The Espedalen Project lies approximately 50 km north of Lillehammer and 170 km north of Olso in southern central Norway. The Project is well served with transport infrastructure, being accessible by sealed roads and close to rail links with connections to ports in southern Norway as well as to Glencore’s Nikkelverk nickel refinery 350 km to the south.
The Espedalen Project comprises 16 granted exploration concessions that cover a combined area of 139.9km2.
Mining in the area dates from 1666, when copper was discovered in the Espedalen valley, with mining continuing intermittently until 1750. Following a short hiatus, further nickel mining occurred between 1848 and 1918 from several small mines, including the Veslegruva mine in the southwest of the Espedalen Project area. Total production from the Espedalen region is estimated at 100,000 tonnes at an average grade of 1.0% Ni, 0.4% Cu and 0.06% Co.
In 2003, Falconbridge Limited was granted tenements in the Espedalen valley and initiated several campaigns of ground and heli/airborne electromagnetic geophysical surveys generating numerous drill targets. In 2004, Falconbridge concluded a joint venture agreement with Blackstone Ventures Limited. Between 2004 and 2008, Blackstone and Falconbridge completed 167 diamond drill holes totalling 23,362.9m, across the Espedalen Project area, defining significant accumulations of nickel sulfide mineralisation at the Stormyra (54 drill holes for approximately 8,609 m) and Dalen prospects (33 drill holes for approximately 4,924 m) and generating numerous other nickel prospects. Exploration ceased during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and ultimately unable to raise further funding, Blackstone relinquished the Espedalen Project in 2011.
The nickel mineralisation at the Espedalen Project is hosted within differentiated mafic and ultramafic bodies referred to as the ‘Espedalen Complex’ and forms the basement of the Gråho subnappe within the larger Caledonian Jotun Nappe, which ranges in age from 1,698-1,250 Ma.
This age range is similar to the age of the rocks hosting the giant Voisey’s Bay nickel deposit in Labrador, Canada. Mineralisation comprising mainly pyrrhotite, pentlandite and chalcopyrite with or without pyrite is found as massive to network textured and disseminated sulfide zones.
The Espedalen Project, currently contains the following two nickel deposits:
- Stormyra deposit comprising 1.16Mt @ 1% Ni, 0.42% Cu & 0.04% Co and classified as Inferred in accordance with JORC (2012)
- Dalen deposit comprising 7.8Mt @ 0.3% Ni, 0.12% Cu & 0.02% Co and classified as Inferred in accordance with JORC (2012)
The Stormyra Mineral resource is open at depth. Drilling will be undertaken, to determine if the Mineral Resource can be expanded and to further investigate encouraging drill intersections including:
- 19.6m @ 1.87% Ni, 0.70% Cu & 0.06% Co from 65.43m in hole 20
- 29.0m @ 1.01% Ni & 0.23% Cu from 18m in hole 17
- 11.1m @ 1.09% Ni & 0.41% Cu from 25.0m in hole 6
In addition to the Stormyra and Dalen nickel deposits, the Espedalen Project contains 10 prospects containing nickel intersections of at least 5m @ >1% Ni which warrant follow up drilling.