Schaft Creek JV in British Columbia advances to prefeasibility stage

Logging drill core at the Schaft Creek copper-gold-molybdenum project in northwest B.C. Credit: Copper Fox Metals

The Schaft Creek joint venture – 75% Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.A, TECK.B; NYSE: TECK) and 25% Copper Fox Metals (TSXV: CUU) – is advancing the copper-gold-molybdenum-silver project to the prefeasibility stage.

The project is located in northwest British Columbia about 60 km south of Telegraph Creek and near an existing seaport. The study is due by the end of 2024 or early 2025.

Planned expenditures at Schaft Creek this year are C$18.7 million, which will be fully funded by Teck. Metallurgical tests will be concluded, and drilling will be carried out in the high wall, tailings storage facility and the rock storage facility.

Engineering studies of those sites and proposed infrastructure will be done, and the road alignment and the construction timeline will be updated. Updates to the resource, geologic, structural and slope stability models will also be made. The environmental baseline data collection begun last year will continue with the collaboration of the Tahltan Nation.

A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) was done for Schaft Creek in 2021. At that time, a pre-tax net present value with an 8% discount was $1.4 billion and the internal rate of return was 15.2%. The after-tax NPV8% was $841.1 million and IRR was 12.9%.

Over a 21-year mine life, 5 billion lb. of copper, 3.7 million oz. of gold, 226 million lb. of molybdenum and 16.4 million oz. of silver in concentrate will be produced.

The initial capex was given as $2.65 billion, and the sustaining costs were $848.7 million, including closure costs of $154 million. All-in sustaining costs were estimated at $1.18/lb. payable copper.

Also in 2021, the resource estimate was upgraded to 1.3 billion tonnes grading 0.26% copper, 0.16 g/t gold, 0.017% molybdenum and 1.25 g/t silver in the measured and indicated category. The M+I resource contains 7.77 billion lb. of copper, 1.18 million oz. gold, 511 million lb. molybdenum and 9.3 million oz. silver.

There is also an inferred reserve of 344 million tonnes grading 0.17% copper, 0.11 g/t gold, 0.013% molybdenum and 0.84 g/t silver.