NEW YORK Teck Resources Ltd. has entered into a joint venture with Copper Fox Metals Inc. for the Schaft Creek copper-gold exploration project in northern British Columbia.
Teck will take a 75-percent stake in the mine project, about 16.2 miles from the Galore Creek property, in which the company holds a 50-percent interest, Vancouver, British Columbia-based Teck said July 16.
"What (Copper Fox has) explored appears prospective for eventual development, but it needs more work to progress to a point to decide how to proceed," a Teck spokesman told AMM. "The exploration process can take many, many years, so we have made a commitment to advance exploration on the property to assess ... what further needs to be done to accelerate the process."
Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Teck will make an initial $20-million payment to Copper Fox and has committed to make two additional $20-million payments. The first follows a decision to bring the property into production and the second will be made after the completion of mine construction. It has also agreed to pay $60 million to fund costs prior to making the decision to bring Schaft Creek into production. If the initial pre-production costs exceed $60 million, Teck will also pay 25 percent of the additional costs.
Copper Fox, also based in Vancouver, will hold 25 percent of the Schaft Creek project. The company expects to complete the environmental assessment application and environmental impact statement in the third quarter of 2013, Copper Fox said on its website.
The new joint-venture agreement voids a 2002 option agreement shared between the two companies whereby Copper Fox received an interest in the Schaft Creek property.
Teck is planning a 6.2-mile drilling program at Schaft Creek in 2013 that is focused on exploration, potential resource expansion and geotechnical controls.
Schaft Creek is forecast to be an open-pit mine with a 21-year life and anticipated production of 4.88 billion pounds of copper, 4.21 million ounces of gold, 25.1 million ounces of silver and 214.92 million pounds of molybdenum.