An ongoing project that could return mining to the forefront of the economy of northern Vancouver Island remains years from fruition.
But proponents say 2020 did a lot to bring them closer to their goal and 2021 is promising more of the same.
Northisle Copper and Gold owns the Red Dog and Hushamu deposits, part of a 33,149-hectare block of mineral titles that stretches 50 kilometres northwest from the now-closed Island Copper Mine, 10 kilometres south of Port Hardy.
Proponents have stated the North Island Project could potentially be on the same scale as the Island Copper Mine that shut down in Port Hardy in 1993, employing between 500 and 600 people, with the promise of even greater spinoffs.
“The past few months have been an exciting time to be a Northisle shareholder,” Northisle CEO Sam Lee, said in a news release. “We have taken several significant steps in 2020 including strengthening our leadership team, raising funds to take us through the next several key milestones, and completing positive metallurgical studies at Red Dog and Hushamu.
“We have also worked to share the Northisle story with a larger group of investors and stakeholders and are encouraged by our conversations to date.”
Northisle expects an update to its 2017 Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.
“We believe it will clearly demonstrate that the North Island Project is one of the premier copper development opportunities in the world,” said Lee, adding the project to date has exceeded expectations.
“We are developing an aggressive drill program in 2021 that looks at substantially increasing our resources at Red Dog and Hushamu, while targeting the high-level alteration lithocaps at the prospective Pemberton Hills target.”
Lee adds they expect to accelerate activities significantly.
“We are finalizing our plans for comprehensive engagement with Indigenous nations, communities and key project stakeholders, designing an exploration program targeted at several highly prospective areas of the property, and continuing to add breadth and depth to our team.”
He expects to initiate a Preliminary Feasibility Study, which could lead into a full feasibility study. And if that’s positive, it would go into a permitting stage, which takes two to three years and looks at the environmental impacts.
Northisle listed the following as among its 2020 achievements:
- Expanding the board and executive team
- closing an oversubscribed $3.2 million financing of common shares
- completing key metallurgical studies on the North Island Project.
- determining Red Dog copper and gold recovery estimate increased to 89.8 per cent and 53.0 per cent, respectively.
- determining Hushamu copper and gold recovery estimate increased to as much as 87.9 per cent and 50.8 per cent, respectively.
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