Metal Energy Corp. is focused on exploring for a world-class nickel, copper, and PGE (Platinum Group Elements) deposit on its Manibridge Mine and Strange projects. The Manibridge Mine is a past-producing mine in the Thompson Nickel Belt, one of the richest nickel districts in the world. Metal Energy benefits from extensive previous exploration and mining knowledge as the mine historically operated between 1971 and 1977 in a significantly lower nickel price environment. The wholly-owned Strange Project is a high-prospect target located in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Matt Gordon caught up with James Skyes, CEO, Metal Energy Corp. James has over 15 years of experience in mineral exploration and discovery, most notably in high-grade uranium and rare earth elements. Over the past decade, he has been involved in the discovery of over 500Mlbs of Triuranium octoxide in the Athabasca Basin, enabling the generation of billions of dollars in shareholder value. James is also the CEO at Baselode Energy Corp. Baselode Energy made a new uranium discovery with its first drill program.
Metal Energy Corp. is an exploration company focused on exploring nickel, copper, and platinum-group elements at its Manibridge mine and Strange project. The company was founded in 2021 and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. It is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX-V: MERG).
Metal Energy Corp. is part of the Ore Group of companies. It is a brand-new exploration play within Canada. The company got listed on the TSX back in November 2021. The company's flagship assets are the Manibridge and Strange projects, located in Manitoba and Ontario, respectively. The company has plans to carry out exploration at both assets in Q1 2022. The company recently hired Mike Sweeny, Vice President of Exploration, Metal Energy. The financial and administrative side of the company is managed by the Ore Group.
The Manibridge Mine
The Manibridge Mine is located on the Thompson Belt in Manitoba, Canada. The mine was previously owned by Falconbridge Ltd. and mined between 1971-1977. Additional drilling was done by the previous operator in 2019, indicating the presence of high-tenor, high-grade nickel mineralization ~3 km northeast of the old mine workings. This mine has the potential for several multi-ton, high-grade ore zones within a mineralized envelope.
Metal Energy Corp is looking to attain 100% ownership of the Manibridge mine and seeks to become the project operator. The mine is currently run on an earn-in basis while CanAlaska is the mine operator. The project has been under CanAlaska's ownership since 2017, the company carried out drilling at the asset in 2019.
Following the first stage of exploration, Metal Energy Corp. is looking for a 49% earn-in at the Manibridge asset. The company has plans to carry out aggressive exploration. The second phase of exploration will require an estimated $1.5M to reach a 70% earn-in. This would enable the company to attain operatorship of the project. To reach a 100% earn-in, the company would need to spend another $1.5M along with cash shares. It is important to note that the funding for the Manibridge mine is being provided by Metal Energy Corp.
The Strange Project
The Strange project is a theoretical concept that has had fairly limited drilling. The project was identified by former Inco geologists. Notably, Inco Ltd. was one of the biggest nickel companies in the world with a strong track record. It is located 60 km southwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Preliminary exploration indicates the possibility for a significant nickel sulphide opportunity. A large-scale magnetic anomaly was identified 600-700m below surface, coinciding with the base of a Midcontinent Rift System. The size of the magnetic anomaly indicates that the system is permissive of a district-scale nickel deposit. Metal Energy has staked further claims within the area to encompass the entire anomaly. The total claims area now extends to 11,000 hectares.
This project is currently on an earn-in basis with the potential for 100% ownership. The Strange Project is largely under-explored, however, it has a significant potential for a district-scale opportunity. The Strange project has a similar ownership structure as the Manibridge project with a lesser number of shares, cash contributions, and exploration. The project was a 4-stage earn-in over a 36 month period. However, the company believes that in theory it can earn-in over a period of 6-12 months and retain 100% ownership of the project.
Based on the hypothesis, the Strange project is part of the mid-continental drift that formed 1.1 billion years ago. A few mined deposits from the mid-continental drift include the Eagle Mine in Michigan and the Tamarack Deposit in Minnesota. The magnetic surveys indicate that the Strange project is located on the Canadian side of the mid-continental drift.
During its formation, the ultramafics mixed with the sediments. The ultramafics carried nickel from the mantle, leading to the creation of nickel sulphide-type deposits. Usually, ultramafics and sulphide-based deposits are known to carry higher grades. Technical success at Strange is identifying the right rock types known to host global Ni-Cu-PGE deposits, i.e., ultramafic rock types. If ultramafic rocks are identified, regardless of Ni-Cu-PGE mineralization, the company will consider this positive results and will determine the appropriate exploration strategy moving forward
Targets 2022 and Beyond
Metal Energy Corp. published a couple of News Releases in January with an update on the exploration programs, in which the company stated that drilling at the Strange Project, and Manibridge has been pushed back to late-February/early-March.
As per the company, the delay will cause minimal impact on its operations as the initial drill program consisted of testing 2 targets. The company intends to hit these 2 targets and eventually work towards a larger drill program in Q2-Q3 2022.
Manibridge being a past producer, has a lot of data available. It has multiple targets that were untested, particularly at depth and along strike length. In the first quarter, the company wants to ensure that the model and strategy are functional. The company eventually plans to put out a NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource.
Metal Energy Corp. has a strong working relationship with CanAlaska. Both companies share data frequently and participate in collaborative discussions. Metal Energy has developed models for the deposits and shared the details with CanAlaska for review and approval.
The Strange Project is being financed and operated by Metal Energy Corp. The company had anticipated that the Manibridge project could face potential delays, hence it took a decision to focus on advancing the Strange Project. The company has already assigned a drill contractor for the project.
Metal Energy Corp. raised $7M in capital through its TSX-V listing in November 2021. The company provides a large part of compensation in the form of shares and options. The CEO is serving dual roles in both Metal Energy and Baselode, and has opted for a reduced salary with each company to ensure that more funds are appropriately allocated for drilling and exploration. Overall, the company's teams are well-compensated financially. The company's measure of success is based on carrying out operations as planned rather than hitting every single target.