The Geological Survey of Demark and Greenland ("GEUS") has recently estimated that 10 billion tonnes of ilmenite exist in the original rock within the entire Thule region, with a further 7 billion tonnes of ilmenite present in the form of placer ilmenite. While non-JORC compliant, this highlights the potential of the province to host economic detrital ilmenite on Alba's licence area. According to GEUS, elevated ilmenite concentrations are recorded on both active and raised beaches.
Booth Sund area within Alba licence, looking out to sea. Active beaches shown in the foreground, raised beaches on the right-hand side.
Ilmenite is the primary source of titanium dioxide, which is used as pigment in several industries including plastic, paints, coatings and paper, among other. Increasing demand for titanium dioxide is among the major factors driving demand for ilmenite.
Alba's new heavy minerals sands project (the "Black Sands Project") is situated on the Steensby Land peninsular in the north-west of Greenland, approximately 80km south of the regional settlement of Qaanaaq (see map below).
Alba's licence areas MEL 2017/29 and MEL 2017/39 shown outlined in red.
The 2017 exploration progamme included the collection of 79 hand auger sand samples from between 30cm to 1m in depth. Of the 79 samples collected, 68 were taken from active beaches and raised beach terraces within the licence areas. Reconnaissance exploration confirmed the presence of active beach environments with heavy mineral sands being actively deposited, along with the raised beach terraces containing heavy mineral sand. Numerous samples were panned to confirm the presence of heavy minerals and analysed by a handheld Niton XRF analyzer. Most of the samples collected were shown to host Titanium and Iron-bearing mineral phases.
In addition to the exploration samples, two bulk samples were collected for initial metallurgical test work. Bulk sample number one was taken from an active beach environment and bulk sample number two was collected from a raised beach terrace. All samples are currently being prepared for export to enable analysis for heavy mineral percentage, assemblage and quality determination.
The coastline within the licence area MEL 2017/29 is approximately 28 km in length (in a straight line) with the samples collected during this field programme covering a combined strike length of approximately 8.5 km. Samples were collected from all three of the main stretches of coastline north-west and south-east of Booth Sund. The samples collected to the north-west of Booth Sund were completed on the final day of the field programme. Extensive terraces were observed in this area that were not sampled due to time constraints, and these will be revisited in the next field season.
The team also carried out reconnaissance exploration at the Company's secondary licence area MEL 2017/39. Whilst significant areas of possible ilmenite-bearing mineral sand were not identified during this visit due to time constraints, given that the areas are extensive, the Company intends to carry out further reconnaissance on this licence during the next field season.