Bitterroot owns 363 square miles of mineral rights in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, mainly in Ontonagon, Houghton, Baraga, and Iron Counties. These lands are subdivided into two general packages - the Voyageur Lands (257 square miles) and the Copper Range Lands (106 square miles). Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Trans Superior Resources, Inc., Bitterroot is one of the larger owners of mineral rights in the Upper Peninsula.
Bitterroot has identified several Ni/Cu/PGM targets on its Upper Peninsula mineral rights. These targets are prospective for Ni/Cu/PGM-bearing sulphide deposits similar to the high-grade Eagle deposit (5.2 million tonnes of 2.9% Ni and 2.5% Cu), which Rio Tinto recently sold to Lundin Mining Corporation for $325-million. Lundin has disclosed that it will invest an additional $400 million into the project prior to entering production in late 2014.
Michigan is an ideal location for Ni/Cu/PGM exploration for many reasons, including:
- its mid-Proterozoic Ni/Cu/PGM conduit-hosted mineralization occurs in a geologic environment similar to giant nickel deposits like Noril'sk and Voisey's Bay;
- the relatively small but high-grade Eagle deposit contains more than $2-billion of in-situ Ni/Cu/PGM;
- Rio Tinto has recently been exploring for additional deposits similar to Eagle on lands immediately adjacent to Bitterroot's mineral rights;
- outstanding local infrastructure, including power, railroads, highways, and access to Great Lakes ports, together with relatively low drilling and operating costs;
- brownfields mineral processing site availability at White Pine; skilled and motivated local labor force;
- favorable political environment, with mining laws recently modernized to accommodate mine development at Eagle;
Bitterroot has had an active presence exploring Upper Michigan since the mid-1990s and has developed extensive regional knowledge and contacts. The Company is preparing to drill three 100%-owned Ni/Cu/PGM targets as it continues to add to its vast mineral rights package.