Ivanhoe Electric (TSX: IE; NYSE American: IE) says visible copper in a drill hole suggested by the company’s new technology bodes well for adding high-margin ore to the resource at the Santa Cruz project in Arizona.
Drill hole SCC-122 outside the mineralization area at the Texaco Ridge target intersected visible copper oxide starting from 429 metres depth, the company said in a news release on Thursday. The hole is 200 metres west of the closest historic drill hole at the site located midway between Phoenix and Tucson, it said.
“The recent visual confirmation of additional oxide mineralization at Texaco Ridge is indicative of the upside potential of the area,” Ivanhoe Electric CEO Taylor Melvin said in the release. “We continue to advance our successful infill drilling program at the Santa Cruz project.”
BMO Capital Markets said the finding was another success for Ivanhoe Electric’s trademarked Typhoon exploration technology which uses electromagnetic pulses to probe for deposits.
“We view this as another positive exploration datapoint delivered by Typhoon, with leverage to add further potentially high-margin oxide mineralization at the Santa Cruz project,” mining analyst Andrew Mikitchook wrote in a note on Mar. 17.
“Adding soluble copper mineralization is a positive for the project, and we would expect further oxide mineralization is likely to be discovered in step-out drilling across the Santa Cruz property.”
As Ivanhoe conducts an initial economic assessment of a potential underground mine at Santa Cruz, it reported infill drill hole SCC-058 cut 55 metres grading 3.1% copper from 596 metres depth, including 37 metres grading 4.2% copper.
Ivanhoe used Typhoon to identify the Texaco Ridge target as well as several others that may expand the East Ridge and Texaco deposits, define the Far Southwest target and potentially enlarge the whole Santa Cruz deposit.
Robert Friedland, the company’s executive chariman, touted the new technology during a speech this month in Toronto, and again in the release: “With our exploration drilling precisely focused on areas highlighted by Typhoon, we are excited about the potential at the Texaco Ridge exploration area and the development of the entire Santa Cruz copper project.”
The project has an indicated resource of 226.7 million tonnes grading 1.2% copper for contained metal of 2.8 million tonnes, according to a Dec. 2022 estimate. The indicated soluble copper grade is 0.8% for 1.9 million tonnes contained soluble copper.
The Texaco Ridge drill hole SCC-122, showing visible copper, also displayed brecciated oracle granite with blue chrysocolla, a leachable mineral that is about 30% copper by weight, Ivanhoe said. Assay results for the hole are pending.
This drill hole also encountered chrysocolla, chalcopyrite, atacamite and chalcocite, leachable minerals which range from 34% to 80% copper by weight, the company said.
“At Texaco Ridge, the presence of primary hypogene chalcopyrite mineralization, and evidence of the same protracted supergene enrichment processes seen at Santa Cruz, is encouraging for the potential of a greater discovery of high-quality enriched copper mineralization,” the company said.