LONGUEUIL, Quebec, Oct. 03, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Highland Copper Company Inc. (TSX-V:HI) (the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on the feasibility study currently underway on the Copperwood Project located in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan, USA, as well as on the most recent activities of the Company around the White Pine North project and the UPX Minerals exploration property.
A photo accompanying this announcement is available below:
The feasibility study, which is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2018, will incorporate an updated resource estimate and will be designed to consider a mining and processing capacity of 6,000 metric tonnes per day. The management team being put in place strongly believes in a “hands-on” approach and is reviewing multiple alternative scenarios and best use of new technologies to optimise the overall capital requirement while ensuring good productivity and reliability during Copperwood’s estimated twelve to fifteen years of operation. The Company’s primary objective is to complete the necessary permitting and financing for the development of the Copperwood Project in the first half of 2018, with construction planned to begin in the second half of 2018.
Copperwood Project Feasibility Study
In May 2017, the Company engaged G Mining Services Inc. (“G Mining”) as lead consultant for the preparation of an update to the feasibility study (“FS Update”) on the Copperwood Project.
In their lead role, G Mining will use the results of the 2017 drilling program to update the current resource estimate reported in the NI 43-101 technical report generated in 2015. This new resource estimate is expected to be available later in October. G Mining will also be responsible for the development of the mining plan using a mine throughput of 6,000 tonnes per day, and a room-and-pillar mining method as the base case. Alternative mining scenarios will also be evaluated. Mine design will be carried out by G Mining with geotechnical support from Golder Associates, using results from additional geotechnical holes drilled on all mineralized zones earlier this year.
Design of the processing facility is being completed by Lycopodium Minerals Canada, of Toronto, an engineering firm well-known for its skills at designing compact and efficient processing plants. Design of the tailings dam and water management systems is being done by Golder Associates, who had been involved in the previous studies at Copperwood.
A metallurgical test program is being completed at SGS Lakefield in Ontario, Canada, and includes more extensive testing being done on samples from all mineralized zones at the project including the one at the eastern edge of the deposit.
Infrastructure studies, including road access, are being done internally and the Company plans to submit a grant application for funding the upgrade of County road 519. Various power alternatives are also being studied. A trade-off analysis is being carried out to compare bringing a powerline to site versus on-site natural gas generation, as a gas line is available close-by in the town of Wakefield. Raw water is available from nearby municipalities, and the Company is also considering a water wells alternative.
A portion of the environmental permitting applications is being handled internally, but the permitting lead and coordination is being performed by Foth Infrastructure and Environment, a Wisconsin-based engineering firm with solid experience in Michigan and the region, and with a qualified team already in place.
The Company has recently hired Mr. Sylvain Collard to coordinate the work to be performed by all of the above-named consultants to ensure a successful completion of the Copperwood FS Update. Mr. Collard holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the École de Technologie Supérieure in Montreal. Mr. Collard is a highly-qualified engineer who possesses thorough knowledge of mining, construction and operating activities. Mr. Collard was recently employed by IAMGOLD Corporation, and was responsible for the daily operations of the mine, mill and power plant at the Essakane gold mine, in Burkina Faso.
Copperwood Project drilling program
In 2017, the Company carried out a comprehensive drilling program (see attached map). This program comprised 32 HQ-diameter and three PQ-diameter drill holes for a total of 6,784 meters of core or approximately 74% of the planned 44-hole, 9,198 meters core drilling program. The drilling provided 527 samples for copper and silver assaying and 607 kg taken for metallurgical testing. The remaining 12 in-fill resource drill holes in the Section 5 area, at the eastern edge of the deposit, were not completed due to an early spring thaw and will likely be finished this winter once the ground is frozen and there is sufficient snow cover. The 2017 drill program was designed to upgrade the current inferred mineral resources at the eastern section of the deposit, obtain metallurgical samples and carry out geotechnical studies to refine the mining plan – all of these objectives were realized. Every drill hole intersected copper-silver mineralization, as expected.
All of the drilling at the Copperwood “main zone” at the western section of the deposit, along with Section 6, has now been completed. Samples for the available drill holes were sent for assay to Activation Laboratories, Thunder Bay, Ontario, for analysis. All samples for geotechnical and metallurgical testing have also been shipped to specialized laboratories. For an improved understanding of the ore geotechnical characteristics, 19 holes were televiewed and subsequently cemented.
White Pine North
Highland announces that it has reached an agreement with Copper Range Company (“CRC”), a wholly owned subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals Ltd., to extend the period to complete the acquisition of the White Pine North Project to December 15, 2017. The final closing of the acquisition is subject to releasing CRC from certain environmental obligations associated with the remediation and closure plan of the historical White Pine mine site in a manner that is acceptable to all parties involved, including applicable governmental authorities, and replacing the related environmental bond posted by CRC.
Many market observers see the recent rally in copper prices continuing and leading to further increases in 2018. With an improving commodity price backdrop, Highland intends to develop a conceptual approach to mine development at the White Pine North Project in 2018. Based on the historical resource estimate already identified at the White Pine North deposit, this Project represents a significant medium-term copper production growth opportunity for the Company.
In May 2017, UPX Minerals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Highland Copper, acquired from Rio Tinto a mineral property in central Upper Peninsula of Michigan with an area of about 1.8 thousand square kilometers (447,000 acres). This property covers the southwestern extension of the Wawa-Abitibi geological Sub-province of the Canadian Shield, which hosts several world-class gold and base metal deposits in Ontario.
UPX Minerals has assembled a strong geological team, which is doing a systematic interpretation of historical exploration data and launched field programs exploring for orogenic gold, magmatic nickel-copper and sedex-type zinc-copper deposits in the various geological environments contained by the property. Initial results from this work are very encouraging and the Company expects to define drilling targets by the end of the year.
Highland is fully financed to complete the Copperwood FS Update, which is the Company’s main priority, and which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018. Highland also aims to finalize the acquisition of the White Pine North Project as soon as is practicable with closing now expected by December 15, 2017. Exploration on the UPX Minerals property continues and early work has been very encouraging and is expected to generate a pipeline of new projects for the Company. A more detailed update of the work carried out to date on the UPX Minerals property is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
The technical information in this press release has been reviewed and approved by Carlos Bertoni, P. Geo, Executive Vice President, Project Development of Highland, and a qualified person under Canadian National Instrument 43-101.
Highland Copper Company Inc. is a Canadian exploration company focused on exploring and developing copper projects in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, U.S.A. The Company has 459,148,153 common shares issued and outstanding. More information about the Company is available on the Company’s website at www.highlandcopper.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Specifically, this press release includes forward-looking statements regarding the Company’s objectives to complete, within the schedule mentioned or at all, a new resource estimate and a feasibility study at the Copperwood Project, to begin construction of a mine at Copperwood, and to close the White Pine North acquisition. These forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ, including, without limitation, the results of the various studies involved in the preparation of the feasibility study, the price of copper, the availability of required financing, and receipt of all necessary permits. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to the Company as of the date hereof, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements except as required by law.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
For further information, please contact:
Mr. Denis Miville-Deschênes, President & CEO
David Charles, Manager, Investor Relations