Québec Nickel Drills Over 250m at Ducros Sill Target & Provides Corporate Update

Québec Nickel Corp. (CSE: QNI; OTCQB: QNICF) reported drilling at its Ducros Ni-Cu-PGE project has returned long core lengths of serpentinized ultramafic rocks, including dunitic and peridotitic rock units. These results, coupled with results from the limited historical drilling completed in the immediate area, suggest the Ducros Sill represents a very large nickel-cobalt exploration target very similar to surrounding high-tonnage nickel-cobalt projects in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt.

We sat down with Dave Patterson, Chairman & CEO of Québec Nickel, to the drill results:

The company also provides a corporate update as Richard Dufresne, nickel expert and current director of QNI takes the helm as interim CEO.

Figure 1. Geology map of Québec Nickel’s Ducros property (red outline) showing the individual mining claims that comprise the property land package, along with the locations of the Ni-Cu-PGE target areas. The regional geology is sourced from the Government of Québec’s online SIGEOM database. (Photo: Business Wire)


  • QNI has drilled a fence of holes at the Ducros Sill target which cuts across a wide magnetic high feature representing the geophysical expression of the serpentinized portion of the ultramafic intrusion.
  • The fence of holes was designed to follow-up on historical drilling completed in 1987 which yielded 0.22% nickel and 120 ppm cobalt returned from dunitic rocks occurring in the last 20 metres of an abandoned 107-metre-long drill hole.
  • The three recently completed holes encountered long core intervals of variably serpentinized dunite and peridotite, including an almost 300-metre-long intersection in hole QDG-23-505.

Ducros Sill

The Ducros Sill target lies in the southern half of the two-kilometer wide by ten-kilometer long Ducros Ultramafic Sill Complex, in the south-central portion of QNI’s Ducros property (Figure 1). Historically, three widely spaced holes were drilled at the Ducros Sill target by Abitibi Resources Ltd. (“Abitibi”) in 1987 (Figure 2). Assessment report drill logs for these holes describe variably serpentinized, magnetic dunitic +/- pyroxenitic rocks with occurrences of trace amounts of native copper and brucite throughout their entire drilled lengths (Quebec Government report GM 47268).

Notable results include hole 87-6 which returned greater than 0.22% nickel and 120 ppm cobalt over the last 20 metres of the 106.7 metre long BQ diameter hole before being abandoned in bad ground.

Figure 2. Plan map of the Ducros Sill target area showing the locations of the historic Abitibi Resources Ltd. drill holes (open symbols) and the recently completed QNI drill holes (filled symbols) overlain on top of the total magnetic intensity image as derived from the compiled/combined VTEMTM and drone magnetic surveys completed in 2022. (Photo: Business Wire)

Current Drill Results

Québec Nickel completed a series of holes this winter along an east-west fence approximately 100 metres north of the Abitibi hole 87-06 which cuts across the entire 600-metre-wide magnetic high feature (Figure 2). The ultramafic intrusion responsible for the magnetic response is understood to dip steeply to the west, as is the case for most of the stratigraphy in this part of the Ducros property.

Hole QDG-23-503 was collared on the west side of the targeted magnetic high and was drilled eastward at a dip of -45°, towards the centre of the ultramafic intrusion (Figure 2). The hole encountered a package of intercalated mafic and ultramafic intrusive rocks, including gabbro, pyroxenite and dunite, from 23 to 308 metres downhole depth before cutting a 142-metre-long interval of serpentinized dunite, believed to be the same unit encountered in hole 87-6 by Abitibi. The hole remains in this lower dunite unit until the planned end of hole at 450 metres depth.

Of note is the occurrence of native copper on fracture surfaces within the altered dunite unit (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Photograph of drill core from QNI hole QDG-23-503 at 341.70 metres depth showing abundant native copper on a fracture plane within the serpentinized dunite unit. NQ core, long axis of photograph is approximately 2.5 cm. (Photo: Business Wire)

Hole QDG-23-505 was collared approximately 210 metres east of QDG-23-503 and drilled towards the east at a -45° dip to the planned end of hole depth of 402 metres (Figure 2). The hole collared in variably serpentinized dunite at 21 metres hole depth and remained in the altered ultramafic unit until 314 metres, a 293-metre-long intersection, where it encountered metasedimentary basement rocks. The ultramafic unit is cut by rare narrow <1.0m to ~2.0-meter core length intermediate to felsic dikes.

Hole QDG-23-504 was collared approximately 210 metres east of QDG-23-505 and was also drilled towards the east at a -45° dip to a depth of 243 metres (Figure 2). This hole collared in variably serpentinized dunite until 117 metres downhole depth, after which it entered the package of metasedimentary basement rocks.

The digital Québec government geology for QNI’s Ducros project area, as sourced from the SIGEOM database, indicates the ultramafic intrusion in which the Ducros Sill target is included spans from approximately 500 metres north of the most recent drilling to approximately five kilometers to the south-southeast (Figures 1). Modelling of the VTEM TM and drone magnetic data collected by QNI during its 2022 exploration program supports this interpretation (Figure 4). There is no record of this multi-kilometer-long magnetic high feature being exposed at surface or having ever been drilled beyond what Abitibi Resources completed in 1987.

Figure 4. Plan map of the Ducros Sill target area showing the locations of the historic Abitibi Resources Ltd. drill holes (open symbols) and the recently completed QNI drill holes (filled symbols) overlain on top of the total magnetic intensity image as derived from the compiled/combined VTEMTM and drone magnetic surveys completed in 2022. The postulated multi-kilometer Ducros Sill Trend indicated. (Photo: Business Wire)

If this geophysical anomaly is an expression of a serpentinized ultramafic/dunite intrusion, as currently hypothesized, it would rival the size of other high-profile large tonnage nickel-cobalt projects currently being advanced in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt.

Drill core from the three QNI holes referred to above are being processed and samples are being delivered to the preparation facility in Val-d’Or on a regular basis. In addition, representative half-core samples from each of the drill holes have been sent for quantitative analyses to determine the abundances of nickel-bearing minerals such as pentlandite, an iron-nickel sulphide (Fe,Ni) 9 S 8, heazlewoodite, a nickeliferous sulphur-poor sulphide mineral (Ni 3 S 2 ) and awaruite, a nickel-iron alloy (Ni 2 Fe to Ni 3 Fe). Awaruite and nickel-iron alloy are typically formed during the serpentinization of ultramafic rocks.

This year, exploration drilling by the Company has focused exclusively on testing targets that require winter conditions to access and drill. Now that the spring thaw is in full swing, work will resume at the Fortin Sill Zone where ground conditions allow for year-round access. Drilling at the Fortin Sill Zone will follow-up on some of the exceptional results achieved in 2022, including from hole QDG-22-29, which returned an 11.80 metre interval containing1.44% Ni, 1.49% Cu, 461 ppm Co and 2.79 g/t Pt-Pd-Au that includes a higher-grade subinterval assaying 1.85% Ni, 1.65% Cu (3.50% Ni + Cu), 576 ppm Co and 3.27 g/t Pt-Pd-Au over 8.43 metres (see August 30, 2022News Release for reference).

Corporate Update

Québec Nickel is pleased to announce a leadership transition within the company. David Paterson, our current CEO, will be stepping down and moving to Executive Chairman and Director. Richard Dufresne will be stepping in as interim CEO as we continue the search for a new CEO to take us through the coming growth stage.

Richard Dufresne is a seasoned mining professional with over 35 years of experience in the industry, with a strong focus on nickel exploration. He has worked with both major and junior companies and has made significant contributions to the industry throughout his career. During his nine-year tenure with Falconbridge, he played a key role in exploring and developing the Raglan Nickel mine, which led to its production decision in 1996.

He then spent five years overseeing nickel exploration for eastern Canada at Anglo American.

Mr. Dufresne’s expertise in nickel exploration will undoubtedly be a valuable asset to the company. We are confident that he will be able to provide the leadership and guidance needed to drive our exploration efforts forward and deliver value to our shareholders.

David Paterson has been instrumental in bringing Québec Nickel to fruition. As Executive Chairman and Director, he will continue to provide valuable guidance and support to the company.

We are grateful for David’s leadership and contributions to the company,” said Richard Dufresne. “I look forward to working with him in his new role as we continue to build on the foundation that he has helped establish.

The opinions provided in this article are those of the author and do not constitute investment advice. Readers should assume that the author and/or employees of Capital 10X hold positions in the company or companies mentioned in the article. For more information, please see our Content Disclaimer.


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