Western Copper & Gold Corp.’s [WRN-TSX, NYSE American] on Monday released new drill results from its 100%-owned Casino copper-gold-molybdenum deposit in the Canadian Yukon.
The latest results are from the 2021 diamond drill program, which was developed with input from Rio Tinto Plc [RIO-NYSE]. It consisted of 6,074 metres in 22 holes.
Drilling highlights include 2.53% copper equivalent (CuEQ) over 65.8 metres and 1.01% CuEq over 289.6 metres in hole DDH21-07.
This intercept confirmed the higher-grade nature of the upper zones of sulphide mineralization within previous holes and extended these higher-grade zones by approximately 100 metres of true vertical depth.
Hole DDH21-09 returned a 65.8-metre intercept of 2.53% CuEq from 10.6 metres, one of the highest-grade intercepts drilled on the property to date.
New assay results have been released after the company recently launched a feasibility study at Casino that is based on the results of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) which was announced in June, 2021. The PEA envisages a large open pit operation, a concentrator to recover copper, gold, silver and molybdenum, and a solid waste facility to store mine waste rock and mill tailings.
The project will also feature a heap leach facility to recover gold, silver, and copper from oxide ore as well as 130 kilometres of access road and an on-site power generation facility.
The principal objective of the feasibility study will be to demonstrate positive economic indicators for the Casino Project. It will also form the basis of the environmental and socio-economic statement, the submission of which is the next step in the environmental process under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act.
The feasibility study is designed to build on the PEA released earlier this year and provide a foundation for permitting and other activities as the project advances.
The economic potential at Casino was underlined recently by news that Rio Tinto had pledged to take a $35.6 million strategic investment in Western Copper & Gold.
The move was seen as an opportunity for Rio Tinto to gain a better understanding of Casino project, which ranks as one of the largest copper-gold projects in Canada. It is estimated to host measured and indicated resources 14.5 million ounces of gold and 7.6 billion pounds of copper. On top of that is an inferred resource of 6.6 million ounces of gold and 3.3 billion pounds of copper.
The PEA envisages an initial capital investment of $3.25 billion as well as life of mine pre-tax cash flow of $13 billion ($9.1 billion) after tax.
Results from nine new drill holes essentially confirmed or, in some cases, improved upon historical drilling in the area. “This confirmation, and in some cases an increase in grades and/or extension of higher-grade zone is an important achievement of these initial results,’’ the company said in a press release.
On November 26, 2021, Western Copper shares closed at $1.77 and currently trade in a 52-week range of $3.35 and $1.45.