Nevada Copper Corp. (TSX:NCU) seeks to update investors and shareholders on current activities. The Company reported that the initial three drill holes from the current open pit drill program yielded strong results such as a 125.5 meter zone averaging 0.42% copper.
Nevada Copper also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a large multinational steel producer to evaluate opportunities for Pumpkin Hollow’s resource – assessments include drill sampling, mine planning, engineering studies and metallurgical work.
Nevada Copper also announced that its Integrated Feasibility Study is underway, with a target release date on or before May 28, 2015.
As quoted in the press release:
Initial three drill holes yield strong results from new open pit drill program with particularly pleasing results from two new drill holes in the saddle zone between the North and South pits;
Underground drill program from 1,900 foot level to commence in May;
New integrated feasibility study results scheduled for release before the end of May;
Progress on federal land acquisition progressing according to plan with permitting progressing concurrent with land acquisition; and
MOU signed with large international steel company to assess opportunities to exploit Pumpkin Hollow’s significant iron ore resource.
Open Pit Drilling Results
Targeted drilling continues on the open pit deposit with the goals of testing the ultimate extent of the deposits, and identifying areas that may have economic copper mineralization but are currently categorized as waste due to lack of drill data.
The drill program which started in late February currently has three drill rigs on site. The current drill program will consist up to 74,000 feet (22,600 meters) of drilling. The first drill holes were drilled in the North Deposit to follow up open prospective areas identified in early 2013 drilling. Drill hole NC15-02 was drilled along the edge of the South deposit where mineralization was open. The table below summarizes the drilling results received for drill holes NC13-10; NC-15-01 and NC15-02. Assays for the remaining drill holes will be posted as results are received.
Greg French, Vice President of Project Development & Exploration, commented, “The current drill program is focused on the saddle zone mineralization located between the North and South pits and the open and inferred mineralized areas on the edges of the open pit deposits. The initial drill holes reported continue to expand mineralization. NC15-02 drilled along the southern portion of the South Deposit, discovered at shallow depths, a 125.5 meter zone averaging 0.42% copper. Mineralization remains open and the drill hole location in the current pit design is expected to upgrade currently classified waste material in that area.”
Drill hole NC13-10 was drilled in the Saddle Zone between the North and South open pit deposits. The mineralization correlates well with adjacent holes and bottomed in mineralization. This hole finished up a pre-collared hole from the previous 2013 drilling. The lower zone of intersected 62.4 meters (204.8 feet) true thickness averaging 0.27% copper and continues to push mineralization out and should convert mineral classification.
Drill hole NC15-01 also drilled in the Saddle Zone between the North and South deposits intersected two thick mineralized zones that correlate with adjacent holes but with slightly lower grade. The largest zone intersected 103.7 meters (340.3 feet) true thickness averaging 0.23% copper. There are also localized zones of high grade within low grade. The hole expanded mineralization within the present designed pit.
Drill hole NC15-02: South Deposit, intersected several zones of shallow mineralization along the southern edge of the deposit. The upper zones have expanded the existing mineralization. The lower zone 125.5 meters (411.7 feet @ 0.42% Cu), 88.7 meters (291feet) true thickness, is new, as several adjacent holes were only drilled as shallow pre-collars. Drill hole NC15-02 has expanded the mineralization. Follow up drilling for this expanded area and newly discovered mineralization is planned.
Underground Drill Program
Underground drilling of the East deposit is expected to commence in May 2015 from drill stations on the 1,900 foot level. The underground drilling program will consist of up to 26,000 feet (7,900 meters) of delineation and development drilling which will focus on further enhancing the high grade zones within the current mineral reserve, especially in areas planned for mining in the early years. This drilling program will also provide additional data for mine development designs while expanding the open mineralized areas.
Management believes that the program has the potential to improve the overall copper production grades especially in the early years while also allowing for expansion of the combined Eastern underground copper reserve boundaries that remains open in several directions.
Integrated Feasibility Study
Significant progress has been made on the Integrated Feasibility Study (“IFS”) with results targeted for release on or before May 28, 2015. The IFS envisages a single, large 70,000 tons/day concentrator with dual sources of mill feed comprising an average of 63,500 tons/day of open pit ore blended with 6,500 tons/day of high grade ore from the Eastern underground deposits. The IFS will incorporate all available current information, including approximately 32,500 feet (9,900 meters) of new drilling data from 2012 and 2013, mine plans, engineering work and updated capital and operating costs for both the open pit and underground operations associated with this development.
Federal Land Acquisition and Permits
Since passage in December of Congressional legislation that authorizes the transfer of federal lands to City and private ownership, Nevada Copper has been fully engaged with the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) and the City of Yerington to complete the land conveyance. The necessary agreements between the BLM and the City of Yerington are now in place to allow for the many activities to proceed toward the purchase of approximately 10,400 acres of land under the legislation. These activities include surveying, land valuation, and including compliance of the acquisition with provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Nevada Copper and its consultants are working closely with the BLM and supplying additional resources to them as necessary to expedite the sale process.
Upon closing of the land conveyance, the City will convey 6,430 acres of private land to Nevada Copper. Adding this acreage to the 1,560 acres of private land that Nevada Copper currently controls, means that the Company will have a total of 7,990 acres (12.8 square miles) available for the large scale integrated open pit and underground mine development.
Permitting of the large open pit and underground integrated project is continuing according to plan. This permitting involves modification of our existing State air pollution control and reclamation permits to allow for the larger open pit operation and a 70,000 tons/day concentrator. Permitting is scheduled to be completed by mid-2015 concurrently with closing of the land acquisition.
Iron Concentrate Study
The Company recently executed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with a large multi-national steel producer to assess opportunities to exploit the large Pumpkin Hollow iron resource. Measured and indicated iron mineral resources total 395 million tons grading 32.1% iron using a 20% cutoff, as disclosed in a 43-101 Technical Report filed on SEDAR in 2013. The assessments would include drill sampling, mine planning, engineering studies and metallurgical work. These studies will determine if a byproduct magnetite (iron oxide) stream from the copper tailings at a future Pumpkin Hollow concentrator would be suitable as feed for downstream iron ore processing for use in steelmaking. Other work would focus how mining plans could be modified to deliver additional magnetite in the copper concentrator feed while minimizing loss of copper. Magnetite recovery circuits are not uncommon at copper operations which contain magnetite in their mill feed. Examples are the Candelaria IOCG mine in Chile and Glencore’s Earnest Henry mine in Australia.
Along with low cost power, Pumpkin Hollow has close proximity to rail infrastructure which is important for moving the larger tonnages associated with any future iron ore production. The possibility of adding iron revenues at minimal or no cost has not been factored into any previous feasibility studies, nor in the current IFS to be released in May.