TopTung branches into nickel and copper with Canadian acquisition

TopTung ASX TTW nickel copper Canada acquisition Zeus Minerals
The project areas contain a number of drill proven nickel-copper sulphide occurrences with cobalt and platinum group elements credits.

TopTung (ASX: TTW) has added a pair of Canadian high-grade nickel-copper sulphide projects to its portfolio through the acquisition of a private Australian mineral explorer.

The company lifted a trading halt to unveil the news this morning, confirming it had agreed to acquire a 100% interest in Zeus Minerals Ltd under a share sale and purchase agreement worth a total of A$1.75 million.

Zeus Minerals holds 100% exploration rights over three project areas in Quebec, Canada, containing a number of drill-proven, high-grade nickel-copper massive sulphide mineralised zones, as well as a historic mine.

The assets include: the Baby projects, encompassing the Alotta and Delphi-Patry-Zullo sub-projects; the Laverlochere project; and the Lac Des Bois project, hosting the historic Lorraine nickel-copper sulphide mine.

TopTung also confirmed that, subject to shareholder approval and upon completion of the share sale and purchase agreement, it would be adding current Zeus managing director Marnus Bothma to the TopTung board as a non-executive director.

Project potential

Zeus’ three projects areas cover 63.5sq km within the Belleterre-Angliers Greenstone Belt in south-western Quebec.

The areas contain a number of drilled massive nickel-copper sulphide mineralised zones with significant shallow intercepts including 48.05m grading at 3.05% nickel equivalent with 0.09% cobalt from 54.25m.

Other drilling highlights include 22.2m at 1.88% nickel, 2.04% copper, 1.47g/t palladium and 0.10% cobalt from 36.8m.

The Lorraine nickel-copper sulphide mine, located within the Lac Des Bois project, has historically produced a total of 14.28 million pounds (6477 tonnes) of copper and 6.34 million pounds (2876t) of nickel, with an average grading of 1.57% copper, 0.62% nickel, 6.86 grams per tonne silver and 0.67g/t gold. The mine ceased operations in 1968.

According to TopTung, 24 electromagnetic targets were identified by a 2001 programme and an aerial magnetic survey conducted this year has defined additional targets.

Zeus has already prepared applications for a diamond core drilling program at the Alotta and Patry projects (with the Baby projects).

TopTung said it planned to advance drilling to estimate a JORC-compliant mineral resource.

New company strategy

Originally a tungsten and topaz explorer, TopTung has been on the hunt for a “worthy project” after revealing disappointing news in March that a recent drilling campaign had “severely reduced the tungsten resources” at its Torrington project in New South Wales.

Torrington still has the potential for topaz production, although the company said success in breaking into the bulk industrial markets with topaz as a feedstock was “an unknown”.

Even so, TopTung is hoping to receive a mining lease for the project although it said the application process may take 18 months to be approved, with a risk of failure.

In today’s market announcement, the company said it remained committed to advancing the Torrington project and specifically, the topaz-related research it is currently undertaking in collaboration with the University of NSW’s School of Materials Science and Engineering.

Toptung shares were up 9.52% to A$0.046 on the news by mid-afternoon trade.