Sun Metals (TSXV: SUNM) has completed the final tranche of a $6.2-million bought-deal financing that will help it advance exploration at its wholly owned Stardust project, 250 km northwest of Prince George in British Columbia.
Steve Robertson, the company’s president and CEO, says the equity financing will help the company advance exploration of the 421 zone — an area of extensive skarn alteration hosting high-grade copper-gold mineralization.
New drill results from six holes extend the 421 zone to more than 160 metres and show that it is open to the north and south. High-grade copper-gold mineralization has been intercepted in several holes.
“The strength and tenor of mineralization that we are seeing so far would indicate that we have got a very substantial project on our hands,” Robertson says. “So we are very excited and quite bullish that this is going to become something that the industry is going to be talking about.”
Hole 436D intersected 46 metres grading 1.44% copper, 1.18 grams gold per tonne and 27 grams silver per tonne for 2.44% copper equivalent from 502 metres, and 25 metres grading 3.13% copper, 4.85 grams gold and 93.5 grams silver for 7.12% copper equivalent.
Hole 440M returned 16 metres grading 2.38% copper, 2.68 grams gold and 66.6 grams silver for 4.71% copper equivalent from 709 metres.
Other highlights include hole 441M, which cut 11 metres grading 3.35% copper, 3.88 grams gold and 60.7 grams silver for 6.39% copper equivalent from 609 metres, and 11 metres grading 3.94% copper, 4.58 grams gold and 79.2 grams silver for 7.58% copper equivalent.
Robertson says the company has seen “a tremendous amount of success” since it was granted an option in September 2017 to acquire full interest in the project from Lorraine Copper (TSXV: LLC: US-OTC: LRCPF). Rather than completing the earn-in on the option agreement, however, Sun Metals decided earlier this year to acquire the entire company.
Stardust is a project “that has got it all,” Robertson says. “We seem to have all the boxes checked regarding jurisdiction, infrastructure, community, and of course, geologic endowment.”
Step-out drilling along strike and down-plunge of the 421 zone shows lateral continuity of the mineralized system, which the company says was generated from a porphyry-copper style intrusive to the north. A pervasive skarn alteration envelope surrounds the copper-gold mineralization, suggesting that drilling could find the more proximal part of the system, the company says.
Ian Neill, Sun Metals’ vice-president of exploration, says the alteration found in the drilling to date shows that they are still distant from the heart of the system, but suggests there is more mineralization north of the zone, which trends 2,220 metres northwest. Increased consistency in grades from hole to hole is expected as they track the mineralizing fluids to their source, Neill says.
The project hosts at least one mineralized carbonate-replacement system identified as the Canyon Creek copper-gold deposit, Neill says. The Canyon Creek zone is a skarn-hosted mineral occurrence within the Permian Cache Creek group sediments located next to the Glover Stock, a composite intrusive centre and linear dike array in the middle of the property.
A 2018 technical report that Sun Metals and Lorraine Copper commissioned based on the Canyon Creek copper-gold skarn zone states that Stardust has an indicated mineral resource of 985,000 tonnes grading 1.34% copper, 0.62% zinc, 1.59 grams gold and 36.8 grams silver for 2.92% copper equivalent. Inferred resources add 1.98 million tonnes averaging 1.24% copper, 0.14% zinc, 1.72 grams gold and 30.5 grams silver for 2.65% copper equivalent.
The company has drilled 8,860 metres in 19 holes since May. A recently added third drill will focus on the south end of the zone.
Drilling will focus on defining the egg-shaped 421 zone, which plunges north–northwest.
“One of the most promising things about working towards the mineralization source is that we expect the sulphide replacement of the skarn alteration to be more complete closer to the high-energy heat source, theoretically resulting in even higher-grade material,” Robertson says. “This is what drives us to continue our focus on the trend to the north.”
The company has winterized the exploration camp and equipment so that drilling can continue when temperatures fall below freezing — sometimes as low as -30°C.
“We have a very unique opportunity, because there are not a lot of good exploration-stage copper projects out there with recent discoveries,” Robertson says. “We will continue to work to build up the tonnage in this zone and hopefully get to the point where we feel we have got an economic zone that will justify moving the project forward.”
Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.B; NYSE: TECK) and insiders own 9% and 24% of the company.
At press time, Sun Metals shares were trading at 19¢ apiece within a 52-week range of 17¢ to 65¢. The company has 126 million shares outstanding for a $24-million market capitalization.