Imperial Metals Corp. [III-TSX; IPMLF-OTC] and Australian partner Newcrest Mining Ltd. [NCM-ASX] said drilling at the Red Chris copper and gold mine in northwestern British Columbia continues to validate the recent discovery of a high-grade pod in the East Zone area.
Partial results from drill hole RC634, located in the East Zone, returned 394 metres grading 1.6 g/t gold and 0.86% copper starting at 650 metres, and include a 166-metre interval grading 3.0 g/t and 1.5% copper from 806 metres down the hole.
The drilling program is being run by Newcrest, operator, which bought a 70% stake in the Red Chris mine from Imperial Metals last year for US$806.5 million in cash. Imperial continues to hold a 30% stake in the joint venture. In 2019, Red Chris produced 71.9 million pounds of copper, 36,471 ounces of gold and 133,879 ounces of silver.
When Newcrest acquired the 70% stake last year, Newcrest Managing Director and CEO Sandeep Biswas said the company has identified a clear path to potentially turning Red Chris into a Tier 1 operation. In keeping with that goal, the joint venture has said it will leverage Newcrest’s unique technical expertise in block caving operations.
A plan to mine the deep resource beneath the current open pits will be developed to exploit the high grades in the deep East Zone, Newcrest said.
In an exploration update released in January, 2020, Imperial said there were two drilling campaigns underway at the mine site. The first was a resource definition program in the East Zone, designed to obtain geological, geotechnical and metallurgical data to support future studies for underground block cave mining.
The second was a Brownfields Exploration Program, aimed at searching for additional zones of higher grade mineralization within the Red Chris porphyry corridor.
In a March 2020 update, Imperial said drill results (hole RC611) confirmed the presence of a high-grade zone averaging more than 5 g/t gold. It said the high grade “pod” was approximately 100 by 100 metres and 200 metres in height.
In the September 9 press release, Biswas said, “Drilling results at Red Chris have returned 166 metres grading 3.0 g/t gold and 1.5% copper, which is significantly higher than we would expect to find in porphyry systems. Red Chris results also confirm the presence of multiple discrete high-grade pods of mineralization within the East Zone.”
On Wednesday, September 9, 2020, Imperial Metals shares rose 0.31% or $0.01 to $3.25 in light trading volume. The shares currently trade in a 52-week range of $3.56 and 99 cents.