While tungsten prices have softened recently, that doesn’t mean that tungsten exploration companies have given up in trying to develop their projects. In the last two weeks, two North American tungsten exploration companies have seen some activity on their projects. Here is what they have been up to.  

Margeaux Resources (TSXV:MRL

Looking back to November 2013, Margeaux Resources announced it was acquiring a 100% interest in the Jersey Emerald Tungsten-Zinc property in southeastern British Columbia from Sultan Minerals (TSXV:SUL). On April 1, the acquisition was approved by the TSX Venture Exchange, giving Margeaux the exclusive options to gain the 100% working interest in the Jersey Emerald property. According to the latest press release, Margeaux can acquired its working interest in the project –which is subject to net smelter returns royalties– by making payments to Sultan in the aggregate amount of $4.0 million in by November 8, 2016. The company hals already paid an initial deposit of $200,000 and is required to pay a subsequent $300,000 in cash following the TSX Venture approval. From there, Margeaux must make another cash payment of $750,000 in cash on or before the first year anniversary of the agreement date. Following those first three payments, the company must pay $1,250,000 and $1,500,000 in cash by the anniversary of year two and three, respectively. Margeaux can incur no less than $2,000,000 in expenditures on or before the third anniversary.

Margeaux aims to incur expenditures of $6,000,000 on the property prior to the third anniversary. Sultan Minerals will retain a 1.5% NSR on the Jersey Emerald property.

According to Margeaux, the Jersey Emerald property encompasses the second largest historic lead-zinc mine in British Columbia, as well as the second largest historic tungsten mine in Canada. The tungsten mine has been inactive since 1973. Historically, the mine produced 1.6 million tons of 0.76% tungsten. The mine has a mineral resource estimate of 19,460,000 pounds of WO3 measured and indicated, and a 1,934,000 pounds of inferred WO3. In addition to the past producing mines, Jersey Emerald also holes prospective tungsten, zinc, lead, gold and silver deposits.

Mega Precious Metals Inc (TSXV:MGP)

While not exactly a tungsten company, Mega Precious Metals Inc is working on defining what it calls Canada’s newest Gold-Tungsten District located in northeast Manitoba. Mega is working on the Monument Bay Project, which is the company’s most advanced project, and consists of 136 contiguous minerals claims over 338 square kilometers just outside of Winnipeg. For Mega, tungsten is a by-product metal, which it sees as potentially economic due to the high grade nature of the deposit.

At the Twin Lakes deposit, within Monument Bay, tungsten occurs predominately as free scheelite grains in quartz carbonate veins that are woven within a broad brecciated gold-tungsten zone. Mega recently reported that composite samples from the drill core metallurgical test program revealed 2.27 grams per tonne of gold with 0.021% w/w tungsten in the gold zone, as well as 1.32 grams per tonne of gold with 0.42% w/w tungsten in the gold-tungsten zone. The company’s plans for the gold-tungsten zone include first floating the gold with the bulk sulfide followed by subsequent treatment of the tails to recover the tungsten. The company is still working on both the gravity separation and flotation recovery of the tungsten from the gold-tungsten zone. However, initial gravity separation test work on six discrete tungsten feed size showed a peak recovery of 87% of the tungsten based on a concentrate grade of 2.0% grading of WO3 in the particle size range of 20-250 microns.