TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 9, 2011) - MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:BMK) ("MacDonald" or "the Company") is pleased to announce final assay results from its fall 2010 drill program, and provide a project update for its Butler and Hornby Properties located within the southern portion of the emerging "Ring of Fire" exploration play in the James Bay Lowlands region of northern Ontario.

Fall 2010 Exploration Program

The fall exploration program was comprised of 10 diamond drill holes (MN10-132 through MN10-141) drilled around previous targets delineated through bore-hole, airborne and ground geophysics over the Butler Property, and 2 diamond drill holes (HB10-01 and HB10-02) drilled over targets delineated through airborne and ground geophysics over the Hornby Property. In total, 3,305 metres (2,775.3 m at Butler and 530.1 m at Hornby) were drilled. In summary:

  • The Butler property holes were intended to extend the favourable intersections from the previous drill program and also to confirm the interpreted geologic model(s).
  • Two stratigraphic holes (MN10-139 & MN10-140) were drilled specifically to confirm (successfully) the komatiite sequence north of Butler 3
  • Of the other 8 holes drilled on Butler, 2 were terminated before target depth due to technical/mechanical reasons
  • Lithologic relogging of all diamond drill core was completed
  • Alteration identification and quantification has been completed
  • Whole rock lithogeochemical sampling was conducted over representative drill core
  • Whole rock analysis indicates high grade vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) up to 1.57%
  • Whole rock analysis indicates anomalous PGE values
  • Technical advisory panel appointed

Vanadium Found Through Whole Rock Analysis

The vanadium mineralization was identified during the overall Butler property core re-sampling program, which was specifically designed to identify and categorize rock types. During the course of the re-logging program, 531 single point whole rock lithogeochemical samples were collected to quantify the elemental signatures associated with various rock types. During the analysis of these results, anomalous vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) was identified in massive magnetite. The following single point samples which identified vanadium mineralization are presented in the table below:

Drill Hole Depth (m) V2O5(%)
MN07-49 37.6 1.57
MN07-49 62.1 1.39
MN07-49 66.5 1.14
MN10-110 18.25 1.02
MN10-110 141.35 1.15

The Company believes these anomalously high V2O5 results warrant further exploration follow-up, since vanadium-bearing magnetite in the form of ferrovanadium is used as a strengthener and hardener for high-strength tool, and specialty steels.

Anomalous PGE Values Confirmed

During the course of the fall 2010 exploration program, a drill hole from 2008 with anomalous PGE's (platinum group elements) was re-examined. This drill hole (MN08-56) returned assay values of 24 ppb Pt and 177 ppb Pd over a 3.5 metre interval, and upon examination was found to contain very rare disseminated sulphides with the exception of a 5 mm wide vein of pyrite and pyrrhotite cross-cutting the core at down-hole depth of 66.15 m, and a 5 to 15 mm wide vein of predominantly pyrrhotite cross-cutting the core at 68.0 m. The drill core was re-sampled at tighter intervals, and submitted for PGE analysis. The 2010 analyses, along with the original 2008 analysis, are presented in the table below:

Drill Hole Analysis From To Interval (m) Pt (ppb) Pd (ppb)
MN08-56 2008 66 69.5 3.5 24 177
MN08-56 2010 66.15 66.25 0.1 35 67
MN08-56 2010 68 68.15 0.15 128 946
MN08-56 2010 74 74.16 0.16 42 289

The presence of anomalous platinum and palladium concentrations over 3.5 m and the elevated to high values associated with narrow sulphide enriched fractions within the core indicate that any magmatic sulphide segregations on the property should also be platinum and palladium rich similar to the nickel-copper (Ni-Cu) sulphides from the Eagles Nest ore deposits.

Technical Advisory Committee Appointed

Based upon the promising results obtained to date, the Company believes that the Butler Property has the potential to host significant Ni-Cu, VMS and V2O5 mineralization. To that end, the Company is pleased to announce the appointment of Hadyn Butler, B.Sc., P.Geo, James Franklin, Ph.D, P.Geo and Larry Hulbert, Ph.D, P.Geo., to the Technical Advisory Committee to oversee the planning and advancement of future exploration programs.

Nickel Potential of Butler

Larry Hulbert, Ph.D, P.Geo. has been retained by the Company to review the magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE potential of the Company's Properties. As part of this review, Mr. Hulbert conducted a site visit in early October, 2010 in order to further the geologic understanding of the mafic and ultramafic geology of the property, and more importantly to examine the potential of the Property for hosting Ni-Cu-PGE deposits.

Dr. Hulbert has over 38 years of extensive geological knowledge and expertise on Ni-Cu-PGE mineralization, with 23 years as Senior Research Scientist specializing in the Metallogeny of Mafic-Ultramafic Rocks and associated Ni-Cu-PGE mineralization with the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC).

Dr. Hulbert identified ubiquitous highly differentiated gabbroic rocks on the property, which he hypothesized could have been the 'heat source' for observed VMS mineralization. Due to the gabbro's high level of differentiation, Dr. Hulbert also determined that the underlying geology of the Property has the potential to host significant chromium, iron, titanium and vanadium deposits.

Of significance to the Property's Ni potential, Mr. Hulbert also identified unequivocal komatiites on the Property. Komatiites are extremely high temperature extrusive rocks that can host significant magmatic Ni deposits (eg. Thompson Ni Belt, Manitoba; Raglan, Quebec; Kambalda, Australia). According to Dr. Hulbert:

'One of the most striking observations was the abundance and widespread nature of gabbroic rocks and their extreme degree of differentiation. Of equal if not more importance was the recognition for the first time of komatiites. The presence of true  komatiites raises the Ni-Cu-PGE prospectivity of the property to a new level not previously appreciated.'

Recently Mungall et. al presented a paper at the 11th International Platinum Symposium entitled "The Eagle's Nest Komatiite-Hosted Ni-Cu-PGE Sulphide Deposit in the James Bay Lowlands, Ontario" describing Noront Resources Ltd.'s recent Ni-Cu-PGE discovery, and speculating on its komatiitic origin. Although komatiites have yet to be discovered on the Noront property, the discovery of true komatiites on the Butler Property not only confirms Mungall et. al's hypothesis for the origin of the Eagle's nest Ni-Cu-PGE sulphide deposit, but also increases the prospectivity for similar Ni-Cu-PGE discoveries on the Butler Property.

VMS Expert Identifies Property Geology as Similar to Kidd Creek

James Franklin, Ph.D, P.Geo. has also been retained by the Company to review the volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) potential of the Company's Properties. As part of this review, Dr. Franklin conducted a site visit in mid-October to analyze drill core.

Dr. Franklin has over 40 years of extensive geological knowledge and expertise of mineral deposits and regional metallogney. He serves as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, was past President of both the Geological Association of Canada and the Society of Economic Geologists, has served as Chief Geoscientist of Earth Sciences Sector for the GSC, and is an Adjunct Professor at Queen's University.

Based on examination of drill core, Dr. Franklin made the following observations:

'Overall, the Butler Lake area has most of the attributes of a high-T, copper-dominant VMS system. The predominance of mafic and ultramafic sills represents a probable heat source to 'drive' such a system. Most settings of this type contain a log-normally distributed set of deposits, including one that should be >20mt, and several in the 3-6mt range. The area most closely resembles the Kidd Creek setting, except that at Butler there seem to be at least 4 discrete hydrothermal centres.'

Assay Results

Partial assay results are presented in the table below:

Drill Hole From To Interval Cu Zn Pt Pd
  (m) (m) (m) (%) (%) (ppb) (ppb)
MN10-132 234.7 245.22 10.52 0.327 0.363    
MN10-133 392.36 397.33 6.04 0.177 3.43    
MN10-134 104.2 108 3.8 0.125 0.019 42.26 32.26
MN10-134 122.35 123.3 0.95 0.270 0.012 17.76 23.12
MN10-135 65 67 2 0.142 6.235    
MN10-138 241.1 251.95 10.85 0.649 2.709    
HB10-02 300.4 303.85 3.45 0.003 1.070    

The Company drilled holes HB10-01 and HB10-02 to test for lithologies associated with volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) mineralization. HB10-01 and HB10-02 intersected 167 metres and 230 metres respectively of intercalated and altered mafic and quartz-eye-bearing felsic volcanics with disseminated and semi-massive sulphides. This lithologic package verifies that the Hornby property is highly prospective for VMS mineralization. The geophysical anomaly (electromagnetic) associated with this package extends over 1 km in an east-west direction.

A complete summary table of all assay results from the 2010 drill program can found at:

Rigorous Scientific Approach Based on Expert's Recommendations

Based on recommendations from Hadyn Butler, Dr. Hulbert and Dr. Franklin, the Company undertook a rigorous examination in November and December 2010 of diamond drill core on the Property from areas deemed highly prospective for VMS and magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE mineralization. This examination included the following:

  • Lithologic relogging of diamond drill core
  • Alteration mineral assemblage identification and quantification
  • Whole rock lithogeochemical sampling

Several geologists were involved in logging the diamond drill holes drilled on the Property (25,560 m in 142 drill holes over a 6 year period). As a result, there were discrepancies in lithologic identification. The purpose of the re-logging completed in late 2010, was to establish consistent and correlatable lithologic coding to enable the establishment of a stratigraphically constrained geologic model.

Kirk McKinnon, President and CEO comments: "MacDonald has worked hard and tenaciously in its efforts to advance the James Bay Properties. Building upon the broad foundation of historical drill holes, three generations of airborne geophysics, ground geophysics and whole rock analysis the company has a solid foundation of information required to direct its exploration. We believe based upon the analysis of the Company's exploration team and the superb insights of our Technical Advisory Committee that MacDonald is poised for discovery in 2011. I am especially gratified that the entire exploration group has come together to manage the exploration program and their involvement and commitment speaks to their belief regarding the potential of the MacDonald properties. I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that Quentin Yarie, P.Geo., will assume the role of Senior Vice President of Exploration. Quentin will also join the MacDonald Mines Board of Directors replacing Robin Chisholm. MacDonald Mines would like to sincerely thank Robin for his efforts and tenure on the MacDonald Board."

About MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd.

MacDonald Mines is a mineral exploration company with an established exploration history in the Canadian Northlands. MacDonald Mines has set upon a strategic direction of exploration with particular focus on nickel, chrome, copper, zinc, vanadium and titanium in the "Ring of Fire" area of the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario. Hadyn Butler, P.Geo., played the key role in providing the necessary insight into the land acquisition of MacDonald's properties in the Ring of Fire. His experience and skills in interpreting geologic areas of economic interest also led to the acquisition of the Semple-Hulbert property.

As detailed in the Company's recent press releases, MacDonald Mines has several significant mineral opportunities across multiple properties in the James Bay Lowlands. On its Butler Property, new volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) mineralization of substance has been discovered. Four VMS mineralized greenstone fold limbs, all of which have now yielded VMS mineralization over a potential cumulative strike length of approximately 20 kilometres, have been identified and the Butler Property has the potential to host a new VMS camp with characteristics similar to those seen at Matagami or Noranda in Quebec.

MacDonald's highly prospective Semple-Hulbert Property contains very conductive and discrete targets within a layered magnetic structure, which is typical of magmatic massive sulphides containing nickel.

The Company's Sanderson Property (formerly the Big Mac Property) exhibits high-priority nickel and copper targets with geological and geophysical signatures similar to Eagles Nest discovery of Noront Resources.

Quentin Yarie, P.Geo., is the qualified person in regard to the technical data contained within this news release and will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Company's exploration programs.

More detailed information about the Company is available on the website at

Cautionary Statement:

The foregoing information may contain forward-looking statements relating to the future performance of MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd. Forward-looking statements, specifically those concerning future performance, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from MacDonald Mines plans and expectations. These plans, expectations, risks and uncertainties are detailed herein and from time to time in the filings made by MacDonald Mines with the TSX Venture Exchange and securities regulators. MacDonald Mines does not assume any obligation to update or revise its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contact Information: MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd.
Brent Nykoliation
Vice President, Business Development
(800) 818-5442 or (416) 364-4986
(416) 364-2753 (FAX)
MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd.
Quentin Yarie, P.Geo
Vice President, Exploration
(800) 818-5442 or (416) 364-4986
(416) 364-2753 (FAX)
MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd.
Kirk McKinnon
President & CEO
(800) 818-5442 or (416) 364-4986
(416) 364-2753 (FAX)