Kutcho Copper Corp. [KC-TSXV; KCCFF-OTC] released a progress report on the feasibility study for its 100%-owned high-grade Kutcho copper-zinc project 100 km east of Dease Lake, northern British Columbia, being led by CSA Global Consultants Canada Ltd. (an ERM Group company).
Following a series of trade-off studies, including advanced engineering and optimization work and initial consultations with our key Project partners and stakeholders, Kutcho Copper has made several enhancements to the design and engineering of the project that the company believes will unlock significant accretive economic value. Highlights of project optimizations will be incorporated in the upcoming feasibility studythat will include:
Open pit mining the majority of the Main deposit, allowing the company to capitalize on the high-grade, near-surface mineralization, resulting in lower operating costs than underground mining. The remainder of the Main deposit and all of the Esso deposit will continue to be evaluated assuming underground extraction by longitudinal longhole open stoping;
Re-estimated mineral resource, based on the open pit mining scenario for the Main deposit has resulted in a 21% increase in tonnes in the Measured and Indicated categories compared to the previous estimate of mineral resources at the Main deposit, providing Kutcho Copper shareholders with enhanced leverage to copper. This increase in tonnage is mainly due to a lower cut-off grade resulting from the change from underground to primarily open pit extraction methods in the Main deposit area;
The updated mineral resource in the Measured and Indicated category totals 22.8 million tonnes averaging 1.52% copper and 2.18% zinc (2.26% CuEq) representing over 1.1 billion pounds of copper equivalent contained metal, comprising 765 million pounds of contained copper, 1.1 billion pounds of contained zinc, 288 koz of contained gold, and 20.6 Moz of contained silver;
Improved project scale, with ore feed to the crusher increasing from 2,500 to 4,500 tonnes per day (“tpd”) as a result of the switch to open pit mining of the Main deposit as compared to the 2017 pre-feasibility study;
Introduction of ore sorting, based on positive bulk sample test results and project optimization studies, which should result in higher grade feed and reduced flotation plant size, thereby reducing capital and operating costs;
Improved metallurgical recoveries compared to prior studies, based on completed test work;
Enhancements to the project to reduce the environmental effects, including: a compact project footprint that avoids sensitive fish habitat; an open pit design and scheduling focused on minimizing the potential for acid rock drainage and metal leaching; backfilled open pit and underground workings to reduce the surface footprint; and a tailings management facility accommodating the reduced tailings from the flotation plant as a result of the introduction of ore sorting.
These initiatives are anticipated to result in a mining operation with lower operating costs the company believes has the potential to benefit the project economics.
“Given the significant scope of the design improvements between the 2017 PFS and the FS, we now anticipate the results of the Feasibility Study to be announced by the end of October 2021. We believe this short delay is well worth the benefit in realising the full and enhanced economic potential of the Project for all our shareholders and partners,” said Vince Sorace, President and CEO. “Negotiations for our recently announced Economic Participation Agreements with the Kaska Nation and the Tahltan Nation will be based on the optimized project design. Together, all these factors will allow us to continue advancing the Project toward permitting and a production decision.”