Phoenix Copper reports expanded resource at Empire Mine
North America-focussed base and precious metals company Phoenix Copper announced an updated NI 43-101 compliant resource for its Empire Open Pit Mine in Idaho on Monday.
The AIM-traded firm said the new resource reported at the mine’s oxide open pit, based on future recovery of copper, zinc, gold and silver, increased its measured and indicated resources by 27%.
Compared with the previous May 2019 measured and indicated resource, it said copper had increased 11% to 81,948 tonnes, while zinc had improved 26% to 37,650 tonnes.
Silver was ahead 13% at 6,824,460 ounces, while gold increased 56% to 217,500 ounces.
The next step, the company said, would be to continue metallurgical evaluation of process designs for the polymetallic ore, with the objective of maximising the recovery of copper, zinc, gold and silver, compared 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 the updated resource and revised processing methods, would follow in due course.
“I am pleased to report this significant increase to our Empire polymetallic open pit resource,” said chief executive officer Ryan McDermott.
“As we stated throughout 2019 and early 2020, our team has continued work on the main Empire ore body 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.”
McDermott said the company believed that was possibly 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.”
At 1557 BST, shares in Phoenix Copper were down 12.68% at 17.9p.