Kutcho Copper fast-tracks copper-zinc project in BC
Since closing the acquisition of its high-grade copper-zinc project in northern British Columbia in December 2017, Kutcho Copper (TSXV: KC; US-OTC: KCCFF) has completed a full field season of data collection and drilling and published a resource update.
The company says it is on track to complete a feasibility study on Kutcho before the end of September, and if everything goes according to plan, president and CEO Vince Sorace says, the project should be fully permitted and shovel ready in the second quarter of 2022, with production following in mid-2023.
That timeline should serve its shareholders well, the mining executive says, with the looming supply deficit many analysts and industry watchers predict for copper in the mid-2020s.
“Our strategy has always been the shortest path to feasibility and permitting,” Sorace says. “We do think the project will get larger, there’s more resource drilling we can do, but for now all the data we’ve got we’re going to move towards completing the feasibility study.”
“Obviously the feasibility study will update our reserves but we believe we have what is a good economic project and basically we’re going to get the biggest re-rate for the project once we get the feasibility study completed and move towards production,” he continues, adding that the company is just weeks away from filing a project description that will allow it to start the environmental assessment process.
Kutcho contains measured and indicated resources of 17.26 million tonnes grading 1.85% copper, 2.72% zinc, 0.49 gram gold and 33.9 grams silver for a copper-equivalent grade of 2.61%. Inferred resources add 10.71 million tonnes grading 1.18% copper, 1.76% zinc, 0.26 gram gold and 21.5 grams silver for a copper-equivalent grade of 1.67%.
The deepest hole of the resource extends about 700 metres below surface. The resource used a base case cut-off grade of 1.2% copper-equivalent.
The lion’s share of the resource lies in the Main deposit, but is supplemented with mineralization in two separate lenses, Sumac and Esso. The Sumac lens is about 350 metres to the west of Main and Esso is about 140 metre to the west of Sumac.
“Main outcrops at surface and as you move laterally east, Sumac is a little bit deeper, maybe another 100 metres deeper from surface, and then it continues to trend down to depth,” Sorace says. “The deepest lens is Esso and it is about 500 metres from surface.”
One of the key areas for further drilling is the 300-metre gap between Main and Sumac, which has been untested. A conductive geophysical anomaly coincides with the area and is 360 metres long. The most eastern hole to intersect the Sumac lens on the western margin of the gap, KOO3, returned 5.12 metres of 1.29% copper, 0.49% zinc and 7 grams silver.
Esso West is another target. It lies 300 metres west of the Esso lens where 150 metres of a 1500-metre-long geophysical anomaly has been drill tested. Drilling in this area intersected 7.2 metres of 2.0% copper, 5.2% zinc and 17 gramss ilver in EO94B3. The company reports there remains 300 metres of untested horizon between EO94B3 and Esso, along with an additional 1000 metres of untested horizon to the west of the hole.
Portions of all three lenses remain open down dip outside of the current resource, including about 36% of Main, 50% of Esso and 100% of Sumac, the company estimates. In addition, the Footwall zone, which lies beneath the Main zone and represents a stacked massive sulphide horizon that is open in all directions, returned some strong results. The last drill hole to the east and down dip (EO57) cut 1.5 metres of 3.54% copper, 6.94% zinc, 316.9 grams silver and 1.47 grams gold.