By Peter Kennedy
Kodiak Copper Corp. [KDK-TSXV; KDKCF-OTCQB; FRA-Frankfurt] is focused on a promising copper-gold project in southern British Columbia that appears to have the hallmarks of a potentially large, multi-centered porphyry system.
The company’s flagship MPD project is located in a well-established mining belt in British Columbia, where the exploration strategy is led by a management team with a proven track record of success in the lucrative exploration sector.
Kodiak Copper founder and Chairman Chris Taylor is best known for his previous success with Great Bear Resources, a company that was recently acquired by Kinross Gold Corp. [K-TSX, KGC-NYSE] in a $1.8 billion deal. His aim is to repeat that success with Kodiak, using a similar exploration strategy in an area of B.C., that is already home to some of Canada’s best known mining operations. The strategy involves demonstrating the potential scale of the project rather than outlining a resource estimate in a specific area of the property.
It is hoped that this will attract major mining industry players, such as Teck Resources Ltd. [TECK.B-TSX, TECK.A-TSX, TECK-NYSE] which already holds a 9.9% stake in Kodiak. Teck acquired its interest after the junior reported the discovery of a significant high-grade copper-gold extension of MPD’s Gate zone in September, 2020. The Gate zone is high-grade copper-gold zone within a large porphyry system.
The headline drill result was a 282-metre section of drill core from hole MPD-20-004, which returned 0.70% copper and 0.49 g/t gold (1.16% copper equivalent, including 45.7 metres of 1.41% copper and 1.46 g/t gold (2.75 CuEq). Kodiak President and CEO Claudia Tornquist described the result as “transformative” for the project and said the gold values alone would have been regarded as a successful discovery in the absence of any copper values. Those results sent the stock price soaring to $3.23 in October, 2020.
On July 10, 2023, the shares were trading at 75 cents, in a 52-week range of $1.40 and 49.5 cents.
MPD is located in the Quesnel Trough, B.C.’s primary copper-producing belt, the one that hosts Teck Resource’s Highland Valley copper mine, Imperial Metals Corp.’s [III-TSX] Mount Polley mine, and Centerra Gold Inc.’s [CG-TSX, CAGDF-OTC] Mount Milligan mine.
In a recent site visit to the MPD project, hosted by Kodiak’s CEO Claudia Tornquist, Resource World along with several other reporters toured the property which consists of a large land package representing the consolidation of three prospect areas (Man, Prime and Dillard).
The 4,980 hectares of adjacent ground, known as the Axe claims, were acquired from Orogen Royalties Inc. [OGN-TSXV] in April, 2021. At the time of the acquisition, Kodiak said Axe is host to a porphyry complex consisting of four drill-proven copper-gold porphyry centres (West, Adit, Mid and South) and has the potential for additional targets similar to the Gate Zone.
Kodiak said it believes there is considerable exploration upside at depth, and in underexplored areas of the Axe claims, including a copper, gold molybdenum in soil anomaly known as the 1516 Zone.
Kodiak acquired the Axe property in exchange for 950,000 shares issued to Orogen, which holds a 2.0% net smelter return royalty on the property. Picking up the Axe claims expanded Kodiak’s land holdings to 14,716 hectares. The subsequent acquisition of the Donald Rippon property in February, 2023, increased Kodiak’s land position to 22,642 hectares or 226 square kilometres.
Exploration on the southern portion of the MPD project dates back to the 1920s but prior to Kodiak’s involvement, MPD was never explored as a single project with modern techniques.
Kodiak acquired the project in November, 2018, believing it has the potential to yield a major copper-gold porphyry system. That was in part because many historically drilled copper intervals have similar grades to those reported at adjacent copper mines. Historical drilling included 129 drill holes completed between 1966 and 2014 by operators that included Rio Tinto Plc [RIO-NYSE] and Newmont Corp. [NGT-TSX, NEM-NYSE].
Drilling in 2019 resulted in the discovery of the Gate Zone. Highlights from maiden drilling included 102 metres of 0.53% copper and 0.16 g/t gold (0.68% CuEq), marking what was then the best hole in the history of the property.
Drilling from 2022 to 2022 focused primarily on extending the Gate Zone to 1.0 kilometre north-south by 350 kilometres east-west and to a depth of 900 metres. Drilling last year also led to the discovery of the parallel Prime Zone over 400 metres in length and down to a depth of 550 metres.
However, rather than establishing a resource estimate at Gate, company officials hope to create more value for shareholders this year by focusing on other targets outside of the Gate Zone. The project is known to contain 18 target areas, only three of which Gate, Prime and Dillard have been significantly tested so far.
The company said a large program of up to 25,000 metres is planned for 2023 and will focus on multiple target areas that have not previously been drilled. Target areas on the original MPD North claims, include the Man, Beyer, Dillard East, Blue, Sky and Eclipse areas.
Target areas at MPD South (Axe claims), include the 1516, South and West Zones.
Kodiak recently disclosed that a 3D Induced Polarisation geophysical survey had identified a new drill target from surface to a depth of 600 metres, extending below shallow historic copper and gold mineralization of the Man Zone in the northern part of the MPD property.
The company said drilling continues on the West Zone target in the MPD South area where Kodiak recently announced that new drill holes have intersected porphyry mineralization and sulphides with the deepest hole completed so far ending at 820 metres.
The first batch of 2023 drill results are due to be released before the end of July, 2023.
The company said drilling to date supports retaining a drill rig in the porphyry cluster containing the West, South and Adit targets, and the addition of a second drill rig to test other high priority targets, including the 1516, Man and Beyer zones. As of June 6, 2023, the company had completed four holes (2,450 metres) into the West Zone target at MPD South (formerly Axe).
Kodiak is financially equipped to carry out its exploration plans after raising $8.4 million, from an oversubscribed non-brokered private placement and a concurrent financing that was backed by Teck.
Aside from MPD, Kodiak’s portfolio includes the Mohave copper-molybdenum-silver porphyry project in Arizona. Located near Freeport-McMoran Inc.’s [FCX-NYSE] Bagdad mine, Mohave is the site of two small scale historic mines – Wikieup Queen copper oxide, and Scott Fault molybdenum-lead-silver — that operated in the 1950s and 1960s. Permits are in place and maiden drilling could begin as soon as market conditions prompt a decision to proceed.