In its first estimate since 2010, Western Copper and Gold (TSX: WRN; NYSE-AM: WRN) has updated the resource for its wholly owned Casino project in the Yukon with more drill results that would make it one of the largest copper-gold deposits in the world.
The new resource includes results from the 2019 drill program and drilling performed from 2010 through 2012 that was unavailable when the company put together its 2010 model; it also incorporates an updated geologic model. The resource remains open at depth.
Casino now has total measured and indicated resources of 2.4 billion tonnes grading 0.14% copper, 0.19 gram gold per tonne, 1.5 grams silver per tonne for 7.6 billion lb. copper, 14.5 million oz. gold and 113.5 million oz. silver. Inferred resources add 1.46 billion tonnes grading 0.10% copper, 0.14 gram gold, 1.2 grams silver for 3.26 billion lb. copper, 6.6 million oz. gold and 55.2 million oz. silver.
In addition, while the heap leach operation won’t recover moly — and isn’t included in the total resource numbers — it will be recovered in the milling operation at a grade of 0.017% moly in the measured and indicated category and 0.010% in the inferred.
CEO Paul West-Sells said the new resource numbers will be incorporated into an updated feasibility study but did not specify a date. He also noted that the company expects that, “in addition to the significantly higher number of tonnes, that the strip ratio should decrease significantly due to the conversion of inferred material to measured and indicated in the pit.”
In a July investor presentation, the company noted that the estimated $2.45 billion capex for Casino is “comparable to emerging greenfield and brownfield projects.”
Shareholders in the company include management and the board (12%); private high-net worth individuals (48%); and institutional investors (10%).
Over the last year, the company has traded in a range of 44¢ and $1.90 per share and at press time in Toronto was trading at $1.57 per share. The company has 115 million common shares outstanding for a $180-million market capitalization.