The Papaonga Property

Location and Access

The Papaonga is located in Red Lake within the south-eastern Confederation Lake belt. This area of northwest Ontario is an area of historic iron exploration and mining. This property is located within driving distance of Ear Falls approximately 75 km east-northeast.

Description and Ownership

The Papaonga Property is comprised of a contiguous block of nine unpatented mineral claims that is centered on Papaonga Lake, occupying the eastern portion of the Avis Lake area and western portion of the Curie Lake area. The claims cover an area of approximately 2,096 hectares and are identified below.

There are no private holders of the surface rights of the land covered by the claims and the land currently belongs to the Crown. Some work was done on land owned by Excellent Adventures Ltd. adjacent to the claims comprising the Papaonga Property for completeness of magnetic and geological maps. All efforts to contact the holders of the surface rights were made. In the end, however, notice of intention to perform assessment work was mailed to the resort address. Northern Iron conducted a moderate exploration program on the Papaonga Property including geological mapping and ground based geophysics during the summer and fall of 2010.

Property Agreements

The claims which comprise the Papaonga Property were transferred by Mr. P. English to Northern Iron on February 8, 2011 pursuant to the purchase agreement dated April 12, 2010, as amended by the Avis Lake, Currie Lake and Slate Lake Amending Agreement dated April 8, 2011.


The area in which the Papaonga and Whitemud-Slate properties are located is covered by a mixed forest of black spruce, poplar, balsam and birch, with swampy biomes in low lying areas and drier forests of jack pine on rises. Temperatures range from 27°C in the summer to -30°C in the winter, with snow cover from November to May. The best season for exploration is from June to October, though some activities, such as diamond drilling and geophysical exploration carried out over swampy areas or lakes may best be undertaken in the winter months, when freeze-up makes these areas more accessible.


Topography on the Papaonga and Whitemud-Slate properties is gentle, with elevations ranging from 340 m above sea level to 370 m above sea level.


Between 1957 and 1984 exploration was conducted on the Papaonga Property by Continental Mining, Copper Man, St. Joseph Explorations Ltd. and Getty Canadian.

Regional Geology

The Papaonga and Whitemud-Slate properties are located within the southern part of the Confederation assemblage, the largest, south-eastern unit of the Uchi Sub-province. The Confederation assemblage is the youngest of three distinct volcano-sedimentary megacycles comprising the Uchi-Confederation greenstone belt, which records a stratigraphic history of approximately 250 Ma (2,989 - 2,735 Ma). The Uchi-Confederation belt records several episodes of periodic rifting and associated submarine and aerial magmatic and depositional phases. Unconformity bounded sequences of mafic to felsic volcanic strata and primarily clastic sedimentary strata accumulated between ca. 2,992 Ma and 2,700 Ma upon a complex extensional architecture, which largely formed the template upon which later structures were superimposed.

papaonga iron exploration geology map

The area in which the properties are located is comprised mainly of metasediments and metasedimentary migmatites, with interbedded intermediate to mafic volcanic flows and tuffs, and large igneous intrusive bodies.

Property Geology

The Papaonga Property is underlain mainly by sequences of submarine sediments which have been regionally metamorphosed to slate and phyllite in the greenschist facies, increasing to the amphibolite facies moving south toward the boundary between the Uchi and English River Subprovinces. These metasediments host large Algoma- type BIFs of the mt oxide facies (taconite). These sedimentary rocks display a moderate regional foliation striking east-west, and dipping sub-vertically, which is parallel to the regional Lake St. Joseph fault system. Dip directions vary between north, south and vertical, suggesting folding with hinge axes striking east-west. The metasediments also display open symmetrical wavy folding as both anticlines and synclines with hinge axe planes striking south to southwest, dipping sub-vertically 75° to 90°. This folding has amplitudes on the order of several centimetres to a meter, and fold the regional foliation.

A BIF, over 50 m thick, outcrops along the northern portion of the peninsula in the southern part of Papaonga Lake. This iron formation is comprised mainly of mt-chert, and is the main economic target on the Papaonga Property. It strikes generally east-west, dipping sub vertically. It is composed mainly of 90% massive crystalline mt beds 1 cm - 8 cm thick, interbedded with 0.1 cm - 1 cm thick quartz-rich shale beds.


The Archean Algoma-type BIF running along the northern edge of the peninsula is the main known unit of potential economic interest on the Papaonga Property, and the only one investigated in the mapping and geophysics of the 2010 survey. A second, much weaker anomaly suggests another BIF under the Papaonga Lake in the northern part of the grid. The mt observed in outcrop was very massive, slightly crystalline, with low silica content. Surface exposure of mt BIF occurred intermittently as outcropping throughout the Papaonga Property in five known locations for about 5 - 10 m along strike. The mt comprising these beds prevented structural readings from being taken. The Papaonga Property has a non NI 43-101 compliant historical resource of 13.5 million t at 31.06% Fe. This historical resource is believed to have been derived from the description in "Iron Deposits of Ontario", by R. Shklanka (1968) of 45,000 t per vertical ft, multiplied by a depth of 300 ft (45,000 t/ft x 300 ft. = 13.5 million t.) However, this resource was calculated prior to the adoption of NI 43-101 reporting standards, and insufficient drill hole data was used. Therefore the results of this resource calculation are not taken into account in the determination of current property occurrences.

Geologic Mapping

Geological mapping was carried out during the summer of 2010 by Lindsay Hills and Raul Sanabria. Outcrop was scarce and access to many portions of the Papaonga Property was limited.

Magnetic Survey

Northern Iron conducted ground based magnetic surveys over selected portions of the Papaonga Property. Areas were selected based on the results of a magnetic ground-based survey performed in 1957 by Continental Mining and supported by second derivative maps of the magnetism of northwestern Ontario. The main linear magnetic anomaly, and a weaker parallel magnetic anomaly to the north were selected as the primary exploration targets. One continuous grid was run over both of them designed with lines running north-south and spaced 50 to 25 m apart. The stations were spaced approximately 10 m apart for a total line length of 30.767 km. Magnetic data was used as an aid in interpreting stratigraphy and identifying BIFs.

papaonga iron exploration magnetic

Discussion of Results

Though topography was gentle, overburden thickness (as till, sand and clay) and subsequently depth to outcrop and iron formation varied a great deal over the survey area. This varying overburden thickness did not appear to greatly affect the magnetic signature observed for the main BIF along the peninsula. The relatively weak strength of the anomaly under the Papaonga Lake, to the north of the main anomaly may be due partially to the depth of the lake and an unknown thickness of lake-bottom sediments over top of it, increasing the distance between the source of the anomaly and the surface and the abundance of insulating overburden and water.

Both the weak northern and the strong central peninsula magnetic responses were interpreted to represent mt iron formations, as no basic, ultrabasic or strongly/ moderately magnetic rocks or minerals were observed in the area surveyed, or recorded in past work. This assumption was supported by the geometry of the magnetic responses, which tended to be very linear, and were interpreted to be tilted taconite beds.