By Ellsworth Dickson
Kutcho Copper Corp. [KC-TSXV, KCCFF-OTC] is advancing the Kutcho high-grade copper-zinc project 100 km east of Dease Lake and Highway 37, northern British Columba, one of two routes linking BC to the Yukon and Alaska. It is also accessible by airstrip and seasonal road from Hwy 37, which connects Smithers to the port at Stewart. Kutcho Copper, previously known as Desert Star Resources, acquired a 100% interest last year from Capstone Mining Corp. [CS-TSX] six months after announcing a cash ($28.8 million) and stock deal that resulted in Capstone owning a 9.9% stake in Desert Star, now Kutcho Copper. See Resource World Feb-Mar 2018, p.27.
Backed by a $100 million financing package arranged with Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. [WPM-TSX, NYSE], Kutcho has significant near-term upside potential in both the project economics and expansion of existing mineral reserves and resources.
Mineralization is hosted in three known volcanic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits. The largest is the Main deposit. The other two are Sumac and Esso. An updated Pre-Feasibility Study based on a 1% cut-off copper grade, stated measured and indicated resources are 16.8 million tonnes grading 1.89% copper, 2.87% zinc, 0.36 g/t gold and 32.8 g/t silver. Inferred resources are 5.8 million tonnes grading 1.33% copper, 1.64% zinc, 0.24 g/t gold and 23.2 g/t silver for a 1.79% copper equivalent. The ore is expected to support a 12-year mine life with a 2,500 tonne-per-day production rate. Total production over the life of the mine would be 378 million lbs copper, and 473 million lbs zinc, plus by-product gold and silver.
Average annual production is forecast at 33 million lbs copper and 46 million lbs zinc, plus by-products gold and silver. The company aims to double the production rate from 2017 forecasts to 100 million lbs copper equivalent annually. Initial capital costs, including a 15% contingency, are estimated at $220.7 million.