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The Drift: Magna Mining on the fast track to put former Inco mine back into production

Sudbury mine development company hits high-grade mineralization at Crean Hill mine property
The former Crean Hill Mine in Sudbury is now under the flag of Magna Mining (Company photo)

Magna Mining is taking an aggressive pace in looking to put a former Inco nickel and copper mine back into production.

The Sudbury exploration and mine development company keeps reporting high-grade hits from a drilling program at the former Crean Hill Mine, acquired by Magna last fall.

The company has been streaming out assay results from a 2,000-metre program started before Christmas. Their drillers were targeting an area at Crean Hill called the 101 Footwall Zone, which was not mined by Inco.

A second batch of drill results released on Jan. 5 had one highlighted drill hole with a high-grade nickel intersection of 4.0 per cent, 0.7 per cent copper and 0.7 grams per tonne of platinum, palladium and gold over a 31.1-metre core length.

“These assay results from drill hole MCR-22-005 are the second set of assay results received from the 101 FW Zone, and they demonstrate the continuity of high grade, massive sulphide mineralization within the footwall breccia zone," said David Hill, Magna's senior vice president, in a statement.

Crean Hill was closed in 2002 after an 80-year run. Located in the southwest corner of the Sudbury basin, north of Whitefish, Magna is probing the footwalls of the dormant underground mine to access untapped minerals overlooked by Inco.

A day after acquiring the decommissioned mine property from Lonmin Canada in November, Magna released a mineral resource estimate of this property showing more than 31 millions tonnes of nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum, palladium and gold.

Magna believes Crean Hill, now tagged as the Denison Project, has both open-pit and underground mining potential and easily could be put back into production fairly inexpensively, possibly by the end of this year.

The company kicked off the drill program in November to get a better handle on the mineralization inside the footwall structure, plus collect some core for metallurgical and geological testing purposes.

These results will be folded into a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) to demonstrate the economics of the project and explain the synergies between Crean Hill and its other Sudbury-area nickel-copper, PGM development property, Shakespeare, near McKerrow.

Magna has a hub-and-spoke strategy to use Shakespeare as a processing facility for its mining assets around Sudbury. 

The PEA is due out early in the second quarter of this year. Inco (now Vale) and Lonmin carried out thousands of metres of exploration drilling which will be incorporated into the study.

After taking a break from drilling over the Christmas holidays, Magna said in the release that a larger 15,000-metre drill program will start Jan. 9.