Copper Fox Metals' (CVE:CUU) president and CEO Elmer B. Stewart said in a conference call Tuesday that the company believes it is sitting not just on a copper deposit, but an entire district, and proving this will be "the emphasis of [its] 2012 program."
The conference call was held to discuss the updated NI 43-101 resource estimate for its Schaft Creek copper-gold-molybdenum-silver deposit in BC, released late last week.
Stewart said that proving Schaft Creek is a copper district will validate the area as having the potential to produce a long-term, multi-decade project that could add value to Copper Fox and others that may want to come into the area.
The recent updated report highlighted over 1.2 billion tonnes of measured and indicated resource, including silver content expected to have a “positive impact on the economics” of the deposit.
Stewart said, on a call to shareholders and analysts Tuesday, the results could potentially increase the overall magnitude of the Schaft Creek deposit – already one of the largest undeveloped copper, gold, molybdenum and silver deposits in North America, located in northwest British Columbia.
The resource estimate for the Schaft Creek deposit, using a base case 0.15% copper equivalent cut-off, includes 1.23 billion tonnes grading 0.26% copper, 0.017% molybdenum, 0.19 grams per tonne (g/t) gold and 1.69 g/t silver, containing 7.11 billion pounds copper, 455.3 million pounds molybdenum, 7.37 million ounces gold and 66.74 million ounces silver in the measured and indicated category.
Additionally, Stewart pointed out that the inferred resource is comprised of 597.2 million tonnes grading 0.22% copper, 0.016% molybdenum, 0.17 g/t gold and 1.65 g/t silver, containing 2.87 billion pounds copper, 206.3 million pounds molybdenum, 3.36 million ounces gold and 31.60 million ounces silver.
The resource estimate includes the silver content of mineralization in both the Paramount and Liard zones of the deposit.
"I believe one of the major feats [for the company] was having the silver brought back into the resource estimate," Stewart said.
He added that the measured and inferred resource categories, the total copper-molybdenum-gold-silver content, and the fact that the deposit is still open in several directions along strike "clearly indicates that the Schaft deposit is larger than we know today."
"Additional drilling will have to be completed to realize this potential and define the un-explored portions of the Schaft Creek deposit."
The latest resource estimate showed substantial increases in both tonnes and copper-molybdenum-gold-silver content at both the 0.15% and 0.20% copper-equivalent (CuEq) levels of cut-off, he continued.
"Given the very minimal decrease in average grade for each metal, we have been able to select a 0.15% CuEq cut-off," said Stewart.
"The base case results will be used to complete the feasibility study for the Schaft Creek project, which is expected to be completed by mid to late summer 2012."
The latest resource report, prepared by California-based Tetra Tech, used a total of 286 drill holes with 16,501 composited drill hole intervals at the Schaft Creek deposit.
The new resource compares to the one released last summer, prepared by AMEC Americas, which indicated that at a 0.20% copper equivalent cut-off, the deposit held 1.01 billion tonnes, grading 0.27% copper, 0.017% molybdenum and 0.18 grams per tonne (g/t) of gold, for a total of 6.1 billion pounds of contained copper, 383 million pounds of molybdenum, and 5.8 million ounces of gold.
Inferred resources, at the same cut-off, were estimated in July 2011 at 283.6 million tonnes at a copper equivalent grade of 0.39%, containing a further 1.5 billion pounds of copper, 69 million pounds of molybdenum, and 1.3 million ounces of gold.
The feasibility study for the project, also led by Tetra Tech, will be based on a minimum 120,000 tonnes per day (tpd) open pit mine. In 2008, the project was estimated to have a before tax net present value of $2.8 billion over a 23-year mine life, at an 8% discount rate.
Copper Fox holds title and a 100 per cent working interest in the 44,265.52-hectare Schaft Creek project.
The company plans to start diamond drilling sometime in early June on the discovery zone about 1,200 metres north of Schaft Creek to test the width and strike extent of mineralization.