Phoenix Copper Limited (AIM: PXC | OTCQX: PXCLF) is an Idaho, USA, focused base and precious metals explorer working towards early low-cost heap leach copper production and staged exploration on a potential world class porphyry property covering 23.14 square kilometres
80% owner of past-producing copper, zinc, gold, silver Empire Mine in Idaho, USA
Underground mine between 1901 to 1942 - shipping ore at grades of 6% to 8% copper and 6.6 grammes/tonne gold
Low-cost open pit heap leach SX-EW project at Bankable Feasibility Study stage to produce 8,000 tonnes per annum copper cathode and zinc. 413 holes drilled. Production to commence in 2021
15.2 million tonnes containing 73,900 tonnes copper, 29,800 tonnes zinc, 139,000 ounces gold, and 6 million ounces silver
In-situ value of contained metal in Measured & Indicated resources: $850 million
23.14 square kilometre property with world class porphyry copper/gold potential and the Carlin style Navarre Creek gold zone west of Empire
New discovery at Red Star: high grade lead/silver (2018 drill hole reporting up to 20% lead and 39 ounces per tonne silver)
Significant exploration upside: 1% to 2% of potential ore system explored to date (Nigel Maund, consulting geologist, April 2019)
100% owner of Redcastle and Bighorn exploration properties on Idaho Cobalt Belt
Management with track record of taking TSX and AIM listed companies from IPO to Mine production
Idaho ranked as the lowest mining investment risk perception worldwide (Mining Journal Risk Report 2018)
Phoenix secured an option to acquire an 80% interest in Konnex Resources Inc in 2015. Konnex owns a brownfield, past producing, copper, gold, silver, and zinc underground mine, the Empire Mine, near Mackay in Idaho, Konnex’s only asset. Phoenix completed its AIM IPO in mid-2017, exercised the option and acquired the 80% interest in Konnex.
Between 1901 and 1942 Empire produced direct smelting ore at grades of between 6% and 8% copper and up to 6.6 grammes per tonne gold. Since the mid-1960 drilling on the 3.31 square kilometre property, consisting of patented and unpatented claims, had identified a near surface open pit mineable oxide deposit sitting above the old underground mine workings. Other than this, no modern exploration had been carried out on the property or on the surrounding mineralised area. In 2017 additional drilling was completed on the oxides with the view to generating resources and reserves on which to develop a low capital and operating cost open pit heap leach copper operation to self-finance the exploration of the surrounding area. In November 2017, an NI 43-101 compliant open pit copper oxide was completed. Then in April 2018 additional contiguous claims were staked to encompass three other old mine workings and the property was expanded to 7.18 square kilometres. Following mining, metallurgical, infrastructure and environmental studies a Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") on an open pit heap leach solvent extraction and electro-winning ("SX-EW") copper project was also completed in April 2018. In June 2018 five drill rigs embarked on a drilling programme to increase the oxide resources. An additional 8,600 metres of drilling was completed by year end bringing the total drilled in an 18-month period to 11,650 metres in 126 holes. Additional metallurgical heap leach column tests were carried out as well as geotechnical, hydrological and environmental studies. In February 2019 the property was expanded further to encompass two areas. The area around the Empire Mine was increased to 13.34 square kilometres and includes more than 30 historical prospects, shafts and adits with an overall length of contiguous mineralisation of some 5.4 kilometres. Also staked is the Navarre Creek property, some 6.5 kilometres west of Empire, over a 9.8 square kilometre area geologically similar to the Carlin Trend gold belt in Nevada suggesting excellent potential for precious metal discoveries.
In May 2019 an updated resource model, resulted in a "Measured and Indicated" resource of 15.17 million tonnes at 0.49% copper containing 73,872 tonnes of copper, 29,813 tonnes of zinc, 139,000 ounces of gold, and 6,038,000 ounces of silver at a 0.184% copper cut-off grade.
The total 23.14 square kilometre property could, according to Phoenix’s consulting geologist, host a world class porphyry copper/gold deposit. At the same time early production can be achieved from the “Measured and Indicated” oxide resources already identified.
The Company is now working to complete a Bankable Feasibility Study ("BFS") on the open pit oxide project. At a 0.325% copper cut-off grade there are over 10 million tonnes in the "Measured and Indicated" category resource with an average grade of 0.61% copper and 0.22% zinc, plus five million tonnes of low-grade stockpile for subsequent processing. The current strategy is for the development of a low capital cost, fast-track open pit mine, producing 8,000 tonnes of copper and zinc annually. The potential to recover the gold and silver as a second stage standalone project after the extraction of copper and zinc from the heap leach pads will also be evaluated.
A new zone of surface mineralisation in the Empire block, now named Red Star, was discovered during the 2018 drilling programme, located 330 metres north-northwest of the Empire oxide pit.
Three drill holes into the zone returned assays of high-grade lead and silver sulphides including intercepts of 20% lead and 39.4 ounces of silver per tonne. Red Star represents an exciting near-surface sulphide exploration prospect.
The results from two 2017 deep diamond drill holes confirmed the presence of higher-grade sulphide mineralisation in the skarn structures at depth below the Empire Mine historical workings.
Both core holes intersected mineralised skarn over much of their length and the analytical data from both drill holes intersected numerous significant intervals of copper, gold, silver, zinc, lead, and tungsten throughout their depths.
The tungsten values were particularly interesting as they positively reinforced the Company's consulting geologist's predictions of the Empire system hosting significant values of tungsten at depth. Following a site visit In April 2019, Nigel Maund, the Company’s consultant geologist, completed an update of his 2015 geological report of the Empire Mine. Amongst his conclusions, he confirmed that the Empire Mine comprises a world class polymetallic ore system containing tungsten and molybdenum, as well as copper, gold, silver, zinc and lead. He also concluded that the mine is sited along a major north south structure, with some five kilometres of geologic strike (of which the footprint of the heap leach open pit copper project is one-kilometre). Furthermore, he reported that exploration has to date focused on the near surface oxides in the proposed open pit and concluded that only 1% to 2% of the ore system has been tested to date.
Borah Resources is a 100% Idaho registered subsidiary of the Company. Given the world's growing need for battery metals and cobalt in particular the Company’s Redcastle and Bighorn properties represent a timely acquisition, strategically located in the USA's only prospective cobalt region, the Idaho Cobalt Belt, approximately 100 miles north of the Empire Mine.
With a management team that has successfully constructed, commissioned and operated mines, a low risk mining-friendly jurisdiction and excellent infrastructure, Phoenix is looking to fulfil its ambitions to become a mid-tier base metal and precious metal producer.
With 23.14 square kilometres of highly prospective claims it will apply modern exploration techniques to find the world class porphyry deposit at the same time.