In-depth on Conquest Resources (TSXV:CQR)


Tom Obradovich will be famous to North American readers for his work on the development of the large Young-Davidson gold mine that is now owned by Alamos Gold, to South Americans for his involvement in the blind discovery of the Fruta del Norte deposit that was sold to Kinross for $1.2 billion in 2008, and to Europeans for his work on the Special Committee organized by Dalradian Resources that negotiated the privatization of their Northern Ireland gold project to Orion Mine Finance for over $550 million.  It’s safe to say, then, that Tom knows the mining business. Now, his latest project, Conquest Resources (TSXV:CQR), of which he is the President, CEO and Director, is looking to find a world-class deposit in Ontario.  It’s not every day you encounter a junior mining company with a strong sense of history, but that is what Conquest has in spades.  They are taking up the mantle of exploration in an area that has a long and complex past when it comes to the mining industry, showing some of the most fascinating geology in Canada and with the potential for world-class discoveries.

Watch the video above for a full rundown from Tom himself on Conquest's history and current operations.

Conquest’s flagship Belfast-Teck Mag property lies in the Temagami mining camp, which first rose to prominence with the fortunes of Norman Keevil Sr.’s Temagami Island copper mine, and then famously with Dr. Norman Keevil Jr.’s work through the Teck company.  Many industry insiders have long suspected that there might be something special under the 300 m or so of cover at Temagami, but until very recently it has been impossible to find out.  In the 1990s, just as geophysical methods of exploration were becoming cheap and effective enough for widespread use, a land caution was put in place over the entire area to protect indigenous land claims while legal battles were fought out.  Mineral exploration of all kinds was prohibited, and it is only in the last few years that the land caution has been lifted.  This means that the Temagami area is seriously under-explored by modern methods, which is ironic, since it lies adjacent to the prolific Sudbury mining camp, one of the most heavily-explored parts of the world.

Belfast-Teck Mag lies directly over the Temagami magnetic anomaly, which shows some striking similarities to the Sudbury region. In 2014, Tom Obradovich assembled a drilling crew and optioned the DGC property from Teck Corporation, then drilled 2,200 m into the heart of the anomaly.  This had been tried by Dr. Keevil in the 1950s, but at the time the available drilling technology did not allow them to even penetrate the 800 m of Huronian sediment and Nipissing diabase cover.  The 2014 efforts yielded much greater success, and a potential Sudbury offset dyke with familiar host rock and ores was intersected at 1,989 m. It is thought that Temagami could be a lens of the Sudbury complex, related through the enormous Temagami positive magnetic anomaly, which appears on geophysical maps as almost a mirror image of the Sudbury anomaly. Current exploration models are working on the idea that, during the Sudbury impact event, cracks formed in the crust, allowing deep-hosted metals to ascend in the Temagami area.

The Temagami and Sudbury anomalies, looking strikingly similar on a magnetic map
The Temagami and Sudbury anomalies, looking strikingly similar on a magnetic map

Recent results from a 190-site ground gravity survey by Conquest have revealed significant anomalies to be almost aligned with magnetic anomalies in the Belfast township, and these are coincident with geochemically anomalous heavy metal and light rare earth regions.  This raises the question: what type of deposit could be found in the area?  There are plenty of candidates: a VMS deposit, a copper-nickel-PGE deposit, or an IOCG deposit.  A classic VMS would not show elevated levels of PGEs, but Dr. Keevil’s Copperfields mine, which graded a mind-boggling 28% Cu, was often thought of as a VMS despite high PGE levels in the ores.  The 2014 drill site, like the first phase of Conquest’s current drill program, was directly along strike from Copperfields.  Additionally, historical drilling in the Eaglerock Lake area of the Belfast-Teck Mag project has shown exhalative lenses prospective for copper and zinc, suggesting that there may indeed be an exploitable VMS deposit on site.

The possibility of a copper-nickel-PGE deposit is strengthened by Temagami’s similarities to the Sudbury complex, which hosts vast numbers of such deposits.  The October 2020 amalgamation of Conquest and Tom Obradovich’s privately held Canadian Continental Exploration Corporation resulted in Conquest’s acquisition of the DGC Ni-Cu-PGE property in the western portion of the Belfast-Teck Mag project, which was the location of the 2014 drill hole that intersected deep Sudbury-style mineralisation.  The DGC property was the source of some of the earliest and best petrological evidence that there is a genetic link between Sudbury and Temagami, and the Sudbury-style ores found on the property indicate that the same type of economic mineralisation may occur in Temagami too.

Excitingly, recent work by Conquest has been focused on the potential for an IOCG deposit in the northern portion of the property and at the eastern extent of the Temagami Geophysical anomaly, with the overlapping gravity and magnetic anomalies being characteristic of this type. Adding weight to this possibility are several copper-gold-hematite occurrences in the northern and eastern portions of the property, concentrated in the three anomalous areas identified in the ground gravity survey.

Overlapping gravity and magnetic anomalies at the Belfast project
Overlapping gravity and magnetic anomalies at the Belfast project

With so much potential, Conquest was obviously keen to get drill rigs turning.  The nature of the Belfast-Teck Mag project is drill-intensive, especially given the deep cover (up to 300 m on average), and there are plenty of priority targets to test.  After the company was amalgamated with Canadian Continental, the initial focus was on finding banded iron formation-hosted gold at the Golden Rose property, which contained a past-producing gold mine.  But the team quickly realized that the real prize might be in the eastern parts of Conquest’s holdings, where the current search for IOCG mineralisation is being directed.  There are over 30 drill targets on Belfast-Teck Mag that the team plans to hit this summer, amounting to an initial 10,000 m of drilling, and Conquest announced on the 9th of June that work had already started, with around 60 m of core being delivered each day by teams on site.

Over and above the potential bounty at the Belfast-Teck Mag property, Conquest controls two other projects in Ontario. The first of these, the 448-hectare Alexander Gold project, lies immediately adjacent to Evolution Mining’s (ASX:EVN) Red Lake Gold Mine in the highest-grade gold camp in North America. The geology at Alexander is essentially untested below 700 m, with the region’s richest gold tending to occur below 1,300 m. Conquest is targeting an extension or repetition of the structures at Red Lake, which is consistent with the regional geology where mineralized structures tend to form stacked lens deposits atop one another. The so-called “Mine Trend” is where much of the gold is found in the region, and Alexander Gold lies directly on this trend. Red Lake Mine itself adds to its known resources each year, indicating that there is still plenty of potential for discoveries in the immediate area.

Conquest also holds the 29 square kilometre Smith Lake property in the Missanabie-Goudreau greenstone belt, adjacent to the former Renabie Gold Mine, which produced approximately 1.1 M ounces of gold at very high grades. Historical exploration work by Conquest before its amalgamation returned anomalous VTEM, drill, soil and surface samples, indicating the potential for both structurally-hosted gold and VMS deposits.

Under the stewardship of Tom Obradovich, Conquest has moved very quickly since the amalgamation to acquire and explore its highly prospective properties, in particular its flagship Belfast-Teck Mag project. That property is certainly one that could have a world-class deposit of any of several different types waiting to be found.