Copper Fox Metals CEO Elmer Stewart joined INN at PDAC to discuss his company’s recent progress in developing its portfolio of copper projects.
Copper Fox Metals (TSXV:CUU,OTC Pink:CPFXF) CEO Elmer Stewart joined the Investing News Network (INN) at the 2020 Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada conference to discuss the ongoing exploration programs across its diverse property portfolio, its latest copper property acquisition in BC and the long-term outlook for the red energy metal.
Copper Fox’s project pipeline includes three projects in the mining-friendly state of Arizona and two in the resource-rich region of British Columbia. In Arizona, the company’s wholly-owned projects include the Van Dyke, Sombrero Butte and Mineral Mountain projects. In BC, Copper Fox holds a 25 percent carried interest in the Schaft Creek joint venture project with Teck Resources (TSX:TECK.A,TSX:TECK.B,NYSE:TECK) and is in the process of finalizing the acquisition of the Eaglehead copper-molybdenum-gold project.
Stewart told INN that the geographic diversity in the Copper Fox project portfolio allows the company to have exploration programs continually on the go. “It gives us the balance to be able to work in Canada during the summertime, and then in the wintertime, we can focus on our Arizona projects,” Stewart told INN. “We think it’s important that we keep moving our projects along from a technical standpoint.”
In Arizona, Copper Fox is pushing forward on all three projects. At the Van Dyke copper project, the company has retained Moose Mountain Technical Services to complete an updated resource estimate, and engineering studies are now in progress. “Moose Mountain is now working toward completing the updated resource estimate on Van Dyke and we’re anticipating we will see that in the month of March,” said Stewart. Once the study results are in, Copper Fox will make a decision as to the next steps for the project.
At Mineral Mountain last year, Copper Fox identified two very large porphyry copper targets; one of which measured 4,500 meters long by 2,000 meters wide. In 2020, the company will follow up on those targets. “At Mineral Mountain, we will be doing geophysics because it’s now at the stage where you have to do geophysical exploration. And we’ll be doing that over the two targets. We’ve been talking to various geophysical companies that have deep penetrating capabilities to see what’s going on there,” explained Stewart.
At the Sombrero Butte copper project, the rock characterization studies and mapping the company completed in 2019 have allowed for a new perspective on the geophysics work completed in previous years. “Clearly the interpretation that we had changed in 2019 because now it’s abundantly clear to us, based on the alteration patterns and mineralization, that the body is not going in the direction we thought it was,” Stewart told INN. “It seems to be plunging away into the northeast, which means we have to go back and do some geophysics. This year we’re planning to do a little bit more geophysics on Sombrero Butte to get a better handle on the geometry of the porphyry system.”
In 2019, Schaft Creek operator Teck Resources completed a work program on the BC property in line with the recommendations of the 2018 sizing and infrastructure study. The work involved investigating a range of access options, revisions to planned infrastructure, re-locating the tailings management and mill facilities to utilize options that significantly reduce capital and operating costs along with updating permitting options related to the 133 ktpd scenario. Copper Fox is awaiting the results of the work program before making a final decision as to the next move on that project.
Also in BC, the Eaglehead project hosts a polymetallic mineralization system similar to Schaft Creek. According to Stewart, “it’s an exploration stage porphyry copper system in northern British Columbia, which we’re quite familiar with. One of the things that is attractive to us it’s a four commodity system, pretty much like Schaft Creek. It’s got significant molybdenum contributions and significant gold contribution as well.”
Asked about his thoughts on the future of the copper market given the current global social and economic upheaval, Stewart said he remains optimistic about the long-term outlook for the red metal given its importance in infrastructure and energy in the face of a potential supply deficit. “The industry structurally still has the same problem. Head grades are declining in the producing areas, costs are going up, and the discovery rates are going down despite the fact people are spending a lot more money,” he explained. “If you look at some of these forecasts going out in the future, I think it’s the International Copper Study Group that said by the year 2035, 200 copper mines that are now in production are going to be closed. So if you look at it that way, it’s 15 years out to 200 mines that could be closed. In order to maintain the level of production we have today, we’ve got to replace those 200 mines.”
Stewart further emphasized the challenge to mine supply by pointing out the long lead time and low odds for bringing a mine through development and feasibility into construction and full production. “I think, fundamentally, long term it’s a great commodity to be in. But, you know you have troughs and you have peaks. Right now, I think we’re in a bit of a mini trough, but it will pass and then I think copper is going to have a great future in one-year plus,” he said. “In 2020, we are anticipating a small surplus in supply. I think the world’s inventory is 485,000 tons of copper. Now, that sounds like a lot of copper. But if you consider the world’s consuming between 65,000 and 70,000 tons of copper a day, that is an extremely low amount of copper to have an inventory well below the industry historical average, right? The thing is, all you need is one supply disruption that could easily take away the small surplus.”
For a more comprehensive update from Copper Fox Metals CEO Elmer Stewart, watch the video below.
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