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New drilling, operator slated for Minto


Last updated 1/24/2020 at 4:44am

Pembridge Resources Minto open pit underground copper gold silver mine Yukon

Capstone Mining Corp.

An aerial view of Pembridge Resources' Minto copper-gold-silver mine in Canada's Yukon Territory.

Pembridge Resources plc Jan. 22 announced the launch of a 14,000-meter drill program aimed at expanding four deposits at its Minto copper mine in the Yukon.

United Kingdom-based Pembridge finalized a deal in June to acquire Minto from Capstone Mining Corp. and resumed operations at the mine in October.

At the time of the acquisition, Minto hosted 15 million metric tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 1.4 percent copper, 0.5 grams per metric ton gold and 4.8 g/t silver; plus 6 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 1.4 percent copper, 0.5 g/t gold and 4.8 g/t silver.

This resource is hosted in six deposits – Copper Keel, Minto East, Minto East II, Ridgetop, Minto North and Minto North 2.

Copper Keel is currently the largest deposit, hosting roughly 37 percent of the measured and indicated resources and 38 percent of the inferred resources.

Expansion targets around Copper Keel – Copper Keel West, Copper Keel North and Copper Keel South – will be the target of roughly 39 of the holes drilled during the 2020 phase-1 program at Minto.

Another 14 phase-1 holes will target Minto East II, which also hosts significant copper resources.

Pembridge said the goal of this planned C$2.1 million phase-one program, which got underway in December, is to expand the boundaries of Copper Keel and Minto East II, upgrade resources to reserves and expand existing reserves within these deposits.

"I am pleased to report the drilling program at Minto is well underway," said Pembridge Resources Chairman and CEO Gati Al-Jebouri. "This program has been fully budgeted and approved by the owners of Minto and is fully funded from the ongoing project revenues."

The company expects to receive the first assay results from this drilling in March.

Pembridge is in the early stages of planning a second phase of 2020 drilling that will follow-up on the winter program.

Budgeted at C$2 million, the phase-two program is expected to include 52 surface and underground holes targeting a number of step-out targets close to existing mining zones. The plan may be subject to change based on results from Phase 1 of drilling, as well as the analysis from a recently completed drone-operated geophysical magnetic survey.

This magnetic survey was flown over a 30-square-kilometer (11.5 miles) area roughly centered on the current mine area at Minto.

Pembridge said the copper mineralization at Minto is highly correlated with that of magnetite, which can be identified with magnetic geophysics. Therefore, the data from this survey is expected to result in more accurate identification of copper mineralization and generate more efficient drill targeting.

This is the first time a geophysical survey of this type has been used on the Minto property.

"We are also greatly encouraged by the initial results of the MAG survey data, as it would appear there is a high possibility of missed mineralization around the Minto mining area, which until now was unidentified," said Al-Jebouri. "The full results from this analysis, which has not been carried out previously, will form the foundation for the next phase of drilling, which will commence once this current program is completed in early summer."

The UK-based company is also planning to convert Ridgetop, a deposit originally engineered to be mined by open pit, to underground. Based on internal studies, the company said mining of the Ridgetop from underground will be more economical and have a significantly reduced environmental impact.

As a result, Pembridge is in the process of remodeling and re-engineering Ridgetop to be mined from underground.

This mining will likely be carried out by a contracted operator.

Pembridge Resoures Minto copper gold silver mine exploration map Yukon

Pembridge Resources plc

Pembridge said its board has voted to appoint a third-party operator to run the Minto Mine, which will allow Pembridge to focus on complementary activities, including evaluating new investment opportunities.

"It has become apparent that there are a number of inefficiencies associated with the time zone difference between the UK and Yukon," said Al-Jebouri. "Therefore, installing an operator for day-to-day support to Minto management not only aims to improve the efficiencies of operating Minto, but reduces the management costs attributable to Pembridge. This step completes phase-one of our development strategy and allows Pembridge to concentrate on its next phase of growth."



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