Arctic assays meet high expectations
Road permit setback, however, casts shadow on future mine North of 60 Mining News – March 18, 2022
Last updated 3/24/2022 at 2:57pm
Trilogy Metals Inc. March 17 reported additional "outstanding but not unexpected" results from the 2021 infill drilling at the Arctic deposit on the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects in Northwest Alaska. The company also provided a brief update on the U.S. Department of Interior's suspension of permits to build a road to the Ambler Mining District where UKMP is located.
A 2020 feasibility study for developing a mine at Arctic details a financially robust operation that would produce 1.9 billion pounds of copper, 2.3 billion lb of zinc, 388 million lb of lead, 386,000 ounces of gold, and 40.6 million oz of silver over an initial 12-year mine life.
This operation is based on 43 million metric tons of reserves averaging 2.32% copper, 3.24% zinc, 0.57% lead, 0.49 grams per metric ton gold, and 36 g/t silver.
Last year, Ambler Metals carried out an 18-hole (4,131 meters) diamond drill program designed to upgrade a portion of the indicated resources at Arctic to the higher confidence measured category, as well as provide material for metallurgical testing and geotechnical information.
Assay results from this drilling show the stacked layers of high-grade volcanogenic massive sulfide mineralization at Arctic.
Hole AR21-0176, reported by Trilogy in November, cut three mineralized intervals. This includes an astounding 19.91-meter intercept averaging 6.75% copper, 7.59% zinc, 1.68% lead, 1.26 g/t gold, and 97.13 g/t silver from a depth of 128 meters.
Hole AR21-0182, drilled about 200 meters northeast of AR21-0176 and reported by Trilogy in January, cut six mineralized intervals, including:
• 27.65 meters of 2.75% copper, 2.65% zinc, 0.46% lead, 0.66 g/t gold, and 42.81 g/t from a depth of 119.3 meters.
• 10.91 meters of 3.31% copper, 8.22% zinc, 1.78% lead, 0.81 g/t gold, and 70.85 g/t silver from a depth of 155.1 meters.
The latest batch of assay results from the infill drilling includes AR21-0181, a hole that cut six mineralized intervals about 100 meters southeast of hole AR21-0176. The best three intercepts from this hole are:
• 13.1 meters of 4.42% copper, 7.91% zinc, 1.13% lead, 0.70 g/t gold, and 72.37 g/t silver from a depth of 131.7 meters.
• 25.43 meters of 2.35% copper, 4.56% zinc, 1.09% lead, 0.11 g/t gold, and 20.49 g/t silver from a depth of 155 meters.
• 22.56 meters of 2.6% copper, 5.6% zinc, 1.19% lead, 0.81 g/t gold, and 89.15 g/t silver from a depth of 201.3 meters.
Other highlights from the latest batch of results include:
• 5.49 meters of 0.75% copper, 0.61% zinc, 0.15% lead, 0.28 g/t gold, and 9.02 g/t silver from a depth of 94.6 meters in hole AR21-0177, drilled about 200 meters northwest of hole AR21-0176.
• 6.25 meters of 2.02% copper, 3.19% zinc, 1.03% lead, 1.17 g/t gold, and 41.41 g/t silver from a depth of 56.5 meters in hole AR21-0179, drilled about 300 meters northwest of hole AR21-0176.
• 9.45 meters of 3% copper, 0.91% zinc, 0.16% lead, 0.05 g/t gold, and 18.9 g/t silver from a depth of 133.2 meters in hole AR21-0188, drilled about 200 meters east of hole AR21-0176.
"Again, as with some of the previously announced infill holes, the drill core gives us a glimpse of the scale of this remarkable world-class volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit," said Trilogy Metals Vice President of Exploration Richard Gosse. "Hole AR21-0181, with polymetallic massive sulphides grading 3% to 8% copper equivalent in six intervals with an accumulated true thickness of about 78 meters (255 feet) over a core length of 110 meters (360 feet), is outstanding but not unexpected."
As assays continue to roll in from the 2021 drilling, UKMP partners are trying to work out an arrangement to deal with the U.S. Department of Interior's motion to remand the Final Environmental Impact Statement and suspend the right-of-way permits previously issued to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority for development of a 211-mile industrial access road to the Ambler District.
Ambler Metals and NANA Regional Corp., which owns much of the land that makes up the 448,217-acre UKMP, filed a motion with the court requesting a two-week extension of time to file its responses to the DOI's motion for voluntary remand. This filing will allow Ambler Metals, NANA, the state, and AIDEA, as intervening defendants, time to confer with the DOI and work toward finding a workable arrangement to manage the remand process.
Trilogy Metals President and CEO Tony Giardini said the Ambler Metals partnership currently intends to continue work at UKMP, despite the setback for a road that is vital to developing mines in this metal-rich region of Northwest Alaska.
"The planned 2022 summer field season at the UKMP currently includes a 10,000-meter drilling campaign focused on further infill drilling at Arctic and on exploring priority prospects and other targets within our expansive land package," he said. "I also want to reaffirm our commitment with South32 to advance the UKMP while balancing the timeline for the State of Alaska to provide infrastructure access to the Ambler Mining District."
Trilogy says it intends to provide an update on the Ambler Road permitting situation when it has more clarity on the scope and timing of the proposed supplemental work.
Further details on the suspension of permits and right-of-way for the Ambler Road can be read at Ambler roadblock defies Biden energy plan and White House puts up an Ambler roadblock in North of 60 Mining News.