How A Greenland Asteroid Crater Could Become The Next Big Nickel Region

How a Greenland Asteroid Crater Could Become the Next Big Nickel Region

It's not every day that you get to explore for nickel in a crater formed by an ancient meteor strike, but that's exactly what North American Nickel (TSXV:NAN,OTCBB:WSCRF) is doing at its Maniitsoq project in Greenland.

In June 2012, researchers from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) announced that the area, about 160 kilometers north of Nuuk, the territory's capital, is the site of Earth's oldest — and biggest — meteor impact. The meteor, which may have had a diameter of more than 30 kilometers, smashed into the region some 3 billion years ago, tearing open a crater some 100 kilometers wide, according to the GEUS' findings. Since then, the land has eroded to about 25 kilometers below the original surface, leaving little sign of the crater today.

The property's intriguing history isn't the only thing that sets it apart from other nickel deposits, however. It also encompasses a massive area: North American Nickel holds exploration licences covering 4,983 square kilometers at Maniitsoq.

Geology differs from Sudbury

“We are really thinking on a regional scale here,” said CEO and Chairman Rick Mark in a February 5 phone interview.

Talk of meteor impacts immediately conjures Canada's Sudbury Basin, the site of a meteor strike that resulted in one of the world's most prolific nickel-producing regions. Maniitsoq covers a larger area than the Sudbury Basin and the geology is in fact quite different.

“When people hear the words norite and impact, they immediately think of Sudbury,” said John Pattison, North American's chief geologist, also in a February 5 phone interview. “At Sudbury, the impact crater is preserved and most of the nickel deposits occur near the base of the crater because that's where they ended up when the impact melted the crustal rocks.”