Imperial Metals (TSX: III) reports that drilling at the newly discovered East Ridge zone at the Red Chris copper-gold mine continues to return long and strong assays. The mine near Dease Lake, B.C., is owned 70% by Australia’s Newcrest Mining (TSX: NCM; ASX: NSM; OTC: MCMGF) and 30% by Imperial.
Drillhole RD705 returned 254 metres of 1.1% copper and 1 g/t gold from a depth of 718 metres, including 80 metres of 1.4% copper and 1.6 g/t gold. Assays from this hole and the previously reported RC678 confirm the continuity of the mineralization over 300 metres vertically.
Drilling continues at the East Ridge zone, which is adjacent to the East zone, on a nominal 100 by 100 metre grid. Fourteen holes have been completed and six are in progress.
A stepout hole drilled 700 metres east of East Ridge returned 206 metres grading 0.5% copper and 0.2 g/t gold from 1,816 metres. This is one of the deepest intercepts on the property and extends the potential mineralization even further.
As operator, Newcrest is working on a prefeasibility study due this month of an underground block cave mine in addition to the open pit now being mined. Construction of an exploration decline into the East zone began earlier this year. Surface drilling has already confirmed the presence of several high grade pods in the zone, and development of a small underground producer would boost cash flow at the operation.
A full feasibility study for underground mining is due in mid-2022.
Last year the Red Chris mine produced 25,000 tonnes of copper and 39,000 oz. of gold.