Advancing High-Grade Tungsten and Copper Projects in South Central BC
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Happy Creek Minerals Ltd (TSXV:HPY) is a mineral exploration company focused on the development of its two key projects, the Fox tungsten project and the Highland Valley copper project in south central British Columbia, Canada.
Happy Creek Minerals has held the Fox tungsten property since 2006 and has advanced it from discovery towards development. Following a number of exploration activities on the property, the company has identified some of the highest tungsten grades in the western world. The property’s grades are comparable to those of the probable reserves of the Cantung tungsten mine in the Yukon (0.81 percent WO3), previously the largest tungsten producer in North America.
In 2017, Happy Creek Minerals released an updated resource estimate for two of the seven prospective zones on the property which outlined an indicated resource of 486,000 tonnes at 0.82 percent WO3 (3.9 million kilograms of WO3) and an inferred resource of 361,000 tonnes at 1.57 percent WO3 (5.7 million kilograms of WO3). Happy Creek has also established that most of the exploration zones remain open to extent, offering significant blue sky potential to the project.
Happy Creek also owns two copper properties in Southern BC’s Highland Valley, a district renowned for hosting Teck Resource’s Highland Valley copper project. Totalling 17,625 hectares, the projects hosts two high-grade deposits, the second of which is presenting copper-gold and strong rhenium enrichment, which is thought to be unusual in this camp. In the company’s 2017 drill program, it was able to extend the second deposit, bringing it closer to resource estimate readiness. The copper and copper-gold deposits have presented drilling results of 95 meters of 0.67 percent copper and 152.5 meters of 0.35 percent copper, respectively.
Happy Creek has a management team with notable experience in the mining and financial industries. The team is also significantly invested in the company, with all directors holding shares and CEO David Blann holding over 4 million. Happy Creek is also supported by a strategic shareholder, RCF Capital, that holds 19 percent of company shares and provides expertise in funding tungsten projects towards production.
- Wholly-owned primary properties located in mining-friendly jurisdiction of south central BC with excellent access to infrastructure
- Fox property 2017 indicated resource at 0.82 percent WO3 and inferred resource at 1.57 percent WO3, up to three times higher than the cut-off grades
- Fox property has potential to expand all seven zones on the property
- Two highly-prospective copper and copper-gold deposits in the Highland Valley with 95 meters of 0.67 percent copper and 152.5 meters of 0.35 percent copper
- Highland Valley properties nearby producing open-pit Highmont mine
- Well-financed organization with sufficient funding to continue work on Highland Valley project
- Strategic shareholder RCF Capital with noted experience funding tungsten projects towards production
Flagship Project: Fox Tungsten Property
The Fox tungsten project is a wholly owned, 13,589-hectare property located 70 kilometers northeast of 100 Mile House, BC and 30 kilometers from the former Boss Mountain molybdenum mine. Supported by vast amounts of existing infrastructure, the project is easily accessed by industrial roads and highways, and close to power, water and a skilled labor force. The property is also within 20 kilometers of the power line servicing Hendrix Lake and in 100 Mile House, there is the CN rail line, providing important access to both Eastern US and Pacific Rim tungsten markets.
The property’s mineral system is 10 kilometers by three kilometers in dimension and is centered around a granite intrusive. Happy Creek has identified seven target zones on the property: the Nightcrawler, Creek and South Grid zones to the south of the property, and the 708, BN, BK, Ridley Creek and North zones in the proximity of Deception Mountain, to the north of the property.
Wolfram tungsten is a heavy, hard metal that has the highest melting point and its chemical symbol is W. 60 percent of tungsten is used in cemented carbide and the remaining 40 percent is used for tungsten-heavy alloys or steel. In North America, only one percent of the region’s consumed tungsten is mined domestically. In advancing the Fox project towards production, Happy Creek could potentially be contributing to the North American regional supply with some of the highest tungsten grades in the western world.
Prior to Happy Creek acquiring the project, the property was first identified as hosting molybdenum and tungsten during prospecting and assaying initiatives between 1997 and 1999. Between 2000 and 2004, the property underwent privately-funded prospecting, soil and silt sampling and UV lamping. During this period, prospectors identified high-grade tungsten and molybdenum boulders in the discovery zone and to the east of it, in the Nightcrawler zone.
Between 2006 and 2010, following the acquisition, Happy Creek conducted large-scale prospecting, geochemical surveying and geological mapping. The company executed trenching and wide-spaced drilling in the Nightcrawler zone, which provided positive results in a 1.5-kilometer by 500-meter area. Additionally, trenching in the zones around Deception Mountain returned 2.0 meters of 5.0 percent WO3 in the Ridley Creek zone, 7.25 meters of 1.25 percent WO3 in the BK zone and 1.0 meter of 4.66 percent WO3 in the BN zone.
Between 2011 and 2013, the company conducted a series of drilling programs in the proximity of Deception Mountain. Results from these programs included 12.4 meters of 0.74 percent WO3 during the first phase and 26.2 meters of 1.19 percent WO3 and 14.8 meters of 4.0 percent WO3 during the second. These results outlined thick intervals in three zones and helped the company identify the ‘discovery point’ of potentially economic grades on the property.
From 2014 to 2015, Happy Creek continued its exploration activities. With the use of geochemical surveying, the company identified the South Grid target, which sits in the southwestern region of the property and is considered to be a highly prospective zone that will enhance the economics of the project. The company also continued drilling in the Nightcrawler zone and saw results of up to 5.0 meters of 1.0 percent WO3 and showed favorable tungsten geology extending the deposit another 450 meters to the east.
The 2016 exploration program increased the company’s knowledge of the BK zone, which showed drilling results of up to 6.0 meters of 0.67 percent WO3.
In 2016, Happy Creek also conducted drilling in the Ridley Creek zone and the BN zones, for which they later published resource estimates in January 2017.
Updated resource estimate
By January 2017, Happy Creek developed resource estimates for combined open-pit and underground operations in the Ridley Creek and BN zones. Collectively, these zones have an indicated resource of 486,000 tonnes at 0.82 percent WO3 (3.9 million kilograms of WO3) and an inferred resource of 361,000 tonnes at 1.57 percent WO3 (5.7 million kilograms of WO3).
Following the drilling program that took place in the second half of 2017, Happy Creek expects to publish an updated resource estimate in early 2018. Drilling in the South Grid zone during this period also confirmed the presence of tungsten and returned positive results close to surface including 3.0 meters of 0.5 percent WO3. This is within a new geochemical target area 1.5 km by 500 metres in dimension. As the company continues to expand the resource base, it is also looking toward developing a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the project.
Highland Valley: Rateria and West Valley Properties
The Highland Valley copper project covers two wholly-owned and adjoining properties—Rateria and West Valley—that collectively add up to 17,625 hectares in the Highland Valley district, known for hosting five deposits that have achieved production. The project is located 35 kilometers north of Merritt, BC and 6.5 kilometers away from the producing, open-pit Highmont mine of Teck Resources that’s currently delivering comparable grades to those found in Happy Creek’s properties. Surrounding the Teck mine property which has resources averaging 0.29 to 0.34% copper—Happy Creek’s properties are easily accessible via paved and gravel roads and are supported by hydropower and access to water.
Following the acquisition of the Rateria property, Happy Creek conducted magnetic geophysical surveys, geochemical and geological surveys, as well as drilling, which identified two copper deposits on the property that have presented continuous mineralization.
First discovered in 2006, Zone 1 has both copper and silver values that extend to over 450 meters in depth, 50 meters to 200 meters in width and 1.2 kilometers in length, remaining open at extent. Results from past drilling programs include 95 meters of 0.67 percent copper, 250 meters of 0.25 percent copper and 100 meters of 0.35 percent copper. Alongside its drilling programs, Happy Creek has also conducted metallurgical testing on the deposit, which has demonstrated high recovery with simple flotation. The company expects to develop a maiden resource estimate for Zone 1 in the near future.
As part of the geophysical surveys conducted around Zone 1, Happy Creek has also identified a 500 to 800-meter-by-2.0-kilometer target area which has been named the West Sho zone.
Indicating a copper-gold type of deposit that is thought to be new for the Highland Valley area.
Within this zone, there is a 1.5-kilometer-by-1.0-kilometer area presenting positive to potentially economic grade copper values. In 2017, Happy Creek continued its exploration programs on Zone 2 and conducted a six-hole, 1,764-meter drilling program that extended the reach of the deposit by approximately 100 meters. Results from this program included 105.5 meters of 0.37 percent copper and 0.14 g/t gold and 5.0 meters containing 4.4 percent copper and 0.21 g/t gold. Additional results from this initiative are still pending.
“The drilling has extended Zone 2 further south and it is now 1.1 kilometer in length,” said Happy Creek President and CEO David Blann. “With drill holes ending in elevated copper values up to 500 meters away from the central part of the zone, it is apparent that this is a much larger mineral system than previously thought. Core samples contain up to 1.8 g/t gold and that, coupled with the strong rhenium enrichment in molybdenite, continues to show potential for a copper-gold system which is an unusual and positive feature within the Guichon batholith. We look forward to evaluating the results further to determine the next step for Zone 2 and for our 200 square kilometer property.”
The West Valley property is a collection of land packages that were owned and operated by a variety of companies. In the past, large areas of the property were covered by glacial ice, making it difficult to explore. Recent glacial recession and logging activities on the property have resulted in copper showings on the property and Happy Creek has conducted airborne geophysical surveys to help map the geology, structures and alteration within it.
The copper-gold-silver Hawk Property is a wholly-owned, 2,495-hectare mineral tenure located 36 kilometers northeast of 100 Mile House, BC and 24 kilometers south of the Boss Mountain molybdenum mine. The property hosts an area 3.5 kilometers by 1.5 kilometers in size that has positive values of copper, gold and silver found in stream sediment, soil and rocks. To date, the property has undergone prospecting, geological, geochemical and geophysical surveys, machine trenching and diamond drilling. Results from drilling conducted between 2007 and 2011 include 4.57 meters of 0.13 percent copper and 0.43 g/t gold and 3.0 meters of 0.79 percent copper and 1.73 g/t gold.
Hen Art-DI Property
The Hen Art-DI property is a 6,266-hectare mineral tenure located 36 kilometers away from 100 Mile House, BC. The property hosts three key prospects: Anomaly Creek, a porphyry style copper-zinc-gold deposit; Hen, Dyke and Ledge, a calcic skarn gold mineralization zone; and Art and DL, a sediment-hosted orogenic gold-silver area. The DL prospect is located on an adit, which dates back to the 1880s. Rock samples therein have returned results of up to 42.9 g/t gold and 34.7 g/t silver over 1.0 meter.
Since acquiring the property in 2006, Happy Creek conducted a drilling program in 2010 with results including 20.0 meters of 8.5 g/t silver and up to 0.28 g/t gold.
The Silverboss molybdenum-copper-silver-gold property is located 85 kilometers northeast of 100 Mile House and is made up of 9,001 hectares. The property is also located nearby the former Boss Mountain molybdenum mine—previously operated by Noranda Inc—providing the company with a strategic land position. Rock samples collected on the properties have presented results of up to 0.25 meters of 9.25 g/t gold, 514.8 g/t silver and 2.52 percent copper. Several targets on the property are drill-ready and additional target areas are in the exploration stage.
Silver Dollar Property
The gold-silver Silver Dollar property is a 3,303-hectare mineral tenure located 45 kilometers southeast of Revelstoke, BC. The property sits within the Camborne mining district, a region known for hosting gold-silver and base metal mineralizations. Happy Creek has conducted geophysical and geochemical surveys, as well as chip and grab sampling across four different prospects on the property, confirming the presence of gold-silver mineralization. This property is currently under option to Explorex Resources Inc.
David Blann, PEng—President, CEO and Director
David Blann has been engaged in precious and base metal exploration, development and production stage projects for over 28 years. He has worked predominantly within Canada and the USA, as well as in Mexico, Chile and West Africa. Within central British Columbia, Canada, he has been involved in the discovery of a number of epithermal gold-silver and porphyry copper systems. He has been a director or vice president of several junior mining companies and designed the strategy and assembled the projects as founder of Happy Creek Minerals Ltd. He received a diploma in Mining Engineering Technology from BCIT in 1984 and a BSc in Geological Engineering from Montana Tech, Butte, Montana in 1987.
Sassan Liaghat, PhD—Senior Geologist
Sassan Liaghat is a Geologist with a background in technical research related to mineral deposits at McGill, UBC, and the Mineral Deposits Research Unit (MDRU) at UBC. He has also gained valuable field experience as an exploration geologist with Amarc Resources and Nova Gold Resources in BC, Canada. He has worked full time with the Company since early 2009 and manages the company’s field exploration team and the company’s GIS and mapping database.
Richard Lee, CMA—CFO
Richard Lee is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and is a Certified Management Accountant having obtained his designation in 1991. He has spent over 30 years either working for public accounting firms or for companies that trade on a recognized stock exchange. He has a wealth of financial and accounting experience working with and for public companies which trade in Canada on the TSX Venture Exchange as well as with companies registered with the SEC in the United States. In addition, he has been involved in numerous start-up ventures.
Paul Berndt is a resource development executive with extensive experience in taking projects to production, in particular, tungsten projects. He has a background in mineral process engineering and over 45 years of experience. His expertise includes public company management roles, project development and process engineering as well as stakeholder relations. He has managed many small to medium-sized projects from conception to production, with attention to safety and sound environmental practices.
Michael Cathro, PGeo—Director
Mike Cathro’s career includes work as an exploration geologist with major and junior mining companies in Canada and overseas, and 17 years with the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources in technical and management roles. Prior to leaving government in early 2008, Mike led the team that successfully completed the aboriginal consultation, environmental review and permitting of the New Afton copper-gold project, now one of the largest underground metal mines in Canada. He currently serves as VP of Operations for Skeena Resources Ltd, and Chair of Geoscience BC. Over the years he has volunteered in various capacities with industry associations including the Kamloops Exploration Group and the Association of Mineral Exploration British Columbia. He is a registered professional geoscientist in British Columbia and holds a BSc (Honors, Geological Sciences) from Queen’s University and a MSc (Geology) from the Colorado School of Mines.
Roger Gray has over 20 years of experience as a stockbroker and officer of an IDA member firm. Mr. Gray is currently with Altus Securities in Toronto, and was until recently, the president and chief executive officer of Toll Cross Securities Inc., a Toronto-based, full-service broker dealer specializing in the junior resource sector. Mr. Gray has previously acted as a director and vice-president investment banking, institutional equities, with First Associates Investments Inc. and prior thereto as president of St. James Securities Inc. Mr. Gray is a graduate of Laurentian University.
Walter Segsworth has over 40 years of experience in mining throughout Canada and overseas and has served as a senior officer of several mining companies including Westmin Resources, where he was President and CEO, and Homestake Mining Company, where he was President and COO. He is currently lead independent director of Pan American Silver and a director of Sabina Gold & Silver Corporation. He is past Chairman of the Mining Association of British Columbia and the Mining Association of Canada and was named BC’ s Mining Person of the year in 1996.
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