The Carboniferous aged strata of the Maritimes Basin is a significant producer of potash and salt. Presently there are three producing mines in Atlantic Canada: Sussex, New Brunswick (potash/salt) – Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan; Pugwash, Nova Scotia (salt) – The Canadian Salt Company Limited; Nappan Salt Mine, Nova Scotia (salt) – Sifto Canada Inc. (evaporation operation).
Vulcan Minerals Inc. owns approximately 60% of Red Moon Potash Inc. (Red Moon). Red Moon owns 100% interest in 1455 mineral claims (89,884 acres) in the Bay St. George Basin of Western Newfoundland which is part of the regional Maritimes Basin. On August 17, 2012, Vulcan spunout Red Moon as a new public company to its shareholders. The claims were systematically acquired over the course of the last ten years as the Bay St. George basin was the primary focus of Vulcan’s exploration efforts for petroleum and minerals. They have the potential to host an economically viable potash/salt deposit.
Throughout the course of previous exploration, Vulcan acquired several seismic surveys and has compiled all previous geologic and geophysical data for the area. As a result of this exploratory work Vulcan acquired strategic mineral rights in those areas with thick evaporite sequences that contain salt and potash. The drill hole, Captain Cook #1 (2002), encountered approximately 400 meters of evaporites consisting of 240 meters of anhydrite, 160 meters of halite (salt) including approximately 5 gross meters of potash grading up to 20.4% potassium oxide (K20) at a depth of 287 meters. Previous work by other explorers for salt and potash in the Bay St. George Basin in the 1970’s and 1980’s tested a series of geophysical gravity lows related to salt domes. The Captain Cook potash zone does not occur in a gravity low, but rather appears to be part of a relatively undeformed section of the basin. This is important as it provides the potential for substantial thickness of potash at relatively shallow depth (less than 800 meters depth) in a stratified deposit where average potassium grades could be significantly higher than encountered in the salt domes.
The analogue for exploration is the potash mine in the Moncton basin of Sussex, New Brunswick, currently operated by the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. The mine produces approximately 800,000 tonnes per year with a current expansion underway to 2,000,000 tonnes per year. The Moncton and the Bay St. George basins are part of the larger Maritimes sedimentary basin, which covers most of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and parts of the Maritime Provinces. The evaporite package including the potash interval identified in the Moncton basin correlates straitgraphically, in geological time (Carboniferous) and depositional context to the Captain Cook potash zone identified in Bay St. George Basin, thus demonstrating the geologic potential of Red Moon’s claims to host commercial deposits.
Further work in the form of drilling and seismic acquisition specifically directed at potash exploration will be required to evaluate this potential. Up to now, Vulcan did not direct any exploration effort specifically to potash as the main focus had been petroleum exploration. The optimum areas in the basin for potash mineralization remain undrilled and unexplored. The creation of Red Moon will allow a focussed exploration program for Potash/Salt to proceed.
The Bay St. George Basin has excellent road access and is available for shipping 12 months of the year in the North Atlantic. The Trans Canada highway and provincial electrical grids cross the property.