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Atikokan sees spike in exploration activity

March 1, 2010
by Adelle Larmour
In: Exploration with 0 Comments

The Atikokan Mineral Development Initiative (AMDI) has sparked an increase in exploration activity for the Town of Atikokan in northwestern Ontario.

The $1.5-million co-operative geoscience project began in 2007 and will be completed this spring. It was designed to stimulate the exploration and eventual development of mineral deposits in the Atikokan area. Since the project’s inception, the number of active claims in the area increased by more than 150 per cent, and the number of prospectors and companies exploring increased from 44 in September 2006 to 89 in November 2009.The initiative was funded by the Township of Atikokan, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, FedNor, the Ontario Geological Survey and Lakehead University.Located 200 kilometres west of Thunder Bay just off Highway 11 and along the Canadian National Railway line, the town has a population of about 3,000. It originally serviced the iron-ore mines, but newer technology eventually led to the mines’ closure by 1980, resulting in a reliance on the forestry sector.

Recently, an ailing forest industry spurred town representatives to approach the Ontario Prospectors Association (OPA) with ideas to help stimulate economic growth in the area.
“The industry, the township and some funding partners all came together to work co-operatively to move the geoscience data forward,” said OPA executive director Garry Clark.

20,000 square kilometres

The Atikokan geoscience project is similar to Discover Abitibi in Ontario’s northeast and the $3.5-million Lake Nipigon Geoscience Initiative. The OPA became the manager of the project and focused on a 20,000-square kilometre area around the Town of Atikokan.

A science committee made up of geologists and representatives from junior mining companies, the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, and the Ontario Geological Survey was struck to brainstorm ideas to create the best possible exploration plan.
“We looked at what had been done in the past, what we could do to enhance data that is already there and what we could do for new data,” Clark said. Public meetings were held for feedback.
The project encompassed the following work:

  • airborne geophysical surveys to obtain both new and updated data over current areas of interest
  • a GIS compilation of publicly available geoscience data, and
  • an OGS mapping program in the Lumby Lake greenstone belt

Clark said a magnetic and electromagnetic airborne survey was performed on the Lumby-Finlayson area covering 5,294 line-kilometres over two prospective mafic metavolcanic belts. An 11,896  line-kilometre magnetic survey was performed covering the western portion of the Marmion Lake batholith. The flown surveys revealed 568 new conductors.

GIS compilation

As well, a GIS compilation of more than 60 individual publications was completed.

“We also funded some geochronology, which is rock dating,” Clark explained. “We try to date the rocks so you can figure out what the relationship of the rocks is and where you should be looking.”

An OGS project mapping the Lumby Lake belt will be completed in the spring. Clark said this new information will present some different ideas and concepts of geology, which may influence an understanding about the area.

“We also sponsored a master’s student to complete a paper comparing the gold mineralization on Brett Resources’ property to other gold mineralization,” Clark said. “It is an integrated project. We try to touch on various disciplines within the geology field and add data to stimulate exploration.”

Brett Resources Inc., one of the most active junior miners in the Atikokan region,  has high hopes for its Hammond Reef project, which boasts a gold-bearing deposit with a 6.7 million ounce gold resource estimate. The junior miner is now in the advanced stages of exploration.

Toronto-based Sparton Resources Inc. staked 437 claim units in the Marmion batholith area located contiguous to Brett Resources Inc.’s land holdings, and have new and historic gold showings on the property, according to the company’s website.

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