The Kangerluarsuk Zinc-Lead-Silver Project, Central West Greenland
Located approximately 60 km northeast of the settlement of Uummannaq, 225 km north of the city of Ilulissat and 800 km north of the capital, Nuuk, the Kangerluarsuk project covers an area of 692 sq km in Central West Greenland. The project flanks the Kangerluarsuk fjord and comprises of two 100% owned exclusive mineral exploration licences, namely MEL 2011/31 (107 sq km) and MEL 2020/06 (586 sq km).
Central West Greenland is one of the most economically vibrant areas of Greenland, serviced by excellent modern infrastructure. Bluejay’s activities at Kangerluarsuk and Disko-Nuussuaq are supported by its in-country logistical hub, consisting of an office, warehousing and storage facilities, based in Illulissat (the municipal seat and largest city of the Avannaata municipality).
As part of the largest infrastructure investment in Greenland’s history, the international airport at Ilulissat is being upgraded with construction beginning on a new terminal building and 2,200 m runway capable of accepting much larger aircraft. Ilulissat also benefits from a deep-water container port. Closer to the project area, there is a permanently staffed domestic airport at Qaarsut and a heliport at Uummannaq.
Both licences are held by Disko Exploration Ltd., a 100% owned subsidiary of Bluejay Mining plc. Licence MEL 2011/31 was formally held by Avannaa Exploration Ltd (hereafter “Avannaa”). Bluejay acquired this licence in January 2017 when it purchased Avannaa and its exploration assets in an all share transaction with Cairn Energy plc.
Owing to the potential the Company recognises in the Karrat Group metasedimentary basin, Bluejay further increased its landholdings at Kangerluarsuk five-fold through applying for MEL 2020/06 in October 2019 (refer to Bluejay RNS dated 21st October 2019) and was awarded the licence by the Greenlandic Mineral Licence and Safety Authority in January 2020 (refer to Bluejay RNS dated 27th January 2020).
Kangerluarsuk is situated within the Paleoproterozoic (1.8 – 2.0 Ga) Karrat Group, a major meta-sedimentary basin that formed in an epicratonic rift and sag setting within the larger Rinkian mobile belt that extends into the Foxe Belt in NE Canada.
The Karrat Group is an approximately 8.5 km thick siliciclastic-carbonate-volcanic succession metamorphosed at greenschist to lower amphibolite facies conditions, and unconformably overlies reworked Archean (2.7 – 3 Ga) orthogneisses of the Rae Craton. The succession is separated into the upper and lower Karrat Group, with the lower comprising of the Qeqertarssuaq Fm., whereas the Mârmorilik, Qaarsukassak, Kangilleq, and Nûkavsak formations comprise the upper Karrat Group. The contact between the upper and lower groups is marked by an erosional unconformity. The recently defined Qaarsukasak Fm., that hosts the mineralisation at Kangerluarsuk is characterised by basal siliciclastic rocks, followed by calcite marble, and shales. This formation is considered to correlate with the Mârmorilik Fm., to the south that hosts the former Black Angel mine. The two formations are interpreted as being deposited contemporaneously but within separate sub-basins separated by a basement topographic high on Alfred Wegener Halvø.
Bluejay’s exploration target at Kangerluarsuk is one or more high-grade, large tonnage, stratabound clastic-dominated sedimentary-hosted Zn-Pb-Ag ± Cu deposits hosted within the Qaarsukasak Fm. Similar geological environments have yielded some of the world’s more valuable base metal occurrences including deposits within the Selwyn Basin, Yukon and at Rammelsberg, Germany.
The known Zn-Pb-Ag ± Cu mineralisation is hosted by ferruginous horizons within siliciclastic and carbonate rocks of the Qaarsukassak Fm., usually only a few tens of meters above the basement contact. The mineralised zone sits dominantly in calcite-bearing dolostone. At the RTZ Discovery Zone, the lower contact of the Qaarsukassak Fm., with the underlying Archean Umanak gneiss is a planar to undulating erosional surface that preserves a depositional contact. The RTZ Discovery Zone mineralisation consists of massive, coarse-grained, re-crystallised pyrrhotite, sphalerite and galena, whereas the Kangerluarsuup Glacier Showings mineralisation to the south consists of finely laminated pyrrhotite-sphalerite-galena ore, with subordinate chalcopyrite.
Significantly the recent mapping highlights the presence of previously unrecognised exposures up to 40 m thick of Qaarsukassak Fm., within Bluejay’s licence areas, that have the potential to host further base metal mineralisation. Tectonic repetition and thickening of the Qaarsukassak Fm., through thrusting and tectonic imbrication is also recognised. The overlying Nûkavsak Fm., a ca. 5 km package of turbidite facies metagreywackes and metapelites, is now interpreted to have been thrust over the Qaarsukassak Fm.
The project benefits from a large knowledge base comprising of both commercial exploration and academic studies by the geological survey, since the 1960’s:
1962/63: The Geological Survey of Greenland (GGU) mapped the Karrat Group at the scale 1:100,000.
1970 – 90: The former Black Angel mine was operated from 1973 to 1986 by Cominco (now Teck) and from 1986 to 1990 by Boliden. During this period, Cominco and Greenex carried out regional exploration for Zn-Pb, Cu, Au and diamonds. Cominco discovered abundant high-grade mineralisation in shelf carbonates and mapped out extensive sulphide-rich horizons, locally with base metal enrichment, within the Karrat metasediments, as well as the first findings of Zn-mineralised float at the head of the Kangerluarsuk Fjord (within Bluejay’s current licence areas).
1991/92: A Joint Venture between Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ) and Platinova Resources discovered four high grade Zn-Pb outcrops at Kangerluarsuk (all contained within Bluejay’s current licence areas) and carried out channel sampling over the mineralisation.
1989/90, 92, 97: The GGU (later the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, GEUS) carried out a regional geochemical reconnaissance throughout the Karrat Group, including stream sediment and HMC sampling. The resulting geochemical maps show an outstanding base metal anomaly (Zn associated with Ni, Cu As, Cd, Cs, Y and REE) at Kangerluarsuk consistent over >100 sq km, indicating a polymetallic deposit potential. The anomalies at Kangerluarsuk are more pronounced than those surrounding the Black Angel mine. Kangerluarsuk is acknowledged by GEUS as the strongest cluster of stream sediment zinc anomalies identified in the whole of Greenland. Significant Ni and Cu anomalies may relate to mafic-ultramafic metavolcanics of the Kangigdleq Fm., which are present in the licence areas.
1994-95: Cominco carried out exploration for komatiite-hosed orthomagmatic Ni-Cu deposits within the Kangigdleq Fm., of the Karrat Group based upon analogies with the geological settings of both the Thompson and Cape Smith nickel belts.
1997: Platinova Resources commissioned a 435 line-km helicopter-borne DIGHEMV electromagnetic and magnetic survey over Kangerluarsuk.
2007-11: Avannaa Exploration Ltd carried out exploration throughout the Karrat Group for Zn-Pb, Au and rare earth elements (REE). This resulted in the discovery of the Karrat Isfjord REE prospect, which was later drilled by Avannaa. Mineralisation at Karrat Isfjord is considered to result from the metasomatic alteration of amphibolite host rocks by a ferrocarbonatite-derived fluid. Whole rock assays yielded up to 2.6 % TREO.
Prior to Bluejay acquisition of the Kangerluarsuk Project (MEL 2011/31) in 2017 Avannaa had carried out an aggressive campaign at Kangerluarsuk from 2011 to 2013, including:
In 2017, UpDeep carried out a soil and biogeochemical sampling orientation study at Kangerluarsuk. UpDeep was an EIT (European Institute Innovation and Technology) Raw Materials ‘UpDeep’ project funded by the European Union, focussed on developing low environmental impact surface geochemical exploration techniques and protocols to explore for deeply seated mineralisation. Biogeochemical sampling focussed upon two plant species, arctic willow and lapland rose that are ubiquitous throughout Bluejay’s licence areas. Arctic willow is a known hyper-accumulator of zinc, making it an effective sampling medium for Zn-Pb exploration at high latitudes. The resulting data has provided further independent confirmation of Bluejay’s existing drill targets. Elemental ratios from the biogeochemical sampling define anomalies that are coincident with the strongest SGH anomalies previously identified by Avannaa.
A new regional mapping and research initiative (2015 – Present) co-funded by GEUS and the Greenland Government’s Ministry of Mineral Resources have significantly enhanced the overall geological understanding of the basin and its architecture. This is allowing Bluejay to re-evaluate and refine the genetic model for the mineralisation within the Kangerluarsuk sub-basin.
A drill programme would test for both deeper combined geochemical and geophysical targets (350-1000m), and shallower (<200m) extensions to known outcropping mineralisation. Despite extensive, high-grade, outcropping base metal mineralisation, this will be the first time Kangerluarsuk will be drill tested. Ahead of the drilling a closely spaced ground gravity survey will be undertaken to further refine existing drill targets and better constrain the depth to the basement contact.
Surface exploration within Bluejay’s new licence (MEL 2020/06) will include stream sediment, scree sediment and HMC sampling, along with prospecting for outcropping mineralisation and/or prospective host lithologies.
For more information on the Kangerluarsuk project, please contact Bluejay’s Geology Manager, Eric Sondergaard (firstname.lastname@example.org)