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Rompas-Rajapalot Gold-Cobalt Project

Mawson’s flagship is the Rajapalot gold-cobalt project in Finland, host to the Company’s National Instrument 43-101 Inferred Mineral Resource (the “NI 43-101 Technical Report”) published on 14 September 2020 for the Raja, Palokas and Rumajärvi prospects. The resource estimation was completed by Rodney Webster of AMC Consultants Pty Ltd (“AMC”) of Melbourne, Australia, and Dr. Kurt Simon Forrester of Arn Perspective of Surrey, England. Each of Mr. Webster and Dr. Forrester are independent “qualified persons” as defined by National Instrument 43-101. The NI 43-101 Technical Report is entitled “Rajapalot Property Mineral Resource Estimate NI 43-101 Technical Report” and dated September 14, 2020. The NI 43-101 Technical Report may be found on the Company’s website at www.mawsonresources.com or under the Company’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Readers are encouraged to read the entire NI 43-101 Technical Report.

The 100% Rajapalot gold-cobalt exploration project is located south of the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland where the Company made a significant greenfield discovery and in September 2020 published an updated Inferred Mineral Resource which doubled the earlier maiden resource published in December 2108.

A majority of the resource upgrade came from the 14 kilometre drill program completed earlier this year, after Mawson’s geological team solved the geological model and the structural association of gold within electromagnetic conductors. This makes for an effective and approximate US$10/oz discovery cost for the 2020 drill program and augers well for future growth. The robustness of the estimation can be demonstrated by the margin between lower cut-off (0.3 g/t AuEq) and the head grade of the resource, especially within the open pit constrained area (2.4 g/t AuEq). Mawson is fully funded and permitted to expand and infill the Mineral Resource, in order to continue to build critical scale with 20 kilometres of drilling planned to commence in December. In summary:

  • An open pit and underground constrained Inferred Mineral Resource was estimated at 9.0 million tonnes @ 2.1 g/t gold (“Au”), 570 ppm cobalt (“Co”), which equates to 2.5 g/t gold equivalent (“AuEq”) for 600,000 ounces (“oz”) Au or 716,000 oz AuEq. The AuEq value was calculated using the following formula: AuEq g/t = Au g/t + (Co ppm/1430) and using a gold price of US$1,694 per ounce and a cobalt price of US$17.28/lb. Mineral Resources are stated at a 0.3 g/t AuEq open pit cut-off and 1.1 g/t AuEq underground cut-off (Table 1) from three resource areas: Raja, “Palokas” (incorporating both and Palokas and South Palokas) and Rumajärvi (Figure 1);
  • A total of 72% of the resource falls within a WhittleTM optimized pit outline or 6.7 million tonnes @ 2.1 g/t Au, 499 ppm Co, 2.4 g/t AuEq for 512,000 oz AuEq at 0.3 g/t AuEq cut-off at a gold price of US$1,694 per ounce and a cobalt price of US$17.28/lb of the constrained resource (Figure 2);
  • Of significance is the recognition of high-grade trends within the down-dip envelopes at the Raja and Palokas prospects;
    • These high-grade trends are inferred to develop at the lines of intersection between reactive host rocks and steeply to vertically dipping, fracture-controlled hydrothermal alteration (Figure 3 which shows the high grade trends in the resource model and Table 2 demonstrates sensitivity to cut-off grades);
  • A 20 kilometre drill program with 5 drill rigs is planned from mid to late December 2020 with the aim to immediately expand the Mineral Resource;

The 100% owned gold-cobalt Rajapalot discovery hosts numerous hydrothermal gold-cobalt prospects drilled between 2013 and April 2020 within a 3 by 4 kilometre area.

At the completion of the 2020 winter drill program, a total of 63,424 metres has been drilled at Rajapalot with the average depth now 136 metres. The average drilling depth for the 2019-2020 winter season was 390 metres. A total of 213 holes for 47,427.4 metres and an average depth of 225.0 metres were used the upgraded September 2020 resource estimation. Whereas a total of 119 holes for 15,167.7 metres with an average depth of 127.5 metres were used within the December 2018 maiden resource estimation. 

Growth potential remains strong with the upgraded resource areas open laterally and down dip. Direct targeting of mineralization is aided by both:

  • a strong correlation of the resource block model wireframe and electromagnetic conductors that provide a large upside footprint for increasing the resources in future drill campaigns, and;
  • recognition of late, that is, post-folding, structural controls of high-grade gold and cobalt within the conductors.

The resource at Rajapalot is broadly stratabound. The controls on high grade gold-cobalt mineralization at Rajapalot are linear, or sub-linear near-vertical structures (faults and veins) that generally lie oblique to the long axis of the conductive down-plunge host rock envelope. These high-grade trends are inferred to develop at the lines of intersection between reactive host rocks and steeply dipping to vertical, fracture-controlled hydrothermal alteration. The long axes of the variogram and resultant search ellipsoids match these trends at Raja and Palokas prospects. Grade thickness variations occur, and the best intersections to date are those where thick sulphide accumulations occur in fold hinges and brecciated rocks. Most of the mineralization at Rajapalot consists of sulphide (pyrrhotite>>pyrite), magnetite, biotite, muscovite and chlorite hydrothermal mineral assemblages hosted in predominately muscovite-biotite schists, altered cordierite-anthophyllite rocks and grey albitites. Variations in gold-cobalt mineralization style occur, from an end member of sulphidic, potassic iron-rich rocks (K-Fe type, for example at Raja prospect) through to iron and magnesium-rich (Fe-Mg type) hydrothermally altered rocks such as those at Palokas.

Preliminary metallurgical testing on drill core from the Rajapalot prospect demonstrate excellent gold extraction results of between 95% and 99% (average 97%) by a combination of gravity separation and conventional cyanidation and or/flotation. Metallurgical test work indicates gold recovery and processing are potentially amenable to conventional industry standards with a viable flowsheet which could include crushing and grinding, gravity recovery, and cyanide leaching with gold recovery via a carbon-in-pulp circuit for production of onsite gold doré. Initial indications suggest the cobalt minerals present (cobaltite and cobalt pentlandite) can float or be separated by magnetic separation methods. Further metallurgical test work is currently underway, with Mawson a participant of Finland’s BATCircle consortium, a program designed to value-add to the Finnish battery metals circular economy. BATCircle was founded under the leadership of Aalto University to coordinate research on the battery metal circular economy from exploration to recycling. BATCircle includes 22 companies, four universities, two research institutes and two cities.

The Raja gold-cobalt resource forms 46% of the Mineral Rsource and extends 240 metres parallel to strike, 950 metres down plunge reaching a vertical depth of 560 metres. Gold-cobalt mineralization is a potassic-iron type characterized by muscovite-biotite-chlorite quartz pyrrhotite-rich schist with subordinate albite, iron-magnesium amphiboles and tourmaline which is best developed to date at the Raja prospect. Gold and cobaltite along with scheelite, pyrite, chalcopyrite and bismuth tellurides accompany the silicates.

The Palokas gold-cobalt resource extends over two close, but separate locations (Palokas and South Palokas) with up to three mineralized horizons in each and forms 52% of the Mineral Resource. The dimensions of the Palokas resource are 220 metres parallel to strike and 545 metres down plunge reaching a vertical depth of 440 metres. The dimensions of the South Palokas resource are 280 metres of strike, 520 metres down plunge to a vertical depth of 430 metres. Mineralization at Palokas forms within a retrograde mineral alteration assemblage includes chlorite, iron-magnesium amphiboles, tourmaline and pyrrhotite commonly associated with quartz veining. Subordinate almandine garnet, magnetite and pyrite occur with bismuth tellurides, scheelite, ilmenite, gold and one of cobaltite or cobalt pentlandite. At South Palokas, the main (central) mineralized unit is dominated by schistose pyrrhotite rocks rich in muscovite, biotite, chlorite (similar to Raja prospect).

Resource Methodology

  • Mineral Resource reporting follow the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum ("CIM") definitions standards (2014) for mineral resources and reserves and have been completed in accordance with the Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects as defined by National Instrument 43-101;
  • Reported tonnage and grade figures have been rounded from raw estimates to reflect the relative accuracy of the estimate. Minor variations may occur during the addition of rounded numbers;
  • Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability;
  • Constrained Resources are presented undiluted and in-situ and are considered to have reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction;
  • Optimized open pit constrained resources are reported at a cut-off grade of 0.3 g/t AuEq;
  • Underground resources are reported at a cut-off grade of 1.1 g/t AuEq;
  • Gold equivalent “AuEq” = Au+(Co/1430) based on assumed prices of cobalt US$17.28/lb and gold US$1,694/oz gained from analyst consensus forecasts;
  • No top caps were required for the Raja or North Palokas deposits. At South Palokas, a gold top cap of 20 g/t Au was used for the main gold domain within while a gold top cap of 3 g/t Au was used for the low-grade gold domain. For a single lens at Rumajärvi a cobalt top cap of 1500 ppm was used.
  • Bulk density values were calculated for each of the wireframes based on 2,196 measurements;
  • The three-dimensional wireframe models were generated using AuEq shells. Estimation parameters were determined by variography; all zones were interpolated using Ordinary Kriging (OK);
  • Block dimensions were 25 x 10 x 5 metres (Raja) and 20 x 10 x 5 metres (Palokas) with sub-block sizes down to 5 x 2 x 1 metre and 4 x 2 x 1 metres blocks for Raja and Palokas respectively. Rumajärvi block dimensions were 25 x 10 x 5 with sub-blocks down to 5 x 2 x 1 metre.
  • AMC created the Rajapalot Mineral Resource estimate using the drill results available to 1 July, 2020 from the Raja, Palokas and Rumajärvi prospects.

Table 1: Total Inferred Mineral Resources Estimate as of September 14, 2020, at the cut-offs listed for constrained open pit and underground resources at Rajapalot

Zone

Cut-off (AuEq)

Tonnes (kt)

Au (g/t)

Co (ppm)

AuEq (g/t)

Au (koz)

Co (tonnes)

AuEq(koz)

Raja Pit

0.3

3,055

2.5

474

2.8

247

1,448

279

Raja UG

1.1

641

1.6

1293

2.5

33

829

52

Raja Total

3,696

2.4

616

2.8

280

2,277

331

Palokas Pit

0.3

3,218

1.8

531

2.1

182

1,709

221

Palokas UG

1.1

1,729

2.3

572

2.7

128

989

151

Palokas Total

4,947

2.0

545

2.3

311

2,698

371

Rumajärvi Pit

0.3

289

0.8

397

1.1

7

115

10

Rumajärvi UG

1.1

35

1.2

476

1.6

1

17

2

Rumajärvi Total

292

0.8

398

1.1

7

131

12

Total Pit

0.3

6,562

2.1

499

2.4

436

3,273

510

Total UG

1.1

2,405

2.1

763

2.6

163

1,834

204

Total

8,967

2.1

570

2.5

600

5,107

715

Table 2: Grade/tonnage relationship at different AuEq g/t cut-off grades for the combined Raja, Palokas and Rumajärvi prospects

Cut-Off (AuEq)

Tonnes (kt)

Au (g/t)

Co (ppm)

AuEq (g/t)

AuEq (koz)

0.3

12,007

1.7

532

2.0

791

0.5

10,389

1.9

560

2.3

769

0.7

8,551

2.3

595

2.7

735

0.9

7,393

2.5

613

3.0

705

1.1

6,407

2.8

632

3.3

673

1.3

5,595

3.1

648

3.6

642

1.5

5,014

3.4

660

3.8

616

1.7

4,438

3.6

671

4.1

586

1.9

3,835

4.0

689

4.5

551

2.1

3,314

4.4

711

4.9

518

2.3

2,880

4.7

731

5.3

487

2.5

2,571

5.1

736

5.6

463

2.7

2,287

5.5

739

6.0

440

2.9

2,068

5.8

722

6.3

420

As of the date of this MD&A the Company held a total of 5 granted exploration permits and 10 exploration permit applications and reservations.

Summary of Claims at Rompas-Rajapalot Project

Permit Type

Name

Mining Registry Number

Area (hectares)

Exploration Permit

Raja

ML2014:0061-01

883

Exploration Permit

Männistö

ML2016:0046-01

2,141

Exploration Permit 

Korkiakoivikko

ML2012:0168-01

232

Exploration Permit* 

Kairamaat 2/3

ML2013:0041-02

1,462

Exploration Permit 

Hirvimaa

ML2014:0033

1,007

Total

5,725

Exploration Permit Application

Rompas

ML2014:0060-01

265

Exploration Permit Reservation

Takanenvuoma

VA2019:0047

14,365

Exploration Permit Application

Vatsa

ML2015:0017

371

Exploration Permit Application

Kultamaat

ML2015:0005-01

529

Exploration Permit Application

Karsimaat

Ml2014:0075-01

2,777

Exploration Permit Application

Uusi Rumavuoma

ML2015:0042-01

1,283

Exploration Permit Application

Kaitajärvi E-M-W

Ml2014:0100-01

802

Exploration Permit Application

Mäntylaenokka N -S

ML2015:0054-01

398

Exploration Permit Application

Kuusivaara

ML2014:0077-01

4,565

Exploration Permit Application

Petäjävaara

ML2014:0074

1,645

Total

27,000

* Exploration Permit granted but not in legal force, under appeal and enforced to allow continuing exploration.

As of the date of this MD&A, the Company holds a total of 5 granted exploration permits (including Kairmaat 2-3) for 5,725 hectares and 10 exploration permit applications and reservations for 27,000 hectares. According to the Finnish Mining Act, after the first renewal period of up to 4 years, all exploration permits in Finland can be renewed in 3-year maximum intervals, for a combined total of 15 years.

The 1,462 hectare Kairamaat 2/3 exploration permit (part of the Rajapalot project area) is granted but not in legal force. It was regranted on January 18, 2019 by the Finnish Mining Authority, TUKES. As announced on February 21, 2019 and, as a standard right in Finland, two appeals were lodged by a local non-governmental organization (“NGO”) group and Parks & Wildlife, Finland, Lapland (“Metsähallitus”). The appeal by Metsähallitus has since been withdrawn, leaving a single appeal by an NGO group. The Administrative Court ratified an enforcement order which allows Mawson to drill from 200 drill platforms (from 529 optional sites) plus 76 existing drill platforms within the 1,462 hectare Kairamaat 2/3 exploration permit area for 3 years from 18 January 2019. Drilling is not permitted within a 150 metre buffer of an eagle’s nest from February 15th to March 25th.

Rajapalot is a significant and strategic gold-cobalt resource and one of Finland’s largest gold resources by grade and contained ounces and one of a small group of cobalt resources prepared in accordance with NI 43-101 policy within Europe. Finland refines half the world’s cobalt outside China. The world’s largest cobalt refinery is located 400 kilometres south of Rajapalot, where CRU estimates annual refining of 22,734 tonnes of cobalt (approximately 18% of world refined cobalt production), 90% of which was sourced from Chinese-owned mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Finland mines only 650 tonnes or 0.5% of the world's cobalt per year. The Rajapalot resource has the potential to support Finland’s desire to source ethical and sustainable cobalt.

Mawson appreciates the overwhelmingly strong support it receives from local stakeholders. The Ylitornio municipality, which hosts the Rajapalot project, is a sparsely populated area with a decreasing population. The Rajapalot project could create many opportunities for both the current population and those in the future who settle within the area.

Finland has rigorous regulatory processes with strict environmental standards and Mawson is committed to work with the regional and national authorities and broader stakeholder groups to develop the project in a responsible way. Mawson has completed eight years of flora, fauna and water base line studies and nature assessments at Rompas-Rajapalot. The Company looks forward to continuing to work closely with both the mining and environmental authorities and other stakeholders over the coming years to ensure our work is conducted according to sustainable and global best practice methods.

Mawson carries out its exploration activities in large areas, including 9% of its permit areas within biodiversity conservation areas (Natura 2000 in the Kairamaat 2/3 exploration permit area). The aim of the Natura 2000 network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves where all human activities are excluded and forms 18% of the EU landmass. Development in Natura is defined by clear rules and the emphasis is on ensuring that future management is sustainable, both ecologically and economically. Eighty-two percent of the Rompas-Rajapalot project lies outside of Natura areas. Mawson area permitted to complete all exploration at Rajapalot inside and outside Natura zones. The next major permitting step required will come at mining where biodiversity offsets for Natura areas will most probably be required. There are mining projects that have been permitted and are in production in Natura 2000 areas within Europe, including Krumovgrad (gold mine Bulgaria), Prosper Haniel (coal mine in Germany) and Mechelse Heide Zuid (sand mine in Belgium). Anglo American is currently permitting the Sakatti Ni-Cu-PGE project for mining in Finland.

For diamond drilling programs at Rajapalot, Mawson completed biological mapping of all areas where drilling took place, and, worked together with all authorities to minimize impact, including capturing all drill cuttings, reduction in total machine weight and the careful preparation of compressed snow roads for use by skidoo, Bandvagn and drill rigs. The same process takes place for each winter drill season.