Despite Copper taking it on the chin in recent sessions…

… the shares of Forum Energy Metals (FMC.V) having been holding up well, and on fairly decent volume.

It’s not always the case, especially in these highly volatile markets… but when a Cu exploreco demonstrates price strength while the underlying commodity is getting thumped on… said price strength may be indicative of positive (nascent) fundamental forces in play.

If you’re new to the Highballer report, Forum’s flagship 38,250-hectare Janice Lake Copper-Silver Project is located in north-central Saskatchewan, just outside the prolific Athabasca Basin.

Forum’s JV partner in the project is mining giant Rio Tinto (RTEC) who can earn up to 80% in the project by spending a cool $30M.

RTEC’s involvement in Janice Lake speaks loudly regarding the project’s geological merit. RTEC is only interested in projects that offer world-class, Tier-1 potential. If they didn’t believe a mammoth-sized ore body lurked in Janice Lake’s subsurface stratum, they wouldn’t be there. Period.

Janice Lake’s zip code also adds to the allure as Saskatchewan is currently ranked #3 according to the Fraser Institute’s recent Annual Survey of Mining Companies. Janice Lake resides in a top-shelf mining jurisdiction.

Forum and RTEC have their sights set on a large Cu deposit similar to other sedimentary hosted deposits around the world.

The Udokan Copper Project⁠—ranked the ⁠third-largest on the planet⁠—is the analog here.

Off to a solid start

RTEC and Forum have multiple high-priority targets in their crosshairs at Janice Lake, and a new round of groundwork is likely to generate more.

A limited winter drill campaign—nine holes for a total of 2,330 meters—generated two sets of drill results from the Rafuse target, the first of which dropped on May 25th.

Assays from the first four holes at Rafuse:

  • JANL0022 – No intercept.
  • JANL0023 – 0.325% copper and 2.04 g/t silver over 48 metres (19m to 67m) including 1.78% copper and 9.25 g/t silver over 3.15 metres (33m to 36.15m);
  • JANL0024 – 0.28% copper and 2.00 g/t silver over 76.5 metres (71.5m to 148m) and 0.20% copper and 1.58 g/t silver over 18 metres (188m to 206m);
  • JANL0025 – 0.16% copper and 1.74 g/t silver over 8 metres (21m to 29m)

Rafuse, 2.8-kilometers of highly prospective terra firma, is characterized by surface copper mineralization, the upshot of last summer’s mapping, prospecting, and geophysical campaign.

More recently, on June 9th, Forum released the final batch of drill results from that winter campaign at Janice Lake—a campaign that was cut short by unseasonably mild weather.

Rio Tinto Intersects 14 Metres of 0.89% Copper and 8 G/t Silver Including 6 Metres of 1.67% Copper and 13 G/t Silver at Forum’s Janice Lake Copper/Silver Project, Saskatchewan

Assays from these final five holes extended copper mineralization along 670 meters of strike:

  • JANL0026 – 0.25% copper and 2.05 g/t silver over 12.3 metres from 39.7m to 52m;
  • JANL0027 – No significant intercept;
  • JANL0028 – 0.89% copper and 8.02 g/t silver over 14 metres from 246m to 260m, including 6m of 1.67% copper and 13.6 g/t silver from 254.1 to 260.1m;
  • JANL0029 – 0.23% copper and 2.52 g/t silver over 6 metres from 3m to 9m;
  • JANL0030 – 0.27% copper and 3.08 g/t silver over 39 meters from 172m to 211m.

Regarding the above-highlighted headline interval in drill hole 28, Ken Wheatley, Forum’s VP of Exploration:

Hole 28 intersected 14 metres of high-grade oxide copper that is interpreted as structurally controlled mineralization on the last section drilled to the northeast. This adds another dimension to the potential at Janice. The Rafuse target continues for approximately 800 meters to the northeast and further drilling will be focused on this trend.”

This high-grade interval in hole 28, associated with a fault zone, is the first drill intercept that demonstrates structurally controlled mineralization.

Establishing structure is of paramount importance in an expansive geological setting like Janice Lake. Once you have structure, you can begin tracking the mineralization—up to surface, along strike—and you can begin probing for the geological controls i.e. high-grade feeder zones.

This high-grade hit in hole 28 has everyone excited. RTEC will likely pursue it up-dip and along strike to the north when they resume drilling in the coming days.

Regarding drill hole 29, the Company believes it tagged only the surface expression of a mineralized zone—mineralization that should dip to the northwest (above chart).

Janice Lake’s copper-silver mineralization is associated with northeast trending magnetic highs (above map).

Note the mag high circled on the bottom of this map. It was here where a 2020 prospecting campaign turned up a boulder grading 3.8% Cu.

Some of the best drill targets are generated when there’s a positive correlation between geochemistry and geophysics.

Important to note, RTEC will be hitting the ground hard this summer with an aggressive prospecting campaign covering the full extent of this 52-kilometer trend. That, along with the resolve to ramp up drilling, and maintaining an 83 person camp, not to mention having pushed a major road into the project, demonstrates RTEC’s commitment to the Janice Lake project.

According to this June 9th press release…

Drill hole 26 was a down-dip follow-up to historic drill hole RA4-69 that intersected 0.68% copper over 17.1 metres at the top of the hole and was stopped at 61.6 metres in mineralization (see Rio Tinto commences drilling at Forum’s Janice Lake Copper/Silver Project, Saskatchewan news release dated February 16, 2021). JANL0026 confirmed the down-dip extension of the mineralization to the northwest.”

Drill hole 30 is located 270 metres southwest of the JANL0022 to JANL0026 cross section previously reported in a news release (Rio Tinto intersects 1.78% copper and 9.25 g/t silver over 3.1 metres within 48 metre copper zone at Forum’s Janice Lake Copper/Silver Project, Saskatchewan dated May 25, 2021). The mineralized interval shows mineral zoning beginning in chalcocite and gradationally transitions downhole into zones with more dominant bornite and then chalcopyrite over 39 metres.

This “mineral zoning” in drill hole 300.27% copper and 3.08 g/t silver over 39 meters from 172m to 211m—is worth exploring further.

The hole cut through multiple styles of mineralization…

The geological sleuths at Forum believe this “paragenetic sequence” is further evidence of a robust mineralized system.

Final thoughts

If you’re long this stock or are looking for exposure to copper, you need to listen to the webinar linked below. Mazur and Wheatley’s breadth of knowledge for all things geological is impressive. These guys know their rocks, fielding numerous questions, the replies to which tie the known components of the Janice Lake story together neatly.

FYI, the importance of the (interpreted) structurally controlled mineralization tagged in drill hole 28 is covered by Ken Wheatley at the 24:10 mark.

The next key piece of news likely to drop will be detailed plans, both drilling and groundwork (geochem) related, concerning the summer/fall program at Janice Lake.

RTEC has mobilized crews to open the onsite Burbidge Lake camp and plans to be drilling before the end of June. A detailed plan for follow-up drilling and plans for regional exploration of the 52 kilometre extent of the Janice Lake property will be reported when finalized.

We should also see news concerning Love Lake, Forum’s wholly-owned Ni-Cu-Pt-Pd project, in the coming days/weeks (drilling at Love Lake will almost certainly overlap drilling at Janice Lake).


—Greg Nolan

Full disclosure: Forum is a marketing client of mine, so color me biased.

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