 when tungsten-rhenium and molybdenum-rhenium alloys were prepared. These alloys found important applications in industry that resulted in a great demand for the rhenium produced from the molybdenite fraction of porphyry copper ores. Important uses of rhenium have been in platinum-rhenium catalysts, used primarily in producing lead-free, high-octane gasoline and in high-temperature superalloys used for jet engine components. (From www.USGS.gov)
Rhenium has very good corrosion resistance, a very high melting point, and is very dense. Tungsten is the only metal with a higher melting point than rhenium, and only platinum, iridium and osmium are denser than rhenium. Rhenium's specific gravity is 21.04 and its melting point is 3180°C. Rhenium was recovered from flue gases during the roasting of molybdenite concentrates and from the recycling of alloys and catalysts containing rhenium.
The two main uses for rhenium were in metal alloys and in catalysts, accounting for an estimated 70% and 20%, respectively, of rhenium use in 2004. The addition of rhenium improves the high temperature strength of nickel-based super-alloys. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 60% of rhenium demand in 2004 was for use in nickel-based super-alloys. Rhenium was also alloyed with molybdenum and tungsten. Molybdenum alloys containing rhenium (between 41% and 47.5%) had greater ductility than other molybdenum alloys and were weldable. Rhenium was also alloyed with tungsten to increase ductility; rhenium contents of various alloys produced by Rhenium Alloys Inc. varied between 3% and 26%. Rhenium was used with platinum in reforming catalysts whose principal use was in the production of high-octane, lead-free gasoline. (From www.nrcan.gc.ca)
Celestite, or Strontium sulfate (SrSO4), is mostly produced from sedimentary evaporate deposits. It is also found in veins sometimes associated with galena, sphalerite and other sulfides, and can be disseminated in carbonate-rich rocks or evaporate deposits. Carbonatites, intrusive carbonate rocks, are frequently high in celestite. Strontium is semi-hard (3-3.5), heavy, and transparent to translucent with a vitreous to pearly luster. It is fluorescent, sometimes thermoluminescent, and slightly soluble in water and acids. Strontium is used to make fireworks and flares (with a purplish crimson flame), and is also used in the refining of beet sugar, in the manufacture of rubber, paint and electrical batteries, as well as in the preparation of iridescent glass, classical TV tubes and porcelain. (From www.USGS.gov)
Mexican 94% SrSO4 FOB USA US$80-100
Spanish, Turkish, Moroccan FOB local US$55-80
Fluorite showings in Barrett Creek canyon staked by H. Forster of Kamloops.
Canex Aerial Exploration Ltd., later Placer Development Ltd., optioned the property and conducted trenching, geochemical soil sampling, and percussion drilling. Metallurgical testing was undertaken on several large fluorite samples. Although results were encouraging, the option was relinquished in 1967.
Eaglet Mines Ltd. commenced an exploration program which continued for over ten years. A diamond drill and underground exploration program focussed on a zone 600 metres (1970 ft) west of Barrett Canyon, with Adit Number One driven northerly at this location.
In 1982, surface drill holes to the east cut higher grade fluorite mineralization, and Adit 2, located 300 m (984') east of Adit 1, was driven northerly for 374 m (1227'). A 55 m (180') raise was completed, with sub-level drifts driven 24 m (79') from the top of the raise. Surface drilling, in conjunction with bulk sampling, confirmed fluorite reserves including an increase in grade. Further work including deep drilling and drifting was recommended but not commenced.
In 1985, a study was conducted by structural geologist, Dr. P. B. Read, to better understand the distribution of mineralized zones.
In the mid 1980's, commodity prices fell sharply. From 1984 to 1985, international fluorspar prices decreased almost 50% from US$ 130-21/metric tonne to US$ 72-115/metric tonne. Between 1980 and 1983, molybdenum prices decreased from US$25/kg to below US$ 10/kg.
Due to funding difficulties, Eaglet Mines allowed the property to lapse in 1990-91. Work carried out in its last years of exploration, 1986-1988, was not publicly reported and many results are unavailable.
Freeport Resources Inc. staked eight 2-post mineral claims to cover the explored fluorite zones. Additional claims were staked afterwards. Selective mapping and sampling of Adit Number Two was conducted by geologist J.C. Ball, with a review of historical data from 1966 to 1994, and co-authored a report with J.J. McDougall, P.Eng.
Freeport rehabilitated the access road, bridge, and the portal of Adit No. 2, and also relabeled and restacked drill core boxes.
The site was visited by several independent consulting geologists and Freeport staff, who sampled Adit No. 2, examined and sampled drill core, and located existing drill hole collars/platforms to determine if any could be re-entered.
A digital GPS survey was conducted to create one 16 unit block (4 sq km, 1.5 sq mi), renamed the "Q". The property was maintained on a "care and maintenance basis".
Freeport commenced a digital database on the property, including 60 detailed lithological drill hole logs by Dr. P. Read.
Freeport assayed hundreds of pulp samples stored at the site from drill holes completed in 1983-1985. This work identified widespread celestite (strontium sulphate) in the deposit.
Assay results were reviewed in conjunction with the drill hole logs and a comprehensive compilation report was completed.
Over 600 pulp samples from various drill holes and Adit 2 were assayed, including those from a 55m (180') high raise in a molybdenite zone reported by Eaglet Mines in 1982.
Due to very encouraging Mo results, Freeport staked an additional 40 units in the spring of 2007 to hold a 12 sq km (4.6 sq mi) claim block.
Detailed mineralogical and petrographic study completed and published by BC Geological Survey.
Freeport stakes the Q-Z claims, 29 units (7.3 sq km, 2.8 sq mi) located about 8 km (5 mi) southeast of the Q. The new block covers a large molybdenum anomaly measuring 2000m x 500m (6500' x 1640'), with values up to 116 ppm Mo in soil samples, discovered in the early 1980's by the "Molybdenum Belt Joint Venture" (Cominco & Bethlehem Copper).
In summary, the Q claims have potential to become an attractive Mo prospect. Present prices of MoS2 are significantly higher than in 1988. In addition, reduced exports of fluorspar from China, the world's major producer, have led to rising prices, especially for acidspar globally, as demand has outpaced production.
In Search of Acidspar
Industrial Minerals, October 2006 Prices for acidspar have risen steadily in the past year as demand has outpaced production. China remains a major factor as it continues to reduce exports to feed its own fluoride industry. Waning supply has left other major producers around the world struggling to meet demand and prompted interest in new supply projects.
Molybdenum in BC
BC Mines & Energy, Info Circular 2005-3
Mines & Minerals Division