Kutcho Copper Corp. [KC-TSXV; KCCFF-OTC] has announced the results of ongoing metallurgical testing on its 100%-owned Kutcho Project located approximately 100 km east of Dease Lake, northern British Columbia. The company said the test program is part of the work completed or under way that is designed to support completion of a feasibility study for the project.
Kutcho said it achieved recoveries of up to 92.3% copper and 84.2% zinc in metallurgical locked cycle tests completed on composites representing a range of proposed process plant feed characteristics found within the Main Lens, including sulphur content, copper grade and copper mineralogy. That marked an improvement on 2017 pre-feasibility life-of-mine results, including improved zinc concentrate grades and the rejection of zinc from the copper concentrate.
Silver performance was also significantly improved, the company said in a press release on September 11, 2019.
Selected copper and zinc concentrates produced from the 2019 cycle tests were analysed for minor trace elements and were found to be free of impurities which would typically attract smelter penalties.
Kutcho shares rallied on the news, rising 16% or $0.03 to 22 cents. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of 13 cents and 46 cents.
Kutcho Copper, formerly known as Desert Star Resources Ltd., acquired a 100% interest in the Kutcho Project from Capstone Mining Corp. [CS-TSX] in June 2017. Capstone now owns a 13.5% stake in Kutcho Copper.
In December, 2017, the company closed a $20 million subordinated secured convertible term debt loan and a US$65 million early deposit precious metals purchase agreement with Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. [WPM-TSX, NYSE]. The deal entitled Wheaton to up to 100% of the payable silver production and up to 100% of the gold production from the Kutcho copper-zinc-silver-gold project.
Mineralization on the 17,060-hectare property is hosted in three known volcanic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits. The largest is the Main deposit. The other two are Sumac and Esso.
According to an updated mineral resource estimate that will be used for an upcoming feasibility study, measured and indicated resources in all deposits stand at 17.3 million tonnes grading 2.61% copper equivalent, 1.85% copper, 2.72% zinc, 0.49 g/t gold and 33.9 g/t silver.
On top of that is an inferred resource of 10.7 million tonnes of 1.67% copper equivalent, 1.18% copper, 1.76% zinc, 0.26 g/t gold and 21.5 g/t silver.
The updated estimate includes an 84% increase in the inferred mineral resources compared to the 2017 resource estimate. In addition, there remains significant exploration potential between, below and along strike from the existing mineral resources, providing further upside opportunities to grow the size of the project, Kutcho has said.
“This expanded mineral resource will form the foundation for the feasibility study, which is slated to be completed in Q2/Q3 2019, said Kutcho President and CEO Vince Sorace.
The 2017 pre-feasibility study envisaged a 12-year mine life with a 2,500 tonne-per-day production rate. Total payable production over the life of the mine was expected to be 378 million pounds of copper, and 473 million pounds of zinc, plus by-product gold and silver.
Average annual production was forecast at 33 million pounds of copper and 42 million pounds of zinc, plus by-product gold and silver. However, the company aims to double the production rate from 2017 forecasts to 100 million pounds of copper equivalent annually.
Initial capital costs, including a 15% contingency, have been estimated at $220.7 million.