The Eeyou Istchee-James Bay area of Quebec has been rapidly evolving as a world class destination for mining and exploration. Goldcorp’s Eleonore gold mine produced 305,000 ounces of gold in 2017 at an all-in sustaining cost of US$1,095 per ounce. With reserves of 7.13 million ounces, Eleonore promises to anchor gold production in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay area for many years. In 2016, Stornoway’s Renard diamond mine reached commercial production and became the region’s second mine. In fiscal year 2017, it produced 1.64 million carats at an attributed grade of 84 carat per hundred tonnes.
The region also has several advanced resource projects including Eastmain’s Clearwater project at just less than one million ounces is being aggressively explored by new management at Eastmain. Another interesting development is Nemaska’s Whabouchi lithium project with a measured and indicated resource of 37.6 million tonnes at 1.48% lithium oxide. A recent positive feasibility study foresees a mine and concentrator at the Whabouchi site which will produce 213,000 tonnes of concentrate annually, and a hydrometallurgical plant in Shawinigan, Quebec which will yield 23,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium hydroxide over an expected 33-year mine life. A number of other promising projects are not yet at the resource definition stage including Sirios’ Cheechoo, Canadian Strategic’s Sakami Apple, Azimut-Eastmain-Goldcorp’s Eleonore South, and Osisko Mining’s La Grande Sud projects.
This recent exploration and development activity in the Eeyou Istchee-James Bay combined with a determined effort by the Ministère de l’énergie et des ressources naturelles de Québec (“MERNQ”) to build up the regional database through geological, geochemical and geophysical surveys, and site specific research projects makes the region very compelling to Hinterland.
During the summer of 2016, Hinterland staked a strategic portfolio of four properties in the Eeyou Istchee-James Bay area based on a compilation of publicly available data and in response to the recent increase of exploration activity in the region. The four new properties are in close proximity to the tectonic contact between the Opinaca and La Grande sub-provinces of the Superior Province of the Canadian Shield. This major structural boundary shows a strong spatial relationship to known gold deposits and showings in the area, including the Goldcorp’s Eleonore gold mine.
More recently on April 26, 2018, Canada Strategic Metals Inc., Matamec Explorations Inc. and Sphinx Resources Ltd. announced that they have agreed to create a new gold exploration company to be named Quebec Precious Metals Corporation that will control 942 km2 of the Eeyou Istchee-James Bay region (Canadian Strategic Metals Inc. press release, April 26, 2018). Strategic and Matamec will be merged into the new company, and Sphinx will vend its three gold projects by way of an asset purchase agreement. Goldcorp Inc. will invest $3.7 million to acquire a 14% interest in the new company. The focus of the new company will be the Sakami Apple property.