Vancouver-based explorer Trilogy Metals has increased the exploration budget for its Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects (UKMP), after its partner South32 agreed to equally fund an exploration programme along the Ambler volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) belt in north-west Alaska.
The partners have agreed to each contribute an additional $1-million for exploration, in addition to the $18.2-million budget set for 2019.
The additional $2-million will be used for regional or district exploration focusing on identifying and testing new drill targets in the Ambler VMS belt.
The programme will include a VTEM airborne geophysical survey along the entire belt, said Trilogy CEO Rick van Nieuwenhuyse, himself an exploration geologist.
“There are dozens of known VMS prospects along the 75-mile-long Ambler belt, including many with historic resources. It is exciting to be drilling new exploration targets again. We are confident that we can find additional high-grade polymetallic resources along this prolific mineral belt.”
Generally, VMS belts host clusters of deposits that can range from one-million tonnes to more than 100-million tonnes, and can contain high-grade copper, zinc, lead and precious metals. Some of the most prolific base-metal mineral belts in the world are within VMS districts, such as the Flin Flon belt of northern Manitoba, the Iberian Pyrite belt in Spain and Portugal and the Noranda area of Quebec.
The $1-million that South32 is contributing is in addition to the $30-million in option payments that the diversified miner has already contributed to maintain the option to form a 50:50 joint venture on the UKMP.
With cash and cash equivalents at its financial year-end of more than $20-million and the funding from South32 of $10.2-million, the company has more than $30-million to advance the UKMP projects.
Trilogy also has 6.5-million warrants held by large shareholders expiring on July 2, 2019, at an exercise price of $1.52 which is below the company’s current trading price. Trilogy would receive an additional $10-million with the full exercise of the warrants.