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NovaCopper budgets US$5.5M to continue Arctic prefeasibility

NovaCopper Inc. Feb. 8 reported that it has budgeted US$5.5 million for its 2016 program at the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects in northwestern Alaska.

Like the 2015 program, which was similar in size and scope, this year's work will focus primarily on collecting data to inform a prefeasibility study for Arctic, a volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit that is rich in copper, zinc, silver and gold.

This year's program is expected to include additional drilling at Arctic; completion of in-pit geotechnical, hydrological and metallurgical studies; continued environmental and engineering studies; and the completion of LiDAR survey started last year but was not finished due to poor weather conditions.

Along with its site activities, NovaCopper said it plans to continue community engagement and its efforts on local hiring and education, along with continuing to engage with the State of Alaska on the permitting of the Ambler access road.

In 2015, NovaCopper invested US$5.5 million on the continued advancement of its Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects.

This work primarily focused on moving the Arctic deposit towards pre-feasibility with 3,056 meters of drilling completed in the summer.

The program included a 12-hole in-fill drill program is to re-classify the inferred resources to the measured and indicated categories for the potential of reporting reserves and resources in a future pre-feasibility study and two holes to collect geotechnical and hydrology information within the proposed Arctic open-pit.

The company said all 14 holes encountered significant intervals of high-grade mineralization.

NovaCopper also continued with its commitment to local hiring and education with an annual US$20,000 payment into the NANA-NovaCopper Kuuvangmuit Scholarship Fund which focuses on education for mining-related jobs.

NovaCopper worked closely with NANA Regional Corporation during 2015, approving 14 scholarships totaling US$22,365 for education in business administration, culinary arts, hospitality management, nursing and process technology.

During the summer drilling season NovaCopper engaged 75 staff and contractors at the Bornite camp.

At the project site, 53 percent of the employees were from Northwest Alaska where the project is located and 56 percent of the employees were NANA shareholders.

In October, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker authorized the Alaska Industrial Development Export Authority to begin an environmental impact study on the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Road.

If built, this roughly 200-mile road would link the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects - Arctic and Bornite - to the Dalton Highway.

The submission of the consolidated right-of-way application to start the formal permitting process for the AMDIAR is a significant step forward to bring limited road access and ultimately jobs into this part of Northwest Alaska.

NovaCopper anticipates permitting for the road to take two-three years.

The company said it is well-positioned to continue its strategy of adding long-term value through project advancement in challenging financial markets.

NovaCopper management believes that its US$16.1 million of cash and cash equivalents is sufficient to meet operational requirements for the next two years.

As previously reported, the company's board of directors also has approved changing NovaCopper's corporate name to Trilogy Metals Inc., which encompasses the explorer's focus on multiple metals. The name change is subject to shareholders approval at the next annual general meeting.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

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Over his more than 16 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.


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