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Copper Fox Announces a Positive Feasibility Study on the Schaft Creek Deposit

Friday, December 21, 2012 3:11 PM


Open Pit Mining, Processing at a Nominal Rate of 130,000 Tonnes Per Day; A 21 Year Mine Life Producing 4.88 Billion Pounds of Copper, 4.21 Million Ounces of Gold, 25.10 Million Ounces of Silver and 214.92 Million Pounds of Molybdenum

VANCOUVER, Dec. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - Copper Fox Metals Inc. ('Copper Fox' or the 'Company') (TSX-V: CUU) is very pleased to announce the results of a positive Feasibility Study on the Schaft Creek Project located in northwestern British Columbia, Canada.  The Feasibility Study was prepared under the direction of Tetra Tech, an industry leading international engineering firm, with a high level review of capital cost completed by Merit Consultants International Inc. ('Merit'), and an internal review conducted by Matt Bender, MBA, P.E.  The Feasibility Study, with capital costs defined to within plus/minus 15%, builds upon the previous Preliminary Economic Assessment and Preliminary Feasibility Study prepared by Samuel Engineering, Inc. in January and September of 2008 and metallurgical and geotechnical work completed in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Mr. Elmer Stewart, President & CEO said "I am extremely proud of the work put into this Feasibility Study by the Copper Fox team and its capable consultants.  Like all large scale projects located in alpine type terrain, this project did come with its own unique technical challenges. At an 8% discount rate as required in the Teck Option Agreement, the Feasibility Study confirms the technical and financial viability of a nominal 130,000 tonne-per-day ('tpd') copper mining and processing operation at Schaft Creek.  The Company will host a webcast conference call in mid-January, details will follow by way of a separate news release."

The Feasibility Study recommends diamond drilling to determine the extent to which the 171.16 million tonnes of inferred resource that lie within the proposed open pit, now treated as waste, can be upgraded to either a Measured or Indicated Mineral Resource.  If successful, this would categorize this rock as a revenue generator.

The project has a nominal 130,000 tpd milling capacity over a 21 year mine life representing a 30% increase from that proposed in the Preliminary Feasibility Study prepared in September 2008, with only a 20% increase in the estimated Capex, no easy achievement.

The Feasibility Study provides for expansion of the project based on the current mineral resource and exploration potential of the Schaft Creek mineral trend.  The potential to significantly expand the tailings storage facility, the current concentrate storage and shipping agreement with Stewart Bulk Terminals and most importantly access to electrical power are positive features that support possible future expansion of the Schaft Creek Project.  Opportunity to lower operating and capital costs and increase operating revenue could be identified during the detailed engineering phase of project development.

The Project has the advantage of being located in the province of British Columbia, Canada a safe geopolitical jurisdiction that strongly supports resource development.

Highlights of the Feasibility Study (all amounts are stated in Canadian dollars):

  • Nominal 130,000 tpd open pit mine feeding a concentrator with two Semi Autogenous Grinding ('SAG') mills;
  • Initial Capital Cost ('Capex') totals $3.256 billion, which includes contingencies of $374 million;
  • Sustaining Capex totals $1.240 billion over the proposed mine life, including $200 million for BC Hydro tariff;
  • Life-of-Mine ('LOM') metal production contained in concentrates totals 4.88 billion pounds ('lbs') of copper, 4.21 million ounces ('oz.') of gold, 214.92 million lbs of molybdenum and 25.10 million oz. of silver;
  • 5 years pre-production period followed with a productive mine life of 21 years;
  • Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves total 940.8 million tonnes containing 5.6 billion lbs of copper; 5.7 million oz. of gold 363.5 million lbs of molybdenum and 51.7 million oz. of silver on the basis of drill data up to May 23, 2012;
  • Within the pit shell there is a total of 171.16 million tonnes of inferred resource grading 0.25% copper, 0.018% molybdenum, 0.164 grams per tonne ('gpt') gold and 1.58 gpt silver which for purposes of this study must be treated as waste rock;
  • LOM average mill feed grades 0.271% copper, 0.191 gpt gold, 1.716 gpt silver, 0.018% molybdenum and a copper equivalent ('CuEq') of 0.441%. The CuEq is back calculated based on how much in situ copper is required to provide the same after recovery value to equal the combined metals value after recovery.  The formula is:  CuEq = NSR / (CURec*NSPcu*22.046) NSR=RecCU*Cu grade*NSPcu*22.046+RecMO*Mo grade*NSPmo*22.046+RecAU* Au grade*NSPau+RecAG*AG grade*NSPag , where "Rec" is the recovery based on the recovery formula and grade is in situ with no loss or dilution applied.

Summary of Economic Results

Base Case pre-tax Net Present Value ('NPV') for the Schaft Creek deposit using long-term metal prices and exchange rates and an 8% discount rate is CDN $513 million.  Internal Rate of Return ('IRR') is 10.13% and a payback period of 6.5 years.  In addition to the base case, three alternative cases were presented.  Alternate Cases (1) and (2) are using three years trailing average and spot metal prices (as of October 15, 2012), respectively, and are presented for comparative purposes.  Of particular significance is the third alternate case using the sophisticated economic science referred to as Real Option Valuation ('ROV').  NPV at an 8% discount rate for the alternative cases 1, 2 and 3 are CDN $967 million, CDN $1,024 million and CDN $1,382 million, respectively.  Details about the economic analysis are on page 11 below.

ROV is a discounted cash flow technique that incorporates the uncertainty of future metal prices and exchange rates as well as the management flexibility to adjust the operating status of the mining operations in the future based on the market conditions. ROV applies a dynamic optimization process that compares the values of the alternative plans at each point of time and makes decisions that maximize the present value of the whole project. Market variables are modeled using stochastic processes such as Geometric Brownian Motion and mean-reverting process. Numerical techniques such as finite difference, binomial lattice and Monte Carlo simulations are applied to the ROV. In this project, the Monte Carlo method was applied using 100,000 simulations.

Project Enhancements

The Feasibility Study makes recommendations for further development of the project that could enhance the economics of Schaft Creek including:

i)      Copper Fox undertakes a diamond drilling program at Schaft Creek with a goal to determine the extent to which the 171.16 million tonnes of inferred resource, that lie within the pit shell, can be upgraded to a Measured or Indicated Resource.  To the degree such a program is successful it will remove the affected material from being categorized as a rock removal expense to an ore bearing material and as such, a revenue generator; and
ii)      Additional metallurgical testwork to pursue opportunities to increase metal recoveries and reduce processing costs.
iii)      Shorten the project development execution timeline.

Permits

Copper Fox is currently preparing the Province of British Columbia Environmental Assessment (EA) Application and a Federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) both required to obtain a BC EA Certificate and Federal approval.  Copper Fox anticipates submitting the EA Application and EIS as early as Q3 2013. Copper Fox is also developing the permit applications required to construct the access road to the mine site.  Access road permits have been prioritized based on the construction schedule presented in the Feasibility Study.  Other permit applications required for mine site construction will follow completion of the EA Application and EIS.

Development Schedule

  • Project development will take place over a 5 year period after initial permitting and engineering.
  • Permitting completed June 30, 2014
  • Engineering completed February 2016
  • Access Road construction completed March 2016
  • Construction Phase I completed July 2019 and Phase II March 2020
  • Commercial Production Phase I Start December 2019 and Phase II August 2020

Mineral Resources

The project mineral resource was prepared by Tetra Tech, with an effective date of May 23, 2012, as previously disclosed in a news release on May 31, 2012 and filed on SEDAR on June 25, 2012.

 
Mineral Resource Estimate - Schaft Creek Deposit
Robert Morrison - Ph.D., MAusIMM (CP), P.Geo., Effective Date: May 23rd, 2012
Resource Cut-off   Copper Molybdenum Gold Silver Contained Metal
Category CuEq (%) Tonnes (%) (%) (gpt) (gpt) Cu (Lbs) Mo (Lbs) Au (oz.) Ag ( oz.)
Measured 0.15 146,615,300 0.31 0.017 0.24 1.78   1,001,824,600 55,624,000   1,149,100 8,402,700
Indicated 0.15   1,081,939,500 0.26 0.017 0.18 1.68   6,104,400,000   399,718,500   6,218,000   58,335,500
Measured & Indicated  0.15   1,228,554,800 0.26 0.017 0.19 1.69   7,106,224,600   455,342,500   7,368,000   66,738,200
Inferred  0.15 597,191,300 0.22 0.016 0.17 1.65   2,872,034,300   206,252,100   3,359,600   31,601,400

 

Notes to Mineral Resources Tables

a)      Mineral Resources are inclusive of Mineral Reserves;
b)      While the terms "measured (mineral) resource", "indicated (mineral) resource" and "inferred (mineral) resource" are recognized and required by National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, investors are cautioned that except for that portion of mineral resources classified as mineral reserves, mineral resources do not have demonstrated economic viability.  Investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of measured or indicated mineral resources will ever be upgraded into mineral reserves.  Additionally, investors are cautioned that inferred mineral resources have a high degree of uncertainty as to their existence, as to whether they can be economically or legally mined, or will ever be upgraded to a higher category;
c)      A 0.15% CuEq cut-off was selected for the base case resource estimate.  A 0.15% CuEq cut-off was the minimum grade of CuEq estimated by Tetra Tech required (using the estimated copper recovery rate, the milling and sales cost) to break-even on an operating cost per tonne basis;
d)      CuEq grade cut-offs were used to report the mineral resource estimation as a function of copper, molybdenum, gold, and silver.  The CuEq is based on Tetra Tech's long-range metal prices of US $2.97/lb for copper, US $16.80/lb molybdenum, US $1,256.00/oz gold and US $20.38/oz for silver and metal recoveries of 60.90% for molybdenum, 70.6% for gold and 43.4% for silver.  No copper recoveries were applied to the copper equivalent grade;
e)      Rounding as required by reporting guidelines may result in apparent summations differences between tonnes, grade and contained metal content; and
f)      Tonnage and grade measurements are in metric units. Contained copper and molybdenum are reported as pounds and contained gold and silver are reported as troy ounces.

Mineral Reserve

Proven and Probable mineral reserves are the economically-mineable portions of the Measured and Indicated mineral resources set out in the table above, respectively, as demonstrated by the Feasibility Study. The proven and probable reserves at Schaft Creek are summarized below:

 
Mineral Reserve
Reserve Category Run of Mine (Mt) Copper % Molybdenum % Gold gpt Silver gpt
Proven 135.4 0.31 0.0175 0.25 1.81
Probable 805.4 0.26 0.0176 0.18 1.70
Proven & Probable 940.8 0.27 0.0176 0.19 1.72

 

Notes to Mineral Reserves Table

a)      Mineral Reserves are contained within Measured and Indicated pit designs.
b)      Appropriate mining costs, processing costs metal recoveries and inter ramp pit slope angles varying from 27 degrees in overburden to 45 degrees in bedrock were utilized to generate the pit phase design;
c)      Mineral Reserves have been calculated using a Net Smelter Return ('NSR') cut-off. The NSR was calculated as follows: NSR = Recoverable Revenue - TCRC (on per tonne basis), where NSR = Net Smelter Return; TCRC = Transportation and Refining Costs; Recoverable Revenue = Revenue in Canadian dollars for recoverable copper, molybdenum, gold and silver, respectively, using metal prices of US $3.52/lb, US $15.30/lb, US $1,366.00/oz and US $25.96/oz for copper, molybdenum, gold and silver respectively; at an exchange rate of CDN $0.96 to US $1.00; metal recoveries used are based on recovery curves if critical average recoveries could be calculated;
d)      The LOM average strip ratio (waste to ore) is 2:1, excluding rehandle;
e)      Rounded significant digits on Run of Mine to one decimal point;
f)      Rounding as required by reporting guidelines may result in apparent summations differences between tonnes, grade and contained metal content, and
g)      Tonnage and grade measurements are in metric units. Contained copper and molybdenum are reported as pounds and contained gold and silver are reported as troy ounces.
h)      The proven and probable mineral reserves are included within the measured and indicated mineral resources as estimated by Tetra Tech on May 23, 2012.

Project Description

The Schaft Creek deposit is located approximately 60 kilometres south of Telegraph Creek, 375 kilometres northwest of Smithers and 340 kilometres northwest of Terrace on the east side of the Coast Mountain Range where annual precipitation is approximately 900mm per year in the form of rain and snow.

Copper Fox holds title and a 100% working interest in the Schaft Creek project located within Tahltan Traditional Territory consisting of 55,779.56 hectares (137,834 acres) in northwestern British Columbia.  Included in this total are the "Schedule A" mineral tenures originally conveyed to Copper Fox pursuant to the option agreement dated January 1, 2002 between Teck Resources Limited ('Teck') and Copper Fox (the 'Teck Option Agreement'), which consist of 8,334.34 hectares (20,594 acres).  The "Schedule A" mineral tenures are subject to a 3.5% Net Profits Interest held by Royal Gold, Inc., a 30% carried Net Proceeds Interest held by Liard Copper Mines Limited ('Liard') and, together with the additional mineral tenures obtained by Copper Fox within the "Area of Interest" provided for in the Teck Option Agreement, an earn back option held by Teck.  On completion of the Feasibility Study, Copper Fox earns Teck's 78% interest in Liard.  Teck's earn back option to acquire either, 20%, 40% or 75%, of Copper Fox's interest in the Schaft Creek Project is triggered upon delivery of a "Positive Bankable Feasibility Study" (as defined) to Teck after which they have 120 days to make a decision.  Should Teck elect to exercise its earn back option for 75%, Teck is required to fund subsequent property expenditures up to a total of 400% of those incurred by Copper Fox ($84.9 million to July 31, 2012) and use best efforts to arrange for project financing, including the Copper Fox portion.  For full details of the Teck earn back option please refer to the Company's website www.copperfoxmetals.com.

Mining of the Schaft Creek deposit is planned as a conventional truck-shovel open-pit mining operation with a nominal 130,000 tpd throughput over the LOM.  The current 940.8 million tonne mineral reserve should support a mine life of approximately 21 years (47.4 million tonnes per year). There is potential to extend the mine life with additional infill drilling to upgrade the approximately 171.16 million tonnes of current inferred resource located within the proposed open pit.  Additional exploration of the Schaft Creek deposit to the east and the north of the Paramount zone and north of the Liard zone as well as the recently discovered Discovery zone could extend the mine life of the Schaft Creek project.

Processing of the ore would utilize a conventional copper ore grinding and flotation circuit, to produce a high-quality copper concentrate with significant gold and silver credits and a separate molybdenum concentrate. Mining and waste rock facilities would be located in the Schaft Creek Valley and Mess Creek Valley with the plant, infrastructure, airport and tailings facilities being located adjacent to Mess Creek Valley, Skeeter and Start Lakes.

Annual mine production of ore and waste is projected to average approximately 147 million tonnes per year with an in situ LOM waste/ore stripping ratio of 2:1. Run-of-mine ore would be fed into two gyratory crushers located at the edge of the open pit in the Schaft Creek Valley and transported via conveyor from the Schaft Creek Valley to a coarse ore stockpile near the proposed mill site in the Start Lake Valley.

The proposed process plant would be a conventional double-line grinding-flotation concentrator. The plant site has sufficient mill pad area to install a third processing line to increase daily throughput to 180,000 tpd should expansion of the mine be required to optimize the economics of the project.  Tailings would be transported to the tailing storage facility ('TSF') through pipelines.  Concentrates would be transported by trucks to port facility in the town of Stewart, BC and the molybdenum concentrate to the Fairview Terminals in Prince Rupert, BC for shipment to various international destinations.

The closest provincial road to the mine site is Highway 37. The access road to the Schaft Creek project would be used to transport material and consumables to and from the mine site, and to deliver mine capital equipment. Personnel would be transported to and from the Schaft Creek site via aircraft.  The road would have controlled access to ensure the health and safety of company personnel and the public, as well as to protect the environment. Copper Fox is in the process of preparing its Environmental Assessment Application which is required before application can be made for permits to construct the access road and power line to the Schaft Creek site.  Copper Fox's plan would be to reach agreement with Galore Creek Mining Corporation regarding joint use of the access road from Highway 37 (Kilometre 0) to approximately Kilometre 65 including construction of the More Creek Canyon Bridge and completion of an additional 25.2 kilometres of the Galore Creek road for a total distance of 65.2 kilometres. The balance of the access road would be single-lane, with occasional pullouts.  Power for the Project would be provided from the Northwest Transmission Line ('NTL') currently being constructed by the provincial electrical authority, BC Hydro. An 81-kilometer long, 287kV power line would run to the processing site sub-station.

The time period estimated from completion of the Feasibility Study to allow for permitting, detailed engineering, equipment procurement, construction, startup to production is approximately seven-years. This time period may be significantly shortened during the detailed engineering phase and by running concurrent activities.

Mining

The Schaft Creek pit design for the Feasibility Study includes seven phases.  The initial phase is the excavation of the material required for the construction of the conveyor to transport ore to the mill.  The second phase labelled 1N is a starter pit in the Paramount zone at the north toe of the east face of Mount LaCasse, to provide construction waste and stockpile high-grade ore to be processed in year one.  The third and fourth phases mined are 1S and 2S, which are the low strip ratio phases at the south end of the Liard zone.  The fifth and sixth phases mined are 2N and 3N, the north phase push backs.  The final phase is 4N which extends to the ultimate pit bottom, which, based on the resource block model would end in mineralization.  Access to each phase and bench is continuously provided by ramps built into the high wall or cut into the re-handle face.

The total waste mined is estimated to be 1.89 billion tonnes. A portion of the waste mined will be used for road, TSF and infrastructure construction.  The balance of the waste is planned to be stored in three separate areas located at varying distances from the proposed open pit designated the east, west and south dumps.

Process Plant

Initial planned mill throughput is 65,000 tpd, which will be increased to 130,000 tpd after approximately one year of operation. The ore from the pit will be conveyed to the process plant located approximately 8 kilometres northeast of the pit.  The process for metal recovery from the ore is conventional flotation, consisting of two process trains. Each of the process trains consists of SAG mill - ball mills - pebble crushers ('SABC') primary grinding, bulk rougher/scavenger flotation, bulk concentrate regrinding and cleaner flotation circuits.  The bulk concentrate produced will be separated to produce market grade copper-gold-silver concentrate and molybdenum concentrate.  Metal recoveries to the copper concentrate containing at least 28% copper content are expected to be 86.6% for copper, 73.0% for gold and 48.3% for silver.  The molybdenum recovery to the molybdenum concentrate (+50% Mo) is estimated to be 58.8%.

Estimated Metal Production

Over the 21 year mine life the parameters of the mining operation and metals production to the copper concentrate and molybdenum concentrate is summarized below.

 
Schaft Creek Mine Production Summary
Parameter  Unit Life of Mine
Tonnes ore milled 000t 940,800
Strip ratio   2.0
Grade :     
copper % 0.27
gold gpt 0.19
molybdenum % 0.018
silver gpt 1.72

 
Schaft Creek Concentrate Metal Production
Description Unit Year 1-5
Annual Avg.
Year 1-10
Annual Avg
LOM 
Annual Avg
LOM Total
Copper Concentrate tonne (000's)                445                       420                 376               7,897 
Copper in Concentrate million lbs                274                       259                 232               4,875 
Copper in Concentrate tonnes (000's)                124                       118                 105               2,211 
Gold in Concentrate oz. (000's)                237                       237                 201               4,213 
Silver in Concentrate oz. (000's)            1,229                   1,280             1,195             25,100 
Molybdenum Concentrate tonnes             8,420                   8,957             9,284           194,967 
Molybdenum in Concentrate lbs (000's)            9,281                   9,873           10,234           214,914 

 

The LOM average metal content of copper concentrate is estimated to contain 28% copper and 16.6 gpt gold, 98.9 gpt silver and the molybdenum concentrate at 50% molybdenum. The average impurity element levels in the final concentrates would be lower than the penalty limits based on the test results.  The moisture content is estimated to be 9.0% for the copper concentrate and 5.0% for the molybdenum concentrate.

The copper concentrates will be trucked via Highway 37 to the Port of Stewart for storage and loading.  In 2011, Copper Fox executed an agreement with Stewart Bulk Terminals for the storage and shipment of up to 600,000 tonnes of concentrate per year to provide for export of the copper concentrates to foreign markets (see News Release dated October 12, 2011).

Tailings Storage Facility

The Project requires the design of a TSF with the flexibility to manage tailings from either one or both of the processing trains.  The south end of the TSF is located approximately 1.8 kilometres north of the milling facilities in Skeeter Valley and the facility is designed to accommodate approximately 941 million tonnes ('Mt') of tailings during the 21 year mine life.  Total capacity of the TSF could be significantly expanded by increasing the height of the retaining embankments.

Infrastructure

The Project will require the development/construction of a number of infrastructure items.  The location of the facilities and other infrastructure items were selected to take advantage of local topography, accommodate environmental considerations, and ensure efficient and convenient operation of the mine haul fleet.

Project infrastructure will include:

a)      A secure single-lane access road with double-lane sections to support the construction and operation of the Project.  This road will include, and extend from, the partially constructed (approximately 40 km) existing Galore Creek Access Road. The road will follow the Galore Creek access road/route for the first 65.2 km from Highway 37. At Km 65.2 it turns north from the Galore Creek Access Route.  Approximately forty (40) km of new road will be constructed north through the Mess Creek Valley to the mine site;
b)      A 287 kV power line from Bob Quinn to the site covering a total distance of approximately 81 km;
c)      105.26 kilometre fuel pipeline from Tahltan Depot Highway 37 to site including diesel fuel supply and distribution;
d)      TSF complete with diversion channels including a reclaim water system;
e)      site haul roads;
f)      new on-site airport, capable of receiving aircraft with a capacity of up to 78 passengers;
g)      a depot located at the juncture of Highway 37;
h)      water supply and distribution system;
i)      sewage disposal plant;
j)      lay down area;
k)      process and ancillary facilities;
l)      power distribution network;
m)      communications infrastructure.

Social and Environment

Copper Fox is committed to maximizing benefits and economic opportunities for local communities and local First Nations, including employment and training.

Environmental baseline work on the Project started in 2006 and has continued through 2012.  The Project is currently in the first of the province's two-staged EA process.  The pre-application stage focuses on identification of the issues and concerns to be addressed in the Application and reflected in the AIR.  The pre-application stage is considered completed on acceptance of the Application for review by the EAO, initiating the Application Review stage of the EA process.  The Application must comply with the Project specific AIR that is formally approved and issued by the EAO.

Closure and reclamation plans will be considered and updated throughout design, construction, and operation of the Project to help ensure that the objectives can be successfully achieved.  Reclamation plans have been prepared for the TSF, open pit and waste rock.

Capital Cost Estimates

The project initial capital costs are estimated at $3.256 billion (approximately $22,200/operating tonne - excluding contingency) with an accuracy of plus/minus 15% as of Q3 2012, including a contingency of $373.8 million (11.5% of initial direct and indirect capital cost estimate). The estimates are consistent with a Class 3 estimate. Major items of the capital costs estimate are set out below:

 
Initial Capital Costs
  $ Millions
Direct Costs  
Overall site 251.06
Mining 483.47
Primary crushing 179.62
Grinding, flotation and regrind 594.68
Tailing management facility 212.23
Site services and site utilities 23.86
Ancillary buildings 202.15
Plant mobile fleet' 8.88
Temporary services 5.20
Off-site infrastructure and facilities 202.34
Total Direct Costs $2,163.49
 
Indirect Costs  
Project indirects 601.24
Owner's Costs 118.04
Total Indirect Costs 719.28
Total Direct and Indirect Costs $2,882.77
Contingency @11.5% 373.80
Total Initial Capital $3,256.57

This estimate includes direct field costs, indirect costs associated with design, construction and commissioning.  This estimate is based on pricing as of Q3 2012, with no allowances for inflation or escalation.  All currency in this capital cost estimate is expressed in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise noted.

LOM sustaining capital is estimated to total $1.240 billion over the projected 21 year mine life and includes development of the open pit deposit, BC Hydro tariff (CDN $200 million) for the power line from Bob Quinn to site, replacement of, and additions to, surface mobile equipment, reclamation costs, and additional expenditures to expand the capacity of the TSF.  A breakdown of the major components of the sustaining costs is set out below.

 
LOM Sustaining Capital
Area $Millions
Mining                                   707
Tailings                          333
BC Hydro                          200
Total Sustaining Capital $1,240

Operating Costs

LOM site unit operating cash costs, net of capitalized pre-stripping and other predevelopment costs, are $13.33 per tonne-milled, as summarized in the table below:

 
LOM Operating Costs
Area LOM CDN $/tonne milled
Mining 6.56
Processing 4.87
Tailings Facility 0.22
Depot Services 0.52
Surface Services 0.34
General & Administration 0.82
Total 13.33

 

Open pit mining cash costs average $6.56 per tonne of ore mined, including waste and ore mining costs. The in situ life of mine average strip ratio (waste to ore) is estimated to be 2:1.

LOM copper production total and cash costs per produced pound including mine site operating costs, smelter and refining charges and concentrate transport cost average $2.09/lb and $1.15/lb, respectively.

Economic Analysis Summary

The project economics were evaluated whereby revenues and costs are projected into the future on an annual basis.  Annual net cash flows are then discounted at a rate of interest to reflect the time value of money to yield a NPV.  The analysis includes all site operating costs, smelter charges, transport costs and royalties.

The most significant input which affects project economics are projected future metals prices.  The four economic cases using the previously discussed input parameters are set out below:

 
Summary of Economic Results
Item Unit Base Case 3-Y Avg* Case Spot Price** Case Real Options Case
Metal Price          
Copper US$/lb 3.25 3.63 3.69 3.25
Gold US$/oz 1,445.00 1,445.00 1,736.00 1,445.00
Silver US$/oz 27.74 27.74 32.71 27.74
Molybdenum US$/lb 14.64 14.64 11.34 14.64
Exchange Rate US:Cdn 0.97 0.99 1.02 0.97
Pre-tax Economic Results        
Operating Cash Flow CDN$ M 10,746 12,065 12,161 11,284
NPV (at 5%) CDN$ M 1,694 2,348 2,419 2,665
NPV (at 8%) CDN$ M 513 967 1,024 1,382
NPV (at 10%) CDN$ M 25 388 437 836
IRR % 10.13 11.9 12.14 15.4
Payback Years 6.48 5.81 5.7 4.9
Cash Cost/lb Cu CDN$/lb 1.15 1.19 1.12 1.15
Total Cost/lb Cu CDN$/lb 2.09 2.14 2.07 2.09
Avg Annual operating Cash Flow*** Millions 371 414 425 640

*between October 15, 2009 - 2012; **On October 15, 2012; *** Years 1-5

At the prices used in the base case for this study, total estimated taxes payable on Schaft Creek profits are CDN $1,858 million over the 21 year mine life.  The components of the various taxes that will be payable are:

 
Estimated Taxes Payable
Tax Component LOM Amount
(CDN$ million)
Corporate Tax (Federal) 841
Corporate Tax (Provincial) 561
Provincial Resource Tax 456
Total Taxes 1,858

 

Base Case and ROV (Case 4) after-tax economic results are:

 
After Tax Economic Results
Description Base Case ROV Case
Net Cash Flow (CDN$ million) 4,270 5,133
Discounted Cash Flow NPV (CDN$ million) at 5% 956 1,260
Discounted Cash Flow NPV (CDN$ million) at 8% 67 529
Payback (years from start of mill operations) 6.8 5.7
IRR (%) 8.3 12.7

 

Qualified Persons

On January 15, 2010 Copper Fox commissioned Tetra Tech to complete the Schaft Creek Project Feasibility Study in accordance with NI 43-101. A team of Qualified Persons from Tetra Tech, McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. ('McElhanney'), Moose Mountain Technical Services ('MMTS'), and Knight Piésold Ltd. ('KP') prepared and reviewed the Feasibility Study.

The detailed mine plan was prepared by MMTS under the direction of Greg Trout, P. Eng. The scientific and technical information in this release have been reviewed by Marten Regan, Senior Project Manager, of Tetra Tech, and overall manager for the Feasibility Study.

Other qualified persons involved in the Feasibility Study were:

Tetra Tech: Ali Farah, P. Eng; Robert Sinclair Morrison, Ph. D., MAusIMM (CP) P. Geo; Hassan Ghaffari, P.Eng; John Huang, Ph. D., P. Eng; Monica Danon-Schaffer, Ph. D., P. Eng.; Rui da Palma Adanjo, P. Eng.; Sabry Abdel Hafez, Ph. D., P. Eng; Harvey Wayne Stoyko, P. Eng

KP: Daniel Friedman, P. Eng; Daniel Yang, P. Eng

McElhanney: David Pow, P. Eng

This release was also reviewed by Elmer B. Stewart, P.Geol, MSc, President & Chief Executive Officer of Copper Fox and a Non-independent Qualified Person within the meaning of NI 43-101.

Readers should refer to the Feasibility Study Technical Report for further details of the project development. The Feasibility Study Technical Report will be filed in accordance with NI 43-101 on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) within the required 45 day statutory period and will be made available on Copper Fox's website at www.copperfoxmetals.com.

About Copper Fox

Copper Fox is a Canadian-based resource development company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V: CUU) with a corporate office in Calgary, AB and an operations office in Vancouver, BC.  Its major asset is the Schaft Creek copper, gold, molybdenum and silver deposit located in northwestern British Columbia, Canada for which a positive Feasibility Study was recently completed.  The details of which are included as part of this news release.

Copper Fox holds title and a 100% working interest in the Schaft Creek project consisting of 55,779.56 hectares (137,834 acres).  Included in this total are the "Schedule A" mineral tenures originally conveyed to Copper Fox pursuant to the Teck Option Agreement, which consist of 8,334.34 hectares (20,594 acres).  The "Schedule A" mineral tenures are subject to a 3.5% Net Profits Interest held by Royal Gold, Inc., a 30% carried Net Proceeds Interest held by Liard and, together with the additional mineral tenures obtained by Copper Fox within the "Area of Interest" provided for in the Teck Option Agreement, an earn back option held by Teck.  On completion of the Feasibility Study, Copper Fox earns Teck's 78% interest in Liard.  Teck's earn back option to acquire either, 20%, 40% or 75%, of Copper Fox's interest in the Schaft Creek Project is triggered upon delivery of a "Positive Bankable Feasibility Study" (as defined) to Teck after which they have 120 days to make a decision.  Should Teck elect to exercise its option for 75%, Teck is required to fund subsequent property expenditures up to a total of 400% of those incurred by Copper Fox ($84.9 million to July 31, 2012) and use its best efforts to arrange for project financing, including the Copper Fox portion.  For full details of the Teck earn back option please refer to the Company's website www.copperfoxmetals.com.

The remainder of Copper Fox's registered interests in mineral tenures in British Columbia total 47,445.22 hectares (117,240 acres).  These interests have been acquired by Copper Fox through mineral tenure acquisitions and mineral tenure purchase agreements subsequent to Copper Fox entering into the Teck Option Agreement.  Certain portions of these registered mineral tenures are subject to inclusion within the Schaft Creek Project pursuant to the terms of the "Area of Interest" provisions of the Teck Option Agreement.

Additionally the Company holds, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, mineral tenures located in Pinal County, Arizona (the 'Sombrero Butte Copper Project') and in Miami, Arizona (the 'Van Dyke BLM Claims').  The Sombrero Butte copper project consists of 2,887 acres located in the Bunker Hill Mining District, 44 miles northeast of Tucson and the 35 Van Dyke BLM Claims located to the west of the Van Dyke copper deposit in Miami.

On behalf of the Board of Directors

Elmer B. Stewart
President and Chief Executive Officer

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of the Canadian securities laws.  Forward-looking information is generally identifiable by use of the words "believes," "may," "plans," "will," "anticipates," "intends," "budgets," "could," "estimates," "expects," "forecasts," "projects" and similar expressions, and the negative of such expressions.  Forward-looking information in this news release includes statements about the results of a positive Feasibility Study for the Schaft Creek project; the technical and financial viability of a 130,000 tonne-per-day copper mining and processing operation at Schaft Creek; economic potential of the Schaft Creek mineral deposit; the existence and size of the mineral deposit at Schaft Creek; recommended future diamond drilling programs; potential upgrade of 171.1 million tonnes of inferred resource, currently treated as waste, to either measured or indicated mineral resources; the productive mine life of the Schaft Creek project; potential expansion and development of the project; opportunities to lower operating and capital costs and increase capital revenue; the length and scope of work for the pre-production period; additional metallurgical testwork to pursue opportunities to increase metal recoveries and reduce processing costs; timing and amount of estimated future production; a Province of British Columbia Environmental Assessment Application and  a Federal Environmental Impact Statement; a British Columbia Environmental Assessment Certificate and Federal environmental approvals; permit applications for road and mine construction; the development schedule for the project; estimated timeframes to obtain permits, complete engineering, road construction, site construction and commercial production phases; planned mining operations and ore processing; the potential to extend the mine life; additional exploration to the east and north of the Paramount zone and north of the Liard zone; construction and location of mining, waste rock  plant, infrastructure, access roads, fuel pipeline, sewage disposal plant, WSB lay down area, power supply and distribution network, communications infrastructure, airport, and tailing facilities; annual mine production of ore and waste and in situ life-of-mine waste/ore stripping ratios; the construction and operation of a proposed processing plant; transportation and delivery of concentrates to the port facility in the town of Stewart and Fairview Terminals in Prince Rupert; plans to reach agreement with Galore Mining Corporation regarding joint use of the access road, construction of the More Creek Canyon Bridge and completion of additional kilometers of the Galore Creek road; power supply for the project and the construction of a power line; the time estimate for permitting, detailed engineering, equipment procurement, construction, and production; the mining pit design, phases and scope of work for construction, and extraction phases; estimated total waste to be mined and use of such waste; estimated initial and ongoing mill throughput; the process and expectations for metal recovery; estimated metal production over the life of the mine; estimated LOM average metal content, impurity element levels and, as applicable, moisture content; design, construction and capacity of a tailings storage facility; employment and training for local First Nations; reclamation plans for the tailings storage facility, open pit and waste rock management; estimated capital costs; life of mine copper production total and cash costs per produced pound; projected future metal prices; the delivery of the Feasibility Study to Teck pursuant to the option agreement; estimated timing and amounts of future expenditures and "earn-back" options; geological interpretations and potential mineral recovery processes.  Information concerning mineral reserves, measured mineral resources, indicated mineral resources and inferred mineral resources also may be deemed to be forward-looking information in that it reflects a prediction of the mineralization that would be encountered if a mineral deposit were developed and mined.

In connection with the forward-looking information contained in this news release, Copper Fox has made numerous assumptions, regarding, among other things, assumptions related to: the economic models for the Schaft Creek project, including the Base Case, alternate and ROV models; the calculation of estimate capital costs of the project; costs of production; success of mining operations; projected future metal prices; engineering, procurement and construction timing and costs; the timing and obtaining of permitting and approvals; the potential mineralization in the Schaft Creek deposit; the geological, metallurgical, engineering, financial and economic advice that Copper Fox has received is reliable, and is based upon practices and methodologies which are consistent with industry standards; and the continued financing of Copper Fox's operations.  While Copper Fox considers these assumptions to be reasonable, these assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies.  Additionally, there are known and unknown risk factors which could cause Copper Fox's actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information contained herein.  Known risk factors include, among others: the results of the positive Feasibility Study may not lead to the development of a mine at Schaft Creek or commercial mining operations; the project development plans and timing for Schaft Creek as outlined in the Feasibility Study may not occur as currently anticipated, or at all; the Feasibility Study may not be accepted by Teck as a "positive bankable" Feasibility Study in accordance with the option agreement with Teck; the 171.1 million tonnes of inferred resources, currently treated as waste, may never be upgraded to a high category of resource; uncertainty of estimates of capital and operating costs, recovery rates, production estimates and estimated economic return; uncertainties related to the estimated mine life and potential extension thereof; the possibility of delays and cost overruns in engineering, procurement and construction of the project and uncertainty of meeting anticipated project milestones; the Environmental Assessment Application and Federal Environmental Impact Statement may not be completed timely manner, or at all, or provincial or federal environmental approvals may not be obtained in a timely manner, or at all; further exploration at Schaft Creek may not occur as currently anticipated, or at all; agreement may never be reached with Galore Mining Corporation on the completion of additional roadworks; training and/or employment for local First Nations may not occur as anticipated, or at all;
the actual mineralization in the Schaft Creek deposit may not be as favourable as suggested; another deposit may never be discovered on Copper Fox's property, or contain anticipated mineralization, or mineralization of any significance at all; the possibility that future drilling on the Schaft Creek project may not occur on a timely basis, or at all; fluctuations in metal prices and currency exchange rates; conditions in the financial markets and overall economy may continue to deteriorate; uncertainties relating to interpretation of drill results and the geology, continuity and grade of mineral deposits; uncertainty of the metallurgical testwork; the uncertainty of the estimates of capital and operating costs, recovery rates, and estimated economic return; the need to obtain additional financing and uncertainty as to the availability and terms of future financing; the possibility of delay in exploration or development programs or in construction projects and uncertainty of meeting anticipated program milestones; uncertainty as to timely availability of permits and other governmental approvals.

A more complete discussion of the risks and uncertainties facing Copper Fox is disclosed in Copper Fox's continuous disclosure filings with Canadian securities regulatory authorities at www.sedar.com.  All forward-looking information herein is qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement, and Copper Fox disclaims any obligation to revise or update any such forward-looking information or to publicly announce the result of any revisions to any of the forward-looking information contained herein to reflect future results, events or developments, except as required by law. 

SOURCE: Copper Fox Metals Inc.

For additional information contact: Investor line 1-866-913-1910 or J. Michael Smith, EVP, at 1-604-689-5080

(Source: CNW )
(Source: Quotemedia)

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