Cardero Resources Corp. [CDU-TSX, CDYCF-OTC, CR5-FSE] has filed a NI 43-101 compliant technical report containing details of a preliminary economic assessment for its Zonia Copper Project in Arizona. The Zonia Copper Oxide Project is located in the north end of the Weaver Mountains in the Walnut Grove Mining District in Yavapai County.
It has been held under private ownership for almost 100 years and has undergone extensive historical exploration, metallurgical studies and mine development planning. The majority of the mineralized area was pre-stripped during previous open-pit mining operations in 1966, as 17 million tons were mined with 7 million tons stacked on heap leach pads, producing cement copper up until 1975.
The property has been drilled tested with almost 700 drill holes (60,000 metres). This high density drilling covers 30% of the property and defines the current resource estimate, reducing the technical risk on the deposit. Mineralization is mostly open to the northeast, providing considerable opportunity to grow the resource.
A March 2018, PEA on the Zonia deposit concludes that the economics of the project are excellent and gives Cardero the assurance to advance the project through feasibility. Cardero has an option agreement with privately-owned, Colorado-based Redstone Resources Corp. under which Cardero can acquire a 100% interest in the Zonia project.
Highlights of the PEA are as follows:
- After tax net present value of 8% and IRR of $192 million and 29% respectively, with a 2.89-year payback of initial capital.
- Initial capital of $198 million.
- Cumulative net cash flow, after taxes, of $331 million.
Other highlights include average annual production of 49.1 million pounds of copper over a mine life of 8.6 years, based on mill throughput of 30,000 tonnes per day. Mining costs are forecast at US64 cents/lb.
For the 2017 mineral resource estimate, independent consultant Tetra Tech completed an independent mineral resource and reserve estimate of contained copper in the Zonia deposit. It came up with a measured and indicated resource of 76.8 million tons over 0.33% copper or 510 million pounds. On top of that is an inferred resource of 27.2 million tons, grading 0.28% copper or 154.6 million pounds.
According to the PEA, the Zonia Project would employ open pit mining with a conventional copper acid leach system. The mineralized material would be crushed in a three-stage crushing circuit to a nominal P80 size of 25 millimetres.
The crushed material would be agglomerated with acid containing solutions using either raffinate or fresh sulfuric acid and then delivered to the heap via overland conveyor and grasshopper conveyors and stacked in 10-metre lifts with a radial stacker operating in a retreat mode.
Cardero shares fell 3.57% or $0.005 to 13.5 cents on Friday. The 52-week range for the shares is 21.5 cents and 7 cents.