Imperial Metals Corp. [III-TSX] reported diamond drill results for hole CW-23-01B, the first of five drill holes from the Whiting Creek 2023 exploration program, British Columbia. The drill results include an intercept of 52.6 metres grading 0.45% copper and 1.29 grams per tonne silver starting from the top of bedrock at a depth of 67.4 metres.
The Whiting Creek prospect forms part of the Huckleberry property and is located approximately 8.5 km north of the Huckleberry mill. The target is a calc-alkalic porphyry associated with the Bulkley plutonic suite, like the Huckleberry deposit. Veining and strong hydrothermal alteration are prevalent throughout the area, along with a pyritic halo approximately six km by three km in plan dimension. The dominant intrusive is the Whiting Creek stock, which is a body of biotite-rich quartz diorite to granodiorite, approximately three km by four km in surface dimension.
Over the past two years, Imperial has conducted a program of geological mapping, geochemical surveys, whole rock trace element studies, and airborne and surface geophysical surveys over the Whiting Creek area. Numerous drill targets were identified, and, in July and August of 2023, Imperial completed 2,031 metres of diamond drilling on the Whiting Creek prospect. This year’s drilling targeted an underexplored area called Creek zone West located 450 metres west of Creek zone drill hole WC2016-02, which intersected 222.5 metres at 0.309% copper, 0.017% molybdenum and 1.18 g/t silver in 2016. Drilling at Creek zone West targeted overlapping geophysical and geochemical anomalies, and the northwestern covered contact between the Whiting Creek stock and the surrounding Telkwa formation volcanics.
Hole CW-23-01B was drilled at 225 degrees azimuth and a dip of minus 50 degrees to a final depth of 408 metres. Veined and altered andesite volcanic and intrusive rocks associated with the Whiting Creek stock were the primary lithologies encountered. Numerous mafic to intermediate post-mineral dikes crosscut all lithologies in a northwest to southeast trend following a prominent structural trend on the property.
Copper, molybdenum and silver mineralization occurs throughout hole CW-23-01B within every lithology except the post-mineral dikes. Higher-grade copper mineralization is concentrated in the veined and altered andesite volcanics. The hole intersected 316.8 metres grading 0.23% copper, 0.008% molybdenum and 0.89 g/t silver from 67.4 metres, including 52.6 metres grading 0.45% copper, 0.006% molybdenum and 1.29 g/t silver starting from the top of bedrock at a depth of 67.4 metres to 120 metres, and 37.5 metres of 0.32% copper, 0.005% molybdenum and 1.72 g/t silver from 320.0 metres to 357.5 metres. The highest-grade section, from 67.4 metres to 120 metres, was extremely fractured and contained chalcocite coatings on pyrite-chalcopyrite-bearing veins along fracture planes, which may reflect a zone of supergene enrichment.
While historic drill holes in the Creek zone intersected copper and molybdenum within the Whiting Creek stock, intercepts from 2023 drilling confirm/suggest that the surrounding altered volcanics can host significant mineralization. This is an important discovery as the highest copper concentrations and the majority of production at the Huckleberry mine have come from the altered contact volcanics. Additionally, intercepts from hole CW-23-01B identified a chalcocite-enriched zone in the upper fractured rock and has expanded known copper mineralization 450 metres to the west.
Whiting Creek has been targeted over several generations of exploration, with numerous geochemical, geophysical and drill programs conducted. Prominent surface gossans have attracted attention from explorers since the early 20th century. Previous exploration has discovered promising geophysical anomalies, large copper-in-soils anomaly and numerous significant drill intercepts in a number of zones.
Imperial is a Vancouver-based exploration, mine development and operating company with holdings that include the Mount Polley mine (100%), the Huckleberry mine (100%) and the Red Chris mine (30%). Imperial also holds a portfolio of 23 greenfield exploration properties in British Columbia. to advance many of these properties.