Rio Algom, as part of BHP Holding, currently holds mineral claims in the southwest and north central regions of Victoria Island located within the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut. In early 2018 the Company began initial conversations with key stakeholders regarding potential exploration activities. A helicopter borne geophysical survey was completed in June 2019. BHP is proposing a drill program within the south project area during summer of 2020 as a follow-up to the 2019 geophysical survey.
The proposed drilling program and prospecting will occur over the months of June, July and August of 2020. It is anticipated that work begin on approximately June 1st, 2020 and is expected to take approximately 7 weeks. This will include mobilizing fuel, drilling equipment, construction of a temporary camp, drilling, and demobilization. All work is dependent on weather and other environmental considerations.
A fixed-wing aircraft will be used to mobilize all camp and drilling equipment from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. A helicopter will be used to move all other equipment, fuel, and personnel from the temporary camp to three drilling locations within the prospecting permit boundary. The camp will support 17 personnel including 6 drilling contractors, 2 helicopter pilots, 1 helicopter technician, 3 geologists, 3 wildlife observers, 1 cook, and 1 camp manager.
Although there is Inuit owned land within the South Block prospecting permits no work will be performed in these areas during the drilling program. Kitikmeot Inuit Association and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Ekaluktutiak Hunters and Trappers Association, and Kugluktuk Hunters and Trappers Association will also be engaged.
Local wildlife observers will be hired to manage impacts and interactions with wildlife. In addition, BHP has engaged the Wildlife Biologists from the Government of Nunavut to manage safe operations. As the proposed project timeline will be conducted during the summer, the Company will consider all potential impacts on caribou and other wildlife to minimize disturbance as much as possible. At the request of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, the Company will record and communicate any sightings of ox to assist with current tracking efforts.
Socio-economic benefits for this early stage, small scale exploration is minimal, but every effort will be made to hire local employees and provide business opportunities where possible.