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Advancing Schaft Creek to prefeasibility

North of 60 Mining News - June 18, 2024

$18.7 million Teck-funded program at Northern B.C. copper project includes camp upgrades, engineering work, and environmental studies.

Copper Fox Metals Inc. June 17 reported that a C$18.7 million (US$13.6 million) program funded and operated by Teck Resources Ltd. is in progress at the Schaft Creek copper-gold-molybdenum-silver project in Northern British Columbia.

"The 2024 program is underway and will position the Schaft Creek project to progress toward the start of the prefeasibility study stage," said Copper Fox President and CEO Elmer Stewart.

Lying about 70 kilometers (43 miles) west of Newmont's Red Chris copper-gold mine in B.C.'s Golden Triangle, Shaft Creek hosts a similarly large porphyry deposit with 1.35 billion metric tons of measured and indicated resources averaging 0.26% (7.76 billion pounds) copper, 0.17 grams per metric ton (7 million ounces) gold, 1.25 g/t (54.3 million oz) silver, and 0.017% (510.6 million lb) molybdenum.

A preliminary economic assessment prepared for Copper Fox in 2021 outlined plans for a 133,000-metric-ton-per-day mill and open pit mine at Schaft Creek that is forecast to produce roughly 5 billion lb of copper, 3.7 million oz of gold, 226 million lb of molybdenum, and 16.4 million oz of silver over 21 years of mining.

This year's program, being carried out by the Schaft Creek Joint Venture between Teck (75%) and Copper Fox (25%), is focused on collecting the final data needed to advance the project to the prefeasibility stage by early next year.

Tahltan Nation Development Corp.

TNDC-Solvest Solar array being installed at the Schaft Creek project in Tahltan Territory, B.C.

This work began with upgrades to the Schaft Creek camp, including completing a solar array and battery installation that will reduce carbon emissions and costs associated with powering the camp.

The JV is also carrying out a geotechnical drill program to collect additional data in key areas identified during an investigation carried out last year.

A 2013 feasibility-level study outlined plans for an open pit mine at Schaft Creek that would be approximately 3.1 kilometers (1.9 miles) long and 1.7 kilometers (1.1 miles) wide, with pit slopes more than 1,200 meters high. This is based on 40- to 44-degree slopes for the pit walls.

Optimizations outlined in the 2021 PEA propose shifting the pit to the west and potentially steepening the pit walls in areas with competent rock.

Last year, Piteau Associates Engineering Ltd managed a geotechnical investigation at Schaft Creek and compiled a report that recommends further studies to support pit wall optimizations.

"Completion of the 2023 Geotechnical Investigation augments the projects geotechnical knowledgebase and makes recommendations for additional data collection and studies to better assess pit slope conditions ahead of updating the current open pit design," said Stewart.

In addition to the geotechnical work, the 2024 program will include metallurgical studies to update metal recovery and grinding projections; continued environmental baseline and archaeological studies; and strengthening collaboration and engagement with the Tahltan First Nation.

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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