Highland Copper acquires historic White Pine Copper Pro

Shares of Highland Copper (TSX.V: HI) gained nearly 15% during Tuesday’s market session .after announcing acquisition of the White Pine Copper Project located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The historic mine and mill complex produced nearly 1.7 million tonnes of copper and 4.5 million ounces of silver between 1953 and 1996.

Existing infrastructure includes a 40 megawatt power plant, copper refinery and water processing plant.

“The acquisition of White Pine is complementary with our existing Keweenaw project, particularly given the extensive infrastructure in place from past operations, and is a significant step towards further establishing Highland as a leader in the region,” said Highland Executive Chairman Dave Fennell in the news release.

White Pine was acquired from Copper Range Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals (TSX: FM).

Terms of the agreement call for Highland to issue three million shares and pay a half cent royalty on the first one billion pounds of National Instrument (NI) 43-101 Proven plus Probable copper reserves as well as a quarter cent royalty on each additional pound of copper beyond that. A definitive agreement is expected before February 2014.

In exchange Highland will receive mineral and surface rights to over 11,000 hectares of prospective lands, including the White Pine mill complex, which is currently under care and maintenance.

Once the transaction is completed, Highland plans to commence an infill drilling program to bring the historic reserves of the White Pine Deposit up to NI 43-101 standards as well as conduct metallurgical testing and environmental monitoring.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan has a long mining history of copper production dating back to the late 1800's. The White Pine District has produced over 15 billion tonnes of copper historically.

Highland is currently earning a 65% interest in the Keweenaw Project, which is located approximately 100 miles northeast of White Pine. The company must incur $11.5 million in development expenditures and produce a Feasibility Study (FS) prior to October 2015.

The Keweenaw land package encompasses over 9,000 hectares and includes the 543S Deposit, which contains historic resources (non 43-101 compliant) totaling 4.52 million tonnes grading 2.26% copper. Highland has completed over 170 drill holes across 27,000 meters at 543S since July 2012 and a compliant NI 43-101 resource estimate is underway.

Step out drilling has also discovered new mineralized zones. The 24 West Zone, located 700 meters to the southwest, recently returned assay results of 9.8 meters grading 2.63% copper and 7.8 g/t silver in drill hole CEN477.

Highland plans to begin permitting for Keweenaw in late 2014. The acquisition of the White Pine Mill will allow the company to potentially use the existing facilities to process ore from the 543S deposit and other future ore bodies.

Shares of Highland are traded on the TSX Venture under the ticker symbol HI. The company has 97 million shares outstanding on a fully diluted basis and holds a market cap of $28 million as of Wednesday's open.