This permit will allow Happy Creek to conduct much its future work using surface access, which the company believes is a much safer and more cost-effective approach versus using a helicopter. Drilling could begin by late June 2024.
A portion of the proposed work is within a wildlife habitat area for caribou and will require an exemption from the Ministry of Water, Land, and Resource Stewardship. According to the company, it has previously received three exemptions allowing for helicopter-supported drilling in this habitat area.
Although no signs of caribou have ever been encountered on the project site, Happy Creek said it is aware there is potential habitat, and is committed to working collaboratively with Indigenous Nations, the BC Government, and other land users to protect caribou and their habitat.
“The new Fox exploration permit amendment is an important step in value creation and advancement of the project towards eventual mine production,” CEO Michael Cathro said in a news release.
“Previous drilling at Fox has outlined a very high-grade tungsten resource at shallow depths in the BN-RC-BK trend, with numerous opportunities for expansion between, adjacent to and at depth below the known deposits,” he added.
The Fox property contains an estimated resource of 582,400 tonnes grading 0.83% tungsten trioxide (WO3) in the indicated category and 565,400 tonnes grading 1.23% WO3 the inferred category. This resource was estimated in early 2018.
According to Happy Creek, the goal of the proposed 2023 to 2027 drilling is to at least triple the existing tungsten resource, and then proceed to detailed engineering, environmental and feasibility studies.
Since initial prospecting discoveries in 2006, the company has drilled a total of 20,751 metres in 188 diamond drill holes on the property, of which 10,995 metres in 144 holes were focused on the BN-RC-BK trend where the current resources are located.
“With the recent increase in the tungsten price and recognition that western democracies must develop a stable supply of critical minerals, now is a perfect time to aggressively advance this high-grade project,” Cathro said.
Shares of Happy Creek Minerals rose 6.5% by noon EDT on Friday. The Vancouver-based junior explorer has a market capitalization of C$8.6 million ($6.2m).