Our Mine

Mine Overview

Aappaluttoq is Greenland’s first gem corundum mine; it was discovered and geologically defined by Company geologists between 2005-2012. The mine site lies on tide water approximately 250km south of Greenlands’ capital, Nuuk. Construction of the mine was initiated in 2014, with full production expected in 2015. True North does not operate the Appaluttoq mine; instead LNS-Greenland are earning a 27% ownership of the project. They are a highly experienced Norway based mining company and will be responsible for the production of rough gemstones at the mine facility. True North staff then upgrade these concentrates into clean and fully graded gemstone sales parcels using our extensive gemmological experience.

The ore at Aappaluttoq is very high grade, averaging 350g/tonne, with 283 million carats held as indicated and 109 million as inferred. The resource modelling and current mine-plan extends to a depth of 65m; significant exploration upside exists both below the current pit and along strike. The current mine plan is expected to produce high quality ruby and pink sapphire until at least 2024.

Key Operational Facts

Location: SW Greenland
Mine Type: Open Pit
Current Estimated Life: 2015 - 2024
Primary Ore: Ruby
Secondary Ore: Pink Sapphire
Employees: 68
True North Percentage Ownership: 100% initially; 80% once the mine is operational

Pre-Feasibility Study on the Aappaluttoq Ruby Project, Greenland True North Gems

pdf-icon2 Current Executive Summary
pdf-icon2 Current Technical Report
pdf-icon2 Historic Technical Report

The Fiskenaesset Ruby Project is located on the southwest coast of Greenland, about 160 kilometres south of the capital Nuuk. The property consists of two prospecting licences consisting of eight claim blocks covering 823 square kilometres. True North Gems owns 100% of the property licenses.

Both ruby and pink sapphire (red and pink varieties of the mineral corundum), are found on the property. Individual stones weighing more than 80 grams (400 carats) have been found. Both rubies and pink sapphires are valuable gem materials, and in high quality rubies can be worth more than diamonds.

True North Gems began summer exploration programs in 2004 and has returned every year since. More than 30 ruby occurrences have been found in the Fiskenaesset district so far, with a total of 165 tonnes of material removed for processing over four years (48 tonnes have been processed to date).

From the material processed, over 65,000 grams of gem and over 129,700 grams of near-gem ruby and pink sapphires have been recovered. The rubies occur along a regional geologic contact between anorthosite and amphibolite that has been found to extend for more than 200 kilometres in the Fiskenaesset district.

Although the prices of gemstone can vary greatly depending on quality, independent valuations have valued a 0.69 carat ruby from Aappaluttoq at $3,220/carat and a 0.96 carat pink sapphire from Aappaluttoq at $460 per carat (prices are US$ wholesale).

pdf-icon2 Investor fact sheet
pdf-icon2 Exploration history
pdf-icon2 Gem processing and cutting
pdf-icon2 Ruby market fact sheet

Building a Mine

GEOLOGY

The Aappaluttoq mine is underlain by an Archean aged anorthosite complex; this comprises multiple layers of mafic to ultramafic rocks that are orientated in a near vertical manner. The ruby and sapphire mineralization is located in a reaction zone between a melanogabbro and a leucogabbro. These rocks have undergone significant alteration and metasomatism at upper amphibolite to granulite facies; the gem corundum is hosted in two rocks – the first is a highly micaceous unit rich in Cr, the second is an altered leucocratic gabbro. These units form steeply dipping mineralized sheets that have been traced with drilling to depths of 230m; the deposit is open to depth and along strike.

A regional geological trend encompasses the rocks at Aappaluttoq; the so called ‘Ruby Island Line’ has multiple surface expressions of gem corundum mineralization within the same rock package as Aappaluttoq. This trend has a surface strike length of over 10kms, secondary trends exist at the advanced exploration sites Siggartartulik and Kigutilik; it is unclear if these lie on a continuation of the Ruby Island Line, or if multiple horizons within the layered anorthosite complex host corundum mineralization.

The phlogopitite primary ore at the Aappaluttoq mine contains corundum that is relatively free and easy to extract; the secondary gabbroic ore is stronger and this makes extraction without breaking the stones relatively difficult. Of the total corundum resource approximately 5% of the material extracted is high-end gem grade, approximately 20% is ‘near-gem’ this is material that contains inclusions, and roughly the remaining 75% of production is classed as ‘commercial’ quality goods.

pdf-icon2 Download Exploration History

RESOURCES & RESERVES

Category Volume Tonnage(1) Average Grade(2,3) Average Grade(2,3,4) Contained Corundum (2,3) Contained Corundum(2,3,4)
t Grams/T Carats/T Million Grams Million Carats
Indicated
59,110
189,150
313.33
1,566.65
59.27
296.33
Inferred
24,110
77,160
283.46
1,417.28
21.87
109.35
Notes:(1) Densities are derived from specific gravity measurements of host lithologies and estimated for host zone based on specific gravity of corundum and average grade.(2) Based on a Total Clean Corundum grades greater than 1.7 mm size fraction from mineralogical lab analysis.(3) Top cut grade of 7,325 grams per tonne (97.5 percentile), and a lower cut-off grade of 1 gram per tonne.(4) One gram equals five carats.

The open pit design is based on a selected shell from a series generated using Gemcom’s Whittle 4X software. The pit design uses geotechnical and practical mining parameters which should allow safe and efficient extraction of ore. The shell selection and pit design is based on Indicated Mineral Resources only. The table below shows the current minable mineral reserves.

Reserve Corundum Contained Corundum
t Grams/T Million Grams
Proven
-
-
-
Probable
161,700
350
56.6
Total
161,700
350
56.6

The Mineral Reserve contains 95% of the Indicated Mineral Resource in reference to total corundum, and 85% in reference to tonnage.

For the Mineral Reserve, the percentages of gem and near-gem rubies and sapphires contained in that corundum are based on the percentages determined from the analysis of the B1 and B2 bulk samples taken in 2006 and 2007. This information is shown below. Valuations are only applied to the gem and near-gem portion of the corundum; no value was applied to the non-gem ‘commercial’ material. The combination of the B1 and B2 were the most representative samples to use in the estimation of gem distribution characteristics as there was increased knowledge of the deposit and greater scrutiny of the samples. The company believe that this percentage split is representative of the ore body at large, however during initial mining the grade distribution and total will be carefully monitored.

Mining and Processing

The True North’s Aapplauttoq Ruby Project’s Process Plant consists of the following primary sub-processes:

▪ Crushing (Primary & Secondary)

▪ Scrubbing

▪ Dense Media Separation (DMS)

▪ Optical Sorting

▪ Services

General

The process plant, as proposed, is scheduled to operate 1 – 12 hour shift per day for 224 days each year between the months of April through November.  Design parameters allow for a plant utilization of 90%.

All Sub-processes described will be housed in a single “Process Building” which is a purpose built steel structure housing not only the sub-process facilities but as well the Office / Security structure and all required electrical and control facilities. The Process Building will be located adjacent to the project maintenance facility and in close proximity to the open pit. The Process Building will be heated and ventilated as required to allow for personnel comfort and process operations.

SIMPLIFIED flowsheet

Crushing

The Crushing facility consists of a Primary Jaw Crusher and Secondary Cone Crusher. Associated belt conveyors provide materials handling and allow for the movement of ore between the crushing units. The Primary Jaw Crusher accepts the Run-of-Mine (ROM) ore delivered from the project pit. Ore is transferred into the Jaw Crusher using a Front-end Loader. ROM ore is delivered at a nominal size of 550mm and below. After processing through the Jaw Crusher nominal ore particle size is reduced to 60mm and below.  Jaw Crusher product is delivered to the Scrubbing facilities Feed Bin via belt conveyor.

The Secondary Cone Crusher accepts screened material from the Scrubbing facilities Scrubber Discharge Screen. Incoming ore is delivered to the Cone Crusher via Belt Conveyor the Cone Crusher reduces the incoming material from a size of +20mm to a discharge material size of between 20mm and below. Product from the Cone Crusher reports to the Scrubber Feed Bin.

Scrubbing

Crushed ore is delivered to the process Scrubber which washes and cleans the incoming ore and delivers the product to a Scrubber Discharge Screen. The Discharge Screen is a horizontal vibrating 3 deck screen which separates the ore into 3 size fractions. +20mm, -20mm to +1.7mm and -1.7mm. The +20mm material is delivered to the Secondary Cone Crusher. The -20mm to +1.7mm is delivered to the DMS Facility via a mechanical conveying system and the -1.7mm is discharged into a collection Pump Box and treated as tailings material. This tailings material is pumped to the project’s Tailings Storage Facility via centrifugal pumps. A “Hand Pick” area is part of the Scrubbing process and allows for a visual inspection of the +20mm material by project personnel. This visual inspection allows for large lumps of Corundum to be physically removed from the process stream which, if delivered to the Secondary Crushing, would possibly result in destruction of larger product quality fragments.

Dense Media Separation (“DMS”)

The DMS facility is a “wet” process, the purpose which is to separate the corundum bearing material from gangue. The Milled or atomized Ferro-Silicon (FeSi) powder will be mixed with process water to produce slurry with a bulk density of approximately 2.7 SG. This FeSi slurry will then be mixed with the crushed and scrubbed ore and pumped to a cyclone separator. The Cyclone will provide material separation, producing a “Heavy” or “Sinks” stream and a “Light” or “Floats” stream. Sinks material including corundum will report to the cyclone underflow and the floats material will report to the cyclone overflow. Float material will then be discarded as tailings material and pumped to the project’s Tailings Storage Facility via centrifugal pumps. The sink material will be collected, dried and passed through a magnetic separator unit, where the FeSi slurry is removed from the product stream. The non-magnetic concentrate is then conveyed to the Optical Sorting facility.

Optical Sorting

The incoming product is received from the DMS facility and dried utilizing an infrared dryer and is then sorted into 3 size fractions using a Vibrating Mechanical Screen (+10mm, -10mm to 4mm and -4mm to +1.7mm). Each size fraction will be stored in an individual surge bin upstream of the Optical Sorter and then processed independently through the Optical Sorter. The Optical Sorting process utilizes a series of cameras to identify the potential corundum material from the product stream. Once identified, a burst of compressed air separates the identified stone from the product stream. In this manner the incoming product stream is then separated into “Concentrate” or corundum bearing material and “Rejects” material the latter which is expected to contain minimal or no corundum material content. The Concentrate and Rejects stream will be collected into storage containers and stored within the Process Building. Concentrate material will then be transported to True North Gem’s Sorting facility in Nuuk, Greenland while the Rejects are stored onsite for potential future re-processing.

Services

To support the primary processes, services are required. Electrical Feed and Distribution, Compressed air and Process water are all required for the operation of the Primary Sub-Processes previously described. Incoming electrical feed will be obtained from the overall plant site power station and report to the required control and distribution equipment. Air compressors, located within the Process Plant, will provide compressed air as required for process and maintenance operations. Process water is delivered from site services and stored within a Process Water Tank for distribution as required for process and maintenance operations. Process water distribution will be through the use of electrically powered water pumps.

Socio-Environment

True North Gems are dedicated to the steady, sustainable development of our gemstone resources at Aappaluttoq.  This policy ensures environmental protection, social inclusion and economic benefits are managed to the maximum benefit of both the Company and the local people of Greenland.

The permitting process for the Aappaluttoq Mine included the development of extensive social and environmental assessments, policies and frameworks. As part of the Company’s socio-environmental policy we will be conducting long-term monitoring and assessment to ensure the Aappaluttoq Project meets it’s environmental and social goals.

The Environmental and Social Impact Assessments are provided below. To view a full list of the Company’s permitting documents, please click here.

View CSR page here

Permitting

On March 10, 2014, the Government of Greenland issued True North with an exploitation (mining) licence.

The link below provides information about the Public Hearing process which took place in various cities and villages in Greenland during the month of August 2013.

Read more about the Public Hearing Process.

On the official website for the Government (the link) you will find the required documentation as stipulated by Greenlandic law. However, True North has taken the step of compiling other documents to assist with supplementary clarification and to aid transparency. These additional documents are provided below.

Please note, as required by Greenlandic Law, the reports and documents on the Official website for the Government of Greenland have been translated from English into Greenlandic and Danish. The technical and supplementary documents on the Company website are added as an additional provision, however the text in these documents is not required to be translated.

pdf-icon2 01. TERMS OF REFERENCE
pdf-icon2 02. AAPPALUTTOQ PROJECT BRIEF
pdf-icon2 03. EIA INITIAL ASSESSMENT OF ACID ROCK DRAINAGE AND METAL LEACHING POTENTIAL
pdf-icon2 04. EIA SILICA REMOVAL TECHNICAL STUDY
pdf-icon2 05. SIA RUBY TRACK
pdf-icon2 06. SIA SCOPING WORKSHOPS
pdf-icon2 07. SIA SECURITY
pdf-icon2 08. SIA SLICA SPECIFIC FOR QEQERTARSUATSIAAT
pdf-icon2 09. SIA SUMMARY OF SMALL SCALE MINING LICENCE REGULATION IN GREENLAND
pdf-icon2 2011 PRE-FEASIBILITY STUDY ON THE AAPPALUTTOQ RUBY PROJECT, GREENLAND TRUE NORTH GEMS
pdf-icon2 11. RUBY AND PINK SAPPHIRE INTRO
pdf-icon2 12. EIA MEMO RUBY MINE AT AAPPALUTOQ – NITROGEN LOAD TO THE ENVIRONMENT BY MINE
pdf-icon2 13. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ADDITIONAL BASELINE STUDIES
pdf-icon2 14. SUPPLEMENTARY BASELINE SAMPLING 2013
pdf-icon2 15. ANSWER FROM GREENLAND NATIONAL MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES