VANCOUVER – Copper Fox Metals Inc. [CUU-TSXV, CPFXF-OTC] on Monday released the results of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the Schaft Creek copper-molybdenum-gold-silver project in northwestern British Columbia.
PEA highlights include a smaller project footprint and the ability to access hydroelectric power from the existing provincial power grid, factors that are expected to reduce the capital costs and lower project CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions.
Shaft Creek is one of two advanced stage projects in Copper Fox’s portfolio that contain significant quantities of copper, gold, and molybdenum. The other is the 100%-owned Van Dyke in-situ copper recovery project, which is located in Arizona
Schaft Creek ranks as one of the largest undeveloped porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum-silver deposits in North America. It covers 55,779.56 hectares of mineral concessions, located in Tahltan territory approximately 60 kilometres south of Telegraph Creek, near existing transportation and energy infrastructure.
Copper Fox holds a 25% carried interest in the Schaft Creek joint venture. Vancouver-based metals giant Teck Resources Ltd. (TECK.B-TSX, TECK.A-TSX, TECK-NYSE), owns the other 75% and is the project operator.
Schaft Creek is a conventional truck-and-shovel development opportunity with scale and optionality. In the first five years of full operation, it has the potential to produce 398 million copper equivalent (CuEq) pounds or 181,000 tonnes per year.
In January, 2013, Copper Fox released the results of a feasibility study for Schaft Creek. The study concluded that a 130,000 tonnes-per day conventional open pit mine could be developed at the site at a cost of $3.26 billion and would produce copper and separate molybdenum concentrates over a lifespan of 21 years.
However, in new PEA, the initial capital cost has been reduced to US$2.65 billion, which sustaining capital costs have been cut to US$848.7 million from US$1.2 billion. Other key changes include a reduced strip ratio, and a relocation of the milling facility closer to the pit.
Total mine production is estimated at 1.03 billion tonnes of mill feed and 1.03 billion tonnes of waste rock, resulting in a life of mine 1:1 strip ratio.
The processing plant is designed with a planned nominal throughput of 133,000 tonnes per day (at 92% capacity), with the annual throughput varying from 48.5 million to 51.5 million tonnes per year, averaging 49.1 million tonnes annually.
The bulk concentrate produced will be separated to produce market grade copper-gold-silver concentrate and molybdenum concentrate.
“We are very pleased with the results of the PEA and the recommended program work of $23 million that could be considered by the operator to advance the Schaft Creek project to the prefeasibility stage of study and evaluation,’’ said Copper Fox President and CEO Elmer Stewart.
On Monday, Copper Fox shares eased 1.5% or $0.005 to 32 cents on volume of 240,650. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of 66 cents and 10.5 cents.
Teck’s Class B common shares eased 3.5% or $1.09 to $30.33 on volume of 1.7 million. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $34.25 and $15.81.