PolarX Ltd’s (ASX:PXX) Alaska Range copper-gold-silver tenements are within a highly prospective area of Alaska but unlike a number of its well-known neighbours are on state mining claims, making them simpler to develop.
Among its neighbours in this ‘Golden Triangle’ is the world-class Pebble porphyry copper deposit of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd (NYSEAMERICAN:NAK) (TSE:NDM) (FRA:ND3) (OTCMKTS:NDMWF) and Anglo American plc’s (LON:AAL) (JSE:AGL) (ETR:NGLB) (OTCMKTS:NGLOY) Pebble Mines Corp.
Pebble, considered one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold resources, hosts a 10.9 billion tonne resource grading 0.34% copper and 0.31 g/t gold for 36.9 million tonnes of copper and 107.6 million ounces of gold.
Despite these attributes, PolarX’s neighbour has been stalled for about 11 years as proponents trying to get the mine across the line have faced strong to the opposition from resistant stakeholders.
PolarX’s project is a few hundred kilometres to the east on the porphyry copper-gold belt, with its managing director Frazer Tabeart telling Proactive Investors it expects to face a smaller pool of stakeholders if it decides to mine.
The company’s September quarter field efforts in the US state indicate the potential for flat-lying and thick near-surface mineralisation.
The project’s mineralisation is suited to low-cost open pit extraction and extends the sub-horizontal mineralisation that was encountered in past drilling.
PolarX’s Tabeart told Proactive Investors’ Stocktube video channel last Thursday: “We’ve got 40-50 metres thickness of high-grade mineralisation, almost from surface.
“That mineralisation is a little bit different from what we’ve seen before inasmuch as it’s flat-lying and very thick.
“If we can drill that out over some area we can have a fairly large open-pittable resource, as opposed to an underground mining proposition for the remainder of the resource.”
Visible copper oxides from a Zackly interval that assayed 27.3% copper and 2.5 g/t gold.
PolarX actively defines resources
The Australian-listed company was formed 18 months ago when private company Vista Minerals folded into listed play Coventry Resources Limited (then ASX:CYY).
The newly-combined outfit rebadged itself PolarX, reflecting its focus on resources found on the Alaska Range which is also home to the Donlin Gold Project of NovaGold Resources Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:NG) (TSE:NG) (FRA:NGR) (BMV:NGN) and Barrick Gold Corp (USA) (NYSE:ABX) (TSE:ABX) (ETR:ABR) (SWX:ABX).
Donlin is a 1.2 billion tonne resource grading 2.2 g/t gold and containing 78.9 million ounces.
Coventry held the JORC-compliant Caribou Dome resource on the range while Vista had the nearby Stellar project with its historically-defined deposit of Zackly.
Caribou Dome deposit was a 2.8 million tonne JORC resource grading 3.1% copper for 86,000 tonnes of contained copper, while Zackly’s non-JORC resource was measured as 1.5 million tonnes grading 4.5 g/t gold and 2.9% copper.
The combined company holds 100% of Zackly, controls 80% of Caribou Dome, and has 90% of newer target Senator and 100% of another target, Mars.
This March PolarX defined a maiden, inferred resource for Zackly, sizing the deposit at 3.4 million tonnes grading 1.2% copper and 2 g/t gold and 14 g/t silver.
PolarX’s inferred Zackly resource is estimated to contain 41,200 tonnes of copper, 213,000 ounces of gold and 1.5 million ounces of silver.
Drilling in August turned up 1.4 metres at 3.2% copper, 9.3 g/t gold and 38.2 g/t silver from 285.5 metres and further evidence for a potential resource increase and the existence of nearby porphyry.
The cumulative width of intersections in one hole made it wider than past intersects.
PolarX’s wide-find 850 metres east of the resource extended for 2.5 metres, grading 2.3% copper, 3.5 g/t gold and 18.5 g/t silver from 326.1 metres.
Caribou Dome remains a 2.8 million tonne JORC resource, consisting of inferred, indicated and measured resources and containing 85,800 tonnes of copper.
Tabeart said of Caribou Dome: “It’s a nice, compact high-grade copper deposit.”
The company progressed exploration at the Zackly resource this financial quarter, releasing additional results today and earlier this month, finding copper-gold mineralisation extends 100 metres vertically below the resource.
Tabeart said Zackly was also nice and called the deposit the “smoking gun”.
“If we can double the size of that resource at those grades, it’s something that could potentially be studied for a mining operation,” he said.
PolarX's forward plan takes in extension drilling at Zackly and future drilling at Mars and Zackly SE targets.
Porphyry copper proves prospective
PolarX managing director Tabeart believes the results seen at Zackly are telling.
“What it’s really telling us is there’s potential for a much, much larger system of a porphyry copper nature and that really, ultimately is what we want to evaluate,” he said.
“The nature of those deposits is something that could be many hundreds of millions of tonnes to billions of tonnes and we know we are in the right area for that.”
The newer results at Zackly feature highlight interceptions such as 25.5 metres from 261.6 metres grading 0.6% copper, 1.1 g/t gold and 5.5 g/t silver, including 1.4 metres from 285.8 metres grading 3.2% copper, 9.3 g/t gold and 38.2 g/t silver.
Another 4.7 metres in the same hole, from 326.1 metres, graded 1.3% copper, 2.1 g/t gold and 10.6 g/t silver and included 2.5 metres from 326.1 metres grading 2.3% copper, 3.5 g/t gold and 18.5 g/t silver.
Exploration de-risks project
PolarX MD Tabeart said exploration campaigns at the project meant the company was now a “fairly low-risk simple exploration play”.
“The early risk has been removed — we know there’s mineralisation there — we know it’s at grades that are potentially economically viable if we can find enough tonnes to justify an investment,” he said.
“It’s in a really safe jurisdiction in Alaska — it’s both safe for personal safety, but also safe as an investment jurisdiction; it’s one of the handful of states in the US that are really pro-mining and they’ve got world-class deposits there so we know we’re in the land of the giants.
“That means it’s a relatively straightforward exploration play with most of that risk removed.”
PolarX is implementing a systematic extension drilling program at Zackly.
Investors jump on board
PolarX is building a retail investor base in Australia and closed a $3.9 million capital raising in July.
The company’s shareholder base includes JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) (ETR:CMC) (SWX:JPM-USD) (BVMF:JPMC34) out of London, which held 8.65% on August 6 after the cap-raise, Milrock and Milrock-controlled entities (6.44%), Orogen Investments Pty Ltd (4.58%) and a Ruffer Investment Company Ltd (LON:RICA) UK fund.
The company draws support from London, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, and Toronto, especially from high-quality investors.
PolarX plans in play
The company is hoping to increase the size of the Zackly resource with extension drilling.
It is also hoping to become drill-ready at a number of other targets, such as Zackly southeast and Mars, and get started on them later this year.
PolarX has reported both Zackly and Caribou Dome are expected to rapidly expand as they are also progressed to feasibility assessments in the near future.
The company’s project is located near high-quality infrastructure, including roads.
Early environmental baseline survey are underway, with mine-permitting specialists engaged to help with the company’s efforts.
Airborne and ground geophysics surveys are also planned for later this year.
The Perth-based company intends to undertake a high-resolution airborne magnetic survey of the project area.
At its Mars porphyry copper-gold target, the company will engage in soil sampling and geological mapping. It’s also planning rock-chip sampling and mapping work at Moonwalk gold target.
PolarX’s team includes staffers with more than 20 years experience in Alaska, including a number of discovers with experience on large discoveries, such as the Pebble and Donlin Creek deposits.
PolarX will appear at a number of upcoming conferences, including Mines and Money Americas in Toronto on October 15-17, the 121 Mining Investment event in London on November 20-21 and Mines and Money London on November 26-29.