Trilogy pulls the trigger on high-grade copper Arctic prefeasibility study

20th March 2017 By: Henry Lazenby - Creamer Media Deputy Editor: North America

VANCOUVER ( – Alaska-focused mineral explorer Trilogy Metals will undertake a prefeasibility study (PFS) on the Arctic project, in Northwest Alaska – one of the highest-grade copper deposits known in the world with an average grade of 6% copper equivalent.

"The PFS will demonstrate the true value of the high-grade Arctic deposit which we expect will be the first in a series of potential mines in the Ambler mining district,” president and CEO Rick van Nieuwenhuyse stated.

The Vancouver-based explorer stated Monday the PFS will be supported by information collected during the 2015 and 2016 field seasons, with more information to be collected during the 2017 summer field programme.

The TSX- and NYSE MKT-listed junior has budgeted C$7.1-million for fiscal 2017, which has been rubber stamped by the board. The exploration campaign is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2018.

The project is a very high-grade polymetallic volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit, hosting copper/zinc/lead/gold/silver mineralisation, with the potential to be mined in an openpit.

The PFS will incorporate all the information collected over the past two years of in-fill drilling and related studies, including an updated resource model; geotechnical pit-slope stability studies; hydrology; waste rock characterisation and metallurgy (all of which are now completed, or will be shortly). 

The remaining field work to be completed during this field season will cover studies related to determining the placement of all site facilities, including the ore processing facility (crushing and milling); the waste rock and tailings disposal area; water storage ponds and supporting road infrastructure. 

Further, ongoing environmental data collection will continue, with the aim being to use the information in the PFS-level of study. Site work will include geotechnical drilling, hydrology installations, test pits for site facility locations and mine design, and geophysical ground surveys to evaluate ground conditions. 

A significantly expanded environmental baseline programme will further the ongoing baseline data collection, including aquatic studies, avian and large mammal surveys, water balance programmes will be expanded, and data collection from the existing meteorological station will continue.

Surface water quality testing will continue from the programmes initiated in earlier years and groundwater quality monitoring will start. Previous wetlands delineation information will be analysed during the year for submission of a jurisdictional determination to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

With the recent announcement that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has initiated the permitting process on the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Project (AMDIAP), as well as an upswing in demand for copper and zinc, the company is well positioned to add value for shareholders by advancing development of the world-class Ambler mining district.

On March 6, Trilogy announced that the permitting process is advancing on the AMDIAP. The notice of intent initiating the permitting process under the National Environmental Policy Act for the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the AMDIAP was published on February 28, by the BLM in the US Federal Register. The BLM is the lead federal agency for the EIS. This notice initiates the public scoping process for the EIS with comments due by May 30, and outlines a schedule to complete the EIS by December 2019.

Trilogy said it intends to sign a new memorandum of understanding with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority that will set the foundation to work together during the next permitting phase of the AMDIAP.