2020 was a strong year for local mining company Northisle Copper and Gold (Northisle), and the company says it is excited for what is coming in the future.
Northisle owns 100 per cent of the Red Dog and Hushamu deposits at the company’s North Island Project.
The North Island Project is a 33,149-hectare block of mineral titles that stretches 50 kilometres northwest from the now-closed Island Copper Mine and located 10 kilometres south of Port Hardy. It contains the Hushamu and Red Dog Deposits and five other partially explored copper-gold porphyry occurrences.
Sam Lee, CEO of Northisle, commented in a news release that, “The past few months have been an exciting time to be a Northisle shareholder. We have taken several significant steps in 2020 including strengthening our leadership team, raising funds to take us through the next several key milestones and completing positive metallurgical studies at Red Dog and Hushamu. We have also worked to share the Northisle story with a larger group of investors and stakeholders and are encouraged by our conversations to date.”
Since joining Northisle in October, Lee says he has been “incredibly pleased with the high-quality people that we have been able to attract at the board and management level with the addition of Kevin O’Kane and Nicholas Van Dyk. I have been working closely with the entire team as we develop the plan for the North Island Project including advancing discussions with relevant stakeholders regarding utilizing the existing infrastructure at the adjacent Island Copper Mine.”
An update to the 2017 Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) is ongoing and expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. “We believe it will clearly demonstrate that the North Island Project is one of the premier copper development opportunities in the world driven by its attractive economics, modest capital requirements that are reasonably financeable, proximity to existing mining infrastructure and tidewater, and based in a secure and socially responsible mining jurisdiction,” noted Lee, who added that it has been gratifying working closely with Jack McClintock, who is widely recognized as being one of the leading authorities in copper and gold porphyry systems around the world. “The prospective nature of our over 33,000 ha, spanning a 50km porphyry district play, has exceeded my expectations. We are developing an aggressive drill program in 2021 that looks at substantially increasing our resources at Red Dog and Hushamu, while targeting the high-level alteration lithocaps at the prospective Pemberton Hills target.”
As for 2021, Lee says they expect to continue to “accelerate our activities significantly. We are finalizing our plans for comprehensive engagement with Indigenous nations, communities and key project stakeholders, designing an exploration program targeted at several highly prospective areas of the property, and continuing to add breadth and depth to our team as we advance the North Island Project responsibly, and rapidly, through the key milestones of the de-risking process.”
He added that activity will continue to accelerate with “advancement of discussions with Indigenous nations and community engagement activities, initiating PFS (Preliminary Feasibility Study) work at the North Island Project as well as an aggressive exploration program on high potential targets.”
After NorthIsle updates the 2017 PEA, which is a scoping study that looks at the economics and how much work has to get done to get these deposits into production, then the company will do the PFS to flesh out the numbers that have been calculated in the PEA.
If the PFS is positive, Northisle would then go into a full feasibility study. And if that’s positive, it would go into a permitting stage which takes two to three years and looks at the environmental impacts.
If the mine does indeed go ahead, McLintock previously stated it could potentially be on the same scale as the Island Copper Mine that shut down back in 1993, employing between 500 and 600 people and there could be more spin-off from that, if successful.
Northisle listed its 2020 achievements as the following:
Expanding the board and executive team, closing an oversubscribed $3.2 million financing of common shares and completing key metallurgical studies on the North Island Project.
Upcoming PEA will reflect several updates and improvements to the previously completed study, including:
Red Dog copper and gold recovery estimate increased to 89.8 per cent and 53.0 per cent, respectively.
Hushamu copper and gold recovery estimate increased to as much as 87.9 per cent and 50.8 per cent, respectively.
Inclusion of silver and rhenium recoveries.
Updated capital and operating costs, metal prices and exchange rate forecasts.