In autumn 2017 Arctic Gold AB acquired Norrbotten Exploration AB, and the company was renamed Arctic Minerals AB. The new company has a new focus – exploring for copper, zinc, gold and battery metals in Finland. The mineral rights are owned by Norrbotten Exploration, also acting as the operator in the exploration.

Project description

In 2018 the exploration focused on two main areas in Finland: The Raahe-Ladoga Ore Belt (sometimes called “Central Finland Ore Belt”) and the Peräpohja Schist Belt in Southern Lapland. During second half of 2019 a third schist belt was included; the Kiiminki Schist Belt northeast of Oulu. Later the Nutukka area in Central Lapland Greenstone Belt (CLGB) was chosen and finally the Paasivaara area approx. 15 kilometers east of Kemi town.

Fig. 1. Target areas for Norrbotten Minerals in Finland by end of 2019:
The Vihanti area in the Raahe-Ladoga Ore Belt in central Finland, the Kiiminki Schist Belt, Paasivaara, the Peräpohja Schist Belt, and Nutukka in Central Lapland Greenstone Belt (CLGB).

On the map of Finland in Fig. 1 the ore belts and areas where the where the subsidiary Norrbotten Exploration AB is involved in exploration. The company has the past two years received valuable databases and maps from GTK (The Geological Survey of Finland).

Fig. 2. Three diamond drill targets in the Vihanti area, marked with blue squares:
Vihanti Deeps, Kuuhkamo and Vilminko, all located close to the closed Vihanti zinc mine. Map with permission from GTK.

The Vihanti area in the Raahe-Ladoga Ore Belt

The most advanced of the exploration projects in Finland is the Vihanti project. The company has been granted two exploration permits, covering three diamond drill targets; Vihanti Deeps, Kuuhkamo and Vilminko. In 2019 also ground geophysical surveys were carried out in the Vihanti area. The results will be used for reinter-pretations and for planning of new drill holes.

The diamond drilling in these targets started in December 2019. Altogether 5,000 metres of drilling is planned in this area during the winter 2019/2020.

A short description of the three drill targets in Vihanti

Arctic Minerals has earlier informed that three drill targets have been chosen in the Vihanti area. The targets are located to the South and the East from the closed Vihanti zinc mine. Outokumpu Oyj was the operator of the Vihanti mine, located approx. 40 km from Raahe town. The mine produced some 28 million tons of semimassive-massive sulphide ore at an average grade of 5.3% zinc, 0.5% copper, 0.4 gram/ton gold, 21.8 grams/ton silver and 0.4% lead. The mine was closed due to depleted ore reserves and the low metal prices prevailing at that time.

The planned drill holes are mainly based on reinterpretation of earlier existing geophysical data. The diamond drilling started in December 2019 and the planned 5,000 metres will be drilled during the winter 2020.

The drill target Vihanti Deeps

The drill target” Vihanti Deeps” was identified by interpretation of seismic survey earlier gathered by GTK. The interpretation shows there is a gravity anomaly coincident with the seismic anomaly at a dept of approx. 1000 meters southwest of the closed Vihanti mine, as a continuation towards depth along the dip. The anomaly is of the kind that can be

Fig 3. The drill target” Vihanti Deeps”, as a vertical section. The mined-out Lampinsaari ore shown in red. The possible mineralization shown by the red arrow and text “Seismic target” is in the continuation from the mined ore toward depth. Also shown is the last drilled promising drill holes (Last intersection).

expected in case of massive sulphide ore. Fig. 3 shows the drill target as a vertical section.

The planned drill holes are mainly based on reinterpretation of earlier existing geophysical data. The diamond drilling started in December 2019 and the planned 5,000 metres will be drilled during the winter 2020.

A few years before the closure of the Vihanti mine Outokumpu Oyj drilled a drill hole, starting from the deepest part in the mine. In this drill hole four mineralized zones were intersected, both in the beginning and close to the end of the drill hole. These intersections are located approx. 300-500 laterally from the now observed seismic anomaly. The diamond drilling in this target will be executed in the beginning of 2020.

The drill target Vilminko

The Vilminko drill target is located approx. 10 kilometers east of the drill target “Vihanti deeps”, see Fig. 2. The target shows a well-defined seismic anomaly coincident with a distinctive gravity and magnetic anomaly. In addition, a recent down-hole electromagnetic survey carried out by Arctic Minerals has identified a good conductor in the same structure, see vertical section in Fig. 4. These anomalies are consistent with the type to be expected by the presence of massive sulphides.

Fig. 4. The Vilminko drill target shown in a vertical section. The target was identified by combining a geological model with interpretation of geophysics. A heavy body – possibly a mineralization? – is shown in red.

Arctic Minerals plans to test the Vilminko target by drilling two drill holes, both to a depth of approximately 400 metres.

The drill target Kuuhkamo

The Kuuhkamo target is located 5 km south of the closed Vihanti zinc mine, see Fig. 2.  The target hosts a strong magnetic anomaly in the same structural setting as the old mine, see Fig. 5.

Fig. 5. The Kuuhkamo drill target, approx. 5 kilometers south of the closed Vihanti zinc mine.
A new interpretation by Exploration Mgr. Risto Pietilä shows a new target area and a model seen from above, below is a vertical section.

Drilling at Kuuhkamo was previously carried out by Outokumpu Oyj in the 1980s and by GTK 20 years later. The best intersections were 11.2 metres at 4.5% zinc and 0.2% copper and 16.7 metres at 3.9% zinc. A report by Outokumpu Oy at the time stated that these intersections were the best since the discovery of the main Vihanti mine in the 1960s. Norrbotten Exploration AB, Arctic Minerals’ subsidiary acting as operator, plans to test the Kuuhkamo target with initial drilling of two holes of between 300 and 400 metres each.

More information on the drill targets, new surveys and results from diamond drillings in the Vihanti area will be presented on the company’s website under the headline projects, and in press releases and reports, and under the headline presentations. The results from drillings are published when relevant summaries are ready.

The Peräpohja Schist Belt

The company in January 2019 announced that during the 2018 field work copper was found in a number of locations, together with lesser amounts of silver and gold. Samples from both bedrock and boulders contained significant grades of copper, gold and silver. The best of the boulders contained 5.25% copper, 0.4 gram gold per ton and 12 grams silver per ton. The Peräpohja Schist Belt is shown on the map in Fig. 6 below.

Fig. 6. Three areas where exploration was performed or starting in 2019;
The Peräpohja Schist Belt, the Kiiminki Schist Belt and the Paasivaara area, the latest chosen target area.

In 2018 altogether 22 bedrock samples were taken, and in 11 of these mineralizations of the SSC-type (Sediment Hosted Stratiform Copper Deposits) were observed.

The average grade in these samples were 1. 3 % copper, 11 grams per ton silver, and 0.2 gram per ton of gold. A number of boulders were also assayed; the best one contained 5.25 % copper, 0.4 gram per ton gold and 12 grams per ton of silver. A majority of the copper bearing samples was quartzite.

Not only samples of the Zambia type were found. Copper mineralization was found also in dolomite and basalt. The richest of these, a boulder of basalt, is deemed very local and contained 3.5% copper. This discovery shows there is potential also for another stratiform copper ore type, the “Volcanic Redbed type”, often hosted by volcanic rocks. Examples of this volcanic red-bed type is White Pine (Michigan, USA) and Mantos Blancos (Chile).

Field work in Peräpohja in 2019

Two geologists and one geology student participated in the field work during the summer 2019, doing sampling and mapping, aiming at finding targets for more detailed exploration work. The Exploration Manager Risto Pietilä and the Chief geologist Peter Wulff have a long experience of exploration, included exploration in subarctic areas.

The field work was partly evaluating of ore critical target areas and looking for mineralization representing chosen ore types. Sampling of bedrock and ore floats was an important part of the work.  One important work in 2019 was sampling of the overburden (A-zone, the uppermost part below the humus layer) in chosen ore critical target areas. The samples have been analyzed and the results are summarized in a report in early 2020. The company has earlier informed that first assays are promising.

The nature of the findings in 2019 further supports the company's view that the Peräpohja Schist Belt bears strong resemblance to the Zambian Copper Belt, and that it represents a highly attractive target for further exploration. 

The promising results so far motivated an application for an exploration permit in an area called Kulmala. The company expects the exploration permit is granted the first part of 2020.

An application for a new reservation was filed in January. The applied area, called Arpela, is located north of the town Torneå, and covers 230 km2.

Target area Kiiminki

In April 2019 Arctic Minerals informed that exploration potential for cobalt and other battery metals has been identified in the Kiiminki area, northeast of Oulu, see Fig. 6 above.

The company has valid reservation covering 802 km2. A first area for diamond drilling has also been identified in this area, see Fig. 7 below.

Fig. 7. Surface map of the Kiiminki area. The reservation is shown dotted white, cobalt anomalies as blue squares, and copper anomalies as white triangles. The area where first diamond drill hole is shown as a red oval, and same as area is shown as a vertical detailed section upper right.

During the autumn 2019 a prospecting campaign was performed in the area; a report is being compiled. Based on the synthesis of these results on new ore floats more detailed field work and later diamond drilling is planned.

The Paasivaara target area

The company was during the autumn 2019 granted a reservation in the Paasivaara area approx. 15 kilometers east of Kemi town, see Fig. 6. The size of the reservation is 8 km2. The exploration team identified an area with exploration potential for platinum group elements (PGE) and chromite. The area was chosen based on geophysics and geology, acquired from GTK. The exploration team will do a modeling of existing geophysical data, in order to find possible drill targets.

The Nutukka area in Central Lapland Greenstone Belt

The company was in autumn 2019 granted a reservation (for exploration) in an area called Nutukka.  The reservation, covering 365 km2, is located approx. 100 km northeast of the city center of Kittilä, approx. 20 km west of the gold panning village Tankavaara, see Fig. 8.


Fig. 8. The Nutukka area shown with yellow arrow in the hot ore belt Central Lapland Greenstone Belt. Shown on map also Kittilä gold mine – biggest in Europe – and Kevitsa mine, a big multimetal mine, today owned by Boliden AB.

"Nutukka", is located towards the eastern end of the central Lapland Greenstone Belt of northern Finland. This belt hosts the large Kittilä gold mine, operated by the Canadian company Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd, producing approximately 190,000 oz gold per year (2018). The belt has also seen a number of new gold discoveries in recent years.

The company identified the potential of the Nutukka area through study of geochemical, geophysical and other data available from GTK. The area hosts a number of soil geochemical anomalies for gold, but the origins of these anomalies have yet to be explained. The area lies just east of the locality called Kirakka-aapa, where the GTK conducted shallow bedrock drilling for geological mapping purposes between 2001 and 2005. This drilling intersected in one area 2 metres grading 3-5 grams per ton gold, 0.26 % nickel and 0.08 % cobalt. Another drill hole intersected a gold-copper mineralization grading 0.9 gram per ton gold and 0.8% copper over one metre.

The company will conduct evaluation of geochemical and other data in order to prioritize areas for next summer's field work. At present, it is anticipated that this field work will focus on heavy mineral sampling to determine contents of gold and associated other metals.