Resource Update for the Empire Open Pit Mine
Phoenix Copper Limited / Ticker: PXC / Sector: Mining
4 May 2020
Phoenix Copper Limited
("Phoenix" or the "Company")
NI 43-101 Compliant Resource Update for the Empire Open Pit Mine shows substantial increase in gold, silver, copper, and zinc
Phoenix Copper Ltd (AIM: PXC, OTCQX: PXCLF), the AIM quoted North American focused base and precious metals company, is pleased to announce an updated NI 43-101 compliant resource for its Empire Open Pit Mine in Idaho, USA. The results of the Empire Mine work programme, to date, were published throughout the period 2017 to present, and can be found on the Company's website at www.phoenixcopperlimited.com.
· New NI 43-101 compliant resource reported at the Empire Mine oxide open pit based on future recovery of copper, zinc, gold and silver increases Measured & Indicated resources by 27%
· Measured & Indicated open pit resource using a combined metal cut-off grade of 0.36% copper equivalent, compared with the previously reported May 2019 resource using a copper-only cut-off of 0.184%, has increased as follows:
Measured & Indicated resource
Including Inferred resources
Measured & Indicated Tonnes
· The next step is to continue metallurgical evaluation of process designs for the polymetallic ore with the objective of maximising the recovery of copper, zinc, gold and silver, in comparison to the processing of only oxide-copper ore and taking the other metals simply as by-products from the oxide copper processing
· An updated Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Empire Mine open pit project based on this updated resource and revised processing methods will follow in due course
Ryan McDermott, Chief Executive Officer, commented: "I am pleased to report this significant increase to our Empire polymetallic open pit resource. As we stated throughout 2019 and early 2020, our team has continued work on the main Empire orebody at the same time as we are moving forward at the Red Star project.
"After a detailed review of all of the geochemical and geological data available for the Empire open pit project, it was noted that much of the gold and silver in the deposit was not being included as part of the oxide copper resource because the gold and silver mineralisation was not always spatially associated with copper grades meeting the cut-off criteria. We believe this is perhaps due to a gold and silver mineralising event that occurred later than the primary copper mineralising event and occurred on a trend with a different orientation than the primary copper mineralisation.
"In this updated resource estimation Hard Rock Consulting ("HRC") modelled the various mineralised trends separately so that substantial gold and silver grades could stand on their own and not be subjected solely to the surrounding copper values. This has resulted in a larger overall pit shell that is inclusive of significantly more metal. The next step for the Phoenix team will be to continue with the metallurgical evaluation of process designs for the polymetallic ore with the objective of maximising the recovery of copper, zinc, gold and silver, versus the processing of oxide-copper ore and taking the other metals simply as by-products from the oxide copper processing.
"Including the inferred resources, we now have 129,923 tonnes of copper, 50,549 tonnes of zinc, 9,502,495 ounces of silver and 342,249 ounces of gold.
"Also, I look forward to keeping you up-to-date on our open pit project, as well as reporting the results of our second phase of drilling at Red Star, which commenced on 27 April."
Empire Mine - 2020 Resource Update
In May 2019 an NI 43-101 compliant resource on the oxide copper deposit at Empire was generated for a heap leach SX/EW open pit to recover copper. This heap leach operation would not recover gold and silver unless a separate heap leach precious metals operation was built on completion of the copper leaching operation. With an agitation leach plant to recover copper and zinc followed by a gold/silver Merrill Crowe recovery circuit as an alternative to the heap leach operation it was decided to evaluate the resources based on the recovery of copper, zinc, gold and silver. With the gold price performance since the 2019 resource calculation this has been an increasingly attractive alternative to the heap leach option.
Based on the examination of the distribution of gold, silver, and zinc values, and independent of copper values, from the assays used in the May 2019 Empire oxide resource, HRC estimated this updated NI 43-101 compliant resource using the value of all gold, silver, copper and zinc in the deposit using a combined metal cut-off grade of 0.36% copper equivalent. The Measured & Indicated Empire Mine open pit resource based on a combined metal cut-off grade of 0.36% copper equivalent, compared with the May 2019 resource at a copper-only cut-off of 0.184%, is tabulated as follows: -
Mineral Resource Statement for Empire Mine, after Hard Rock Consulting May 2020
Cu Equiv %
Mineral Resource Statement for Empire Mine, after Hard Rock Consulting May 2019
It should be noted that HRC utilised the same assay data to tabulate the current resource estimate that was used for the May 2019 resource. The method of estimation for the resource presented above included the calculation of a copper equivalent cut-off grade of 0.36% so as not to exclude gold, silver and zinc occurring at resource grades in areas where the copper grade alone did not meet the cut-off criteria. This resource estimation did not utilise any new drilling data.
The HRC report entitled "2020 Resource Updated for the Empire Mine Project" by HRC for Konnex Resources (80% Phoenix US subsidiary) will be available for review on the Company's website at www.phoenixcopperlimited.com within 45 days of the issuance of this news release. This report is in imperial units (1 US short ton = 2,000 lbs, 1 metric tonne = 2,204.6 lbs). HRC estimated the mineral resource for the Project based on drill hole data constrained by geologic boundaries with an Ordinary Krige algorithm. Leapfrog Geo V4.4.2 software was used to complete the resource estimate.
The mineral resources for the Project have been estimated in a manner consistent with the NI 43-101 Committee of Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards ("CRIRSCO") of which both the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum ("CIM") and Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (the "JORC Code") are members.
An updated Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Empire Mine open pit project based on this updated resource and revised processing methods will follow in due course.
The information in this announcement has been reviewed by Roger Turner A.C.S.M., M.Sc., M.I.M.M.M., C.Eng., Chief Technical Officer and Director of the Company. Mr Turner is a graduate mining engineer from the Camborne School of Mines with an MSc in Economic Geology from Leicester University with more than 40 years' experience in mine development, construction and operation and is a qualified person under the AIM Rules. Mr Turner consents to the inclusion of the information in the form and context in which they appear.
Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance
Phoenix is committed to meeting and exceeding the environmental standards required by law as a core value of the Company. The baseline environmental data collected to date will be used for furthering the permitting process, but as importantly, will be used as the building blocks for the Company's future Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) platform.
Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) Disclosure
Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 until the release of this announcement.
For further information please visit www.phoenixcopperlimited.com or contact:
Phoenix Copper Limited
Tel: +1 208 954 7039
Tel: +44 7827 290 849
Tel: +44 7590 216 657
David Hignell / Caroline Rowe
Tel: +44 20 3470 0470
Brandon Hill Capital (Joint Broker)
Jonathan Evans / Oliver Stansfield
Tel: +44 20 3463 5000
WH Ireland (Joint Broker)
Harry Ansell / Adam Pollock / Katy Mitchell
Tel: +44 207 2201666
Tim Blythe / Camilla Horsfall / Megan Ray
Tel: +44 20 7138 3204
Phoenix Copper Limited is a North American focused, base and precious metal explorer and developer, which has carried out a drilling programme and generated a copper, gold, silver and zinc resource on which it is carrying out a feasibility study to bring the historically producing Empire Mine in Idaho, USA, back into production. It is also evaluating the silver and gold resources around three other past producing mines within the 23 km2 Empire claims block as well as cobalt in two claims blocks north of Empire in Idaho.
Phoenix's primary operations are focused near Mackay, Idaho in the Alder Creek mining district. This district includes the historical Empire, Horseshoe, White Knob and Blue Bird Mines, past producers of copper, gold, silver, zinc, lead and tungsten from underground mines in the first half of the twentieth century. Additionally, the district includes Navarre Creek a Carlin-trend gold discovery which hosts a 6.1 km gold strike length within a 9.8 km² area.
Phoenix acquired an 80% interest in the historical Empire Mine property in 2017 and, based on a total of 320 drill holes, an oxide resource was completed in late 2017. A NI 43-101 compliant PEA (preliminary economic assessment) for an open pit heap leach solvent extraction and electrowinning ("SX-EW") mine was completed in April 2018. In 2018 a further 8,600 metres in 93 holes was completed to upgrade the oxide resources, provide samples for ongoing metallurgical test work, geotechnical and hydrological studies and condemnation drilling for the heap leach pad site, waste dump and plant site. An updated NI 43-101 compliant resource was completed in early May 2019.
Since acquiring the Empire project, Phoenix has increased the claim area from 818 acres to 5,717 acres, mainly to the northwest and west, and in so doing has increased the potential for additional oxide and sulphide copper resources, as well as the potential for stand-alone gold and silver resources, along a strike length of approximately 5.4 km towards the other brownfield mines of the Horseshoe, White Knob and Blue Bird Mines now within the property boundary. In particular, a new discovery at Red Star, 330 metres north west of the Empire Mine proposed open pit, has revealed sulphide ore and from three shallow exploration drill holes a NI 43-101 compliant maiden resource of 1.6 million silver equivalent ounces was reported.
At Empire, it is estimated that less than 1% of the potential ore system has been explored to date and, accordingly, there is significant opportunity to increase the resource through phased exploration.
More details on the Company, its assets and its objectives can be found on PXC's website at www.phoenixcopperlimited.com.
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