VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/26/13 -- First Point Minerals Corp. (TSX: FPX) ("First Point" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that field exploration has begun at its 100%-owned Mich nickel-iron alloy property in the Yukon. The Company's overall 2013 exploration program is budgeted at $1 million and will also include exploration work at the 100%-held Orca and Wale properties in northern British Columbia, as well as continued reconnaissance exploration globally for new nickel-iron alloy targets.
"Using our flagship Decar project as an exploration model, this year's exploration campaign on the Mich, Orca and Wale properties will include detailed mapping and sampling of coarser-grained, higher-grade areas based on Davis Tube magnetic separation recoverable nickel results and ground-based magnetic geophysical surveys," said Ron Britten, First Point's Vice-President of Exploration. "Our primary objective is to better define potential drill targets and to delineate possible bulk tonnage surface sample sites for metallurgical testing. With this information we can better prioritize our properties for further advancement, including the potential introduction of joint venture partners."
First Point's exploration efforts are exclusively focused on the nickel-iron alloy mineral, awaruite. With the chemical formula of Ni3Fe, awaruite is composed of 75% nickel and 25% iron, and contains no sulphur or any other deleterious elements, aside from trace copper. In its serpentinized ultramafic setting, awaruite is often associated with magnetite, an iron ore bearing mineral, and ferrichromite. Two of the most significant properties of awaruite are its high specific gravity and strong magnetic susceptibility, lending the mineral to conventional, off-the-shelf, low-risk, physical processing recovery methods using magnetic separation and gravity concentration.
The Mich property is located 50 kilometres southeast of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. It lies 15 kilometres off the Alaska Highway and is accessible by an all-terrain vehicle trail. The Mich property was staked after discovery of a large anomalous zone of disseminated awaruite mineralization, based on a first pass of wide-spaced reconnaissance sampling during the summer 2011 regional exploration program.
The Mich claims cover 1,932 hectares and are underlain by serpentinized ultramafic rocks of the Cache Creek Terrane, the same belt of rocks that host the awaruite mineralization at the Orca and Wale properties in northern B.C. and at First Point's 40%-owned flagship Decar project in central B.C.
Geological mapping and rock sampling to date at Mich have defined a 2-kilometre-long northwest-southeast trending zone marked by a number of strong rock anomalies grading better than 0.08% nickel-in-alloy. The southernmost key target is the largest, measuring 540 metres long and 290 to 570 metres wide, and remains open to the southeast where overburden masks the bedrock. Rock samples from this area were assayed using partial extraction analytical methods and returned 0.09% to 0.13% nickel-in-alloy. Preliminary metallurgical testing on selected samples confirms the nickel-in-alloy is magnetically recoverable, as is the magnetite and ferrichromite. Davis Tube magnetically-recovered ("DTR") nickel values for samples collected from the anomalous target range from 0.1% to 0.14%.
The DTR results from 26 mineralized bedrock samples taken at Mich show excellent recovery of nickel, iron and chromium, with trace amounts of sulphur. The DTR nickel values average 21% higher than the comparable partial extraction nickel-in-alloy sample results. This increase is likely due to the coarse-grained nature of the nickel alloy mineralization at Mich and is considered a very positive indicator of magnetic recoverability.
The results of a ground-based magnetic geophysical survey conducted in 2012 show a continuous high magnetic response extending southeast of the key target area for another 3 kilometres along strike under the overburden.
Work on the Mich property in 2013 will include detailed geological mapping and sampling in the target area, including channel sampling to better define potential drill hole locations. The ground-based magnetic survey will also be extended to the southeast to further define and test covered areas.
The Orca and Wale properties are located 45 kilometres east of Dease Lake (situated on BC Highway 37 between Stewart and Cassiar) and together cover an area of 157 square kilometres in the Stikine Ranges of northern B.C. These neighbouring properties encompass a 30-kilometre-long belt of ultramafic rocks of the Cache Creek Terrane. Access to the properties is by helicopter, directly from Dease Lake, and by a rough mining road and trails using all-wheel drive, heavy duty utility vehicles, which service the nearby jade and placer gold mining operations active in the area.
A large northwest-southeast trending zone of awaruite mineralization was first discovered at Wale in 2011 during a regional exploration program, and mapped in greater detail early in the 2012 field season. The adjoining Orca property was staked in November 2011 based on anomalous sample results generated from regional exploration work. Three main targets have since been identified - Orca, Eagle and Garth's Knob, the latter two occurring on the Wale property. The target areas have been defined based on visual grain size estimations, partial extraction analysis for nickel-in-alloy and preliminary Davis Tube magnetic recovery analysis. The Orca-Eagle-Garth's Knob mineralized trend measures a total of 14.5 kilometres in length.
The Orca property adjoins Wale to the northwest. It was staked in November 2011 based on anomalous sample results generated from regional exploration work. Detailed mapping and sampling in 2012 delineated a target measuring 1,400 by 750 metres as defined by awaruite grain size and 118 surface rock samples averaging 0.113% nickel-in-alloy, 5.4% iron, occurring primarily as magnetite, and 0.2% chromium. The surface samples range in value from 0.06% to 0.211% nickel-in-alloy and contain common-to-abundant, fine-to-coarse grains of disseminated nickel-iron alloy spanning from less than 50 to more than 300 microns (0.05 to 0.3 mm) in size.
The mineralized zone is exposed along the top and northeast flank of a northwest-southeast trending ridge. The mineralization begins on the flank at an elevation of 1,300 metres and extends more than 700 metres vertically to the summit, which reaches 2,020 metres in elevation.
Davis Tube magnetic separation analysis was conducted on 62 of the Orca rock samples, with results suggesting portions of the target area are amenable to magnetic recovery, including an irregular-shaped, coarser-grained area measuring 1,300 metres long and 150 to 700 metres wide. Thirty-four of the samples reported grades better than 0.08% DTR nickel, with an 80% recovery of the nickel alloy relative to the partial extraction analysis. The difference between DTR and partial extraction nickel analysis values may be caused by the presence of very fine-grained awaruite, which may not be recoverable using Davis Tube magnetic separation methods.
In the northern part of the target area, there are two separate outcropping exposures along creek beds that show strong DTR nickel values but extensive overburden blankets bedrock in the surrounding region.
An 800-metre wide-spaced line, ground based magnetic geophysical survey was carried out on the Orca property in 2012. The survey defined a moderate to strong magnetic high response over the target area. The same response was encountered both to the northwest and to the southeast of the target area where overburden masks the bedrock in each direction. Exploration work in 2013 will include detailed magnetic geophysical surveys and follow-up mapping and sampling in the key target area, including channel sampling to further define potential coarse-grained mineralized targets for future drill programs.
The Eagle target lies mainly on the Wale claims and extends southward onto the Polar claims, a small package of adjoining claims totalling 2.4 square kilometres that was optioned by First Point in late 2012 from Greenrock Exploration Ltd., a private jade mining company (see First Point's news release dated December 17, 2012).
The Eagle target is a large anomalous northwest-southeast trending zone of fine-grained nickel-iron alloy mineralization extending more than 3 kilometres in length, and containing zones of abundant coarse-grained awaruite with corresponding nickel-in-alloy grades that exceed 0.1%.
During 2012, a helicopter-supported drill program tested the Eagle target with 10 core holes totalling 2,764 metres. The holes were drilled from six sections spaced 510 to 1,210 metres apart. The drill results indicate the underlying ultramafic package of rocks hosts strong zones of disseminated, fine-grained awaruite carrying grades better than 0.05% nickel-in-alloy.
The tops of hole DH-1 and DH-2, and portions of holes DH-4, DH-5, DH-6, DH-9 and DH-10, encountered promising nickel-in-alloy grades exceeding 0.1%, and as high as 0.142%. Highlights include 162 metres of 0.137% nickel-in-alloy starting from 3 metres below surface in hole DH-1(excluding internal dilution by five non-mineralized dykes totalling 23.1 metres in length), and 261 metres of 0.126% nickel-in-alloy over the entire length of hole DH-6 (excluding 10 non-mineralized dykes totalling 35.1 metres). For a summary of the drill results, see the December 17, 2012 news release.
Follow-up Davis Tube metallurgical sampling of the drill core has identified a potential zone of coarser-grained awaruite mineralization amenable to magnetic recovery, based on 80% recovery of the partial extraction nickel-in-alloy values. The drill core returned DTR nickel values ranging from 52% to 108% recovery when compared to the partial extraction nickel-in-alloy results. The coarser-grained portion of the Eagle target is interpreted to measure more than 1,300 metres long and 170 to greater than 250 metres wide, with a minimum vertical extent of at least 320 metres. It is open to the southwest and along strike to the southeast.
Anomalous samples from the Garth's Knob target area, some 1,200 metres southeast of Eagle, were first discovered in 2011. Detailed mapping and sampling in 2012 further expanded the target area. Garth's Knob measures 1,920 metres long and 350 to 950 metres wide as defined by 67 surface rock samples ranging in value from 0.062 to 0.216% nickel-in-alloy, for an average of 0.129%. Preliminary Davis Tube analysis showed approximately 42% of the nickel-in-alloy was recoverable by magnetic separation in 30 selected samples, for an average grade of 0.054% DTR nickel. The Davis Tube results suggest a coarser-grained awaruite corridor may exist along the southwest margin of Garth's Knob, representing a potential extension of the Eagle target.
The 2013 field program at Wale will include ground-based magnetic surveys targeting the overburden covered valley between the Eagle and Garth's Knob targets and the potential southeast extension beyond Garth's Knob. Detailed mapping and sampling will target the coarser-grained areas of Eagle and Garth's Knob to define potential drill targets.
The Company's exploration efforts are focused on the exploration and development of properties hosting awaruite in Canada and internationally. Using the Decar nickel project as a geological model in combination with First Point's in-house exploration expertise to recognize and explore for this unique style of nickel mineralization, First Point continues to assess new targets in various parts of the world.
The international exploration program has been active in 16 countries to date, targeting permissive geological settings in politically stable countries with sound mining and environmental laws and regulations.
In addition to its holdings in the Yukon and British Columbia, First Point holds a 100% interest in the Light property in Australia and the Fera property in Norway.
Based on anomalous sampling results, the Company acquired a license in 2012 to the Light property covering the southern 13.5-kilometre extent of the Coolac ultramafic belt in New South Wales, Australia. No further work is planned in the immediate future, based on the results of follow-up sampling.
The Fera property in Norway is comprised of seven licenses totalling 70 square kilometres. Located 300 kilometres north of Oslo in the historic mining district of Roros, the Fera property hosts several ultramafic bodies of variable size forming an 18-kilometre-long belt. A broad zone of anomalous awaruite mineralization was outlined in 2012; however grade distribution was erratic in the main ultramafic belt. A modest exploration program is planned for Fera to test other unexplored portions of the belt.
In summary, First Point currently holds a 100% interest in seven different nickel-iron alloy properties, including Wale, Orca, Klow and Letain in British Columbia, Mich in the Yukon, Light in Australia and Fera in Norway. First Point has recently dropped the Ogden and Wolv properties in B.C. following an evaluation process that concluded the properties were unlikely to contain sufficient mineralization to warrant further exploration efforts.
Nickel-in-alloy is analyzed by Acme Analytical Laboratories Ltd ("Acme", an ISO Certified Laboratory) using a partial extraction analytical method that selectively digests nickel present as nickel-iron alloy and does not extract the nickel present within rock forming silicate minerals. Following independent studies, including the development of certified standards to monitor accuracy, this partial extraction analytical method was commercially certified by Dr. Barry Smee of Smee & Associates Consulting Ltd. for the exclusive use of First Point. This assaying procedure is proprietary to First Point and provides the Company with a significant advantage in exploring for nickel-iron alloy targets worldwide.
Davis Tube magnetically-recovered ("DTR") nickel is the nickel content recovered by magnetic separation using a Davis Tube, followed by standard assaying procedures to determine the nickel assay of the concentrate; in effect a mini-scale metallurgical test. The Davis Tube method is used to provide a more accurate measure of variability in recoverable nickel. The Davis Tube method is the global, industry standard geometallurgical test for magnetic recovery operations and exploration projects.
Dr. Ron Britten, P.Eng., First Point's Qualified Person under NI 43-101, has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release.
About First Point
First Point Minerals Corp. is a Canadian base metal exploration company operating worldwide. For more information, please view the Company's website at www.firstpointminerals.com.
On behalf of First Point Minerals Corp.
Jim Gilbert, President and CEO
Certain of the statements made and information contained herein is considered "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. These statements address future events and conditions and so involve inherent risks and uncertainties, as disclosed in the Company's periodic filings with Canadian securities regulators. Actual results could differ from those currently projected. The Company does not assume the obligation to update any forward-looking statement.
Neither the Toronto Stock Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
First Point Minerals Corp.
President and CEO
First Point Minerals Corp.
VP Corporate Development
(604) 681-8799 (FAX)
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