maniitsoq overview

The Maniitsoq Project is centered on numerous high-grade nickel-copper-cobalt-precious metal sulphide occurrences associated with the Greenland Norite Belt (GNB). The 3,408 km2 property contains the >75km-long belt of differentiated noritic intrusions along the southwest coast of Greenland within the Qeqqata Kommunia (municipality), and is accessible from the Seqi deep water port with a year-round shipping season and potential for abundant hydro-electric power. Greenland is a democratic, pro-mining country with a transparent regulatory system, competitive mining tax and no land claim issues. The Maniitsoq property is 100% owned by North American Nickel.

The project is centered approximately 125 km north of Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, and consists of three contiguous mineral exploration licences situated just east of the towns of Maniitsoq and Napasoq (figure 1).


Kryolitselskabet Øresund A/S Company (KØ) explored the Greenland Norite Belt from 1959 to 1973. KØ systematically prospected the area from the air; gossanous outcrops were investigated by prospecting, blasting, trenching, sampling, geological mapping, ground geophysics and/or shallow diamond drilling. This resulted in the discovery of many of the currently-known nickel-copper sulphide occurrences and the recognition of a 15 x 75 km belt of nickel-copper-bearing norite intrusions referred to as the Greenland Norite Belt (figure 2). Important success was achieved from drilling at Imiak Hill with a 9.85 m intersection grading 2.67% Ni and 0.60% Cu.

An extensive fixed wing GeoTEM survey covering the GNB was commissioned by the Geological Survey of Greenland and Denmark (GEUS) in 1995 and flown by Geoterrex Limited. Between 1995 and 2000, the survey was followed up by Cominco and Falconbridge, neither of which conducted any diamond drilling. Both companies re-sampled historical drill core and confirmed many of the historical high-grade intersections as well as the systematically high nickel tenor[1]of the sulphide mineralization throughout the GNB.


NAN acquired the property in 2011, and started high quality electromagnetic (EM) and magnetic surveys using helicopter-borne systems that were better suited to the rugged topography of the Maniitsoq Property than the previous fixed wing survey. NAN flew a total of 13,497 line-km of SkyTEM and VTEM between 2011 and 2015. These surveys were focused mainly on the GNB but also included several other prospective sites within the property. Flight line spacing was 100 or 200 m and over two hundred clusters of electromagnetic (EM) anomalies were identified. Selected conductors were drill tested, resulting in the expansion of historic mineralization and the discovery of mineralized noritic intrusions not previously recognized.

NAN has progressively implemented new exploration methodologies and tools in an effort to refine targeting at the property and borehole scales. These include the introduction of helicopter-borne electromagnetic and magnetic surveys, modern surface-based electromagnetic, induced polarization, and gravity surveys, application of Worlview-3 satellite imagery, implementation and consistent use of borehole electromagnetic methods, collection of oriented drill core, optical televiewer data and downhole physical properties; structural studies, geochemical studies and 3D modelling. The compilation and integration of data has resulted in a vast improvement in the understanding of the geology of the GNB and it resulted in the discovery of surface and sub-surface nickel-copper sulphide occurrences and the expansion of mineral zones comprising the Mikissoq, Spotty Hill, Imiak Hill, Fossilik, P-008, P-013, and P-053, four of which remain open in one or more directions. In addition, nickel sulphide mineralization has been intersected at a number of other locations throughout the Greenland Norite Belt, including at the P-004, P-013, P-030, P-032, P-053, and Pingo targets (figure 3). Exploration continues to extend known zones of mineralization and provides a framework for future discoveries.

[1] Ni tenor is the concentration of Ni calculated in the 100% sulphide component of the rock assuming a standard magmatic sulphide assemblage of pentlandite, chalcopyrite, and pyrrhotite, with no significant metal in the gangue.


The Maniitsoq property is underlain by supracrustal rocks intruded by multiple phases of felsic to ultramafic intrusions and dikes of various ages. All of the rocks are Archean in age, except for Proterozoic mafic dikes and a Paleozoic carbonatite intrusion. Four episodes of deformation spanning the Archean and Proterozoic have been identified in the project area.

A group of kilometre-scale norite intrusions occur in the center of the project area and form a north-trending J-shaped belt comprising the GNB. The noritic intrusions host significant nickel-copper sulphide mineralization and are the focus of NAN’s exploration efforts. The Maniitsoq intrusions are interpreted to be approximately 3.0 Ga in age, making them some of the oldest documented district scale nickel occurrences in the world (Waterton et al., 2020[1];).

The Maniitsoq mineralization comprises disseminated, blebby, net-textured, semi-massive and massive sulphide. Secondary structural processes have modified the primary sulphide resulting in the formation of stringers, veins, fracture fillings and sulphide breccia veins. The sulphide zones are commonly represented by multiple discrete EM plates and this is interpreted to be due, at least in part, to the disruption and remobilization of primary magmatic sulphide.

Mineralogical studies utilizing QEMSCAN (Quantitative Evaluation of Materials by Scanning Electron Microscopy), XRD (X-ray diffraction) and EMPA (Electron Microprobe Analysis) were completed on mineralized samples from Imiak Hill, Spotty Hill, P-013, P-030, P-032, P-053, P-058 and P-149 (Technical Reports).

These studies determined modal mineralogy, mineral texture, nickel, copper and cobalt deportment and the liberation/association characteristics of nickel, copper and iron sulphides for each sample. Results indicate the following:

  • Mineralization consists of pyrrhotite, pentlandite, pyrite and chalcopyrite
  • Pentlandite is the main nickel-bearing mineral hosting > 90% of the nickel in the samples
  • Copper is hosted by chalcopyrite
  • Pentlandite recoveries may achieve > 95% for all samples

Predominantly pentlandite-hosted nickel may be an advantage to potential future economics as this sulphide mineral is readily liberated by conventional metallurgical processes.

Technical information reported here has been reviewed by Dr. Peter Lightfoot, Ph.D., P.Geo., who is the Qualified Person for the Company, Consulting Geologist, North American Nickel Inc.

[1]Source: Front. Earth Sci., 22 September


Exploration programs on the Maniitsoq Property were completed between 2011 and 2018. The exploration work expanded the footprint of the historic mineral occurrences at the Imiak Hill Complex and Fossilik and resulted in the discovery of several new occurrences of mineralized norite in the belt.

Imiak Hill Complex (IHC)

The Imiak Hill Complex comprises three separate mineralized norite intrusions termed Imiak Hill, Spotty Hill and Mikissoq within an ~3km2 area of the Maniitsoq property (figure 5).

Imiak Hill (figure 6)

The up-dip extent of the Imiak Hill mineralization, originally discovered by (KØ), is marked by a surface gossan approximately 80 by 100 metres in size which has a strong VTEM conductivity signal. Mineralization consists of two parallel zones, defined over a maximum strike length of 25 to 30 metres and dip extent of 270 meters. Mineralization is hosted in norite and leuconorite and consists of a network of remobilized semi-massive to massive sulphide veins and breccia veins collectively ranging from approximately 0.3 to 13.6 metres in width. Mineralization increases in grade with depth and sulphides consist of medium to coarse grained pyrrhotite, pentlandite, pyrite, and chalcopyrite. Semi-massive to massive sulphide samples typically grade 3 to 7 % Ni, 0.1 to 0.2 % Co and less than 0.1 g/t Pt+Pd+Au. Copper values are highly variable ranging from less than 0.1 to 6.3 percent; this broad range suggests that secondary re-distribution of mineralization into noritic rocks has occurred.

The mineral zone at Imiak is closed-off by exploration, but it remains possible that structurally detached segments of the norite may exist at depth.

Assays highlights include:

MQ-13-026: 25.51 m @ 3.25% Ni, 0.48% Cu

MQ-13-028: 24.75 m @ 3.19% Ni, 1.14% Cu

MQ-14-072: 16.35 m @ 2.51% Ni, 0.77% Cu

Mikissoq (figure 7)

Following the recognition of strong conductivity in the VTEM survey coincident with the historic Mikissoq gossan containing up to 3.73% Ni in surface grab samples, NAN completed drilling on the target.

Mineralization at Mikissoq is hosted in two norite intrusions separated by orthogneiss. The mineralization in the upper and deeper norite bodies are interpreted to strike 58 degrees with dips of 78 degrees and 89 degrees to the southeast, respectively.

The shallow mineralization has been intersected over a strike extent of 25 metres and to a maximum depth of 95 metres below surface. Intersections range from 2 to 20 metres in width. Mineralization consists of disseminated to blebby sulphides with intervals of locally remobilized vein, stringer, and breccia vein sulphides, as well as sulphide fracture fillings. The fracture fillings and breccia textures, consisting of sulphides wrapping around clasts of norite, indicate that the magmatic sulphide mineralization has undergone brittle deformation as well as sulphide remobilization. Assay values for the shallow mineralization vary widely depending on the amount of remobilized sulphides present in the sample. Semi-massive to massive sulphide samples from borehole MQ-13-029 returned values of approximately 4.5 to 7.5 % Ni, 0.15 to 0.65 % Cu, 0.1 to 0.2 % Co and up to 0.3 g/t Pt+Pd+Au. Disseminated sulphide mineralization with localized sulphide veins and stringers in borehole MQ-13-027 returned an average value of 0.7 % Ni and 0.3 % Cu.

The top of the deeper sulphide zone is located approximately 100 metres below the bottom edge of the shallow mineralization and has been intersected over a dip extent of 105 metres by three boreholes on one section. Intersections range from 21 to 38 meters in true width. The mineralization consists of coarse-grained magmatic sulphide disseminations, blebs, and patches, with local stringers and veins of remobilized sulphide mineralization. The deeper sulphide lens averages between 0.5 and 1.1 % Ni, 0.25 and 0.55 % Cu, and 0.01 and 0.03 % Co. The intervals with the highest sulphide content, including remobilized sulphides, typically grade between 1 and 4 % Ni, 0.25 and 0.65 % Cu, as well as 0.02 and 0.08 % Co. Combined Pt+Pd+Au concentrations are typically less than 0.2 g/t.

The trend of the Mikissoq mineral zone is open and untested at depth.

Assay highlights include:


Upper Zone

MQ-13-029: 9.99 m @ 4.65% Ni, 0.33% Cu

MQ-14-073: 61.35 m @ 0.63% Ni, 0.18% Cu incl.

2.6 m @ 1.79% Ni and 0.54% Cu and

4.6 m @ 1.27% Ni and 0.27% Cu and


In 2019 careful modelling of the Fossilik, Imiak Hill, Mikissoq, Spotty Hill, and other melanoritic intrusions was completed and a series of regional exploration opportunities on the licences were identified for follow-up work. The known mineral zones have potential to extend to depth, and next steps in exploration will require the follow-up of these zones, further evaluation of the potential for mineralization in structural zones cutting country rock gneisses adjacent to the intrusions, and the evaluation of new opportunities identified in the course of 2019 review of data.

In addition to the potential at the known mineral zones, there is also remaining regional potential. The Maniitsoq Property is a camp-scale project and most of the drilling has been concentrated at the Imiak Hill Complex and at Fossilik. There are numerous untested VTEM anomalies and stream sediment geochemical anomalies that have not been explained. A review of the WV-3 multi-spectral data shows signatures interpreted to be norite intrusions that have not been prospected.

Future work plans will explore both the regional potential (figure 13) and extension of known mineralization to depth.


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