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  • Significant high-grade VMS polymetallic deposit with robust resource expansion opportunities
  • Located in the prolific Iberian Pyrite Belt which hosts numerous world class mines
  • Established mining district with solid infrastructure supporting accelerated development

Deposit Type: Polymetallic VMS 

Metals: Zinc, Lead, Silver, Copper, Gold

Location: Grândola, Setúbal District, Portugal

Ownership: 25%*, option to earn up to 80%

Status: Exploration Stage

Infrastructure: Access to roads, power and water

LS-1 Indicated Resource*

5.84 Mt at 8.88% ZnEq

LS-1 Inferred Resource*

2.01 Mt at 7.82% ZnEq

LS-1 Central Inferred Resource*

2.22 Mt at 4.80% ZnEq

Overview

In June 2018, Ascendant entered into an agreement with TH Crestgate GmbH to acquire an initial 25% interest in its Portuguese subsidiary Redcorp - Empreendimentos Mineiros, Lda (Redcorp), which holds an 85% interest in the polymetallic Lagoa Salgada volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) Project, as well as an option to earn up to an 80% interest in Redcorp upon completion of certain milestones.

The Lagoa Salgada Project is located within the north-western section of the prolific Iberian Pyrite Belt in Portugal, approximately 80 km southeast of Lisbon and is accessible by national highways and roads. The Project is comprised of a single exploration permit covering an area of approximately 10,700 hectares. The Project represents an early-stage, potentially high-grade, polymetallic zinc-lead-copper exploration opportunity in a low risk, established and prolific jurisdiction.

The Iberian Pyrite Belt (IBP) is host to some of the world’s largest VMS deposits and mines such as Neves-Corvo (Lundin Mining Corporation), Aguas Tenidas (Trafigura Mining Group) and Aljustrel (private). It represents the largest concentration of massive sulphide deposits in the world, forming an arch through Portugal and Spain about 240 km long and 35 km wide and has produced more than 300 million tonnes of massive sulfide ore over the past hundred years.

The Project represents a low-cost entry opportunity to gain exposure to a known, high-grade VMS deposit that has significant exploration potential to expand the resource in the near term. The region has a long history of large-scale mineral discovery with the majority of the deposits and mines demonstrating multiple zones typical of VMS style deposits. 17 gravimetric targets have been identified on the Lagoa Project to date, but only 2 of those have been significantly tested with resources have been defined on two deposits, the LS-1 and LS-1 Central.

History

In 1992, the Lagoa Salgada deposit was discovered by a team from the Portuguese Geological Survey, known then as the Serviço de Fomento Mineiro (SFM). The deposit is completely covered by a thick sequence of Tertiary sedimentary rock, averaging 135 metres thick. The discovery was made through diamond drill testing of a geophysical gravity anomaly.

In 1994, the area was awarded to a mining consortium comprised of Rio Tinto Zinc (RTZ) and Empresa Desenvolvimento Mineiro SA (EDM), a Portuguese government agency, who held the property from 1994 to 2000. Between 1994 and 1999, the consortium completed an airborne magnetic survey of the property and drilled 20 widely spaced diamond drill holes. In addition to the magnetic survey, RTZ performed limited downhole geophysics, electro-magnetic surveys, and limited soil sampling.

In October 2004, the Property was acquired by Redcorp which at the time was called Redcorp Ventures Ltd. In 2005, Redcorp drilled six holes totaling 2,286 metres. Drilling continued in 2006, 2007 and 2008 with an additional 16 holes totaling 8,692 metres being completed.

In 2009, Portex acquired a 100% interest in Redcorp to develop the LS-1 deposit on the property. From 2009 to 2012 Portex’s exploration activities included a diamond drilling and downhole geophysical surveys.

In 2015, TH Crestgate GmbH acquired a 100% stake in Redcorp which holds an 85% interest in the and operator status of the Project. EDM holds the remaining 15% interest in the Project. The majority of Redcorp’s exploration activities were focused on its 2016-2017 diamond drill program, which formed the basis for the Mineral Resource Estimate and Technical Report completed in January 2018 that defined resources at both the LS-1 and LS-1 Central deposits.

Geology and Mineralization

The Lagoa Salgada Project is located within the north-western portion of the Iberian Pyrite Belt; a 250 km long by 30-50 km wide, geographical and geological area that extends along much of the southern Iberian Peninsula, from Spain into Portugal. The belt is a thrust faulted sedimentary sequence with local sub-aqueous volcanic centers that host volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits. VMS deposits are stratabound, partly strataform, deposits of sulphide minerals formed by hydrothermal fluids that are exhaled at the seafloor and can be classified into three types according to their mineral content: Cu-type, Zn-Cu-type and Zn-Pb-Cu-type. VMS deposits are generally Cu-rich at the base and Zn-rich at the top. The deposits are generally interpreted to be syngenetic in origin, however, mineralization ranges from sulphide precipitates to re-worked sulphide/silicate sediments and local sulphide replacement mineralization located in close proximity to felsic submarine volcanic centers. Within the Iberian Pyrite Belt, VMS deposits vary in size from a few hundred thousand tonnes to greater than 200 million tonnes and have been dated at Upper Devonian to Lower Carboniferous in age. The Iberian Pyrite Belt is one of the most important VMS districts in the world, hosting more than 250 known deposits, and has been mined for more than 5000 years.

The entire Lagoa Salgada Project property is covered by a palaeo-fluvial fan that ranges in thickness up to 200 metres within the Tertiary Sado Basin and averages 135 metres over the Lagoa Salgada deposits. The Tertiary sedimentary rocks lie unconformably on top of the rocks of the Volcano-Sedimentary Complex of the Iberian Pyrite Belt. This sequence of rocks ranges in age from Upper Famenian to Middle Visean and are represented on the Property by a northwest-southeast lineament, approximately 3.5 km long and 1 km wide.

There are four types of mineralization at Lagoa Salgada:

• Primary massive sulphide mineralization.
• Gossan mineralization resulting from weathering of the primary mineralization.
• Copper-rich stockwork mineralization.
• Gold-rich silicified zones which appear to be structurally controlled.

To date the mineralized system at LS-1 has been drill tested over a strike length of approximately 425 metres and appears to be open to the south and east. Recent geophysical surveys have identified three anomalies, extending over 900 metres to the southeast along strike, and similar in signature to that of the LS-1 deposit. The furthest of these anomalies has been drill tested and hosts the LS-1 Central deposit.

Gossan mineralization results from the weathering of primary massive sulphide mineralization. It is preserved at Lagoa Salgada as a result of the Tertiary sedimentary rocks covering the palaeosurface, in a situation analogous to the Las Cruces copper deposit in Spain. Gossan mineralization at Lagoa Salgada seems to be comprised of a lead-rich leached cap, underlain by a precious metal-rich, supergene enrichment zone.

Copper-rich stockwork mineralization consists of sulphide veins and stringers in chloritic altered volcanic rocks, and represents alteration associated with the feeder system to the massive sulphide mineralization. This type of mineralization is well-developed in other IPB deposits such as Feitais (Aljustrel) and Neves Corvo.

The Lagoa Salgada deposit is a VMS deposit that consists of at least one distinct lens of massive sulphide mineralization that was deposited at, or slightly below the sea floor as a result of precipitation from the venting of metal-rich hydrothermal fluids. These fluids typically exploit fault planes as fluid pathways and create a large zone of hydrothermal alteration in the rocks below the deposits. VMS deposits are typically characterized by clusters of lenses occurring within a distinct stratigraphic interval. The extensive alteration zone on the Property suggests that hydrothermal activity was prolonged and that additional lenses associated with separate alteration zones may exist.

The LS-1 consists of a massive sulphide body with a slight anticlinal fold with a current strike length of approximately 425 metres long by 175 metres wide. The LS-1 deposit is bound to the west by a sharp fault contact and appears to remain open to the east and to the south. The LS-1 deposit is also host to stockwork mineralization, bounding the massive sulphides at depth and partially to the east. A gossan cap of supergene mineralization has been outlined that overlies the majority of the deposit. The LS-1 Central deposit appears to be similar in nature to the stockwork mineralization and is generally enriched in copper as compared to the LS-1 deposit. The upper northern portion of the LS-1 Central deposit appears to be Pb-Zn enriched, as noted in one drill hole (LS_ST_01). The LS-1 Central deposit is also overlain by the tertiary sedimentary units. Both the copper and the lead-zinc enriched portions of the deposit have not yet been fully delineated.

Ongoing exploration work in 2018 and into 2019 is designed to expand and better defined both deposits and to investigate the region between the deposits where previous geophysical surveys have outlined several anomalies. In addition, some regional exploration work on the rest of the property is planned to prioritize future exploration targets.

Exploration

Drilling has been conducted on the Lagoa Salgada Property from 1995 to present. Redcorp conducted drilling on the Property starting in 2005; including 2005-2009 under the direction of Redcorp Ventures Ltd.; and 2011-2012 under the direction of Portex. The focus of the drilling since 2007 has been on the LS-1 deposit area, and since 2017 on the LS-1 Central deposit area. To date, 71 holes totaling 30,307 metres have been drilled with 22 holes targeting the LS-1 deposit and six holes targeting the LS-1 Central deposit.

In 2016, Redcorp completed several early stage geophysical studies and in 2017 undertook a modest, 6-hole drill program that was successful in almost doubling the previous Mineral Resource Estimate on the Project. Both the LS-1 and LS-1 Central deposits remain open to the east, west, down dip and along strike, providing confidence that a rapid expansion of this resource is possible.

In 2018, Ascendant and TH Crestgate GmbH together through Redcorp will look to reinterpret the drilling and geophysical data compiled to date as well as accelerate new exploration activities to further define the current known extents of LS-1 and LS-1 Central deposits and prioritize the testing of the additional 15 gravimetric targets identified on the property. With only 22 drill holes composing the current Mineral Resource Estimate and both deposits remaining open at depth, Ascendant is confident in the ability to rapidly expand the resource with a modest drill program over the next 12 months.

Mineral Resources

The Mineral Resource Estimate for the Lagoa Salgada Project in Portugal is taken from the Technical Report entitled, “Technical Report for Redcorp Lda. – Lagoa Salgada Project”, prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards for Disclosure for mineral Projects dated July 20, 2018 and covers the LS-1 and LS-1 Central deposits.

The Technical Report was prepared for Redcorp – Empreendimentos Mineiros, Lda. by AGP Mining Consultants Inc. (“AGP”). The tables below outline the current defined resources at the LS-1 and LS-1 Central deposits using a 3.5% zinc equivalent (ZnEq) cut-off grade.

Mineral Resources for the LS-1 Deposit – Effective date January 5, 2018

Classification

Tonnage (‘000 t)

Zn (%)

Pb (%)

Cu (%)

Ag (gpt)

Au (gpt)

ZnEQ (%)

Indicated

5,840

2.79

2.96

0.32

53.54

0.78

8.88

Inferred

2,010

2.44

2.80

0.24

47.37

0.65

7.82

Notes: 
(1) Block matrix is 10mx10mx10m 
(2) Grades are estimated by inverse distance squared interpolation 
(3) A cut-off grade of 3.5% ZnEq was used to report the Mineral Resource for the LS-1 Deposit 
(4) Zinc equivalent metal grade (ZnEq%) was calculated as follows: 
ZnEq% = ((Zn Grade * 25.35) + (Pb Grade * 23.15) + (Cu Grade * 67.24) + (Au Grade * 40.19) + (Ag Grade * 0.62)) / 25.35 
Metal prices used: US$1.15/lb Zn, US$1.05/lb Pb, $3.05/lb Cu, US$19.40/oz Ag, and 1,250/oz Au 
No recoveries were applied 
(5) Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability 
(6) Shown on a 100% basis. Ascendant holds a 25% interest in Redcorp, the operating subsidiary which holds an 85% interest in the Lagoa Salgada Project

Mineral Resources for the LS-1 Central Deposit – Effective date January 5, 2018

Classification

Tonnage (‘000 t)

Zn (%)

Pb (%)

Cu (%)

Ag (gpt)

Au (gpt)

ZnEQ (%)

Inferred

2,220

1.91

1.11

0.51

17.76

0.07

4.80

Notes:
(1) Block matrix is 10mx10mx10m
(2) Grades are estimated by inverse distance squared interpolation
(3) A cut-off grade of 3.5% ZnEq was used to report the Mineral Resource for the LS-1 Deposit
(4) Zinc equivalent metal grade (ZnEq%) was calculated as follows:
ZnEq% = ((Zn Grade * 25.35) + (Pb Grade * 23.15) + (Cu Grade * 67.24) + (Au Grade * 40.19) + (Ag Grade * 0.62)) / 25.35
Metal prices used: US$1.15/lb Zn, US$1.05/lb Pb, $3.05/lb Cu, US$19.40/oz Ag, and 1,250/oz Au
No recoveries were applied
(5) Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability
(6) Shown on a 100% basis. Ascendant holds a 25% interest in Redcorp, the operating subsidiary which holds an 85% interest in the Lagoa Salgada Project

Technical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate was completed by Paul Daigle, P.Geo., Senior Associate Geologist with AGP and is an “independent Qualified Person” (“QP”) as defined by NI 43-101.

Characteristics of VMS Deposits

Volcanogenic (Volcanic) massive sulphide (VMS) deposits, are major sources of zinc, copper, lead, silver and gold. They typically occur as lenses of polymetallic massive sulphide that form at or near the seafloor in submarine volcanic environments and are classified according to base metal content. They form from metal-enriched fluids associated with seafloor hydrothermal convection. Their immediate host rocks can be either volcanic or sedimentary. Because of their polymetallic content, VMS deposits continue to be one of the most desirable deposit types for security against fluctuating prices of different metals. There are close to 850 known deposits worldwide.

The most common feature among all types of VMS deposits is that they are formed in extensional tectonic settings, including both oceanic seafloor spreading and arc environments. Most, but not all, significant VMS mining districts are defined by deposit clusters formed within rifts or calderas. Their clustering is further attributed to a common heat source that triggers large-scale subseafloor fluid convection systems. These subvolcanic intrusions may also supply metals to the VMS hydrothermal systems through magmatic devolatilization. As a result of large-scale fluid flow, VMS mining districts are commonly characterized by extensive semi-conformable zones of hydrothermal alteration that intensifies into zones of discordant alteration in the immediate footwall and hanging wall of individual deposits. VMS camps can be further characterized by the presence of thin, but areally extensive, units of ferruginous chemical sediment formed from exhalation of fluids and distribution of hydrothermal particulates.

Most VMS deposits have two components (see Figure 1 below). There is typically a mound-shaped to tabular, stratabound body composed princi- pally of massive (>40%) sulphide, quartz and subordinate phyllosili- cates, and iron oxide minerals and altered silicate wall-rock. These stratabound bodies are typically underlain by discordant to semi- concordant stockwork veins and disseminated sulphides. The stock-work vein systems, or “pipes”, are enveloped in distinctive alteration halos, which may extend into the hanging-wall strata above the VMS deposit.

Figure 1: Cross section of a VMS deposit



Source: Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide Deposits, Alan G. Galley, Mark D. Hannington, And Ian R. Jonasson, 2007.

 

* Notes: Ascendant owns an 25% interest in Redcorp – Empreendimentoes Mineirs, LDA., which owns an 85% interest in the Lagoa Salgada Project as well as acts as the operating entity. Ascendant has an option to increase ownership to 80% upon completion of certain milestones and payments. On a pro rata basis Ascendant currently owns an effective 21.25% of the Project. Resources shown on a 100% basis. Ascendant holds a 25% interest in Redcorp, the operating subsidiary which holds an 85% interest in the Lagoa Salgada Project.