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PHS District

Location Map

Search Minerals Inc. began exploring for Rare Earth Elements (REE) near the communities of St. Lewis and Port Hope Simpson in 2009. (Figure 1). Early in the exploration cycle it became apparent that NW trending Fox Harbour volcanic belt contained significant quantities of REE and had the potential to be a prolific District. The FOXTROT deposit, on which a favourable Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) now exists (updated in April 2016), was discovered in 2010 through systematic follow-up of coincident airborne radiometric/magnetic anomalies. More than 20 additional prospects were identified within a 70 km long and 8 km wide belt that is now controlled by Search Minerals.

Seasonal exploration programs continue to add to the story and to shareholder value. Based on mapping, geophysics and channel sampling results, Search has announced two additional discoveries know as Deep Fox and Fox Meadow. Channel sample assays at Deep Fox are 15% higher than the original channels at FOXTROT. The Deep Fox and Fox Meadow discoveries are similar to FOXTROT in width and strike length and are hosted in the same pantellerite and commendite rocks of the Fox Harbour volcanic belt, affirming the District potential. The REE in all three are contained within the minerals allanite and fergusonite, the latter carrying most of the heavy rare earth elements.

Geologic Setting

The following is as summary from a paper by Randy Miller, Search Minerals' V.P. Exploration (Miller, 2015). Regionally, the geology is considered to be part of the Eastern Grenville Province (Fig. 1). Terranes within it are distinguished on the basis of rock types, structures, ages, and metamorphic signatures, and are separated by major fault zones (Gower et al., 1987, 1988; Hanmer and Scott, 1990; Gower, 2010, 2012). The Foxtrot deposit is in the Fox Harbour volcanic belt, which is part of the Fox Harbour domain. The Fox Harbour domain is bounded to the north by the Lake Melville terrane, to the west and southwest by the Mealy Mountains terrane, and to the south by the Pinware terrane (Fig. 1 above).

The Fox Harbour Volcanic belt is approximately 64 km-long and ranges in width from <50 m in the northwest to 3 km in the east. Units strike westerly to northwesterly, parallel to bounding faults, and dip steeply northward. The belt contains one (in the northwest) to three (in the east) sub-belts of bimodal rocks with mainly REE-bearing felsic peralkaline flows and ash-flow tuffs and mafic to ultramafic volcanic and related subvolcanic units. Feldspar augen gneisses and porphyritic units, including crystal tuffs in the eastern portion of the belt, predominantly occur between the three sub belts. Sedimentary supracrustal units, including quartzite and locally derived volcaniclastic rocks sourced by felsic (commonly peralkaline) and mafic units, are locally abundant.

The three bimodal sub-belts (Road belt, Magnetite belt and South belt) have been the focus of REE exploration. The Road belt, is on the northern boundary of the Fox Harbour Volcanic belt, and can be traced throughout its full length, but the Magnetite and South belts have only been observed in the eastern 30 km. The mineralized units within the subbelts, predominantly pantellerite (a peralkaline rhyolite with high Fe and low Al contents) and commendite (similar to pantellerite but with less Fe and more Al), outcrop poorly and commonly occur in bogs or water-filled topographic lows. These units exhibit relatively high radiometric (anomalous U and Th values) and relatively high magnetic (anomalous concentrations of magnetite) signatures that, when combined, are excellent indicators of REE mineralization.

Airborne and ground-based radiometric-magnetic surveys clearly outline the three mineralized belts (Srivastava et al., 2012, 2013). High-grade mineralization, characterized by Dy from 100–300 ppm, is predominantly hosted by fine-grained, layered to massive, pantellerite. Lower grade mineralization, characterized by Dy from 20–100ppm, is predominantly hosted by fine-grained, mostly massive commendite. Mineralized units are commonly interbedded with mafic volcanic units, quartzite, and locally derived volcanogenic sedimentary rocks. Most of the REE mineralization occurs in allanite and fergusonite; minor amounts of REE occur in chevkinite, monazite, bastnasite and zircon (Srivastava et al., 2012, 2013). Most of the light REE (i.e., La to Sm) in the mineralization occurs in allanite, whereas most of the heavy REE (i.e., Eu to Lu) and Y occurs in both fergusonite and allanite (Srivastava et al., 2012, 2013).

High Concentrations of Critical Rare Earth Elements

Adding to the excitement of this District are the relatively high concentrations of Critical Rare Earth Elements (CREE) found in our regional prospects, at the FOXTROT Deposit itself and in channel samples assayed at the Deep Fox Fox and Fox Meadow discoveries. Mineralized zones typically show high concentrations of Dysprosium(Dy) Neodymium(Nd), Praseodymium(Pr), Terbium (Tb) and Yttrium (Y).

A Highly Accessible and Explorable District

The Port Hope Simpson Critical Rare Earth Element District is transected by in the Trans Labrador Highway and is in close proximity to the coastal communities of Port Hope Simpson and St. Lewis, the latter which has a deep-water port accessible year-round. Excellent outcrop exposure combined with well understood associations between mineralized zones and magnetic and radiometric anomalies has enabled Search to establish excellent geological control and develop a broader understanding of the District potential. All these attributes make exploration logistics that much easier and significantly reduce present and future capital and operating costs for any development in the area.