The Beaulieu exploration licence covers an area of 278 square kilometres over a tin rich region 40 kilometres north of the port city of Nantes. The licence was one of the remaining five applications that the Company has within the approvals process.

Tin is believed to have been mined from the region since 1200BC and it was one of the major production sources for the Roman Empire. Most tin mining was conducted over a 100 kilometre strike length with the most prolific part a 20 kilometre section around the Abbaretz deposit covered by the Beaulieu licence.

During the modern era the Société Nantaise des Minerais de l’Ouest (SNMO) mined the main deposit at Abbaretz in two periods: 1920-1926 (underground mining) and from 1951-1957. During the latter period approximately 2,700 tonnes of tin* is recorded to have been mined from an open pit 650 metres long and up to 70 metres deep.

SNMO also conducted substantial exploration in the region defining several prospects along the Abbaretz belt. During the 1960s and 1970s, following the closure of the mine, the BRGM (Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières - the French geological survey) conducted significant exploration at the SNMO projects and also defined other new tin prospects. 


The old Abbaretz tin mine (lake in background) and remaining tailings heaps from
the 1950's



The tin deposits in the area are genetically related to a suite of leucogranites that intruded older sediments and deposited tin mineralisation approximately 325 million years ago. Within the licence, numerous prospects of vein-style tin mineralization hosted both within leucogranites and within altered Paleozoic sediments that overlie deeper, unexposed granites have been defined. These include -

Abbaretz - tin mineralisation is controlled by an east-west oriented, anastomosing shear vein-array dipping 30-45° to the south (Plate 2). Tin bearing veins up to 4 metres in width were mined, often containing coarse grained cassiterite. The system is open at depth.

Beaulieu - a large zone of tin mineralisation (700 x 150 x 50 metres) has been outlined by previous SNMO and BRGM work 4.5 kilometres west of Abbaretz. Substantial drilling as well as shallow underground development was completed defining a tin-bearing vein-array within an altered leucogranite. This project will be one of the first drill targets for Variscan.

Chenaie - 700 metres southeast of Abbaretz work by the BRGM during 1969-70 defined a zone of tin-bearing quartz veins directly above a strong resistivity anomaly suggesting close proximity of the mineralizing granite.

Others - a number of other tin occurrences not yet systematically explored are known in the area including Le Bé (quartz-tourmaline veins) and la Villefoucré (granitic cupola).



Prospect locations within the western half of the Beaulieu PER


1950's photo of the Abbaretz pit wall looking west showing south dipping tin-bearing
veins (dark grey)


The Company considers the exploration potential for economic tin deposits within the licence to be very good. Immediate priority targets include the Beaulieu and Chenaie prospects where former work by the BRGM generated pre-JORC compliant resources.

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