Exploration for uranium is debated and often an emotive issue in Finland and Sweden. Mawson recognizes the concerns that uranium exploration gives rise to. The company believes in transparency in all aspects of its work and always shares and discusses information related to the company's exploration permits with all stakeholders.
Rompas started as a gold and uranium project. However at Palokas,where the company has been working for the last two years the uranium grades in drilling are much lower - very much like an ordinary granite rock.
We have always reported uranium in our exploration results, even when they are only at low levels ie Palokas. This has occurred in all our PR's, MDA's (management discussion and analysis) and on the website.
This is a gold project with uranium variably associated with the rocks that host gold (ie at Rompas there is more uranium than at Palokas). At this stage of the project, we do not know how the levels and extent of uranium and how it will develop before we drill and test the area. Finnish bedrock is naturally endowed in uranium (see the map of some of the background radiation levels measured across parts of Europe at http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Radiation-and-Health/Naturally-Occurring-Radioactive-Materials-NORM/. Technically, at Rompas-Rajapalot it appears there will be gold rich areas with low and high uranium. At this stage, Palokas where we are focussing all our work seems to contain very little uranium. We understand the need to be open and fully disclose all results to the public. The questions need to be asked, but without further research we cannot give definitive answers. At the exploration scale our impacts are very small and there is very little to be concerned about.
No, Mawson is an exploration company with precious metal interests. We have had over ten years exploring in the Nordic Countries. The company's flagship property is the Rompas gold project in Ylitornio and we are publically listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:MAW).
Exploration is the process of searching for mineral deposits, based on the earth sciences. We explore over large areas, initially using satellite and airborne information and slowly narrow down our search to drill 30-50mm drill holes to test the rocks. It can be as simple as analyzing rock types and soil characteristics across large areas of land. Exploration is not mining and does not guarantee that mining will occur in the area being explored.
Exploration is a research-scale activity and mining an industrial-scale activity. We need to explore 1000's of prospects to find the one that is interesting and could potentially become a mine.
Mining is a question for another day, especially in a rational country with strong environmental standards and laws. In Finland, 10 permits are required for mining to commence after granting of a Mining Lease. These include:
- Environmental impact assessment (ELY Centre)
- Environmental permit, water permit (Regional State Administrative Agency)
- Mining safety permit (TUKES)
- Regional land use plan (Regional Council),
- Local master plan and local detailed plan (Municipalities)
- Building permits (Municipalities)
- Other permits (ie Nuclear Act?)
Mawson is a junior exploration company. We employee 11 employees/consultants -- 9 full-time employees and consultants and 2 part-time employee and consultants. All aspects of our business require specialized skill and knowledge, including in the areas of exploration and mining, environment, logistical planning and accounting.
Finland has a strong national mineral policy and the Finnish minerals industry employs 30,000 people. The industry is one of the mainstays of the Finnish economy, yet Finland today is a net importer of metals. The country aims to be globally competitive and promote the sustainable use of natural resources.
Even though Finland has vast resource potential, like most smaller economies, it is unable to fund the exploration and development of its abundant land and natural resources through domestic savings.
The funding of Mawson which specializes in the high risk/high reward business of exploration is suitable to a small group of global specialized investors who understand the risk-return profile that a company like Mawson presents. To date, Mawson has spent almost €8M at Rompas-Rajapalot, and will not earn a cent unless the project develops into a mine. This is of course not certain, but even if it does, it could be 10 years away. Investors generally make money in junior exploration companies when a discovery is made and the project is de-risked as the exploration company drills and learns more about the mineral deposit it has found.
Approximately 100% of exploration money spent by Mawson remains in Finland. Geology and exploration jobs cannot be exported and importantly, Mawson creates an option for Finland's growth and well-being. Knowledge is accumulated by Mawson's research in Finland and remains for future generations. Should a mine be found by Mawson, economic studies suggest that 90% of mining investments stay in Finland as part of a mine's life-cycle. A mine of significant scale could employee anywhere between 200-500 people. Clearly foreign direct investments in Finland create local wealth for generations to benefit.
Money invested into the Company is mainly used in Finland -- employees are Finnish tax payers and all the possible services and purchases are made from the locals or from the region. So far company has spent approximately €8M in Ylitornio municipality and Finland.
Neighboring village associations to Mawson's project and the local Ylitornio municipality have demonstrated strong support for Mawson's exploration work. A recent communique from the Meltosjärvi Village Association outlines this rationale.
Mawson has very good co-operation with local people from who we receive a lot of support and help. The Company purchases services locally when possible. The Company organizes public events for the locals, and keeps regularly contact to many of them. The co-operation has been very transparent, spontaneous and interactive.
The Company also supports also local children's education, for example by purchasing necessary equipment for the local schools. The main office of the company is located in Lohijärvi village. The office has been rented from a local farmer. Company workers use the services offered by the locals as they reside in the area during most working weeks. Storage and vehicles are mostly rented from Rovaniemi.
Some of our exploration activities are located inside Natura 2000 areas. These areas include also in some places other national protection sites. Finland has very strict Environmental legislation. Working even partially inside Natura 2000 means that in addition to Mining and Environmental legislation there exists EU regulation and EU's Habitat and Birds Directives which steer all our practices. At the moment we are working in Mustiaapa-Kaattasjärvi Natura 2000 area.
In all that Mawson does, The COmpany aims to prevent negative impacts of its work programs on the natural environment. Implementation of a research programme is always carefully planned and mitigation measures incorporated at each step. Below are some examples on how Mawson is preventing and mitigating negative impacts on nature values:
- No sampling on bird nesting season (188.8.131.52)
- Eagle nesting starts on 15th of February when sampling is stopped. All nests in our work areas are monitored with remote cameras. Sampling is only continued later in the winter (end of March and April) if the eagle doesn't nest.
- Sampling with heavier rigs (for example deep drillings) are implemented only during winter time when there is sufficient snow and ice to cover and protect the vegetation.
- During summers and autumns (outside the bird nesting season) sampling is implemented only with light equipment and portable rigs. All the drilling rods are removed from the drilling holes of the portable rig. These small holes (48mm) will close naturally and quickly after the sampling has occurred.
- All the drill cuttings (soija) are collected and removed from the area to prevent any damage for the vegetation.
- Planning of tracks and sampling sites is done with special care and attention to confirm that all the sensitive areas can be avoided. Tracks and sampling sites are located so that vulnerable habitats and threatened species are secured.
- When there is no snow, exploration and transportation in the area is completed on foot
- When there is ice coverage but no snow, exploration and transportation in the area is completed on foot or horse
- When there is sufficient snow (25cm), exploration and transportation in the area is completed on foot, horse or snowmobile
- Using biodegradable lubricants and oils:
- Absorbent matting is used under all mechanical equipment.
- Species, vegetation and habitat inventories are always completed as a part of the exploration planning and locating of sampling sites. All exploration activities are planned to ensure that no threats occur to species and habitats.
- Vegetation monitoring sites have been established for tracks and drilling sites to monitor potential impacts.
- An extensive ground and surface baseline water survey has been completed. An ongoing monitoring programme for surface and ground waters is planned for approximately 30 different sites. Most of the sites are located in natural waterways¸ however there are also few wells included into the monitoring program. Small changes are easy to monitor because of the extensive baseline survey.
- The Company uses new techniques and modern environmentally friendly drill rigs and equipment which are developing all the time. Mawson works with the contractors and manufacturers to design systems that minimise the impacts of exploration.
Yes. We have thousands of gold bearing outcrops and glacial boulders over our Rompas-Rajapalot claims within a 100sq km area. We also have large gold anomalies in glacial and organic soil samples. Early stage drilling at Rompas and Rajapalot has also intersected encourging occurances of gold in rocks.
Our primary target of disseminated gold mineralization is at Rajapalot, where discovery of high grade and thick core sample results include 19.5m @ 7.4 g/t gold from 1.3 metres from PRAJ0006 and 5.4m @ 37.6 g/t gold from 2.5 metres from PRAJ0009 (including 1.0m @ 189.0 g/t gold from 6.9 metres) and 12.6m @ 3.6 g/t gold from 6.7 metres in PRAJ0005. This disseminated mineralization is coincident with geophysical anomalies that extend for more than 4 kilometres and has only been drilled to very shallow depths with a hand portable core sampler.
The Company's secondary target is the Rompas vein-style target area. The first drill program at South Rompas included the highlight of 6 metres at 617 g/t gold from 7 metres in drill hole ROM0011 which includes 1 metre at 3,540 g/t gold from 11 metres depth. The second drill program, conducted over the winter (December 2012 - January 2013) confirmed the presence and variable continuity within metabasalts of high grade, nuggety gold at both North and South Rompas and included results from North Rompas of 0.4 m at 395 g/t gold and 0.41% uranium in drill hole ROM0052 and at South Rompas the top 24% all assays from trenches and drilling now grade 100 g/t or more.
Importantly, about 99% of the Rompas-Rajapalot project area is below soil and till cover which, at up to 5m thick, is too thick for the discovery of near-surface radiometric occurrences and exploration is at its very earliest of stages.
Gold is the main economic mineral. As discussed uranium ranges from trace to higher levels. Cobalt is of interest in Rajapalot.