When you talk about a stratgeic location, few sites can match that of the Little Deer copper project co-owned by Thundermin Resources Inc. and Cornerstone Resources Inc. It’s a 100%-owned project under a 50-50 joint venture agreement between the two companies.
The Little Deer property, which comprises 276 mineral claims held in four mineral licences covering approximately 65 km2, is located in north-central Newfoundland approximately 10 km north of the Town of Springdale.
Like many sites in Newfoundland, it’s well serviced by provincial highways connecting with the Trans Canada Highway just 16 km away, but more than that, the Little Deer property also features the past-producing Little Deer and Whalesback copper deposits which consist predominantly of stringer, disseminated and locally massive chalcopyrite mineralization.
Little Deer is located approximately 800 m southwest of Whalesback and the two deposits are connected underground at the 240 m level by a drift approximately 1,000 m long. Little Deer has been outlined by diamond drilling over a strike length of approximately 1,050 m and to a vertical depth of about 1,000 m while Whalesback has been outlined over a strike length of approximately 500 m and to a vertical depth of about 600 m. Both deposits remain open along strike and at depth and the potential exists to expand the known mineral resources through additional drilling.
Starting in 2007, Thundermin and Cornerstone have punched 96 surface diamond drill holes for a total of 54,998 m. Assay results (including those from historical drilling at Little Deer and Whalesback) form the basis for a NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate.
The combined Indicated Resources at Little Deer and Whalesback currently stand at 2,708,000 tonnes grading 2.16% copper (129.1 million pounds of copper) and Inferred Resources stand at 4,191,000 tonnes grading 2.07% copper (191.3 million pounds of copper).
A positive Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) was completed on the Little Deer copper deposit, on a stand-alone basis, which demonstrates the potential technical and economic viability of establishing a new, profitable copper mine at current copper prices. The PEA envisions an underground mine with ramp and shaft access predominantly using the long hole stoping method of mining. The production rate is planned to be 1,800 tonnes/day over a 9.5 year mine life. The ores would be processed using a very simple conventional milling and flotation process with over 97% recovery of copper to produce a clean 28% copper concentrate. Initial pre-production capital was estimated at $110 million with a pay-back period of 3.5 years.
During 2013, Thundermin and Cornerstone plan to commence upgrading the Inferred Resources outlined to date in both the Little Deer and Whalesback deposits to Indicated Resources in order that a pre-feasibility study can be undertaken which will further determine the economic viability of developing a new copper mine at the Little Deer project.