Kaska pact a milestone for Kutcho Copper
North of 60 Mining News – February 22, 2019
Last updated 9/25/2020 at 2:07pm
Kutcho Copper Corp. Jan. 20 announced that it has entered into an exploration agreement with Kaska Nation, represented by Dease River First Nation, relating to Kutcho, a high-grade copper-zinc development project roughly 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Dease Lake in northern British Columbia.
This agreement outlines a framework under which Kutcho Copper and Kaska agree to work together in a spirit of partnership and cooperation to build a positive and mutually beneficial working relationship.
"This agreement confirms Kutcho Copper and Kaska's commitment to work collaboratively while maximizing opportunities for Kaska as the project advances towards development of the feasibility study," said Kutcho Copper President and CEO Vince Sorace.
Specific objectives of the agreement include:
• Establish a cooperative and collaborative working arrangement between Kutcho Copper and Kaska;
• promote timely dialogue and communication to foster an open, direct and respectful relationship;
• identify employment and business opportunities for Kaska associated with the exploration activities;
• enchance Kaska's capacity to participate in opportunities related to the exploration activities and baseline data collection; and
• establish a working group.
"We are pleased to sign this agreement on behalf of the Kaska Nation with Kutcho Copper as they help set the standard for how exploration should be conducted in Kaska territory," said Dease River First Nation Chief Myles Manygreyhorses. "We look forward to working with Kutcho Copper to advance our people's understanding of both the project's potential impacts and benefits."
As part of the agreement, the Kaska Nation will receive 300,000 share purchase warrants, each of which will be exercisable to acquire one common share of Kutcho at a price of C$1 for a period of five years from the execution date of the agreement.
The agreement comes on the heels of a 2018 field program that gathered the information needed for a feasibility study for developing a mine at Kutcho, which is expected to be completed early in the second half of this year.
Advancing feasibility, permitting
Kutcho was at the prefeasibility phase when Kutcho Copper acquired the copper-zinc-silver-gold project in 2017 and the company has focused on advancing the project to the feasibility level and into permitting.
A prefeasibility study updated at the time of the acquisition considers the development of a 2,500-metric-ton-per-day operation that would produce 378 million pounds of copper and 473 million lb of zinc, plus by-product precious metals over a 12-year mine life.
This operation is based on 10.4 million metric tons of probable reserves, averaging 2.01 percent copper, 3.19 percent zinc, 0.37 grams per metric ton gold and 34.61 g/t silver.
As part of the PFS, the explorer conducted a detailed review of cut-off grade sensitivities that resulted in a cut-off grade of 1 percent copper being selected for reporting mineral resources, compared to 1.5 percent previously contemplated. The lower cut-off grade increases the measured and indicated mineral resource tonnage by 49 percent and the inferred mineral resources tonnage by 432 percent, with only a 13 percent and 24 percent in copper-equivalent grade, respectively.
This adjustment provided the opportunity to upgrade a large portion of the inferred resources to the higher confidence measured and indicated categories, which could potentially be converted to reserves when the feasibility study is completed
The 2018 program included infill drilling to upgrade resources, as well as drilling to expand the deposits.
In addition to drilling, last year's program included:
• a comprehensive geotechnical drilling program to provide geotechnical models and stope design as a basis for the new mine design;
• a metallurgical program focused on a simplified process and optimized reagent scheme with the goal of reducing costs;
• re-establishment of comprehensive baseline environmental data collection; and
• exploration and communication agreements with the Tahltan Central Council, the governing body of the Tahltan Nation.
Coupled with the exploration agreement with Kaska Nation, these achievements allow Kutcho to achieve its goal of advancing the copper- and zinc-rich project to the next level.
The next steps toward this objective are to publish an updated resource; provide an update on the metallurgical work; and submit Kutcho's project description, marking the official start of the Environmental Assessment process.
"We have made significant progress towards the completion of our feasibility study," said Sorace. "With a very successful 2018 field program and subsequent completion of key technical components, we look forward to announcing some of those results over the coming weeks."