Early indications are that test holes drilled in the Red Dog area are confirming historical resource data.
“Visually, anyway, (the results) came back pretty much as they were described in the historical drill holes,” said Northisle Copper and Gold President Jack McClintock, adding that so far things are looking “pretty positive”.
Northisle has completed four diamond drill holes which are required as part of the process of verifying the Red Dog historical resource.
Analysis of core samples is being done at BVL Minerals’ Vancouver facility. The results from the first, and potentially second, holes are expected this week.
If the results from the test holes are plus or minus 20 per cent of those that were originally reported, “that will be very successful for us,” McClintock said. Even if the percentages were lower, “it’s not like that’s the end of the world. We’d have to drill another two to four,” he said.
This year’s holes were placed from two to six metres away from the historical collars and drilled at the same azimuth and dip as the corresponding historical hole. The variation in distance was the result of the larger drilling rig used that could not safely be placed in all cases within two metres of the original drill hole.
A fifth drill hole, which McClintock calls a “disaster”, planned to test for deep porphyry copper mineralization, however, it was abandoned after three attempts due to heavily faulted ground. The maximum depth reached by the drill hole was 200 metres, well short of the target depth of 500 metres.
“The next step is that we will do metallurgy on core samples,” said McClintock.
This involves taking 80 kilograms of material from the four holes and checking it for copper and gold recoveries. “Then we would start a resource calculation (that) tells us the volume and the grade of the Red Dog deposits.”
Based on the resource and metallurgy, a mine plan would be developed that would determine what the reserve is, and what can be economically mined from the source.
This information would be used in the Preliminary Economic Assessment. If the Preliminary Economic Assessment is positive then the next step would be a pre-feasibility study that says “yes it is viable, or no it’s not.”
If these results are positive, Northisle would go into a full feasibility study, followed by the permitting stage which takes two to three years.
If a mine does go ahead, it would potentially be on the same scale as the Island Copper Mine and would employ between 500 and 600 people, McClintock said in a previous interview.
Red Dog is situated approximately 30 kilometres southwest of Port Hardy and contains the Hushamu Deposit and five other partially explored copper-gold porphyry occurrences.
The company has a current resource estimate of the Hushamu Deposit which has been filed on Sedar. The project is 100 per cent owned by Northisle.
The Red Dog site hosts a historical mineral resource of 20 million tonnes grading 0.30 per cent copper, 0.5 grams per tonne gold and 0.012 per cent molybdenum. Molybdenum is a chemical element primarily used as an alloying agent in steel.