UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 6-K

REPORT OF FOREIGN PRIVATE ISSUER PURSUANT TO RULE 13a-16 OR 15d-16
UNDER THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the month of August 2022

Commission File Number: 001-35075

WESTERN COPPER AND GOLD CORPORATION
(Translation of registrant's name into English)

Suite 1200 – 1166 Alberni Street,
Vancouver, BC V6E 3Z3

(Address of principal executive offices)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant files or will file annual reports under cover Form 20-F or Form 40-F.

☐ Form 20-F   ☒  Form 40-F

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is submitting the Form 6-K in paper as permitted by Regulation S-T Rule 101(b)(1): ☐

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is submitting the Form 6-K in paper as permitted by Regulation S-T Rule 101(b)(7): ☐

 

 

 

 

 

SUBMITTED HEREWITH

Exhibits

  99.1 Form 43-101F1 Technical Report - Casino Project
  99.2 Consent of Qualified Person - Daniel Roth
  99.3 Consent of Qualified Person - Mike Hester
  99.4 Consent of Qualified Person - John Marek
  99.5 Consent of Qualified Person - Laurie Tahjia
  99.6 Consent of Qualified Person - Carl Schulze
  99.7 Consent of Qualified Person - Daniel Friedman
  99.8 Consent of Qualified Person - Pat Dugan
  99.9 Consent of Qualified Person - Scott Weston

 

 

 

SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.

  Western Copper and Gold Corporation
  (Registrant)
     
Date: August 9, 2022 By: /s/ Paul West-Sells
    Paul West-Sells
     
  Title: Chief Executive Officer

Exhibit 99.1

 

 

 

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Date and Signatures Page

The effective date of this report is 13 June 2021. The issue date of this report is 08 August 2022. See Appendix A, Feasibility Study Contributors and Professional Qualifications, for certificates of qualified persons. These certificates are considered the date and signature of this report in accordance with Form 43-101F1.

 

 

 

 

 

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Table of Contents

SECTION PAGE
Date and Signatures Page i
Table of Contents ii
List of Figures and Illustrations xi
List of Tables xvi
LIST OF APPENDICES xx
1   Summary 1
1.1   Key Data 1
1.2   Property Description and Ownership 1
1.3   Accessibility, Climate, Local Resources, Infrastructure and Physiography 2
1.4   History 2
1.5   Geological Setting and Mineralization 5
1.6   Deposit Type 6
1.7   Exploration Status 6
1.8   Exploration Procedures 7
1.9   Mineral Resource Estimate 8
1.10   Mineral Reserve Estimates 10
1.11   Mining Methods 12
1.12   Metallurgical Testing 13
1.13   Recovery Methods 13
1.14   Infrastructure 14
1.14.1   Access 14
1.14.2   Water 14
1.14.3   LNG Receiving, Storage and Distribution Facilities 14
1.14.4   Power Generation 14
1.14.5   Power Distribution 15
1.14.6   Tailings Management Facility 15
1.14.7   Heap Leach Facility 15
1.15   Capital Costs 16
1.16   Operating Costs 16
1.17   Economics 17
1.18   Adjacent Properties 18

 

 

 

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1.19   Conclusions and Recommendations 18
2   Introduction 21
2.1   Issuer and Purpose of Issue 21
2.2   Sources of Information 21
2.3   Personal Inspections 21
2.4   Units and Abbreviations 22
3   Reliance on Other Experts 25
3.1   Metallurgy and Process Engineering 25
3.2   Transportation 26
4   Property Description and Location 27
4.1   Location 27
4.2   Land Position and Status 27
4.2.1   Property Description 27
4.2.2   Environmental 28
4.2.3   Mineral Tenure 28
4.2.4   Ownership and Agreements 28
4.2.5   Agreements and Royalties 29
4.2.6   Placer Claims 29
5   Accessibility, Climate, Local Resources, Infrastructure and Physiography 31
5.1   Accessibility 31
5.2   Physiography 31
5.3   Climate 31
5.4   Water Rights 32
5.5   Power Availability 32
5.6   Surface Rights 32
6   History 33
6.1   History of Canadian Creek Property 35
7   Geological Setting and Mineralization 37
7.1   Regional Geology 37
7.2   Property Geology 42
7.3   Mineralization 45
7.3.1   Hydrothermal Porphyry Alteration 45
7.3.2   Metallurgical Zoning 46
7.3.3   Hypogene Mineralization (HYP) 47
7.3.4   Structurally Hosted Gold Mineralization 49
8   Deposit Types 50

 

 

 

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9   Exploration 51
9.1   Exploration Procedures Prior to 2021 51
9.2   Exploration in 2021 53
9.2.1   Soil Sampling 53
9.2.2   Enersoft “AI” Analysis 61
10   Drilling 64
10.1   1992-1994 Drilling Program 64
10.2   2008 to 2012 Drilling 64
10.3   2013 Drilling 65
10.4   2019 Drilling 65
10.5   2020 Drilling 66
10.6   2021 Drilling 67
10.7   Canadian Creek Drilling Summary 78
10.8   Sensitivity Data Photogrammetry 78
10.9   Collar Coordinates 78
10.10   Sperry Sun Surveys 79
10.11   Light-Log Survey System 79
10.12   Acid Dip Tests 79
11   Sample Preparation, Analyses and Security 80
11.1   Sampling Method and Approach 80
11.1.1   Core Processing 80
11.1.2   Core Sampling 81
11.1.3   2021 Soil Sampling 83
11.1.4   Enersoft “GeologicAI” Scanning of Core 83
11.2   Sample Preparation 84
11.2.1   2019 Sample Preparation 84
11.2.2   2020 Sample Preparation 84
11.2.3   2021 Sample Preparation 84
11.3   Assay Analysis 85
11.3.1   Assay Analysis, 1992-1994 85
11.3.2   Assay Analysis, 2008-2020 85
11.3.3   Assay Analysis 2021 87
11.4   Security 88
11.5   Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) 89
11.5.1   Reference Material “Standards.” 92
11.5.2   Blanks 116
11.5.3   Field Duplicates, 2020 125

 

 

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11.5.4   Opinion of Qualified Person 147
12   Data Verification 148
12.1   Data Entry 148
12.1.1   1992-1994 148
12.1.2   2008-2012 149
12.1.3   2013-2021 149
12.2   Data Verification 150
12.2.1   1992-1994 150
12.2.2   2008-2013 150
12.2.3   2019 151
12.2.4   2020 151
12.2.5   2021 152
12.3   Verification Errors 152
12.3.1   1992-1994 153
12.3.2   2008-2012 153
12.3.3   2019 153
12.3.4   2020 154
12.3.5   2021 154
12.4   Opinion of Qualified Person 154
13   Mineral Processing and Metallurgical Testing 155
13.1   Metallurgical Samples 155
13.1.1   Data Verification 155
13.2   Comminution Testing 156
13.3   Flotation 158
13.3.1   2008 G&T Metallurgical Work 158
13.3.2   2009-2011 G&T Metallurgical Work 159
13.3.3   2011-2012 G&T Metallurgical Work 160
13.3.4   2022 ALS Metallurgy Program 161
13.4   Dewatering Tests 165
13.5   Leaching Tests 165
13.5.1   Kappes, Cassiday and Associates (KCA) 165
13.5.2   SGS E&S Engineering Solutions Inc. 165
13.5.3   SGS Canada 166
13.6   SART Copper Recovery 167
13.7   Hydrodynamic Characterization 168
13.7.1   2015 HydroGeoSense 168
13.7.2   2022 HydroGeoSense 169
13.8   Determination of Recoveries, Reagent, and Other Consumable Consumptions 171
14   Mineral Resource Estimates 174

 

 

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14.1   Mineral Resource 174
14.2   Sensitivity to NSR Cutoff 176
14.3   Mineral Resource Parameters 177
14.3.1   Metal Prices 177
14.3.2   Cost and Recovery Estimates 177
14.3.3   NSR Calculations 178
14.3.4   Slope Angles 181
14.4   Additional Information 181
14.5   Description of the Block Model 183
14.5.1   General 183
14.5.2   Drilling Data 183
14.5.3   Geologic Controls 185
14.5.4   Cap Grades and Compositing 190
14.5.5   Descriptive Statistics 191
14.5.6   Variogram Analysis 195
14.5.7   Block Grade Estimation 202
14.5.8   Bulk Density 208
14.5.9   Resource Classifications 208
14.5.10   Comparison of 2022 and 2020 Mineral Resource 214
15   Mineral Reserve Estimates 218
15.1   Mineral Reserve 218
15.2   Economic Parameters 220
15.2.1   Commodity Prices 220
15.2.2   Cost and Recovery Estimates 220
15.2.3   NSR Calculation 222
16   Mining Methods 224
16.1   Operating Parameters and Criteria 224
16.2   Slope Angles 224
16.3   Mining Phases 228
16.4   Mine Production Schedule 234
16.5   Waste Management 239
16.6   Mining Equipment 242
17   Recovery Methods 243
17.1   Process Description 243
17.2   Sulphide Ore Process Plant Description 243
17.2.1   Process Design Criteria and Major Equipment 243
17.2.2   Crushing and Coarse Ore Stockpile 248
17.2.3   Grinding and Classification 248
17.2.4   Flotation 249
17.2.5   Concentrate Dewatering and Storage 251

 

 

 

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17.2.6   Pyrite Concentrate Deposition 251
17.2.7   Tailings Dewatering 251
17.2.8   Reagents and Consumables 252
17.2.9   Water System 252
17.3   Power 253
17.4   Air Service 253
17.5   Process Control Philosophy - Sulphide Plant 253
17.6   Quality Control 254
17.7   Metallurgical Performance Projection 254
17.8   Process Description 254
17.9   Oxide Ore Process Plant Description 254
17.9.1   Process Design Criteria and Major Equipment 254
17.9.2   Crushing, Conveying, and Stacking 258
17.9.3   Heap Leaching 259
17.9.4   Carbon ADR Plant/SART 259
17.9.5   Reagents and Consumables 263
17.9.6   Water System 263
17.10   Power 263
17.11   Air Supply 264
17.12   Process Control Philosophy - Oxide Plant 264
17.13   Quality Control 264
17.14   Metallurgical Performance Projection 264
18   Project Infrastructure 265
18.1   Access Roads 265
18.1.1   Mine Site Access Road 265
18.1.2   Service Roads 266
18.2   Port Facilities 267
18.3   Site Layout and Ancillary Facilities 267
18.3.1   General 267
18.3.2   Truck Shop 269
18.3.3   Residence Camp 269
18.3.4   Operational Support Facilities 269
18.3.5   Guard Shed/Scale House 271
18.3.6   Airstrip 271
18.4   Process Buildings 271
18.4.1   Crushing Plant 271
18.4.2   Gold Recovery & SART Building 271
18.4.3   Grinding 272
18.4.4   Flotation/Reagent Storage & Mixing 272

 

 

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18.5   Water Supply and Distribution 272
18.5.1   Fresh Water Supply 272
18.5.2   Fire Water 272
18.5.3   Potable Water 272
18.5.4   Water Supply for the Leach, ADM and SART Facilities 272
18.5.5   Process Water Supply 272
18.6   Power Generation and Distribution 273
18.6.1   LNG Receiving, Storage and Distribution Facilities 273
18.6.2   Power Generation 273
18.6.3   Power Distribution 273
18.7   Tailings Management Facility 274
18.7.1   Design Basis 274
18.7.2   Tailings Characteristics 275
18.7.3   Storage Requirements 276
18.7.4   Hazard Classification 276
18.7.5   Facility Design 277
18.7.6   Water Balance 280
18.7.7   Instrumentation and Monitoring 281
18.7.8   Closure and Reclamation 281
18.8   Heap Leach Facility 282
18.8.1   Design Basis 282
18.8.2   Storage Requirements 284
18.8.3   Facility Design 284
18.8.4   Water Balance 287
18.8.5   Instrumentation and Monitoring 287
18.8.6   Closure and Reclamation 287
18.9   Wastewater Disposal 288
18.10   Communications 288
19   Market Studies and Contracts 289
20   Environmental Studies, Permitting and Social or Community Impact 290
20.1   Environmental & Social Studies 290
20.1.1   Biophysical Setting 294
20.1.2   Social and Community Setting 296
20.1.3   Environmental Disclosure 297
20.2   Waste Management and Water Management 297
20.2.1   Geochemical Characterization 298
20.2.2   Waste Rock and Tailings Management 298
20.2.3   Water Management 299
20.3   Permitting 300
20.3.1   Existing Assessments and Permits 301
20.3.2   Licensing 301
20.3.3   Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Process 307

 

 

 

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20.4   First Nations and Community Engagement 307
20.5   Mine Closure and Reclamation 308
20.5.1   Closure Plan, Cost Estimate and Financial Assurance 308
21   Capital and Operating costs 311
21.1   Capital Cost 311
21.1.1   Initial Capital Cost 311
21.1.2   Basis of Process Plant and Infrastructure Capital Cost Estimate 311
21.1.3   Direct Costs 313
21.1.4   Process Plant and Infrastructure Indirect Costs 315
21.1.5   Mine Capital Costs 316
21.1.6   Owner’s Costs 317
21.2   Sustaining Capital Costs 317
21.3   Operating Costs 317
21.3.1   Process Plant Operating & Maintenance Costs 319
21.3.2   General Administration 322
21.3.3   Mine Operating Costs 324
22   Economic Analysis 327
22.1   Mine Production Statistics 327
22.2   Plant Production Statistics 327
22.3   Capital Expenditure 328
22.3.1   Initial Capital 328
22.3.2   Sustaining Capital 328
22.3.3   Working Capital 328
22.3.4   Salvage Value 328
22.4   Revenue 328
22.5   Total Cash Operating Cost 329
22.6   Total Cash Production Cost 329
22.6.1   Royalty 329
22.6.2   Taxes 329
22.6.3   Reclamation & Closure 330
22.7   Total Production Cost 330
22.8   Project Financing 330
22.9   Net Income After Tax 330
22.10   NPV and IRR 330
23   Adjacent properties 337
24   Other Relevant Data and Information 339
24.1   Project Execution Plan 339
24.1.1   Focus 339

 

 

 

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24.1.2   Engineering 339
24.1.3   Procurement 339
24.1.4   Project Services 340
24.1.5   Construction Management 340
24.1.6   Contracting 340
24.1.7   Labor 341
24.1.8   Construction Completion and Turn-Over Procedure 341
24.1.9   Quality Plan 341
24.1.10   Health and Safety Plan 341
24.1.11   Camp Transition 341
24.1.12   Project Schedule 341
25   Interpretation and Conclusions 343
25.1   Mining 343
25.2   Process 343
25.3   Tailings Management Facility 344
25.4   Exploration Interpretations 345
25.5   Exploration Conclusions 346
26   Recommendations 347
26.1   Metallurgy and Mineral Processing 347
26.2   Tailings Management Facility 347
26.3   Heap Leach Facility 348
26.4   Additional Facilities 348
26.5   Exploration 349
27   References 350

 

 

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List of Figures and Illustrations

FIGURE DESCRIPTION PAGE
Figure 1-1: Casino Property Location 20
Figure 4-1: Project Road Access Map 30
Figure 7-1: Regional Geology, Casino project area 39
Figure 7-2: Legend, Regional Geology, Casino Property area 40
Figure 7-3: Local Geology, Casino Property area 41
Figure 7-4: Regional Structures Overlain on Recent Aeromagnetic Survey 42
Figure 7-5: Property Geology (R. Johnson, 2018) 43
Figure 7-6: Geology of the Casino Deposit 44
Figure 7-7: Casino Property Geology - Cross Section 48
Figure 9-1: Copper and Gold in soil results (Johnson, 2018) 52
Figure 9-2: Layout of 2021 Soil Sampling Program 54
Figure 9-3: Cu assay values from on-site XRF analysis (Rio Tinto) 55
Figure 9-4: Cu assay ranges, 2021 soil sampling program, Casino Project (Image: Wolfbear Consulting) 56
Figure 9-5: Mo assay ranges, 2021 soil sampling program, Casino Project (Image: Wolfbear Consulting) 57
Figure 9-6: Au assay ranges, 2021 soil sampling program, Casino Project (Image: Wolfbear Consulting) 58
Figure 9-7: Ag assay ranges, 2021 soil sampling program, Casino Project (Image: Wolfbear Consulting) 59
Figure 9-8: As assay ranges, 2021 soil sampling program, Casino Project (Image: Wolfbear Consulting) 60
Figure 9-9: "GeologicAI" Scanning Apparatus (Enersoft Inc.) 62
Figure 9-10: An example of Hyperspectral Scanning results, 2021 Drilling, Casino project 63
Figure 10-1: Casino Property Drilling Pre-1992 71
Figure 10-2: Casino Property Drilling 1992 to 1994 72
Figure 10-3: Casino Property Drilling from 2008 to 2012 73
Figure 10-4: Casino Property Drilling, from 2013 - 2019 74
Figure 10-5: Detail, Casino Property Drilling, 2013-2019 75
Figure 10-6: Casino Property Drilling, 2020 76
Figure 10-7: 2021 Diamond Drill Locations, 2021 Program (Image by H. Seeley, Wolfbear Geological) 77
Figure 11-1: Flow-cart for drill core processing and quality control procedures, 1992 and 1993 programs 90
Figure 11-2: Casino Drill Core Processing and Quality Control Procedures for 1994 91
Figure 11-3: Sample Standard CDN-CM-4 Gold Assay Results 93
Figure 11-4: Standard Sample CDN-CM-4, Copper Assay Results 93
Figure 11-5: Sample Standard CDN-CM-4 Molybdenum Assay Results 94

 

 

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Figure 11-6: Sample Standard CDN-CM-7 Gold Assay Results 95
Figure 11-7: Sample Standard CDN-CM-7, Copper Assay Results 95
Figure 11-8: Sample Standard CDN-CM-7, Molybdenum Assay Results 96
Figure 11-9: Gold Assay Results, Sample Standard CU-185 97
Figure 11-10: Silver Assay results, Sample Standard CU-185 97
Figure 11-11: Copper Assay results, Sample Standard CU-185 98
Figure 11-12: Molybdenum Assay results, Sample Standard CU-185 98
Figure 11-13: Gold Assay results, Sample Standard CU-188 99
Figure 11-14: Silver Assay Results, Sample Standard CU-188 99
Figure 11-15: Copper Assay Results, Sample Standard CU-188 100
Figure 11-16: Molybdenum Assay results, Sample Standard CU-188 100
Figure 11-17: Gold assay results, Standard CU-188 102
Figure 11-18: Silver assay results, Standard CU-188 103
Figure 11-19: Copper assay results, Standard CU-188 103
Figure 11-20: Molybdenum assay results, Standard CU-188 104
Figure 11-21: Gold assay results, Standard CU-190 104
Figure 11-22: Silver assay results, Standard CU-190 105
Figure 11-23: Copper assay results, Standard CU-190 105
Figure 11-24: Molybdenum assay results, Standard CU-190 106
Figure 11-25: Gold assay results, OREAS 151a 108
Figure 11-26: Copper assay results, OREAS 151a 108
Figure 11-27: Molybdenum assay results, OREAS 151a 109
Figure 11-28: Gold assay results, OREAS 502c 110
Figure 11-29: Silver assay results, OREAS 502c 110
Figure 11-30: Copper assay results, OREAS 502c 111
Figure 11-31: Molybdenum assay results, OREAS 502c 111
Figure 11-32: Gold assay results, OREAS 506 112
Figure 11-33: Silver assay results, OREAS 506 113
Figure 11-34: Copper assay results, OREAS 506 113
Figure 11-35: Molybdenum assay results, OREAS 506 114
Figure 11-36: Gold assay results, OREAS 905 115
Figure 11-37: Copper assay results, OREAS 905 115
Figure 11-38: Gold Assay results, Blank Material 117
Figure 11-39: Silver Assay results, Blank Material 117

 

 

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Figure 11-40: Copper Assay Results, Blank Material 118
Figure 11-41: Molybdenum Assay Results, Blank Material 118
Figure 11-42: Gold Assay results, Blank Material 119
Figure 11-43: Silver Assay Results, Blank Material 120
Figure 11-44: Copper Assay Results, Blank Material 120
Figure 11-45: Molybdenum Assay Results, Blank Material 121
Figure 11-46: Gold assay results, Blank material 122
Figure 11-47: Silver assay results, Blank material 123
Figure 11-48: Copper assay results, Blank material 123
Figure 11-49: Molybdenum assay results, Blank material 124
Figure 11-50: Plot of ALS Chemex Au assay vs Acme Labs Au assay for Field Duplicate Samples (2008, 2009 and 2010 samples) 126
Figure 11-51: Plot of ALS Chemex Ag analyses vs. Acme Labs Ag Analysis for Field Duplicate Samples (2008, 2009, 2010 samples) 127
Figure 11-52: Plot of ALS Chemex Cu Assay vs. Acme Labs Cu Assay for Field Duplicate Samples (2008, 2009 and 2010 Data) 128
Figure 11-53: Plot of ALS Chemex Mo assay vs Acme Labs Mo assay for Field Duplicate Samples (2008, 2009 and 2010 Data) 129
Figure 11-54: Comparison Plot between Original Gold Values and Duplicate Gold Values 130
Figure 11-55: Comparison Plot between Original Silver Values and Duplicate Silver Values 131
Figure 11-56: Comparison Plot between Original Copper Values and Duplicate Copper Values 131
Figure 11-57: Comparison Plot between Original Copper Values and Duplicate Copper Values 132
Figure 11-58: Comparison Plot between Gold Values from ALS Global and Gold Values from SGS 133
Figure 11-59: Comparison Plot between Silver Values from ALS Global and Silver Values from SGS 134
Figure 11-60: Comparison Plot between Copper Values from ALS Global and Copper Values from SGS 134
Figure 11-61: Comparison Plot between Molybdenum Values from ALS Global and Molybdenum Values from SGS 135
Figure 11-62: Comparison between Original and Duplicate Gold Values 136
Figure 11-63: Comparison between Original and Duplicate Silver Values 137
Figure 11-64: Comparison between Original and Duplicate Copper Values 137
Figure 11-65: Comparison between Original and Duplicate Molybdenum Values 138
Figure 11-66: Comparison of Gold Values from ALS Global and Bureau Veritas 139
Figure 11-67: Correlation between Gold Values from ALS Global and Bureau Veritas 140
Figure 11-68: Comparison between Silver Values from ALS Global and Bureau Veritas 140
Figure 11-69: Correlation between Silver Values from ALS Global and Bureau Veritas 141

 

 

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Figure 11-70: Comparison between Copper Values from ALS Global and Bureau Veritas 141
Figure 11-71: Correlation between Copper Values from ALS Global and Bureau Veritas 142
Figure 11-72: Comparison of Molybdenum Values from ALS Global and Bureau Veritas 142
Figure 11-73: Correlation between Molybdenum Values from ALS Global and Bureau Veritas 143
Figure 11-74: Comparison of Original versus Duplicate Gold Values 145
Figure 11-75: Comparison of Original versus Duplicate Copper values 145
Figure 11-76: Comparison of Original versus Duplicate Silver values 146
Figure 11-77: Comparison of Original versus Duplicate Molybdenum values 146
Figure 14-1: Floating Cone Shell for Mineral Resource (IMC, 2022) 182
Figure 14-2: Hole Location Map (IMC, 2022) 184
Figure 14-3: Oxidation Domains on East-West Section 6,958,600N 186
Figure 14-4: Oxidation Domains on North-South Section 611,165E 187
Figure 14-5: Rock Types on East-West Section 6,958,600N 189
Figure 14-6: Probability Plot of Total Copper Composites by Oxidation Type 193
Figure 14-7: Probability Plot of Gold Composites by Oxidation Type (IMC, 2022) 194
Figure 14-8: Total Copper Variogram - Supergene Oxide (IMC, 2022) 196
Figure 14-9: Total Copper Variogram - Supergene Sulphide (IMC, 2022) 197
Figure 14-10: Total Copper Variogram - Hypogene Sulphide - Global (IMC, 2022) 198
Figure 14-11: Total Copper Variogram - Hypogene Sulphide - East-West (IMC, 2022) 199
Figure 14-12: Total Copper Variogram - Hypogene Sulphide - North-South (IMC, 2022) 200
Figure 14-13: Gold Variogram (IMC, 2022) 201
Figure 14-14: Total Copper Grades on East-West Cross Section 6,958,600N 204
Figure 14-15: Total Copper Grades on North-South Cross Section 611,165E 205
Figure 14-16: Gold Grades on East-West Cross Section 6,958,600N 206
Figure 14-17: Gold Grades on North-South Cross Section 611,165E 207
Figure 14-18: Probability Plot of Average Distance to Nearest 3 Holes - Supergene Sulphide (Source: IMC, 2022) 210
Figure 14-19: Probability Plot of Average Distance to Nearest 3 Holes - Hypogene Sulphide (Source: IMC, 2022) 211
Figure 14-20: Resource Classification on East-West Cross Section 6,958,600N (Source: IMC, 2022) 212
Figure 14-21: Resource Classification on North-South Cross Section 611,065E (Source: IMC, 2022) 213
Figure 16-1: Open Pit Design Sectors (Knight-Piésold, 2012) 226
Figure 16-2: Final Pit Design (IMC, 2021) 227
Figure 16-3: Mining Phase 1 (IMC, 2022) 229
Figure 16-4: Mining Phase 2 (IMC, 2022) 230
Figure 16-5: Mining Phase 3 (IMC, 2022) 231

 

 

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Figure 16-6: Mining Phase 4 (IMC, 2022) 232
Figure 16-7: Mining Phase 5 (IMC, 2022) 233
Figure 16-8: Maximum Extent of Waste Storage Areas and Stockpiles (IMC, 2022) 240
Figure 16-9: Year-1 Showing Temporary Leach and ROM Ore Stockpiles (IMC, 2022) 241
Figure 17-1: Simplified Sulphide Process Flowsheet 247
Figure 17-2: Simplified Oxide Process Flowsheet 257
Figure 18-1: Proposed New Access Road 266
Figure 18-2: Overall Site Plan 268
Figure 18-3: Plant Site Plan 270
Figure 18-4: Tailings Conceptual Mass Balance 276
Figure 18-5: Tailings Management Facility Starter Embankment - Conceptual Section (KP, 2022a) 277
Figure 18-6: Tailings Management Facility Main Embankment - Conceptual Section (KP, 2022a) 278
Figure 18-7: Main Embankment Construction - Conceptual Schematic (KP, 2022a) 279
Figure 18-8: Heap Leach Facility General Arrangement (KP, 2022b - in progress) 283
Figure 18-9: Heap Leach Facility Cross-Section (KP, 2022b - in progress) 284
Figure 20-1: Regional Project Area 291
Figure 20-2: General Arrangement End of Year 1 292
Figure 20-3: General Arrangement End of Year 27 293
Figure 23-1: Adjacent properties, Casino Property Area (as of March 8, 2022) 338

 

  

 

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List of Tables

TABLE DESCRIPTION PAGE
Table 1-1: Mineral Resource for Mill Material at C$ 6.11 NSR Cutoff 9
Table 1-2: Mineral Resource for Leach Material at C$ 6.61 NSR Cutoff 9
Table 1-3: Mineral Resource for Copper, Gold, and Silver (Mill and Leach) 9
Table 1-4: Mineral Reserve 11
Table 1-5: Capital Cost Summary 16
Table 1-6: Mill Operating Costs Per Tonne 16
Table 1-7: Heap Leach Operating Costs 16
Table 1-8: Mining Operating Costs 17
Table 1-9: Financial Results Summary 17
Table 1-10: Copper and Gold Price Sensitivity 18
Table 2-1: Dates of Site Visits and Areas of Responsibility 21
Table 2-2: Abbreviations Used in this Document 22
Table 5-1: Mean Monthly Temperature and Precipitation Values 32
Table 7-1: Stratigraphic Column 38
Table 7-2: Leached Cap & Supergene Minerals 47
Table 10-1: Summary of drill targets in 2020 67
Table 10-2: 2021 Drill Collar data 68
Table 10-3: Significant Intercepts, 2021 Diamond Drilling Program 68
Table 10-4: Summary of Canadian Creek Drilling 78
Table 11-1: Casino 2021 Drill-Hole Requirements by Campaign 82
Table 11-2: 2019 Standard reference Material from WCM Minerals 96
Table 11-3: Performance of Standard CU-185 during 2019 Drill Program Sampling 101
Table 11-4: Performance of Standard CU-188 during 2019 Drill Program Sampling 101
Table 11-5: Reference material "Standards", utilized in 2021 (OREAS) 101
Table 11-6: Performance of Standard CU-188 during 2020 drill program 106
Table 11-7: Performance of Standard CU-190 during 2020 drill program 107
Table 11-8: Reference material "Standards", utilized in 2021 (OREAS) 107
Table 11-9: Summary of Results for OREAS 151a 109
Table 11-10: Summary of results for OREAS 502c 112
Table 11-11: Summary of results for OREAS 506 114
Table 11-12: Summary of Results for OREAS 905 116

 

 

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Table 11-13: Performance of Blank Material during 2019 Drill Program Sampling 119
Table 11-14: Performance of Blank Material during 2020 Drill Program 122
Table 11-15: Performance of Blank material during 2021 Drill program 124
Table 11-16: Summary of Duplicate (Core) Pair Performance during 2019 Drill Program Sampling 132
Table 11-17: Summary of Check (Pulps) Pair performance during 2019 Drill Program Sampling 135
Table 11-18: Summary of Dupluicate (core) Pair Performance during 2020 Drill Program 138
Table 11-19: Summary of Check (Pulps) Pair Performance during 2020 Drill Program 144
Table 11-20: Summary of Duplicate (core) Pair Performance during 2021 Drilling program 144
Table 13-1: Summary of Comminution Results 156
Table 13-2: Summary of G&T SAG Mill Comminution (SMC) Test Results 156
Table 13-3: Summary of SAG Design Results and Crushed Bond Test Results 157
Table 13-4: Predicted Production Rate 157
Table 13-5: G&T Flotation Composite Assays 158
Table 13-6: 2010 Supergene Sulphide Composite Locked Cycle Test Results 159
Table 13-7: Flowsheet Development Locked Cycle Test Results 160
Table 13-8: Hypogene Composites 160
Table 13-9: Locked Cycle Test Results 161
Table 13-10: Copper/Molybdenum Separation Cleaner Test 161
Table 13-11: Supergene Locked Cycle Recoveries to Concentrate 162
Table 13-12: Cleaner Circuit Recoveries for Locked Cycle Test Results 163
Table 13-13: Predicted Recoveries to Copper/Molybdenum Concentrate 163
Table 13-14: Copper Concentrate Chemistry 164
Table 13-15: Molybdenum Concentrate Chemistry 164
Table 13-16: Extractions and Reagent Consumptions from Open Cycle and Locked Cycle Cyanidation 165
Table 13-17: Extractions and Reagent Consumptions from Column Tests Investigating Lithology 166
Table 13-18: Comparison of Recovery 166
Table 13-19: Comparison of Head Grade 167
Table 13-20: SART Results 168
Table 13-21: Comparison of Head Grade 168
Table 13-22: Solids Specific Gravity 168
Table 13-23: Comparison of Head Grade 169
Table 13-24: Solids Specific Gravity 170
Table 13-25: Dry Bulk Density (t/m3) 170
Table 13-26: Saturation Moisture (%) 170

 

 

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Table 13-27: Drain Down Moisture (%) 170
Table 13-28: Flotation Operational Parameters 172
Table 13-29: Heap Leach Operational Parameters 173
Table 14-1: Mineral Resource for Mill Material at C$6.11 NSR Cutoff 175
Table 14-2: Mineral Resource for Leach material at C$6.61 NSR Cutoff 175
Table 14-3: Mineral Resource for Copper, Gold, and Silver (Mill and Leach) 175
Table 14-4: Mineral Resource - Mill Material by Various NSR Cut-offs (C$) 176
Table 14-5: Mineral Resource - Leach Material by Various NSR Cut-offs (C$) 177
Table 14-6: Economic Parameters for Mineral Resource (C$) 180
Table 14-7: Casino Drilling by Date and Company 183
Table 14-8: Oxidation Zone Types 185
Table 14-9: Model Rock Types 188
Table 14-10: Cap Grades and Number of Assays Capped 190
Table 14-11: Summary Statistics of Assays 191
Table 14-12:Summary Statistics of 7.5 m Composites 192
Table 14-13: Statistics of Specific Gravity Measurement by Oxidation Zone 208
Table 14-14: Comparison of Economic Parameters for 2020 versus 2022 Mineral Resource 215
Table 14-15: Comparison of 2022 and 2020 Mineral Resource - Mill Material 215
Table 14-16: Comparison of 2022 and 2020 Mineral Resource - Leach Material 217
Table 15-1: Mineral Reserve 219
Table 15-2: Economic Parameters for Mine Design (C$) 221
Table 16-1: Recommended Slope Angles (Knight-Piésold, 2012) 225
Table 16-2: Proposed Plant Production Schedule 236
Table 16-3: Mine Production Schedule 237
Table 16-4: Production Schedule for Leach Material 238
Table 16-5: Mining Equipment Requirements 242
Table 17-1: Sulphide Process Design Criteria 244
Table 17-2: Major Process Equipment 246
Table 17-3: Bulk Flotation Cells 250
Table 17-4: Moly Flotation Cells 251
Table 17-5: Process Consumables 252
Table 17-6: Metallurgical Performance Estimate 254
Table 17-7: Oxide Process Design Criteria 255
Table 17-8: Major Process Equipment 256

 

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Table 17-9: Process Consumables 263
Table 17-10: Metallurgical Performance Estimate 264
Table 20-1: Summary of applicable Legislation, Regulations and Regulatory Approvals for the Casino Mine 302
Table 20-2: Proposed mine closure phases and activities for the Project 309
Table 20-3: Proposed reclamation and closure of mine components 309
Table 21-1: Initial Capital Cost Summary 311
Table 21-2: Burdened Labor Rates 313
Table 21-3: Mining Capital - Mine Equipment and Mine Development (C$ x 1000) 316
Table 21-4: Mine Development Direct Costs Plus Contingency (C$ x 1000) 317
Table 21-5: LOM Sustaining Capital Costs 317
Table 21-6: Mining Cost 318
Table 21-7: Concentrator Cost 318
Table 21-8: Heap Leach Cost 318
Table 21-9: Operating Cost - Mine Site Cost Summary 319
Table 21-10: Concentrator Cost by Cost Element 319
Table 21-11: Heap Leach Cost by Cost Element 320
Table 21-12: Power Cost Summary 321
Table 21-13: Reagents and Consumables 321
Table 21-14: Operating Cost - Concentrator Cost Summary - Typical Year of Operation 323
Table 21-15: Operating Cost - Heap Leach Cost Summary - Typical Year of Operation 324
Table 21-16: Summary of Total and Unit Mining Costs 325
Table 21-17: Mine Operating Cost by Cost Centre 325
Table 21-18: Mine Operating Cost by Consumables versus Labor 325
Table 21-19: Mine Parts and Consumables Costs 326
Table 22-1: Life of Mine Mineralized Material, Waste Quantities and Mineralized Material Grade 327
Table 22-2: Metal Prices Used in Economic Analysis 328
Table 22-3: Sensitivity Analysis (After tax, CAD$M) 331
Table 22-4: Metal Price Sensitivity 332
Table 22-5: Project Cash Flow 333
Table 22-6: Financial Model 334
Table 24-1: Overview Schedule 342

 

 

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LIST OF APPENDICES

APPENDIX DESCRIPTION
A Feasibility Study Contributors and Professional Qualifications
   
    •   Certificate of Qualified Person (“QP”)
   
B List of Claims

 

 

 

 

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1                            Summary

This Report was prepared for Casino Mining Corporation (CMC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Copper and Gold Corporation (Western) as well as for Western itself by M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation (M3) in association with Independent Mining Consultants (IMC), Knight Piésold Ltd. (KP), Aurora Geosciences, and Hemmera.

The purpose of this report is to provide a feasibility study on the Casino Property. This report conforms to the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) National Instrument (NI) 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

1.1Key Data

The key details about this project are as follows:

1.Casino is primarily a copper and gold project that is expected to process 120,000 dry tonnes of ore per day (t/d) or 43.8 million dry tonnes per year (t/y). Metals to be recovered are copper (Cu), gold (Au), molybdenum (Mo), and silver (Ag).
2.Based on the economic analysis, the Property will produce the following over the life of the mine from the concentrator and heap leach facility:
a.Gold – 6.95 million ounces
b.Silver – 36.09 million ounces
c.Copper – 4.27 billion pounds
d.Molybdenum – 346 million pounds
3.The process will include a conventional single-line SAG mill circuit (Semi-Autogenous Ball Mill Crusher, or SABC) followed by conventional flotation to produce concentrate for sale. In addition to the concentrator, there will be a separate carbon-in-column facility to recover precious metals from heap leached oxide ore. Gold and silver bullion (doré) produced will be shipped by truck to metal refineries.
4.The Property will require the construction of a power plant and will generate its own electrical power using LNG to fuel the generator drivers.
5.The Property has several routes of access, including by the Yukon River, by aircraft, winter roads, and existing trails. A network of paved highways provides access to the region from the Port of Skagway, Whitehorse, and northern British Columbia. Paved roads to the Property currently exist up to Carmacks. A new, all weather, gravel road will be constructed by the project to connect Casino to Carmacks via the existing Freegold Road. The new access road will, in general, follow the existing Casino Trail that will be upgraded to support trucking from Carmacks to Casino.
6.Fresh water will be sourced from the Yukon River.
1.2Property Description and Ownership

The Casino porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposit is located at latitude 62° 44'N and longitude 138° 50'W (NTS map sheet 115J/10), in west central Yukon, in the northwest trending Dawson Range mountains, 300 km northwest of the territorial capital of Whitehorse.

 

 

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To the west, Newmont is developing the Coffee Project. To the north and to the west, White Gold Corp. has a large number of claims and is actively exploring them. Approximately 100 km to the east, Minto Metals Corp. operates the Minto Mine, which produces copper concentrate.

The project is located on Crown land administered by the Yukon Government and is primarily within the Selkirk First Nation traditional territory. The Tr’ondek Hwechin traditional territory lies to the north and the proposed access road crosses into Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation traditional territory to the south. The White River First Nation and Kluane First Nation are also potentially impacted by the project. The Casino Property lies within the Whitehorse Mining District and consists of 1,136 full and partial Quartz Claims and 55 Placer Claims acquired in accordance with the Yukon Quartz Mining Act. The total area covered by Casino Quartz Claims is 21,276.61 ha. The total area covered by Casino Placer Claims is 490.32 ha. Casino Mining Corp. (CMC) is the registered owner of all claims, although certain portions of the Casino property remain subject to royalty agreements. The claims covering the Casino property are discussed further in Section 4 of this document.

Figure 1-1, at the end of this section, shows the site’s location in Yukon Territory as well as other points of interest relevant to this Report.

1.3Accessibility, Climate, Local Resources, Infrastructure and Physiography

The Casino Mine is located in Central Yukon, roughly 150 km northwest of Carmacks, at approximately N62° 44’ 25”, W138° 49’ 32”. Current site access is by small aircraft using the existing 760 m airstrip, by winter road and from the Yukon River.

Either road or barge service will provide early access for construction equipment, camp construction and initial equipment. A barge landing area at Britannia Creek and the Yukon River is currently in service.

The project plan includes a new airstrip. The project also plans a new 132 km year-round access road from the end of the Freegold Road, presently extending 70 km northwest of the village of Carmacks.

The climate at the Casino Project area can generally be described as continental and cold. Winters are long, cold, and dry, with snow generally on the ground from late September through mid-May. Summers are short, mild, and wet, with the greatest monthly precipitation falling in July. Average daytime temperature in winter reaches a maximum of -13 degrees Celsius in January, dropping to -22 degrees Celsius overnight. On average, the daytime temperatures in July reach a maximum of 20 degrees Celsius, with overnight lows of 7.7 degrees Celsius. The mean annual precipitation for the Casino Project area is estimated to be 500 mm, with 65% falling as rain and 35% falling as snow.

1.4History

The first documented work in the present Casino Property area comprised the working of placer claims on Canadian Creek, recorded in 1911 by J. Britton and C. Brown. A study by D.D. Cairnes, of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) in 1917, recognized huebnerite (MnWO4) in the heavy-mineral concentrates, and also that gold and tungsten mineralization was derived from an intrusive complex on Patton Hill. The total placer gold production is unknown, although from 1980-1985 placer mining yielded 1,615 troy ounces of gold (Au).

The first recorded bedrock mineral discovery occurred in 1936 when J. Meloy and A. Brown located silver-lead-zinc (Ag-Pb-Zn) veins approximately 3 km south of the Canadian Creek placer workings. Over the next several years the Bomber and Helicopter vein systems were explored by hand trenches and pits. In 1943, the Helicopter claims were staked followed by staking of the Bomber and Airport claims in 1947.

 

 

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Lead-silver mineralization was the focus of exploration on the property until 1968. Noranda optioned the property in 1948 and Rio Tinto re-optioned the property in 1963. During this time trenching, mapping, and sampling were conducted.

L. Proctor purchased the claims in 1963 and formed Casino Silver Mines Limited to develop the silver-rich veins. The veins were explored and developed intermittently by underground and surface workings from 1965 to 1980. In total, 372.5 tonnes of argentiferous galena, assaying 3,689 grams/tonne (g/t) Ag, 17.1 g/t Au, 48.3% Pb, 5% Zn, 1.5% Cu, and 0.02% bismuth (Bi), were shipped to the Trail, British Columbia smelter.

Based on the recognition of porphyry copper potential, the Brynelsen Group acquired Casino Silver Mines Limited and, from 1968 to 1973, exploration for a porphyry target was directed jointly by Brameda, Quintana, and Teck Corporation. Exploration included extensive soil sampling and geophysical surveys and trenching programs, eventually leading to the discovery of the Casino deposit in 1969. From 1969 to 1973, various parties, including Brameda Resources, Quintana Minerals and Teck Corporation, completed diamond drilling programs on the property.

Archer, Cathro & Associates (1981) Ltd. (Archer Cathro) optioned the property in 1991 and assigned the option to Big Creek Resources Ltd. In 1992, a program consisting of 21 HQ holes totaling 4,729 m systematically assessed the gold potential in the core of the deposit for the first time. In 1992, Pacific Sentinel Gold Corp. (PSG) acquired the property and commenced a major exploration program. The 1993 program included surface mapping and 50,316 m of HQ and NQ-sized drilling in 127 holes. All but one of the 1992 drill holes were deepened in 1993. PSG drilled an additional 108 diamond drill holes totalling 18,085 metres in 1994, completing the delineation drilling commenced in 1993. PSG also performed metallurgical, geotechnical, and environmental work which was used in a scoping study in 1995. This study envisioned a large-scale open pit mine and a conventional flotation concentrator that would produce a copper-gold concentrate for sale to Pacific Rim smelters.

First Trimark Resources and CRS Copper Resources subsequently obtained the property and, using the Pacific Sentinel Gold data, published a Qualifying Report in 2003 to bring the resource estimate into compliance with National Instrument 43-101 requirements. The two firms combined to form Lumina Copper Corporation in 2004 and issued an update of the Qualifying Report later that year.

In November 2006, Western Copper Corporation acquired Lumina Copper Corporation and the Casino Deposit. In the fall of 2011, Western Copper Corporation spun out all other assets except the Casino Deposit and changed its name to Western Copper and Gold Corporation (Western). Western also created a wholly owned subsidiary, the “Casino Mining Corporation” (CMC).

In 2007, Western conducted an evaluation of the Bomber Vein System and the southern slope of Patton Hill by VLF-EM and Horizontal Loop EM geophysical surveying and soil geochemistry. Environmental baseline studies were also initiated in 2007. In 2008, Western reclaimed the old camp site and constructed a new exploration camp next to the Casino airstrip. Western drilled a camp water well and two exploration holes totaling 1,163 m, to obtain fresh core samples for metallurgical and waste characterization tests. Both exploration holes twinned PSG holes to confirm historical Cu, Mo, and Au grades. Later that year, M3 Engineering produced a pre-feasibility study for Western.

In 2009, Western completed 22.5 km of Direct Current Resistivity and Induced Polarization (DC/IP) surveying and Magnetotelluric Tensor Resistivity (MT) surveying using the “Titan” system of Quantec Geosciences Ltd. The company also drilled 10,943 m in 37 diamond drill holes, of which 27 were infill holes along the north slope of Patton Hill designed to convert inferred resource and non-defined material to the measured and indicated categories. Drilling identified supergene Cu-Mo mineralization in this area. The remaining 10 holes, totaling 4,327 m, were drilled to test geophysical targets.

 

 

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In 2010, infill and delineation drilling continued, with most of the drilling done to the north and west of the deposit. Drilling also defined hypogene mineralization at the southern end of the deposit. The company also drilled a series of geotechnical holes at the proposed tailings embankment area and within the pit, and several holes for hydrogeological studies. The geotechnical drilling continued in 2011 (41 holes, 3,163 m) and 2012 (6 holes, 228 m). This work culminated in the publishing of a pre-feasibility study in 2011 and a feasibility study in 2013.

In 2019, Western carried out a program of infill drilling, comprising 13,590 m in 72 holes. This program was designed to upgrade mineralization in the inferred resource category located along the margin of the deposit to the indicated category.

In 2020, CMC completed a diamond drilling program comprising 12,007.54 m in 49 holes, targeting three main areas: the Gold, Northern Porphyry and Casino West zones. Drilling at the Gold Zone was designed to test for higher grade mineralization along the south and west boundaries of the deposit. Northern Porphyry zone drilling targeted potential northern extensions of the deposit. Drilling at the Casino West zone was designed to test for continuation of the deposit along the south flank of Canadian Creek.

In 2021, CMC completed a diamond drilling program comprising 6,074.97 m in 22 holes. Of these, 16, comprising 5 resource confirmation holes, 3 metallurgical testing holes, and 8 for geotechnical analysis were drilled within the Casino resource boundaries. An additional six exploration holes were drilled outside of the deposit resource area, and seven short geotechnical holes were drilled in the proposed heap leach, tailings management facility and processing facility areas.

In July 2021 Western completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) report, incorporating data from drilling from 1992 through 2019. The PEA recommended advancement to a Feasibility Study to determine mineral reserves for the deposit.

In mid-2019, Western acquired the Canadian Creek property, adjacent to the west of the Casino property, from Cariboo Rose Resources Ltd., leading to the issuance of a new Mineral Resource Statement in late 2020. Exploration on the Canadian Creek property dates from 1992 when Archer Cathro staked the Ana Claims. In 1993, Eastfield Resources Ltd. acquired these claims, expanded the Ana Claim block, and explored the expanded property by soil geochemical sampling, trenching, and drilling, (Johnston, 2018). This work was directed towards exploration for additional porphyry deposits. The 1993 program was followed by extensive field programs in 1996, 1997 and 1999, comprising Induced Polarization (IP) surveying, road construction, and trenching on the Ana, Koffee, Maya and Ice claims. In 2000, Eastfield on the Ana undertook another drill campaign, Koffee Bowl, and the newly acquired Casino “B” claims immediately east of the Casino deposit. The Casino “B” holes confirmed the presence of auriferous mineralization discovered in 1994 by PSG. Modest exploration programs were conducted in 2003, 2004, and 2005, mostly over the Casino “B” area. In 2007, a five-hole core drill program at Casino “B” targeted gold and copper soil anomalies and ground magnetic “high” features.

In 2009, following discovery of gold on Underworld Resources’ nearby White Gold property, a major exploration program at Canadian Creek targeted gold potential outside of previous areas of porphyry copper exploration. Soil surveying revealed areas returning > 15 ppb Au, associated with anomalous As, Bi, and Sb (antimony) values, extending more than four kilometers ENE from the Casino deposit. The IP surveys showed numerous strong chargeability highs, many coinciding with the gold-in-soil anomalies, which were subsequently tested with 10 core holes. The holes intersected clay-altered structures with sheeted pyrite veins, and narrow, structurally controlled clay-altered structures with pyrite and quartz-carbonate veins. With few exceptions gold grades were < 1 gpt, and widths were less than 3 m.

In 2011, additional soil sampling and ground geophysical surveying and trenching were completed. The soil sampling completed coverage of the entire Canadian Creek property, whereas a limited-extent IP survey identified two zones of > 20 mv/V of chargeability. The trenching program identified several areas with anomalous gold values, including 2,890 ppb and 4,400 ppb Au.

 

 

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In 2016, Cariboo Rose, which had by then acquired the property from Eastfield, completed a modest program of trenching, prospecting, and in-fill soil sampling. Trenching work at the Ana portion of the Canadian Creek property returned locally anomalous Au, widely spread anomalous As, Bi and Sb, and locally high Ag values, generally confined to narrow structures.

Cariboo Rose’s 2017 exploration program comprised surface work at the Kana and Malt West gold targets and a reverse circulation (RC) drill program that tested a variety of gold targets across the property. A total of 2,151.27 m of RC drilling in 24 holes was completed. This work confirmed gold and silver mineralization to be limited to structures less than 3 m wide, rarely traceable over more than 100 m.

1.5Geological Setting and Mineralization

The geological setting of the Casino deposit is typical of many porphyry copper deposits. The deposit is centered on an Upper Cretaceous-age (72-74 Ma), east-west elongated porphyry stock called the Patton Porphyry, which intrudes mid-Cretaceous granitoids of the Dawson Range Batholith and Paleozoic schists and gneisses of the Wolverine Creek suite of the Yukon Tanana Terrane (YTT). Intrusion of the Patton Porphyry caused brecciation of both the earlier intrusive rocks and surrounding country rocks along the northern, southern, and eastern contacts of the stock. Brecciation is best developed in the eastern end of the stock where the brecciated zone is up to 400 m wide in plan view. To the west, along the north and south contacts, the breccias narrow gradually to less than 100 m. The overall dimensions of the intrusive complex are approximately 1.8 by 1.0 km.

The main body of the Patton Porphyry is a relatively small, mineralized stock measuring approximately 300 m by 800 m, surrounded by a potassically-altered intrusion breccia in contact with rocks of the Dawson Range Batholith. Elsewhere, the Patton Porphyry forms discontinuous dykes ranging from less than one to tens of metres in width, cutting both the Patton Porphyry Plug and the Dawson Range Batholith. The overall composition of the Patton Porphyry is rhyodacite, with phenocrysts of a dacitic composition within a quartz latite matrix. The porphyry commonly includes abundant distinct phenocrysts of plagioclase and lesser phenocrysts of biotite, hornblende, quartz, and opaque minerals.

The Intrusion Breccia comprises granodiorite, diorite, and fragments of Paleozoic meta-igneous and metasedimentary rocks, in a fine-grained Patton Porphyry matrix. It may have formed along the margins, in part by the stoping of blocks of wall rock. An abundance of Dawson Range granitoid inclusions occurs prominently at the southern contact of the main plug, whereas abundances of Wolverine Creek metamorphic rocks increase along the northern contact, and bleached diorite fragment abundance increases along the eastern contact of the main plug. Strong potassic and phyllic alteration locally destroys primary textures.

Primary copper, gold and molybdenum mineralization was deposited from hydrothermal fluids that exploited the contact breccias and fractured wall rocks. Higher grades occur in the breccias and gradually decrease outbound from the contact zone, both towards the centre of the stock and outward into the granitoids and schists. Several metallogenic settings were identified as follows:

·Leached Cap Mineralization (CAP) – This oxidized gold-bearing zone is copper-depleted due to weathering processes and has a lower specific gravity relative to the underlying zones. Weathering has resulted in significant clay alteration, and is most intense at surface, decreasing with depth.
·Supergene Oxide Mineralization (SOX) – This zone is enriched in copper oxide and hydrous copper carbonate minerals, with trace molybdenite. It generally occurs as a thin layer above the supergene sulphide zone. Where present, the supergene oxide zone averages 10 m in thickness, and may contain chalcanthite, malachite and brocanthite with minor azurite, tenorite, cuprite, and neotocite.

 

 

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·Supergene Sulphide Mineralization (SUS) – Supergene copper mineralization occurs in a zone of sulphide mineral enrichment derived from leaching of copper-bearing mineralization from the overlying Leached Cap. The zone, located below the leached cap and above the hypogene zone, extends to 200 m of depth, with an average thickness of 60 m. Grades of the supergene sulphide zone vary widely, but are highest in fractured and highly pyritic zones, due to their ability to promote chalcocite precipitation. Copper grades in the Supergene Sulphide zone are almost double those in the Hypogene.
·Hypogene Mineralization (HYP) – Hypogene mineralization occurs as disseminated mineralization, stock-work veins and breccias throughout the various alteration zones below the Supergene zone. Significant Cu-Mo mineralization is related to the potassically-altered breccia surrounding the core Patton Porphyry, and in the adjacent phyllically-altered host rocks of the Dawson Range Batholith. The breccias surrounding the Patton Porphyry are host to the highest Cu values on the property.
1.6Deposit Type

The Casino deposit is best classified as a Calc-Alkalic Porphyry type deposit associated with a tonalite intrusive stock. Primary Cu, Au and Mo mineralization was deposited from hydrothermal fluids that exploited the contact breccias and fractured wall rocks. Higher Cu-Au grades occur in the breccias and gradually decrease outwards away from the contact zone both towards the centre of the stock and outward into the granitoids and schists. A general zoning of the primary sulphides occurs, with chalcopyrite and molybdenite occurring in the central tonalite and breccias, grading outward into pyrite-dominated mineralization in the surrounding granitoids and schists. Alteration accompanying the sulphide mineralization comprises an earlier phase of potassic (K) alteration and a later overprinting of phyllic alteration. The potassic alteration typically comprises secondary biotite and K-feldspar as pervasive replacement and veins. Quartz stockwork zones and anhydrite veinlets also occur. Phyllic alteration consists of sericite and vein and replacement-style silicification.

The Casino deposit is unusual amongst Canadian porphyry copper deposits in having a well-developed enriched blanket of secondary copper mineralization similar to that found in deposits in Chile and the southwestern United States, such as the Escondida and Morenci deposits. Unlike other Canadian porphyry deposits, the Casino deposit’s enriched copper blanket was not eroded by glacial action. At Casino, weathering during the Tertiary Period leached the copper from the upper 70 m of the deposit, forming the leached cap, and re-deposited it lower in the deposit, forming the supergene enrichment zones. This created a layer-like sequence consisting of an upper leached zone up to 70 m thick, where all sulphide minerals have been oxidized and copper removed, resulting in a bleached, limonitic leached cap containing residual gold. Beneath the leached cap is a zone up to 100 m thick of secondary copper sulphide mineralization, primarily chalcocite and minor covellite, and including thin, discontinuous units of supergene copper oxide mineralization directly underlying the leached cap. The copper grades of the enriched, blanket-like zone can be up to twice that of the underlying unweathered hypogene zone of primary copper mineralization, the latter comprising pyrite, chalcopyrite and lesser molybdenite. The hypogene copper mineralization is persistent at depth, extending more than 600 m below surface, and beyond the deepest drill holes.

1.7Exploration Status

In 2009, Quantec Geoscience Limited of Toronto, Ontario performed Titan-24 DC/IP surveying, as well as an MT survey over the entire grid. MT surveys provide high resolution and deep penetration (to 1 km), and the Titan DC/IP survey provides reasonable depth coverage to 750 m.

 

 

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In 2010, all of Pacific Sentinel’s historic drill core stored at the Casino Property was re-logged to provide data for the new lithological and alteration models.

In 2011 Western focused on geotechnical, metallurgical and baseline environmental studies, but also drilled several exploration holes, prior to changing its name to Western Copper and Gold Corp (Western), and creating its wholly owned subsidiary, Casino Mining Corporation (CMC) late that year. In 2011, the program involved 41 drill holes for a total of 3,163.26 m. In 2012, CMC continued with the geotechnical and metallurgical drilling; six holes (228.07 m) were drilled for metallurgical sampling.

During the 2019 field season, Western focused on exploration drilling for the primary purpose of updating the resource base of the Casino Project. A total of 13,594.63 m in 72 holes were drilled.

During the 2020 field season, Western completed a diamond drilling program of 12,008 m in 49 core holes. The program focused on identification of high-grade gold intercepts in the “Gold Zone,” as well as expansion of the main deposit to the north and west. Results are included in this Feasibility Study.

During the 2021 field season, a total of 6,074.97 metres in 22 core holes was completed. The assay values were not used in the determination of the updated resource described in this report. Four categories of diamond drilling were employed, as follows:

Resource Confirmation Drilling: 5 holes for 1,483 m.

Metallurgical Drilling: 3 holes for 1,001 m.

Geotechnical Drilling (Deposit area): 8 holes for 1,957 m.

Exploration Drilling: 6 holes for 1,634 m.

The 2021 program also included the drilling of seven geotechnical holes testing ground conditions at the proposed Tailings Management Facility, Heap Leach facility and Mineral Processing site. Roughly 40% of core from 1992 to 2012, all of the 2021 core, and much of the 2020 core underwent scanning by the GeologicAl instrument of Enersoft Inc.

Also in 2021, an extensive B-horizon soil sampling program covering areas north, east, and south of the Casino deposit was completed, leading to onsite identification from on-site XRF results of three targets, which were subsequently drilled. Three further geochemical targets were identified from lab assay results.

1.8Exploration Procedures

Exploration on the property over its history included prospecting, geological mapping, multi-element soil geochemistry, magnetic and IP surveys, trenching and drilling. Targeting of early drilling on the Casino Deposit was based mainly on coincident Cu-Mo soil anomalies. Since 1993, with the exception of a Titan TM Survey, exploration centered on the Casino deposit comprised drilling on a grid pattern using a core drill with NQ and NTW widths, with a smaller number of holes drilled with HQ diameter core. The 2021 drilling program utilized PQ-sized coring gear for the metallurgical holes, and HTW gear for the resource confirmation, geotechnical and exploration holes. These were reduced to NTW-sized core when drilling conditions became challenging.

On the recently acquired Canadian Creek Property, exploration to 2017 comprised grid soil, ground magnetic and IP surveys to generate trenching and drilling targets. Initially the focus was to locate porphyry copper mineralization. After 2016, the focus changed to exploration for gold mineralization similar to that discovered at nearby Coffee Creek.

Soil sampling west of the Casino Deposit was done from the mid-1990s through to 2011. The soil results show a coincident Cu-Au anomaly at the 50 ppm Cu and 15 ppb Au threshold levels respectively, extending westward for approximately 3 km from the Casino Deposit. This anomaly has been tested by 16 core holes.

 

 

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Ground magnetic surveys with a line spacing of 100 m were undertaken over the Canadian Creek property in 2011 and in 2017. IP surveys were carried out in 1993, 1996, 2009 and 2011. The surveys in the 1990s used a pole-dipole array with an a-spacing of 75 m and an n 1 to 4 depth profile. The 2009 survey was a pole-dipole survey using an a-spacing of 25 m and an n 1 to 6 depth profile, and the 2011 pole dipole survey used an a-spacing of 25 m and an n 1 to 8 depth profile. In general, the surveys used small “n” spacings and have a limited depth profile. The surveys identified a number of high chargeability anomalies which remain to be tested.

The 2021 B-horizon soil sampling was conducted using a 200-metre station spacing and a 200-metre line spacing, resulting in evenly spaced sample locations in all cardinal directions throughout the surveyed area.

Drilling procedures for resource confirmation and exploration holes were the same as for 2020 drilling, utilizing HTW-sized equipment. Geotechnical drilling in the deposit area utilized HTW-sized split tube (“Triple-tube”) coring steel. The metallurgical holes utilized PQ-sized equipment for a more representative sample for testing.

The 2021 program also included re-analysis of much of the historic core, as well as 2020 and 2021 core, by the heli-portable GeologicAl unit of Enersoft Inc. The unit performed hyperspectral, LiDAR, XRF and high-resolution photography on drill core. Roughly 40% of the 1992 – 2012 core, all of the 2021 and some of the 2020 core underwent analysis by the GeologicAl unit.

1.9Mineral Resource Estimate

The Mineral Resource for the Casino Project includes Mineral Resources amenable to milling and flotation concentration methods (mill material) and Mineral Resource amenable to heap-leach recovery methods (leach material). Also, the Mineral Resource is reported inclusive of the Mineral Reserve presented in the next section. Table 1-1 presents the Mineral Resource for mill material. Mill material includes the supergene oxide (SOX), supergene sulphide (SUS), and hypogene sulphide (HYP) mineral zones. Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources amount to 2.26 billion tonnes at 0.15% total copper, 0.18 g/t gold, 0.016% molybdenum, and 1.4 g/t silver and contained metal amounts to 7.45 billion pounds of copper, 12.9 million ounces gold, 791.2 million pounds of moly and 103.1 million ounces of silver. Inferred Mineral Resource is an additional 1.37 billion tonnes at 0.10% total copper, 0.14 g/t gold, 0.009% moly and 1.1 g/t silver and contained metal amounts to 3.03 billion pounds of copper, 6.1 million ounces of gold, 286.0 million pounds moly and 50.5 million ounces of silver for the Inferred Mineral Resource in mill material.

Table 1-2 presents the Mineral Resource for leach material. Leach material is oxide dominant leach cap (CAP or LC) mineralization. The emphasis of leaching is the recovery of gold in the leach cap. Copper grades in the leach cap are low, but it is expected some metal will be recovered. Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources amount to 231.7 million tonnes at 0.04% total copper, 0.25 g/t gold and 1.9 g/t silver and contained metal amounts to 196.9 million pounds of copper, 1.88 million ounces gold and 14.1 million ounces of silver. Inferred Mineral Resource is an additional 40.9 million tonnes at 0.05% total copper, 0.20 g/t gold and 1.4 g/t silver and contained metal amounts to 46.9 million pounds of copper, 270,000 ounces of gold and 1.9 million ounces of silver for the Inferred Mineral Resource in leach material.

Table 1-3 presents the Mineral Resource for combined mill and leach material for copper, gold, and silver. Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources amount to 2.49 billion tonnes at 0.14% total copper, 0.18 g/t gold, and 1.5 g/t silver. Contained metal amounts to 7.64 billion pounds copper, 14.8 million ounces gold, and 117.2 million ounces of silver for Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources. Inferred Mineral Resource is an additional 1.41 billion tonnes at 0.10% total copper, 0.14 g/t gold and 1.2 g/t silver. Contained metal amounts to 3.08 billion pounds of copper, 6.3 million ounces of gold and 52.3 million ounces of silver for the Inferred Mineral Resource. The Mineral Resource for molybdenum is as shown with mill material since it will not be recovered for leach material.

 

 

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The Mineral Resources are based on a block model developed by IMC during December 2021. This updated model incorporated the 2020 Western drilling and updated geologic models.

The Measured, Indicated, and Inferred Mineral Resources reported herein are contained within a floating cone pit shell to demonstrate “reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction” to meet the definition of Mineral Resources in NI 43-101.

Table 1-1: Mineral Resource for Mill Material at C$ 6.11 NSR Cutoff

Resource
Category
Tonnes
Mt
NSR
(C$/t)
Copper
(%)
Gold
(g/t)
Moly
(%)
Silver
(g/t)
CuEq
%
Copper
(Mlbs)
Gold
(Moz)
Moly
(Mlbs)
Silver
(Moz)
Measured 144.9 40.09 0.30 0.38 0.024 2.1 0.64 953 1.8 75.2 9.6
Indicated 2,114.2 20.34 0.14 0.16 0.015 1.4 0.29 6,493 11.1 716.0 93.5
M+I 2,259.0 21.60 0.15 0.18 0.016 1.4 0.31 7,446 12.9 791.2 103.1
Inferred 1,371.5 15.41 0.10 0.14 0.009 1.1 0.21 3,029 6.1 286.0 50.5

 

Table 1-2: Mineral Resource for Leach Material at C$ 6.61 NSR Cutoff

Resource
Category
Tonnes
Mt
NSR
(C$/t)
Copper
(%)
Gold
(g/t)
Silver
(g/t)
AuEq
(g/t)
Copper
(Mlbs)
Gold
(Moz)
Silver
(Moz)
Measured 43.3 23.79 0.05 0.44 2.7 0.47 51.5 0.62 3.7
Indicated 188.4 11.47 0.04 0.21 1.7 0.23 145.4 1.27 10.4
M+I 231.7 13.77 0.04 0.25 1.9 0.27 196.9 1.88 14.1
Inferred 40.9 11.33 0.05 0.20 1.4 0.22 46.9 0.27 1.9

 

Table 1-3: Mineral Resource for Copper, Gold, and Silver (Mill and Leach)

Resource
Category
Tonnes
Mt
NSR
(C$/t)
Copper
(%)
Gold
(g/t)
Silver
(g/t)
Copper
(Mlbs)
Gold
(Moz)
Silver
(Moz)
Measured 188.2 36.34 0.24 0.40 2.2 1,005.0 2.4 13.3
Indicated 2,302.6 19.61 0.13 0.17 1.4 6,638.1 12.4 103.9
M+I 2,490.7 20.88 0.14 0.18 1.5 7,643.1 14.8 117.2
Inferred 1,412.5 15.30 0.10 0.14 1.2 3,075.5 6.3 52.3

Notes:

1.The Mineral Resources have an effective date of 29 April 2022, and the estimate was prepared using the definitions in CIM Definition Standards (10 May 2014).
2.All figures are rounded to reflect the relative accuracy of the estimate and therefore numbers may not appear to add precisely.
3.Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
4.Mineral Resources for leach material are based on prices of US$3.50/lb copper, US$1650/oz gold, and US$22/oz silver.
5.Mineral Resources for mill material are based on prices of US$3.50/lb copper, US$1650/oz gold, US$22/oz silver, and US$12.00/lb molybdenum.
6.Mineral Resources are based on NSR Cutoff of C$6.61/t for leach material and C$6.11/t for mill material.
7.NSR value for leach material is as follows:

NSR (C$/t) = $15.21 x copper (%) + $50.51 x gold (g/t) + $0.210 x silver (g/t), based on copper recovery of 18%, gold recovery of 80%, and silver recovery of 26%.

8.NSR value for hypogene sulphide mill material is:

NSR (C$/t) = $73.81 x copper (%) + $41.16 x gold (g/t) + $213.78 x moly (%) + $0.386 x silver (g/t), based on recoveries of 92.2% copper, 66% gold, 50% silver, and 78.6% molybdenum.

9.NSR value for supergene (SOX and SUS) mill material is:

NSR (C$/t) = $80.06 x recoverable copper (%) + $43.03 x gold (g/t) + $142.11 x moly (%) + $0.464 x silver (g/t), based on recoveries of 69% gold, 60% silver, and 52.3% molybdenum. Recoverable copper = 0.94 x (total copper – soluble copper).

10.Table 14-6 accompanies this Mineral Resource and shows all relevant parameters.

 

 

 

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11.Mineral Resources are reported in relation to a conceptual constraining pit shell in order to demonstrate reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction, as required by the definition of Mineral Resource in NI 43-101; mineralization lying outside of the pit shell is excluded from the Mineral Resource.
12.AuEq and CuEq values are based on prices of US$3.50/lb copper, US$1650/oz gold, US$22/oz silver, and US$12.00/lb molybdenum, and account for all metal recoveries and smelting/refining charges.
13.The Mineral Resource is reported inclusive of the Mineral Reserve.
1.10Mineral Reserve Estimates

Table 1-4 presents the Mineral Reserve estimate for the Casino Project. It can be seen that there are Mineral Reserves amenable to milling and Mineral Reserves amenable to heap leaching. The Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves amenable to milling amount to 1.22 billion tonnes at 0.19% total copper, 0.22 g/t gold, 0.021% molybdenum and 1.7 g/t silver. The Proven and Probable Mineral Reserve amenable to heap leaching amounts to 209.6 million tonnes at 0.26 g/t gold, 0.036% copper and 1.9 g/t silver. The effective date of this Mineral Reserve estimate is June 13, 2022. The low-grade stockpile portion of the Mineral Reserve is economic, but lower grade, material that will be stockpiled and processed at the end of open-pit operations. The Mineral Reserve estimate is also based on an exchange rate of US$ 0.80 = C$ 1.00." or if you prefer, C$ 1.25 = US$ 1.00.

The Mineral Reserve estimate is based on an open pit mine plan and mine production schedule developed by IMC. The Mineral Reserve estimate is based on commodity prices of US$ 3.25 per pound copper, US$1550 per ounce gold, US$ 12.00 per pound molybdenum and US$22.00 per ounce silver. Measured Mineral Resource in the mine production schedule was converted to Proven Mineral Reserve and Indicated Mineral Resource in the schedule was converted to Probable Mineral Reserve.

The Mineral Reserves are classified in accordance with the “CIM Definition Standards – For Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves” adopted by the CIM Council (as amended, the “CIM Definition Standards”) in accordance with the requirements of NI 43-101. Mineral Reserve estimates reflect the reasonable expectation that all necessary permits and approvals will be obtained and maintained. The project is in a jurisdiction friendly to mining.

IMC does not believe that there are significant risks to the Mineral Reserve estimate based on metallurgical or infrastructure factors or environmental, permitting, legal, title, taxation, socio-economic, marketing, or political factors. There has been a significant amount of metallurgical testing, however recoveries lower than forecast would result in loss of revenue for the project. Other risks to the Mineral Reserve estimate are related to economic parameters such as prices lower than forecast or costs higher than the current estimates. The impact of these is modeled in the sensitivity study with the economic analysis in Section 22.

All of the mineralization comprised in the Mineral Reserve estimate with respect to the Casino Project is contained on mineral titles controlled by Western Copper and Gold.

 

 

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Table 1-4: Mineral Reserve

Mineral Reserve (Milling):

Tonnes

Mt

NSR

(C$/t)

Tot Cu

(%)

Gold

(g/t)

Moly

(%)

Silver

(g/t)

CuEq

(%)

Copper

(Mlbs)

Gold

(Moz)

Moly

(Mlbs)

Silver

(Moz)

Proven Mineral Reserve 140.1 38.50 0.31 0.39 0.024 2.1 0.67 944 1.8 74.9 9.4
  Mill Ore 124.2 41.20 0.32 0.43 0.027 2.2 0.72 885 1.7 72.6 8.8
  Low Grade Stockpile 16.0 17.54 0.17 0.15 0.007 1.1 0.29 59 0.1 2.3 0.6
                         
Probable Mineral Reserve 1,076.9 23.68 0.17 0.19 0.021 1.6 0.36 4,135 6.7 497.1 55.5
  Mill Ore 825.1 26.15 0.19 0.21 0.024 1.7 0.40 3,484 5.6 430.9 45.9
  Low Grade Stockpile 251.9 15.57 0.12 0.14 0.012 1.2 0.24 651 1.1 66.2 9.6
                         
Proven/Probable Reserve 1,217.1 25.38 0.19 0.22 0.021 1.7 0.40 5,079 8.5 571.9 64.9
  Mill Ore 949.2 28.12 0.21 0.24 0.024 1.8 0.44 4,369 7.3 503.5 54.7
  Low Grade Stockpile 267.8 15.69 0.12 0.14 0.012 1.2 0.25 710 1.2 68.5 10.2
Mineral Reserve (Heap Leach):

Tonnes

Mt

NSR

(C$/t)

Gold

(g/t)

Tot Cu

(%)

Moly

(%)

Silver

(g/t)

AuEq

(g/t)

Gold

(Moz)

Copper

(Mlbs)

Moly

(Mlbs)

Silver

(Moz)

Proven Mineral Reserve 42.9 22.52 0.45 0.055 n.a. 2.7 0.47 0.62 51.8 n.a. 3.7
Probable Mineral Reserve 166.8 11.14 0.22 0.031 n.a. 1.8 0.23 1.17 113.5 n.a. 9.4
Proven/Probable Leach Reserve 209.6 13.47 0.26 0.036 n.a. 1.9 0.28 1.78 165.3 n.a. 13.1

 

Notes:

1.The Mineral Reserve estimate has an effective date of 13 June 2022 and was prepared using the CIM Definition Standards (10 May 2014).
2.Columns may not sum exactly due to rounding.
3.Mineral Reserves are based on commodity prices of US$3.25/lb Cu, US$1550/oz Au, US$12.00/lb Mo, and US$22.00/oz Ag.
4.Mineral Reserves amenable to milling are based on NSR cut-offs that vary by time period to balance mine and plant production capacities (see Section 16). They range from a low of $6.11/t to a high of $25.00/t.
5.NSR value for supergene (SOX and SUS) mill material is NSR (C$/t) = $73.63 x recoverable copper (%) + $40.41 x gold (g/t) + $142.11 x moly (%) + 0.464 x silver (g/t), based on recoveries of 69% gold, 52.3% molybdenum and 60% silver. Recoverable copper = 0.94 x (total copper – soluble copper).
6.NSR value for hypogene (HYP) mill material is NSR (C$/t) = $67.88 x copper (%) + $38.66 x gold (g/t) + $213.78 x moly (%) + $0.386 x silver (g/t), based on recoveries of 92.2% copper, 66% gold, 78.6% molybdenum, and 50% silver.
7.Mineral Reserves amenable to heap leaching are based on an NSR cut-off of $6.61/t.
8.NSR value for leach material is NSR (C$/t) = $14.05 x copper (%) + $47.44 x gold (g/t) + $0.210 x silver (g/t), based on recoveries of 18% copper, 80% gold, and 26% silver.
9.AuEq and CuEq values are based on prices of US$ 3.25/lb Cu, US$ 1550/oz Au, US$ 12.00/lb Mo, and US$ 22.00/oz Ag, and account for all metal recoveries and smelting/refining charges.
10.The NSR calculations also account for smelter/refinery treatment charges and payables.
11.Table 15-2 accompanies this Mineral Reserve estimate and shows all relevant parameters.

 

 

 

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1.11Mining Methods

This Feasibility Study (FS) is based on a conventional open pit mine plan. Mine operations will consist of drilling large diameter blast holes (31 cm), blasting with a bulk emulsion, and loading into large off-road trucks with cable shovels and a hydraulic shovel. Mineral reserves amenable to processing will be delivered to the primary crusher or various stockpiles. Waste rock will be placed inside the limits of the tailings management facility (TMF). There will be a fleet of track dozers, rubber-tired dozers, motor graders and water trucks to maintain the working areas of the pit, stockpiles, and haul roads.

The following general parameters guided the development of the mining plan:

·Mill material is limited to about 1.2 billion tonnes, CMC elected to limit the capacity of the TMF to be comparable to the concept and overall physical characteristics of the TMF design favored in the Best Available Tailings Technology Study (BATT study).
·Total mine waste to be co-disposed with tailings is limited to about 600 million tonnes,
·Mill capacity is a nominal 120,000 tonnes per day (t/d), but actual plant throughput for the schedule is based on hardness of the various material types, and usually exceeds 120,000 t/d.

Based on the mining plan developed for this study, the commercial life of the project is 27 years after an approximate 3-year pre-production period. Total mill ore is 1.22 billion tonnes at 0.189% copper, 0.217 g/t gold, 0.0213% molybdenum, and 1.66 g/t silver. Only measured and indicated mineral resource is included in the mine production schedule and converted to proven and probable mineral reserve.

In addition to the potential mill ore, there is mineral reserve mined from the leach cap zone that is amenable to processing by crushing and heap leaching. This amounts to 209.6 million tonnes at 0.265 g/t gold, 1.95 g/t silver, and 0.036% total copper.

Total waste in the mine plan amounts to 611.3 million tonnes. The waste material by material type is as follows:

·58.5 million tonnes of overburden.
·144.6 million tonnes of leach cap material.
·33.2 million tonnes of supergene oxide material.
·125.1 million tonnes of supergene sulphide material.
·249.8 million tonnes of hypogene material.

The overburden is placed in the overburden stockpile in Canadian Creek, north of the pit. The remaining waste is disposed in the tailing management facility in three facilities for mine waste: 1) the North Waste area which contains 248.4 million tonnes, 2) the Divider Dam which contains 134.4 million tonnes, and 3) the West Waste storage area which contains 164.6 million tonnes. About 5 million tonnes of mine waste will be used in the Starter Dam for the TMF embankment. The material will be placed by trucks and dozers.

Additional rock storage facilities during the life of the project include:

·The heap leach pad which at the end of the project will contain 209.6 million tonnes of spent, non-reactive material, assuming all the potential leach material is processed.
·A low-grade stockpile southeast of the pit that has the capacity for 161.8 million tonnes, and a low-grade stockpile east of the pit that contains 106.1 million tonnes, both which will be processed at the end of the mine life.

 

 

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·There will also be supergene oxide (SOX) stockpile south of the pit to store mining phase 1 SOX. It will be reclaimed during mining Years 4 through 13. The maximum size of this facility is estimated at 35.3 million tonnes. The SOX stockpile and the leach pad overlap by a small amount, but the SOX stockpile will be reclaimed before the leach pad gets to its final limits.
·There will be two stockpiles for leach ore. Leach ore mined during preproduction, 33.3 million tonnes, will be stockpiled in a temporary stockpile west of mining phase 1, but within the final pit limits. This material will be reclaimed and processed early in Year 7 a couple of years before waste stripping commences in that area. A larger facility for leach ore storage is located east of the pit. This is expected to reach a maximum size of 79.2 million tonnes during Year 11 and will be reclaimed by the end of Year 21.
1.12Metallurgical Testing

Flotation testing by ALS Metallurgy from 2008 to 2012 indicated that copper concentrate grades of 28% copper could be routinely achieved at good copper recoveries with a primary grind size of 80% passing 200 µm and a regrind of 80% passing 25 µm. Gold and silver will be recovered with the copper concentrate. Molybdenum will be recovered to a molybdenum concentrate in a separate flotation circuit.

The average metal recoveries expected from mill processing following the planned mill feed schedule are noted below:

·Copper recovery to copper concentrate, percent 86
·Gold recovery to copper concentrate, percent 67
·Silver recovery to copper concentrate, percent 53
·Molybdenum recovery to molybdenum concentrate, percent 71

Column leach test work completed in 2021 by SGS Canada on the oxide cap ore crushed to minus 3.8 cm (1.5 inch) showed that good recoveries of gold and acceptable cyanide consumptions could be obtained by integrating the cyanide heap leach with the SART process. Metallurgical results obtained in 2021 on samples tested by SGS Canada indicated that gold recovery from the heap leach could be increased by crushing the ore going to the heap leach to minus 1.9 cm (3/8 inch). Hydrodynamic characterization testing indicated that agglomeration will not be required with the finer crush size. A three-stage crushing circuit has been incorporated into this feasibility study.

The metal recoveries expected from oxide cap heap leach processing are based on:

·Gold recovery, percent 80
·Silver recovery, percent 26
·Copper recovery to SART precipitate, percent 18
1.13Recovery Methods

A mine plan was developed to supply mill ore to a conventional copper sulphide flotation plant with the capacity to process mill ore at a nominal rate of 120,000 t/d, or 43.8 million tonnes per year (Mt/y). Actual annual throughput will vary depending on the mill ore hardness encountered during the period. The mine is scheduled to operate two 12 hour shifts per day, 365 days per year.

Both sulphide copper-molybdenum mill ore and oxide gold leach ore will be processed. Copper-molybdenum mill ore will be transported from the mine to the concentrator facility and oxide gold leach ore will be transported from the mine to a crushing facility ahead of a heap leaching and gold recovery facility.

 

 

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Copper-molybdenum mill ore will be processed by crushing, grinding, and flotation to produce copper and molybdenum sulphide mineral concentrates. Copper concentrate will be loaded into highway haul trucks and transported to the Port of Skagway for ocean shipment to market. Molybdenum concentrate will be bagged and loaded onto highway haul trucks for shipment to market.

Oxide gold ore will be crushed and leached with an aqueous leach solution. Gold in the enriched (or pregnant) leach solution will be recovered using carbon absorption technology to produce gold doré bars. The enriched leach solution will also be treated to recover copper and cyanide and produce a copper sulphide precipitate. The copper sulphide precipitate will be bagged and loaded onto highway haul trucks for shipment to market. Recovery methods are discussed more in depth in Section 17.

1.14Infrastructure
1.14.1Access

The region is serviced by paved all-weather roads connecting the towns of Carmacks and Whitehorse in the Yukon with the Port of Skagway Alaska. With the completion of the 132 km Casino access road, the project will have an all-weather access route through Carmacks to Whitehorse (approx. 380 km) and to the Port of Skagway (550 km). The Port of Skagway has existing facilities to store and load-out concentrates as well as facilities to receive bulk commodity shipments, fuels, and connection to the Alaska Marine Highway. The Port of Skagway is developing plans to expand these facilities to better serve the expanding mining activity in the Yukon and Alaska.

The City of Whitehorse is the government, financial and commercial hub of the Yukon with numerous business and service entities to support the project and represents a major resource to staff the project. Whitehorse has an international airport and provides commercial passenger and freight services for the region.

A new airstrip will be constructed at the mine to accommodate appropriately sized aircraft. The existing airstrip will be razed in preparation for grading for process facilities.

1.14.2Water

The main fresh water supply will be supplied from the Yukon River. The water will be collected in a riverbank caisson and radial well system (Ranney Well) and pumped through an above-ground insulated 762 mm (30”) diameter by 17.4 km long pipeline with four pump stations to the 22,000 m3 capacity freshwater pond near the concentrator. The design capacity of the freshwater collection and transfer system will be 2,500 m3/hr with a maximum of 3,650 m3/hr with all pumps running.

1.14.3LNG Receiving, Storage and Distribution Facilities

LNG will be transported to the site from Fort Nelson, British Columbia via tanker trucks and stored on-site in a large 10,000 m3 site-fabricated storage tank to provide fuel for the power plant. An LNG receiving station is provided to unload the LNG tankers and transfer the LNG into the storage facility. An LNG vaporization facility is provided to convert the LNG into gas at a suitable supply pressure to operate the power generation equipment.

1.14.4Power Generation

Electrical power generation for the Project will be developed in two phases. An initial power plant designated the Supplementary Power Plant will be constructed in the vicinity of the main workforce housing complex to provide power to the camp, for construction activities, and to oxide crushing, conveying and heap leach facilities that go into operation before the main power plant is operational.

 

 

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The Supplementary Power Plant will consist of three 2,250-kilowatt (kW) diesel internal combustion engines (ICE). Two of the generators will remain at the Workforce Housing complex and the third will be relocated to the Sand Cyclone (Area 640) facility to provide standby/emergency power to this area after the concentrator start-up.

A Main Power Plant will be constructed at the Casino main mill and concentrator complex to supply the electrical energy required for operations throughout the mine site. The primary electrical power generation will be provided by three Gas Turbine driven generators (two Single Fuel Gas Turbines, one Dual Fuel Gas Turbine) and a steam generator, operating in combined cycle mode (CCGT) with a total installed capacity of approximately 200 megawatts (MW). The nominal running load to the mine and concentrator complex is about 130 MW. Three diesel ICE driven generators will provide another 6.75 MW of power for black start capability, emergency power, and to complement the gas turbine generation when required. The gas turbines will be fueled by natural gas (supplied as liquefied natural gas, or LNG). One of the three will have Dual Fuel capabilities - LNG and Diesel.

1.14.5Power Distribution

The 34.5 kV distribution systems will radiate from a 34.5 kV switchgear line-up with feeders to the SAG mill, Ball Mill No. #1, Ball Mill No. #2, and feeders to the mill and flotation areas in cable tray using insulated copper conductors. Overhead line feeder circuits with aluminum conductor steel reinforced (ACSR) will be provided for the tailings reclaim water, fresh water from the Yukon River, crushing/conveying and SART/ADR, camp site and two feeders to the pit loop.

Electric power utilization voltages will be 4,160 volts for motors 300 horsepower (hp) and above, 575 volts for three-phase motors 250 hp and below. For lighting, small loads and building services 600/347 or 208/120 volts will be the utilization voltage.

1.14.6Tailings Management Facility

A single Tailings Management Facility (TMF) will be constructed south of the open pit for storage of tailings and potentially reactive waste rock generated from mining. The TMF will store approximately 805 Mt of tailings and 615 Mt of potentially reactive waste rock and overburden materials. The TMF embankments will be constructed using a combination of local borrow and cyclone underflow sand produced from Non-Acid Generating (NAG) tailings. A total of approximately 491 Mt of NAG tailings will be used for dam construction. The TMF will be constructed with centerline raises of the dam, to a final crest elevation of El. 1000 m. See Figure 18-6 that provides a schematic of the dam dimensions.

1.14.7Heap Leach Facility

A Heap Leach Facility (HLF) will be constructed on a southeast facing hill-slope, approximately one kilometer south of the Open Pit. The HLF operations will commence during pre-production stripping of the Open Pit. The HLF has a design capacity of 210 million tonnes (Mt) of leach cap material. The heap leach pad will be stacked with ore and leached from Year -2 through Year 22 of mine operations. The ore will be stacked at a nominal rate of approximately 9.1 Mt per year.

The ore will be stacked on a prepared pad, with a composite liner system to maximize leachate collection and minimize seepage losses. A double composite liner system will be constructed within the lower portion of the HLF and this area will function as an in-heap water management pond. The double liner system will include a leak detection and recovery system (LDRS) to intercept and collect potential leakage through the upper liner. The in-heap water management pond area will be impounded by a confining embankment, constructed from mine waste rock material.

The HLF will be developed in stages by loading in successive lifts, upslope from the base platform developed within the in-heap water management pond area, behind the confining embankment. The HLF will be developed by stacking ore in eight-meter lifts to establish a final overall slope of 2.5H:1V. Intermittent wider benches will be constructed to limit the vertical height of the HLF to a maximum of approximately 120 m.

 

 

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1.15Capital Costs

Total initial capital investment in the Project is estimated to be $3.62 billion, which represents the total direct and indirect cost for the complete development of the Project, including associated infrastructure and power plant. Table 1-5 shows how the initial capital is distributed between the various components, including $751 million for sustaining costs.

Table 1-5: Capital Cost Summary

Cost Item Total (C$M)
Process Plant and Infrastructure  
Project Directs including freight 2,116
Project Indirects 431
Contingency 369
Subtotal 2,916
Mining  
Mine Equipment 433
Mine Preproduction 228
Subtotal 661
Owner's Costs 41
Total Initial Capital Costs 3,617
Sustaining Capital 751
Total Life of Mine Capital Costs 4,369

 

1.16Operating Costs

Operating costs for the milling operation were calculated per tonne of ore processed through the mill over the life of mine as shown in Table 1-6.

Table 1-6: Mill Operating Costs Per Tonne

Category LOM (C$/t)
Milling $6.42
General & Administrative $0.46
Total $6.88

Heap leach operating costs were calculated per tonne of ore processed through the heap leach over the life of the heap leach as shown in Table 1-7.

Table 1-7: Heap Leach Operating Costs

Category LOM (C$/t)
Heap Leach Operation $1.93
ADR/SART $4.80
Total $6.73

Mining costs were calculated to average $2.30 per tonne of material moved and $3.65 per tonne of ore.

 

 

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Table 1-8: Mining Operating Costs

Category (C$/t)
Cost per tonne material (material moved) $2.30
Cost per tonne mill feed (mill + heap material) $3.65
Cost per tonne mill feed $4.28

The combined mining and milling costs are $11.16 per tonne ore milled for the life of mine, which compares favorably to the life-of-mine net smelter return of $29.08 per tonne at Base Case metal prices.

1.17Economics

This economic analysis is based on proven and probable mineral reserves. The Study indicates that the potential economic returns from the Project justify its further development and securing the required permits and licenses for operation. The financial results of the Study were developed under commodity prices that were based on analyst projections of long-term metal prices and C$:US$ exchange rate (“Base Case” prices). Note that an exchange rate of C$:US$ of 0.80 was used for the capital cost estimation for all metal price scenarios. Table 1-9 summarizes the financial results:

Table 1-9: Financial Results Summary

Category and Units Base Case
Copper (US$/lb) US$3.60
Molybdenum (US$/lb) US$14.00
Gold (US$/oz) US$1,700
Silver (US$/oz) US$22.00
Exchange Rate (C$:US$) 0.80
   
NPV pre-tax (5% discount, C$M) $5,768
NPV pre-tax (8% discount, C$M) $3,473
IRR pre-tax (100% equity) 21.2%
   
NPV after-tax (5% discount, C$M) $4,059
NPV after-tax (8% discount, C$M) $2,334
IRR after-tax (100% equity) 18.1%
   
LOM pre-tax free cash flow (C$M) $13,713
LOM after-tax free cash flow (C$M) $10,019
   
Payback period (years) 3.3
Net Smelter Return (C$/t milled) $29.08
Copper Cash Cost* (C$/lb) ($1.00)
*C1 cash costs, net of by-product credits.  

The financial results of the Study are significantly influenced by copper and gold prices, as shown in Table 1-10.

 

 

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Table 1-10: Copper and Gold Price Sensitivity

Copper Price (US$/lb)* $3.00 $3.50 $3.60 $4.00 $4.50 $5.00
NPV pre-tax (8%) (C$ 000s) $2,547,382 $3,318,938 $3,473,249 $4,090,494 $4,862,051 $5,633,607
NPV after-tax (8%) (C$ 000s) $1,654,597 $2,221,387 $2,334,396 $2,786,432 $3,351,478 $3,916,523
IRR pre-tax 18.2% 20.7% 21.2% 23.0% 25.3% 27.4%
IRR after-tax 15.5% 17.7% 18.1% 19.7% 21.6% 23.5%
Payback (years) 3.8 3.4 3.3 3.0 2.8 2.6
             
Gold Price (US$/oz)* $1,300 $1,500 $1,700 $1,850 $2,050 $2,200
NPV pre-tax (8%) (C$ 000s) $2,411,886 $2,942,568 $3,473,249 $3,871,260 $4,401,942 $4,799,953
NPV after-tax (8%) (C$ 000s) $1,551,049 $1,944,312 $2,334,396 $2,626,958 $3,017,042 $3,309,604
IRR pre-tax 17.5% 19.4% 21.2% 22.5% 24.2% 25.5%
IRR after-tax 14.9% 16.5% 18.1% 19.2% 20.7% 21.8%
Payback (years) 4.0 3.6 3.3 3.1 2.9 2.8

*All other metal prices except those noted are the same as the Base Case.

1.18Adjacent Properties

Several quartz mineral claim blocks and placer claims registered to other owners are staked adjacent to and in the general vicinity of CMC’s claim block. Some of the placer claims on Canadian and Britannia Creeks overlap the Casino claims in the area of the pit. These placer claims along the upper part of Canadian creek are located within the projected pit shell and are worked by their owners on a seasonal basis with small heavy equipment. The northwestern boundary of the Casino property adjoins the Coffee Creek project of Newmont Mining. The property hosts a structurally controlled gold deposit in metamorphic rocks of the Yukon Tanana terrane and granitoids of mid Cretaceous age. The mineralization is associated with quartz carbonate and illite alteration and is best described as an orogenic deposit. The project is at a pre-feasibility stage of development.

The northeastern boundary of the Casino property abuts the “Betty and Hayes” property held by White Gold Corp. This property abuts the northern boundary of the narrow eastern extension of the Casino property. At this time, the property has undergone fairly early stages of exploration for similar orogenic-style gold mineralization to that within the Coffee Creek property.

Part of the eastern extension is also directly surrounded by the Idaho claim block held by Atac Resources Ltd.

1.19Conclusions and Recommendations

The economic results of the Study demonstrate that the project has positive economics and warrants development. Standard industry practices, equipment and processes were used in this study. The project is based on conventional open pit mining and typical, well understood, processing methods. The authors of this report are not aware of any unusual or significant risks, or uncertainties that could affect the reliability or confidence in the project based on the data and information made available.

Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that the project advance into the execution planning phase and an application for environmental assessment under the Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Act be prepared to continue the permitting process.

The 2019, 2020, and 2021 programs comprised 39,372.91 m of diamond drilling on the Casino and Canadian Creek properties, effectively delineating the extent of the Casino deposit. The 2020 program results indicate the previously identified Canadian zone does not have significant mineral potential, and that there are no discrete “Gold” and “North Porphyry” zones. Results of drilling, inclusive of 2020, indicate the presence of a “Deposit Core” of higher-grade material in the east-central deposit area, both within the leached cap and underlying sulphide mineralized zones.

 

 

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The 2021 drilling included several holes east of, and topographically lower than, Patton Hill. One of these returned a high-grade interval that coincides with the surface trace of the Casino fault, indicating the fault trace may represent a target for higher-grade mineralization. Farther east, one exploration hole revealed an interval having geochemical signatures, including anomalous Au-Ag values, indicative of “Bonanza-style” veining, although of lower grades than typical Bonanza-style zones. The 2021 drilling results are not incorporated into this feasibility study.

The 2021 soil sampling program identified three anomalies (A through C) from on-site XRF analysis. Three more anomalies (D, E and F) were identified from lab analysis. Of these, Anomaly F has a geochemical signature most indicative of porphyry-style Cu-Mo-Ag-Au mineralization.

The remaining undrilled exploration holes proposed for 2021 are recommended to undergo drill testing, as well as further drilling along the trace of the Casino Fault, particularly to the southeast. Additional drill holes targeting the surface strike projection of the “Bonanza” zone farther east are also recommended. Detailed B-horizon soil sampling, at a 100-metre line spacing and 50-metre station spacing, are recommended for soil anomalies D, E and F.

 

 

 

 

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(Source: Yukon Highway Map, Yukoninfo.com)

Figure 1-1: Casino Property Location

 

 

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2Introduction

2.1Issuer and Purpose of Issue

This Report was prepared for Casino Mining Corporation (CMC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Copper and Gold Corporation (Western) as well as for Western itself, by M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation (M3) in association with Independent Mining Consultants (IMC), GeoSpark Consulting Inc., Knight Piésold Ltd. (KP), and Aurora Geosciences.

The purpose of this report is to provide an Economic Assessment (Feasibility Study, FS) on the Casino property. The estimate of mineral resources and mineral reserves contained in this report conforms to the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve definitions (May 2014) referred to in National Instrument (NI) 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

The effective date of the mineral resource was April 29, 2022, and the effective date of the mineral reserve was June 13, 2022.

2.2Sources of Information

The main sources of information for this Feasibility Study include the drillhole database provided to IMC in digital form. Also, various geologic solids that were reviewed by IMC and incorporated into the resource model. A geotechnical report by Knight-Piésold with slope angle recommendations was also used for the resource cone shell and pit design.

2.3Personal Inspections

A summary of the Qualified Persons (QPs) responsible for the content of this report is shown in Table 2-1.

Table 2-1: Dates of Site Visits and Areas of Responsibility

QP Name Company Qualification Site Visit Date Area of Responsibility
Daniel Roth M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation PE, P.Eng. August 6, 2021 Sections 1,1.1-1.4, 1.14.1, 1.15, 1.16, 1.17, 1.19, 2, 3, 4, 5, 18, 18.1-18.4, 18.9, 18.10, 19, 21 (except 21.1.5, 21.3.1 and 21.3.3), 22, 24, 26, 26.4 and corresponding section 27
Michael G. Hester Independent Mining Consultants, Inc. F Aus IMM September 7, 2021 Sections 1.9, 14 and corresponding section 27
John M. Marek Independent Mining Consultants, Inc. P. Eng September 7, 2021 Sections 1.10, 1.11, 15, 16, 21.1.5, 21.3.3, 25.1 and corresponding section 27
Laurie Tahija M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation MMSA-QP N/A Sections 1.12, 1.13, 13, 17, 21.3.1, 25.2, 26.1 and corresponding section 27
Carl Schulze Aurora Geosciences P. Geo. September 9- 26, 2020 Sections 1.4-1.8, 1.18, 1.19, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 23, 25.4, 25.5, 26.5 and corresponding section 27
Daniel Friedman Knight Piésold Ltd. P.Eng. N/A Sections 1.14.6, 1.14.7, 18.7, 18.8, 25.3, 26.2, 26.3 and corresponding section 27
Pat Dugan M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation PE N/A Sections 1.14.2-1.14.5, 18.5, 18.6 and corresponding section 27
Scott Weston Hemmera Envirochem Inc. P. Geo. N/A Section 20 and corresponding section 27

 

 

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2.4Units and Abbreviations

This report generally uses the SI (metric) system of units, including metric tonnes. The term “tonne” rather than “ton” is commonly used to denote a metric ton and is used throughout the report. Unless otherwise specified, currency is in Canadian dollars ($ or C$). Units and abbreviations used are listed in Table 2-2.

Table 2-2: Abbreviations Used in this Document

Units Abbreviation
Above mean sea level ASL
Alaska Industrial Development Authority AIDA
ALS Global ALS
Aluminum Al
Aluminum conductor steel reinforced ACSR
Amperes A
Antimony Sb
Argillic ARG
Arsenic As
Associated Engineering AE
Barium Ba
Beryllium Be
Bismuth Bi
British Colombia BC or B.C.
B-Train Double BTD
Cadmium Cd
Calcium Ca
Canadian dollars $, C$, or
CAD$
Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy
and Petroleum
CIM
Carbon-in-column CIC
Cariboo Rose Resources Ltd. Cariboo Rose
Casino Mining Corporation CMC
Central Nervous System (i.e., chemicals
that affect it)
CNS
Chromium Cr
Cobalt Co
Combined cycle mode in gas turbines CCGT
Copper Cu
Copper equivalent CuEq
CRS Copper Resources Corp. CRS
Cubic metres
Cubic metres per hour m³/h
Current density A/m²
Dawson Range Batholith / Granodiorite WR, WRGD
Degrees Celsius ºC
Density t/m³
Direct Current Resistivity and Induced
Polarization
DC/IP
Dollars per ounce $/oz
Dollars per pound $/lb
Dollars per tonne $/t
Effective Grinding Length EGL
Units Abbreviation
Eighty percent passing K80, P80
Electrowinning EW
Engineering, Procurement and
Construction Management
EPCM
Foot (feet) ft
G&T Metallurgical Services G&T
Gallium Ga
Gas turbine GT
General & Administrative G&A
Gold Au
Grams per litre g/L or g/l
Grams per tonne g/t
Greater than
Heap leach facility HLF
Hectare(s) ha
Horsepower hp
Hour h
Hour(s) per kilotonne h/kt
Huebnerite MnWO4
Hypogene sulphide HYP
Inch "
Independent Mining Consultants IMC
Induced Polarization IP
Induced polarization IP
Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic
Absorption Spectroscopy
ICP-AAS
Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic
Absorption Spectroscopy
ICP-AAS
Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic
Emission Spectroscopy
ICP-AES
Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic
Emission Spectroscopy
ICP-AES
Inductively Coupled Plasma-Emission
Spectroscopy
ICP-ES
Internal Combustion Engine ICE
Internal rate of return IRR
Intrusive Breccia IX
Inverse distance with a power weight of 2 ID2
Inverse distance with a power weight of 3 ID3
Iron Fe
Kilo (1,000) k
Kilogram(s) kg
Kilogram(s) per tonne kg/t
Kilometer km

 

 

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Units Abbreviation
Kilopounds klbs
Kilotonnes ktonnes, kt
Kilotonnes per year kt/y
Kilovolt(s) kV
Kilowatt kW
Kilowatt-hour kWh
Kilowatt-hour per tonne kWh/t
Knight Piésold Ltd. KP
Lanthanum La
Last-in-first-out LIFO
Lead Pb
Leak detection and recovery system LDRS
Less than
Linear Low-Density Polyethylene LLDPE
Liquefied natural gas LNG
Litres L, l
Litres per hour per square meter L/h/m2
Litres per second L/s, l/s
Long term price LTP
M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation M3
Magnesium Mg
Magnetotelluric Tensor Resistivity MT
Manganese Mn
Manganese Mn
Mass Emission-Inductively Coupled
Plasma Spectroscopy (ICP-MS)
ICP-MS
Material Takeoff MTO
Mean annual precipitation MAP
Mega (1,000,000) M
Megawatt MW
Mercury Hg
Methyl Isobutyl Carbinol MIBC
Metre(s) m
Metric Tonne (1000 kg) t, mt, or tonne
Metric tonne per day t/d
Metric tonne per year t/y
Micrometer or micron µm
Milligrams per litre mg/L
Millimeter(s) mm
Million M
Million Canadian dollars C$M
Million cubic metres Mm3
Million dollars $M
Million ounces Moz
Million pounds Mlbs
Million tonnes Mt
Million tonnes per year Mt/y
Million years ago Ma
Molybdenite or Molybdenum Mo or Moly
National Instrument 43-101 NI 43-101
Nearest neighbor NN
Units Abbreviation
Net present value NPV
Net profits interest NPI
Net smelter return royalty NSR
Nickel Ni
Non-Acid Generating NAG
Non-Government Organizations NGOs
Notice to Proceed NTP
Ordinary kriging OK
Ounce(s) oz
Overburden OVB
Oxide Dominant Leach Cap, or Leached
Cap Mineralization
CAP or LC
Paleozoic schists and gneisses YM
Parts per billion ppb
Parts per million ppm
Patton Porphyry PP
Percent %
Phosphorus P
Post-mineralization explosive breccia MX
Potassium K
Potassium amyl xanthate PAX
Potentially-Acid Generating PAG
Pound lb
Pounds lbs
Power of hydrogen (measure of acidity) pH
Preliminary Economic Assessment PEA
Qualified Person QP
Quality Assurance and Quality Control QA/QC
Reclamation and closure plan RCP
Reverse Circulation RC
Rock Quality Designation RQD
Run of Mine ROM
Scandium Sc
Semi-autogenous grinding SAG
SGS Canada Inc. SGS
Silver Ag
SMC SAG Mill
Comminution
Snow water equivalent SWE
Sodium Na
Sodium Cyanide NaCN
Sodium Hydrosulfide NaSH
Specific gravity S.G.
Square metres
Steam Turbine ST
Strontium Sr
Sulphidization, Acidification, Recycling
and Thickening
SART
Supergene oxide SOX
Supergene sulphide SUS
Tailing Management Facility TMF

 

 

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Units Abbreviation
Temperature Celsius °C
Temperature Fahrenheit °F
Thallium Tl
Thousand troy ounces koz
Titanium Ti
Tonnage factor or specific volume m³/tonne or m³/t
Tonnes per day t/d
Tonnes per year t/y
Tungsten W
Uranium U
US dollars US$
Vanadium V
Volt V
Weak Acid Soluble WAS
Western Copper and Gold Corporation Western
Year y, yr
Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Act YESAA
Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board YESAB
Yukon First Nations UFA
Yukon Geological Survey YGS
Yukon-Tanana terrane YTT
Zinc Zn

 

 

 

 

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3                                 Reliance on Other Experts

In cases where the study authors have relied on contributions of other qualified persons, the conclusions and recommendations are exclusively the qualified persons’ own. The results and opinions outlined in this report that are dependent on information provided by qualified persons outside the employ of M3 are assumed to be current, accurate and complete as of the date of this report.

Information received from other experts has been reviewed for factual errors by CMC and M3. Any changes made as a result of these reviews did not involve any alteration to the conclusions made. Hence, the statement and opinions expressed in these documents are given in good faith and in the belief that such statements and opinions are not false and misleading at the date of these reports.

M3 relied upon Western Copper and Gold Corporation for project ownership data. M3 did not verify ownership or any underlying agreements. Mining is a risky business. The risk must be borne by the Owner. M3 does not assume any liability other than performing this technical study to normal professional standards.

The following sections describe additional information that this report relies upon beyond that which was provided by the QPs listed in Section 2.2.

3.1Metallurgy and Process Engineering

Outside reports that were relied upon included the following:

  • ALS Metallurgy (formally G&T Metallurgical Services) of Kamloops, BC, performed numerous metallurgical testing to advance the flotation process design. Tom Shouldice was the official contact. International Metallurgical and Environmental and CMC managed and oversaw this work with input from FLSmidth.
  • Starkey and Associates of Oakville, Ontario, performed a grinding circuit study. John Starkey is the official contact for Starkey and Associates. CMC managed and oversaw this work with input from FLSmidth.
  • SGS Lakefield Research Limited of Lakefield, Ontario, performed a grinding circuit study. Carlos Lozano was the official contact for SGS Lakefield. CMC managed and oversaw SGS’s work.
  • FLSmidth, 2012. Casino Project Circuit Design Basis – Update on test work and Mill Sizing/Selection. Unpublished Company Report prepared for Western Copper and Gold Corporation. FLSmidth Salt Lake City, Inc. June 2012.
  • SGS E&S Engineering Solutions (formerly METCON Research) of Tucson, AZ, USA performed metallurgical testing to advance design of the gold heap leach. Rodrigo Carneiro was the official contact. CMC managed and oversaw SGS’s work.
  • Carl Schulze relied on the Yukon Mining website for information necessary for the “Adjacent Properties” section (Section 23) of the Government of Yukon at: https://yukon.ca/en/mining, specifically at: https://yukon.ca/en/science-and-natural-resources/mining/find-maps-and-records-mining-claims-and-tenure.

M3 staff and consultants reviewed and evaluated metallurgical results from the tests listed above. In addition to supervising the effort, M3’s Laurie Tahija also reviewed and approved design criteria, flow sheets and equipment lists for the metallurgical processes.

 

 

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3.2Transportation

Associated Engineering (B.C.) Ltd. assisted by Lauga & Associates Consulting, Ltd. performed updates of the studies of transportation options including selection and design of the access road route. Associated Engineers and Lauga also prepared a report on port facility options.

The transportation costs for concentrates and bulk commodities used in the estimate are based on information from various sources that include: Seaspan Marine, Arrow Transport, Lynden and Braemar. Western Copper performed research for and obtained costs for some of the transportation costs. M3 also performed research for and obtained costs for some of the transportation costs and also evaluated the information received by Western Copper for the rest of the transportation costs.

 

 

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4Property Description and Location

4.1Location

The Casino porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposit is located at latitude 62° 44'N and longitude 138° 50'W (NTS map sheet 115J/09, 10 and 15), in west central Yukon, in the north-westerly trending Dawson Range mountains, 300 km northwest of the territorial capital of Whitehorse. Figure 1-1 in Section 1 is a map showing the location of the Casino property in relation to the Yukon, British Columbia, and the Northwest Territories (Source: Yukon Highway Map, Yukoninfo.com). The property covers a total area of 13,124 ha.

The Yukon has a population of approximately 40,800 people. Whitehorse is the nearest commercial and population centre to the project property, with a population of approximately 30,000 people. Projected land access to Whitehorse would be 380 km via the Village of Carmacks. No human settlements can be described as “local.” The Village of Carmacks is located about 150 km ESE, and the settlement of Pelly Crossing is about 115 km ENE. Beaver Creek, a village on the Alaskan Highway, is located about 112 km WSW. Fairbanks, Alaska is 500 km WNW.

The Arctic Circle is 430 km to the north. The Yukon River flows about 16 km north of the site. Yukon Highway 1, the Alaskan Highway, is about 110 km west at the nearest point. Yukon Highway 2, the Klondike Highway, is about 100 km to the east at the nearest point. No year-round roads reach the property.

The international border and Alaska are about 111 km to the west at the nearest point. British Columbia is south approximately 300 km. The closest port is Skagway, Alaska.

Exploration and mining projects in the area include the following:

·To the west, Newmont is developing the Coffee project. The project is currently at the pre-feasibility stage and is undergoing environmental assessment under the Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Act (YESAA). They are also active with exploration on their project.
·To the north and to the west, White Gold Corp. has a large number of claims and is actively exploring them.
·Approximately 100 km to the east, Minto Explorations Ltd. operates the Minto Mine, which produces copper-silver-gold concentrate that is shipped through the port of Skagway.

The project is located on Crown land administered by the Yukon Government and is primarily within the Selkirk First Nation traditional territory. The Tr’ondek Hwechin traditional territory lies to the north and the proposed access road crosses into Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation traditional territory to the south. The White River First Nation and Kluane First Nation are also potentially impacted by the project.

4.2Land Position and Status
4.2.1Property Description

The Dawson Range forms a series of well-rounded ridges and hills that reach a maximum elevation of 1,675 m above mean sea level (ASL). The ridges rise above the Yukon Plateau, a peneplain at approximately 1,200 m ASL, which is deeply incised by the mature drainage of the Yukon River watershed.

The characteristic terrain consists of rounded, rolling topography with moderate to deeply incised valleys. Major drainage channels extend below 1,000 m elevation. Most of the project lies between the 650 m elevation at Dip Creek and an elevation of 1,400 m at Patton Hill. The most notable local physical feature is the Yukon River which flows to the west about 16 km north of the project site.

 

 

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The mean annual temperature for the Casino Project area is estimated to be -2.7°C, with minimum and maximum monthly temperatures of -18.1°C and 11.1°C occurring in January and July, respectively. The mean monthly temperature values are presented in Table 5-1 in Section 5. The Mean Annual Precipitation (MAP) for the Casino Project area is estimated to be 500 mm, with 65% falling as rain and 35% falling as snow.

Characteristic wildlife in the region includes caribou, grizzly and black bear, Dall sheep, moose, beaver, fox, wolf, hare, raven, rock and willow ptarmigan, and golden eagle.

The tops of hills and ridges are sparsely covered by tundra and buckbrush, with boreal forest covering valley floors and slopes below 1,200 m of elevation. Vegetation consists of black and white spruce forests with aspen and occasional lodgepole pine. Black spruce and paper birch prevail on permafrost slopes. Balsam poplar is common along floodplains. Scrub birch and willow “buckbrush” form extensive stands in subalpine sections from valley bottoms to well above the tree line.

4.2.2Environmental

See Section 20 for a list of permits either obtained or in progress. No environmental liabilities are expected to impact the Project.

4.2.3Mineral Tenure

The Casino Property lies within the Whitehorse Mining District and consists of a total of 1,136 full and partial Quartz Claims, and 55 Placer Claims acquired in accordance with the Yukon Quartz Mining Act. The total area covered by Casino Quartz Claims is 21,288 ha. The total area covered by Casino Placer Claims is 490.34 ha. The 825 quartz claims (of a total of 1,136 claims) comprise the initial Casino Property and 311 claims comprise the Canadian Creek Property acquired in 2019. The claims are registered in the name of, and are 100%-owned by, Casino Mining Corp. (CMC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Copper and Gold Corporation (Western). A list of claims is provided in Appendix B.

The historical claims held by prior owners of the project and transferred as part of 2006 Western Copper’s plan of arrangement with Lumina Resources Corp. (“Lumina”) consist of 83 Casino “A” claims covering an area of 1,154 ha, 23 claims in the “JOE” block covering an area of 323.63 ha and 55 Casino “B” claims covering an area of 929.93 ha, 9 claims of which were repurchased from Cariboo Rose Resources Ltd. (“Cariboo Rose”) in November 2016 pursuant to an early exercise of 2002 Casino B option agreement. Forty-six of the Casino “B” claims were reacquired in July 2019 pursuant to the Canadian Creek Property Purchase Agreement, described in Section 4.2.4 in more detail. The Casino Deposit lies entirely on the Casino “A” claims.

CMC has significantly expanded the area of its mineral property by the staking and acquisition of mineral claims. The 188 VIK mineral claims, covering an area of 3,440 ha, were staked in June 2007 by CRS Copper Resources Corp (“CRS”), a predecessor of CMC. In June 2008, an additional 94 “CC” claims covering an area of 1,930 ha, 8 BL claims covering area of 157.24 ha, and 63 “BRIT” claims covering an area of 1,218 ha, were staked by CRS. In October 2009, CRS staked 136 AXS mineral claims, covering an area of 2,763 ha. In May of 2010, CRS staked an additional 63 AXS claims, covering an area of 1,254 ha. In 2011, CRS staked 18 FLY claims covering 327 ha. In May 2016, 87 PAL claims were staked by CMC, covering 1,818.18 ha. In July 2019, CMC acquired additional 311 mineral claims from Cariboo Rose that comprise the Canadian Creek Property and covering area of 6,001.47 ha. In September 2019, CMC staked 53 CAS19 claims covering an area of 759.88 ha.

4.2.4Ownership and Agreements

CMC is a successor in title to the Casino Property pursuant to the Plan of Arrangement completed on October 17, 2011.

 

 

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CRS, a predecessor of CMC, acquired the Casino A, B and JOE claims, comprising the historical Casino property, on August 9, 2007, by exercising its option pursuant to a Letter Agreement dated July 15, 2002 (“2002 Option”) with Great Basin Gold Ltd. (“Great Basin”). The Casino deposit lies entirely on the Casino A claims.

On December 21, 2012, CMC entered into the Net Smelter Returns Royalty Agreement (the “NSR Royalty Agreement”) with 8248567 Canada Ltd. (“8248567 Canada”), whereby the 2.75% Net Smelter Return Royalty (“NSR”) was established on all Casino claims excluding fifty-five (55) Casino B Claims. As consideration for purchasing the 2.75% NSR, 8248567 Canada cancelled the existing 5% NPR (except on Casino B Claims).

On November 2, 2016, pursuant to the Early Exercise and Purchase Agreement (the “Early Exercise and Purchase Agreement”), Cariboo Rose exercised its right to acquire fifty-five (55) Casino B Claims, as described in the option agreement dated May 2, 2000 (the “Casino B Option Agreement”) between Cariboo Rose and CMC (a successor to title by virtue of 2002 Option). As part of the Early Exercise and Purchase, CMC reacquired nine (9) Casino B Claims (the “Nine Casino B Claims”). Forty-six (46) Casino B Claims (the “Forty-Six Casino B Claims”) were transferred to Cariboo Rose and became part of the Canadian Creek Property owned by Cariboo Rose.

On August 28, 2019, CMC and Cariboo Rose completed the Canadian Creek Property Purchase Agreement (the “Canadian Creek Property Purchase Agreement”), whereby Forty-Six Casino B Claims were reacquired as part of the Canadian Creek Property consisting of a total of 311 mineral claims.

4.2.5Agreements and Royalties

Certain portions of the Casino property remain subject to the 2.75% NSR in favor of Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. (“Osisko Gold”) pursuant to the Royalty Assignment and Assumption Agreement dated July 31, 2017, when 8248567 Canada assigned to Osisko Gold all of its rights, title, and interest in the 2.75% NSR.

Certain royalty interests originated from certain historical agreements are deemed to have been dissolved pursuant to the insolvency proceedings and subsequent corporate dissolution of an original royalty holder given that there is no evidence that these royalty interests have ever been assigned, transferred, or sold to a third party.

4.2.6Placer Claims

In the summer of 2010, Western staked a 5-mile Placer Lease along Casino Creek and a 3-mile Placer Lease along Britannia Creek. In 2011, these leases were converted to claims. In 2014, 30 placer claims on Britannia Creek were dropped and presently, Western, through CMC, owns 55 placer claims on Casino Creek.

 

 

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Figure 4-1: Project Road Access Map

 

 

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5Accessibility, Climate, Local Resources, Infrastructure and Physiography

5.1Accessibility

The Casino Mine is located in Central Yukon, at approximately N62° 44’ 25”, W138° 49’ 32” roughly 150 km due northwest of Carmacks. Current site access is by small aircraft using the existing 760 m airstrip, by winter road from the west, and from a seasonally accessible road extending from a barge landing at the Yukon River.

The barge landing area at Britannia Creek and the Yukon River was prepared in 2010 and the lower 10 km of the 23 km access road from the landing to the site was realigned.

5.2Physiography

The Casino property is located in the Dawson Range, a north-westerly trending belt of well-rounded ridges and hills that reach a maximum elevation of about 1,675 m. The hills rise above the Yukon Plateau, at about 1,250 m and deeply incised by mature dendritic drainages. Although the Dawson Range escaped Pleistocene continental glaciation, minor alpine glaciation has produced a few small cirques and terminal moraines.

The deposit area is situated on a small divide. The northern part of the property drains to Canadian Creek and Britannia Creek into the Yukon River. The southern part of the property flows southward via Casino Creek to Dip Creek to the Donjek River and northward to the Yukon River.

Outcrop is rare on the property. Soil development is variable ranging from coarse talus and immature soil horizons at higher elevations to a more mature soil profile and thick organic accumulations on the valley floors.

5.3Climate

The climate in the Dawson Range is subarctic. Permafrost is widespread on north-facing slopes, and discontinuous on south-facing slopes. CMC installed an automated weather station at the site in 2009 and collected a certain amount of data.

The climate at the Casino Project area can generally be described as continental and cold. Winters are long, cold, and dry, with snow generally on the ground from late September through mid-May. Summers are short, mild, and wet, with the greatest monthly precipitation falling in July. The climate and hydrology at the Project site have been assessed based on both short-term site data and longer-term regional data. Site data are available from a program operated from 1993 to 1995 and from the current program that was initiated in 2008.

The mean annual temperature for the Casino Project area is estimated to be -2.7°C, with mean minimum and maximum monthly temperatures of -18.1°C and 11.1°C occurring in January and July, respectively. The mean annual precipitation (MAP) for the Casino Project area is estimated to be 500 mm, with 65% falling as rain and 35% falling as snow. The mean monthly temperatures and precipitation are presented in Table 5-1.

 

 

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Table 5-1: Mean Monthly Temperature and Precipitation Values

  Parameter
Month Precipitation (mm) Temperature (°C)
Jan 25 -18.1
Feb 19 -14.2
Mar 16 -8.2
Apr 15 -0.1
May 42 5.7
Jun 74 9.8
July 103 11.1
Aug 65 9.1
Sept 49 4.4
Oct 35 -3.3
Nov 31 -12.7
Dec 26 -16.5
Annual 500 -2.7

The estimated average annual lake evaporation is 308 mm, based on climate data collected at site and used in conjunction with long-term regional climate data.

Based on the estimated MAP of 500 mm and a rain/snow ratio of 0.65/0.35, the annual snowfall value for Casino was estimated to be 175 mm. This is generally consistent with the 140 mm mean annual maximum snowpack value (snow water equivalent, SWE) recorded in the Project area at the Casino Creek snow course station (09CD-SC01) operated by the Yukon Department of Environment (1977-2009), Water Resources Branch.

Based on the complete years of snowpack data, the average monthly snowmelt distribution for the Casino Project area was estimated to be 40% in April and 60% in May, although there is considerable variation from year to year.

5.4Water Rights

It is assumed that water rights can be obtained for withdrawal of water from the Yukon River.

5.5Power Availability

There is no utility power available to serve the site. The Project will need to generate its own power.

5.6Surface Rights

CMC has sufficient rights and available land at the Project site for a mine, tailing storage areas, waste disposal areas, heap leach pad areas and process plant areas.

 

 

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6                                 History

The first documented work on the Casino Property was the working of placer claims in the area of the Casino Deposit in April 1911, following a placer gold discovery on Canadian Creek by J. Britton and C. Brown. A study by D.D. Cairnes, of the Geological Survey of Canada in 1917, recognized huebnerite (MnWO4) in the heavy-mineral concentrates of the placer workings and also that the gold and tungsten mineralization was derived from an intrusive complex on Patton Hill. During the Second World War, a small amount of tungsten was recovered from placer workings. The total placer gold production from the area of the property is unknown, but during the period 1980-1985 placer mining yielded about 50 kg (1,615 troy ounces) of gold.

The first mineral claims at Casino were staked by N. Hansen in 1917; however, the first recorded bedrock mineral discovery occurred in 1936 when J. Meloy and A. Brown located silver-lead-zinc veins approximately 3 km south of the Canadian Creek placer workings. Over the next several years the Bomber and Helicopter vein systems were explored by hand trenches and pits. In 1943, the Helicopter claims were staked and in 1947 the Bomber and Airport groups were staked.

Lead-silver mineralization remained the focus of exploration on the property until 1968. Noranda Exploration Co Ltd. optioned the property in 1948 and Rio Tinto optioned it again in 1963. During this time trenching, mapping, and sampling were conducted.

L. Proctor purchased the claims in 1963 and formed Casino Silver Mines Limited to develop the silver-rich veins. The silver-bearing veins were explored and developed intermittently by underground and surface workings from 1965 to 1980. In total, 372.5 tonnes of hand-cobbled argentiferous galena, assaying 3,689 g/t silver (Ag), 17.1 g/t gold (Au), 48.3% lead (Pb), 5% zinc (Zn), 1.5% copper (Cu) and 0.02% bismuth (Bi), were shipped to the smelter at Trail, British Columbia.

In 1963, B. Hestor first recognized that the area had potential for a porphyry copper deposit, but his observations did not become generally known. In 1967, the porphyry potential was recognized again, this time by A. Archer and separately by G. Harper. Based on the recognition of porphyry copper potential, the Brynelsen Group acquired Casino Silver Mines Limited, and from 1968 to 1973 exploration was directed jointly by Brameda Resources (Brameda), Quintana Minerals (Quintana), and Teck Corporation towards a porphyry target. Exploration, including extensive soil sampling surveys, geophysical surveys, and trenching programs, eventually led to the discovery of the Casino deposit in 1969.

From 1969 to 1973, various parties, including Brameda Resources, Quintana Minerals and Teck Corporation, conducted drilling on the property. During this period 5,328 m of reverse circulation drilling in 35 holes, and 12,547 m of diamond drilling in 56 holes, were completed.

Archer, Cathro & Associates (1981) Ltd. (Archer Cathro) optioned the property in 1991 and assigned the option to Big Creek Resources Ltd. In 1992, a program consisting of 21 HQ (63.5 mm diameter) holes totaling 4,729 m systematically assessed the gold potential in the core area of the deposit for the first time.

In 1992, Pacific Sentinel Gold Corp. (PSG) acquired the property from Archer Cathro and commenced a major exploration program. The 1993 program included surface mapping and 50,316 m of HQ (63.5 mm diameter) and NQ (47.6 mm diameter) drilling in 127 holes. All but one of the twenty-one 1992 drill holes were deepened in 1993.

PSG drilled an additional 108 drill holes totaling 18,085 m in 1994. This program completed the delineation drilling commenced in 1993. PSG also performed metallurgical, geotechnical, and environmental work which was used in a scoping study in 1995. The scoping study envisioned a large-scale open pit mine and a conventional flotation concentrator that would produce a copper-gold concentrate for sale to Pacific Rim smelters.

 

 

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First Trimark Resources and CRS Copper Resources obtained the property and, using the PSG data, published a Qualifying Report on the property in 2003 to bring the resource estimate into compliance with National Instrument 43-101 requirements. The two firms combined to form Lumina Copper Corporation in 2004. An update of the Qualifying Report was issued in 2004.

Western Copper Corporation acquired Lumina Copper Corporation, and therefore the Casino Deposit, in November 2006. In the fall of 2011, Western Copper Corporation spun out all other assets except the Casino Deposit and changed its name to Western Copper and Gold Corporation (Western).

In 2007, Western conducted an evaluation of the Bomber Vein System and the southern slope of Patton Hill by VLF-EM, Horizontal Loop EM, and soil geochemical surveying. Environmental baseline studies were also initiated in 2007.

In 2008, Western reclaimed the old camp site, constructed a new exploration camp (the present camp) next to the Casino airstrip and drilled three holes (the camp water well and two exploration diamond drill holes) totaling 1,163 m. The main purpose of the drilling was to obtain fresh core samples for the metallurgical and waste characterization tests. Both exploration holes twinned PSG’s holes to confirm historical copper, gold, and molybdenum grades. Later that year, M3 Engineering & Technology Corporation produced a pre-feasibility study for Western Copper and Gold Corporation.

In 2009, Western completed 22.5 km of DC/IP surveying and MT surveying using the Titan system developed by Quantec Geosciences Ltd. As well, the company drilled 10,943 m in 37 diamond drill holes, of which 27 holes were infill holes drilled to upgrade the previously designated Inferred Resource and non-defined material to the Measured and Indicated resource categories. Infill drilling covered the north slope of Patton Hill that was mapped as a “Latite Plug” on PSG maps. The drilling also identified supergene Cu and Mo mineralization in this area. The remaining 10 holes, totaling 4,327 m, were drilled to test geophysical targets.

In 2010, Western, under the direction of the Casino Mining Corporation (CMC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Western, completed infill and delineation drilling mostly to the north and west of the deposit, as outlined by PSG. The drilling program also defined hypogene mineralization at the southern end of the deposit. In addition, the company drilled a series of geotechnical holes at the proposed tailings embankment area and within the pit, and several other holes for hydrogeological studies. The geotechnical drilling continued in 2011 (41 holes, 3,163 m) and 2012 (6 holes, 228 m). This work culminated in the publishing of a pre-feasibility study in 2011 and a feasibility study in 2013.

In 2019, CMC carried out a program of infill drilling comprising 13,590 m in 72 holes. The program was designed to convert mineralization located along the margin of the deposit from the Inferred Resource category to the Indicated Resource category.

In 2020, CMC completed a diamond drilling program comprising 12,007.54 m in 49 holes, targeting three main areas: the Gold, Northern Porphyry and Casino West zones. Drilling at the Gold Zone was designed to test for higher grade mineralization along the south and west boundaries of the deposit. Drilling at the Casino West zone was designed to test for continuation of the deposit along the south flank of the Canadian Creek valley. Also, three holes targeted the Ana Zone, about 4 km west of the main deposit.

A breakdown of drilling by Western and CMC from 2010 to the end of 2019 is as follows:

·173 exploration holes for 39,372.91 m.
·11 combined hydrogeological and geological holes for 1,689.58 m.
·53 geotechnical holes in the proposed tailings embankment, heap leach pad, plant site, waste rock storage site, airstrip, access road and water well areas, for 3,786.54 m.
·5 holes for 1,570.63 m for the metallurgical sample.

 

 

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The total meterage drilled by Western and CMC from 2008 to the end of 2020 is 58,646.91 m.

In 2021, CMC completed a diamond drill program, developed with input from Rio Tinto, comprising 6,074.97 m in 22 holes, including 16 within the Casino deposit resource boundaries. Within the resource area, drilling comprised 5 resource confirmation holes, 3 metallurgical testing holes, and 8 holes for geotechnical analysis. All holes returned copper-equivalent values that confirmed or, in some cases, exceeded values from previous drilling. Higher-grade values returned from the eastern margins of the deposit resource area may mark the trace of the Casino Fault.

An additional 6 exploration holes were drilled outside of the deposit area. Although the majority did not return significant mineralized intercepts, low-grade Au-Ag mineralization in one hole may mark another structural feature.

The 2021 program also included seven short geotechnical holes, comprising two at the proposed tailings management facility, four at the proposed heap leach site, and one at the proposed processing facility. The program also included on-site hyperspectral scanning of 48,673 m of core from 1992 -1994, 2008 - 2012, the 2021 core and some 2020 core.

In July 2021, Western and CMC completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) report, incorporating data from drilling from 1992 through 2019. The PEA recommended advancement to a Feasibility Study to determine the mineral reserves for the deposit. Results from the 2020 program were excluded from the PEA but are included in this Feasibility Study.

6.1History of Canadian Creek Property

In mid-2019, CMC acquired the adjacent Canadian Creek property from Cariboo Rose Resources Ltd (Cariboo Rose).

Exploration on the Canadian Creek property dates from 1992 when Archer Cathro & Associates staked the Ana Claims. In 1993, Eastfield Resources Ltd. (Eastfield) acquired the Ana Claims, expanded the Ana Claim block, and explored the expanded property with soil grids, trenching and drilling (Johnston, 2018). This work was directed at the discovery of additional porphyry deposits. The 1993 program was followed by extensive field programs in 1996, 1997, and 1999 consisting of induced polarization (IP) surveying, road construction and trenching on the Ana, Koffee, Maya and Ice claims. In 2000, another drill campaign was undertaken by Eastfield on the Ana, Koffee Bowl, and the newly acquired Casino “B” claims located immediately to the west of the Casino deposit. The Casino “B” holes confirmed the existence of gold mineralization first discovered here in 1994 by PSG, which encountered 55.17 m averaging 0.71 g/t gold in hole 94-319. Modest exploration programs were conducted in 2003, 2004 and 2005, mostly over the Casino “B” area. In 2007, a five-hole core drilling program at Casino “B” targeted gold and copper-in-soil anomalies and ground magnetic high features.

The discovery in 2009 of gold mineralization on Underworld Resources’ White Gold property sparked new interest in gold exploration in the Yukon. This led to the implementation of a major exploration program at Canadian Creek. This was directed at the gold potential of the property, including areas some distance from previous work, and focusing on porphyry copper mineralization.

A soil survey revealed extensive areas returning greater than 15 ppb gold in soils with associated anomalous values in arsenic (As), bismuth (Bi) and antimony (Sb). The anomalous area extends for over 4 km in an east-northeast direction. The induced polarization (IP) surveys revealed numerous strong chargeability highs, many of which coincide with the gold-in-soil anomalies.

Ten diamond drill holes were completed within the new grid. Results include numerous intervals of anomalous gold values, commonly associated with elevated As, Sb and Bi. The mineralization is hosted in both granodiorite and gneiss country rock, commonly in clay-altered structures, sheeted pyrite veins and/or quartz-carbonate veins. With few exceptions, gold grades are less than 1 gram per tonne (g/t) and widths are less than 3 m.

 

 

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Resampling of old trenches in other parts of the property was undertaken to verify significant historical gold results. In trench Tr-2, excavated in 1993 and located in the Ana Pass area, a grab sample of a tourmaline-pyrite-quartz altered intrusive rock returned 2,516 ppb gold. In the Casino “B” area, trench 9076-C averaged 376 ppb gold over 50 m, including a 10 m interval of 927 ppb.

In 2011, additional soil sampling, ground geophysical surveying and trenching were completed. The soil sampling completed the coverage of the entire Canadian Creek property and increased the known extent of the arsenic anomalies. A limited-extent induced polarization survey identified two zones of chargeability with values greater than 20 mv/V. The trenching program identified several areas with anomalous gold values, ranging from sub-detection level up to 2,890 and 4,400 ppb Au.

As a follow up on the 2011 program, a modest 2016 program of trenching, prospecting and in-fill soil sampling was carried out by Cariboo Rose, which had acquired the property from Eastfield. Trenching conducted in three areas of the Ana portion of the Canadian Creek property returned locally anomalous Au, and widely spread anomalous As, Bi, Sb and locally high Ag values, generally confined to narrow structures.

Cariboo Rose’s 2017 exploration program consisted of surface work directed at the Kana and Malt West gold targets and a reverse circulation (RC) drill program that tested a variety of gold targets across the property. A total of 2,151.27 m of reverse circulation (RC) drilling was conducted in 24 holes. This work confirmed that zones of gold and silver mineralization to be limited to narrow (less than 3 m wide) structures rarely traceable over more than 100 m.

 

 

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7Geological Setting and Mineralization

7.1Regional Geology

The Casino deposit occurs within the Yukon-Tanana terrane (YTT), a northwest-southeast trending accreted terrane comprising Neoproterozoic to Upper Cretaceous metaigneous and metasedimentary rocks abutting the southwest side of the Tintina Fault Zone northeast of the property. This was previously described as an overlapping zone of the Yukon Cataclastic Terrane to the north and the Yukon Crystalline Terrane to the south (Templeman-Kluit, 1976). An elongate band of ultramafic rocks, 1 km north of the Casino deposit, may occur along a major tectonic suture. The YTT in this area has undergone emplacement of the 104 Ma Dawson Range Batholith, part of the Whitehorse Intrusive Suite. The Dawson Range Batholith extends WNW for about 300 km, roughly parallel to the regional orientation of strata comprising the YTT, also known as the Yukon Metamorphic Complex.

The YTT is dominated by Paleozoic rocks with scattered intrusions of the Coffee Creek Suite that are petrographically distinct from the Dawson Range Batholith. The YTT in the Dawson Range area is comprised of metasedimentary rocks of the Proterozoic to Devonian Snowcap assemblage, rocks of the Devono-Mississippian Wolverine Creek Metamorphic Suite, (Johnston, 1995) and rocks of the Permian Sulphur Creek assemblage (website, Yukon Geological Survey, 2020). Snowcap assemblage rocks comprise quartzites, pelites, psammites and marble (YGS, 2020). Stratigraphy of the Wolverine Creek Suite comprises sedimentary and igneous protoliths (Tempelman-Kluit, 1974; Payne et al., 1987). These metasedimentary rocks consist mainly of quartz-feldspar-mica schist and gneiss, quartzite, and micaceous quartzite, while the meta-igneous unit includes biotite-hornblende-feldspar gneiss and other orthogneisses, as well as hornblende amphibolite (Selby & Nesbit, 1997).

During the mid-Cretaceous period, Wolverine Creek suite rocks in this area were intruded by the Dawson Range Batholith, subsequently intruded by the Casino Intrusive Suite (Selby et al., 1999). The Dawson Range Batholith has incorporated scattered roof–pendants and blocks of the YTT, particularly Snowcap Assemblage and Wolverine Creek Suite rocks. The Dawson Range Batholith is the main country rock of the Casino Property and is represented by a relatively homogeneous, medium- to coarse-grained, hornblende-bearing, potassic quartz diorite to granodiorite, and lesser fine- to medium-grained diorite and quartz monzonitic veins, dykes, and plugs (Tempelman-Kluit, 1974).

The Casino Intrusions, also called the Casino Plutonic Suite, have been described as a suite of quartz monzonite stocks up to 18 km across (Hart and Selby, 1998) trending west-northwest parallel to the Big Creek Lineament and its northwestern extension. Mapping by Tempelman-Kluit (1974), and successively by Payne et al. (1987), associates this Casino Plutonic Suite with the mid-Cretaceous Dawson Range Batholith. Subsequently, Johnston (1995) grouped the intrusions with the late-Cretaceous Prospector Mountain Plutonic Suite, based largely on field relationships that show stocks of the Casino Plutonic Suite cutting the Dawson Range Batholith. Subsequent age determination by Mortensen and Hart (1998), as well as geochemistry provided by Selby et al. (1999), re-evaluated the Casino Intrusions as mid-Cretaceous fractionated magmas of the Dawson Range Batholith. Recent field relationships have proven that the ‘quartz monzonites’ of the Casino property, once thought to be separate intrusions, are intensely altered and recrystallized diorites of the Dawson Range Batholith.

During late Cretaceous time, stocks and apophyses of the Prospector Mountain Plutonic Suite were emplaced into the Dawson Range Batholith (Johnston, 1995; Selby et al, 1999). In the Casino area, this suite is represented by the 72.4 Ma Patton Porphyry intrusions, occurring as small, biotite-bearing, feldspar-porphyritic, hypabyssal rhyodacite to dacite intrusions near the centre of the deposit, and as discontinuous centimeter- to metre-wide dikes northwest of the property. Here, early phases of the Patton Porphyry have undergone multiple phases of brecciation, resulting in a mineralized intrusive breccia. Later, unaltered dykes of similar lithology cut surrounding hydrothermally altered and mineralized rocks (Payne et al., 1987) suggesting there are multiple phases of this unit (Bower, 1995; Selby and Creaser, 2001). The interpreted multi-phased emplacement of the Patton Porphyry was supported by detailed re-logging of select core by Rio Tinto personnel. Hydrothermal alteration and mineralization occur in, and adjacent to, some of these late Cretaceous intrusions.

 

 

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The regional geology is illustrated in Figure 7-1, with the accompanying legend shown in Figure 7-2. Figure 7-3 summarizes the local geologic setting of the Casino property area. Table 7-1 summarizes the stratigraphy and isotopic ages of the area. All isotopic dates are based on U-Pb ratios in zircons analyzed by J.R. Mortensen.

Table 7-1: Stratigraphic Column

  Geological Unit Isotopic Age

 

Late Cretaceous

PROSPECTOR MOUNTAIN PLUTONIC SUITE:

Intrusive Breccia (Diatreme)

Heterolithic; fine-grained matrix; angular clastic

 

Heterolithic Intrusion Breccia

Heterolithic; Patton porphyry/potassic matrix; autobrecciated fragments

 

Patton Porphyry: Rhyodacitic to dacitic intrusion

Plagioclase-Biotite Porphyry; K-feldspar +/- Qz megacrystic porphyry

72.4 +/-0.5 Ma

mid-

Cretaceous

DAWSON RANGE BATHOLITH:

Granodiorite

biotite-hornblende granodiorite

104.0 +/-0.5 Ma

Diorite

Hornblende-Biorite-Quartz Diorite; hornblende-biotite diorite

104.0 +/-0.5 Ma

Devono-

Mississippian

WOLVERINE CREEK METAMORPHIC SUITE:

Meta-sedimentary

Micaceous Quartzite

 

Meta-igneous

Qtz-Bi-Plagioclase-Microcline Gneiss; K-Feldspar-Quartz-Biotite Gneiss; Amphibolite

 
Proterooic- Devonian SNOWCAP ASSEMBLAGE

Metasedimentary:

Quartzite, psammites, pelites, marble

 

 

 

 

 

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Figure 7-1: Regional Geology, Casino project area

 

 

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Figure 7-2: Legend, Regional Geology, Casino Property area

 

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Figure 7-3: Local Geology, Casino Property area

The Casino Property is sandwiched between parallel west-northwest-trending faults that form contacts between rocks of the Wolverine Creek Metamorphic Suite and the Dawson Range Batholith. In Figure 7-4, the fault farthest to the northeast is an extension of the Big Creek Fault, interpreted as having undergone dextral offsetting of 20 to 45 km. A parallel fault, 8 km to the southwest, forms the southwest boundary of a sliver of Wolverine Creek Metamorphic Suite rocks and contains outcroppings of ultramafic rocks similar to those occurring along the Big Creek Fault.

The Casino Property is bounded to the southeast by a northeast-trending regional structure known as the Dip Creek Fault, which has a left lateral (sinistral) displacement. The left-lateral displacement of stratigraphy along the Yukon River east of the Casino Property reflects sinistral movement along this fault. The east-trending Minto-Battle Fault is also sinistrally offset by the Dip Creek Fault (Johnston, 1999). The dextrally offset Minto-Battle fault lies east of the Casino Property on the opposite side of Dip Creek, with its offset extension lying south and southwest of the Casino Property.

 

 

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Figure 7-4: Regional Structures Overlain on Recent Aeromagnetic Survey

7.2Property Geology

The geological setting of the Casino deposit is typical of many porphyry copper deposits. The deposit is centered on an Upper Cretaceous (72.4 Ma), east-west trending elongate dacite porphyry stock, called the “Patton Porphyry” (PP), a member of the Casino Suite which intrudes mid-Cretaceous granitoids of the Dawson Range Batholith (WRGD) and Paleozoic schists and gneisses (YM) of the YTT (Figure 7-6). Emplacement of the Patton Porphyry dacite stock into the older rocks resulted in brecciation of both the intrusive rocks and the surrounding country rocks along the northern, southern, and eastern contacts of the stock. Brecciation is best developed in the eastern boundary of the stock where the breccia zone can be up to 400 m wide in plan view. To the west, along the north and south contacts, the breccias narrow gradually to less than 100 m. Drilling along the western end of the dacite stock has revealed a late, post-mineralization explosive breccia (MX) that has obliterated the Patton Porphyry stock and any related contact breccia in this area. The late explosive breccia, likely a diatreme forms an elliptical body over 300 m in width. It also occurs as narrow east – west trending dykes extending into the dacite stock and surrounding granitoids and metamorphic rocks. The Patton Porphyry, intrusive breccias and late explosive breccias comprise the Casino Intrusive Complex, measuring 1.8 km by 1.0 km.

Patton Porphyry dykes extend west of the deposit for several kilometres (Figure 7-6). Locally, these dykes are associated with breccia zones developed along their margins, and are locally mineralized with pyrite, chalcopyrite and molybdenite as disseminations, veins, and fracture fillings.

 

 

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Figure 7-5: Property Geology (R. Johnson, 2018)

On the northwest side of the Casino intrusive complex, a swarm of Patton Porphyry dykes and related breccias have been identified. As of 2013, the dyke swarm was speculated to represent the upper emanation of a buried satellite stock of the main Patton Porphyry stock. This hypothesis has not been substantiated to 2021. Also, the “Northern Porphyry Zone” tested in 2020 did not establish the presence of a buried stock.

 

 

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Figure 7-6: Geology of the Casino Deposit

 

 

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7.3Mineralization
7.3.1Hydrothermal Porphyry Alteration

Crystallization and exsolution of hydrothermal fluids from Patton Porphyry (PP) magmas produced porphyry style Cu-Mo-Au mineralization. Therefore, the Patton Porphyry, and associated Intrusive Breccia (IX), is genetically related to the Cu-Mo-Au mineralization of the deposit.

Hydrothermal alteration at the Casino property consists of a potassic core centered on and around the main Patton Porphyry body, in turn bordered by a contemporaneous, strongly developed and fracture controlled phyllic zone, a weakly developed propylitic zone, and a secondary discontinuous argillic overprint. Mineralized stockwork veins and breccias within the Casino Property are closely associated with the hydrothermal alteration. Potassic alteration minerals include texturally destructive K-feldspar, biotite, magnetite, and quartz, with lesser hematite, purple anhydrite, and gypsum. Biotite is mainly felted and pseudomorphic after hornblende. Locally, magnetite forms braided veinlets. In drill core, potassic alteration is represented by dark brown to black biotite alteration and/or pink potassium feldspar (K-spar) alteration.

The texturally destructive phyllic zone is found peripheral to, and locally overprinting, the potassic alteration zone. It has a distinctive ‘bleached’ appearance and is locally structurally controlled. Phyllic alteration minerals include quartz, pyrite, sericite, muscovite (after biotite), and abundant tourmaline, as well as minor hematite and/or magnetite towards the potassic zone. Quartz and sericite are typically alteration minerals after potassic and plagioclase feldspars. Biotite alters to muscovite or titanite, and hornblende alters to chlorite, calcite, quartz, and biotite. Tourmaline forms radiating disseminations and veinlets. Sulphide content is typically high, with pyrite ranging from 5-10% throughout, as disseminated blebs or cores to quartz-bearing “D” veins.

Where intense phyllic alteration overprints potassic alteration, relict textures are destroyed and minerals are recrystallized, commonly to equal portions of quartz, plagioclase, and K-feldspar, and including up to 10 percent biotite, trace apatite and titanite. Strongly zoned plagioclase and locally kinked biotite form subhedral laths, surrounded by K-feldspar, locally strained quartz, and biotite. The overall colour is pale pink.

Propylitic alteration is rare on surface but forms a wide halo around the deposit in gradational contact with the inner potassic alteration. Alteration minerals include epidote, chlorite, and calcite, with lesser carbonate, clay, sericite, pyrite, and albite. Hornblende and biotite are completely chloritized, whereas feldspars are relatively fresh, and textures are generally well-preserved.

Secondary argillic alteration is closely associated with the supergene zone and may appear locally as patches or pockets within the potassic and phyllic alteration zones. It is poorly developed, appears bleached or pale green, contains abundant clays (kaolinite, montmorillonite) and local chlorite and/or carbonate. In drill core, this unit may be recognized by distinctive “pock-marks” along the surface of the core.

The Casino deposit is not typical of Andean/Arizonan porphyry copper deposits in which mineralization is characterized by a dense stockwork of veinlets. Within the Casino deposit, mineralization occurs both as fine disseminations sensu stricto and in veinlets, with the highest concentrations occurring as disseminations in the matrix of the Intrusive Breccia (IX) zones. Notably, there is an absence of early, high-temperature “A-veins.” In a typical Andean/Arizonan porphyry, the onset of mineralization propagates through a magma “mush” resulting in multiple veinlet-forming events as the magma cools. The final pulses permeate a cooled, fractured intrusive body, resulting in a dense stockwork of multiple superimposed veinlet formational events, each with a distinctive mineralogy and formation. However, at the Casino deposit, the Patton Porphyry had apparently already cooled prior to the main mineralizing event. The brecciation events allowed for subsequent fluid movement into fractures within both the Patton Porphyry and Dawson Range intrusive rocks, but the highest grades generally occur in the IX breccia (Williams, 2021); the overall vein density is relatively low. Re-interpretation by Rio Tinto concluded that multiple events of brecciation occurred throughout the emplacement history of various pulses of Patton Porphyry, resulting in mineralizing events both within the “Early Mineral Units” and “Intermediate Mineral Units.”

 

 

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7.3.2Metallurgical Zoning

The Casino deposit is unusual among Canadian porphyry deposits as it has a substantially preserved outcropping gold-bearing oxidized “Leached Cap,” an upper well-developed copper-gold enriched “Supergene Zone” and a lower copper-gold bearing “Hypogene Zone”. The Supergene Zone is comprised of the Supergene Oxide (SOX) zone and the more extensive Supergene Sulphide (SUS) zone. Table 7-2 summarizes the main minerals identified in the Leached Cap and Supergene zones.

7.3.2.1Leached Cap Mineralization (CAP)

The Leached Cap is copper-depleted due to leaching processes and has a lower specific gravity relative to the supergene zones. It averages 70 m in thickness and is characterized by boxwork textures filled with jarosite, limonite, goethite, and hematite. This weathering has destroyed rock textures and has replaced most primary minerals with clay. The resulting rock is pale gray to cream in colour and is friable to the touch, and the clay is commonly stained yellow, orange, and/or brown by iron oxides. The weathering is most intense at the surface and decreases with depth. Whereas the copper minerals were leached and copper in solution mobilized downward until deposited along a redox zone to form the supergene enriched blanket, gold was significantly less mobile, resulting in significant gold grades remaining in the Leached Cap.

7.3.2.2Supergene Sulphide Mineralization (SUS)

Supergene copper mineralization occurs in a weathered zone up to 200 m deep, located below the Leached Cap and above the Hypogene zone. It has an average thickness of 60 m and is positively correlated with high-grade hypogene mineralization, high permeability, and phyllic and/or outer potassic alteration. Grades of the Supergene sulphide zone vary widely but are highest in fractured and strongly pyritic zones, given the elevated permeabilities and high leaching capacity of these zones. Thus, secondary enrichment zones are thickest along contacts of the potassic and phyllic alteration halos. Grain borders and fractures in chalcopyrite, bornite and tetrahedrite may be altered to chalcocite, digenite, and/or covellite. Chalcocite also locally coats pyrite grains and clusters, and locally extends along fractures deep into the hypogene zone. Molybdenite is largely unaffected by supergene processes, other than local alteration to ferrimolybdite.

In drill-core, the SUS zone is commonly broken, with decreasing clay alteration and weathering with depth and is ‘stained’ dark blue to gray.

7.3.2.3Supergene Oxide Mineralization (SOX)

The poorly defined Supergene Oxide zone (SOX) is copper-enriched and hosts trace molybdenite. It occurs as a few perched bodies within the Leached Cap, likely due to more recent fluctuations in the water table. This zone is thought to be related to present-day topography and is best developed where oxidation of earlier secondary copper sulphides occurs above the water table, typically on well drained slopes. Where present, the Supergene Oxide zone averages 10 m in thickness, locally contains chalcanthite, malachite and brocanthite, with minor azurite, tenorite, cuprite and neotocite. Its contact is gradational into the more well-defined Supergene Sulphide zone.

 

 

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Table 7-2: Leached Cap & Supergene Minerals

Zone Minerals Present Average Thickness
Leached Cap jarosite, goethite, hematite, ferrimolybdite 70 m
Supergene Oxide

chalcanthite, brochantite, malachite, azurite, tenorite, cuprite, neotocite, copper WAD native copper,

copper-bearing goethite

10 m
Supergene Sulphide

digenite, chalcocite,

minor covellite, bornite,

copper-bearing goethite

60 m
7.3.3Hypogene Mineralization (HYP)

Mineralization of the Casino Cu-Au-Mo deposit occurs mainly in the steeply plunging, in-situ contact breccias surrounding the Patton Porphyry intrusive plug. It was formed by crystallization and exsolution of hydrothermal fluids from late Cretaceous magmas of the Casino Plutonic Suite. The breccia forms an ovoid band around the main porphyry body with dimensions up to 250 m and has an interior zone of potassic alteration surrounded by discontinuous phyllic alteration, typical of some porphyry deposits.

Hypogene mineralization occurs throughout the various alteration zones of the Casino Porphyry deposit, hosted by low-density veinlets, and disseminated in the matrix of breccias. Field relationships show that the onset of potassic alteration is represented by mineralized quartz veins within the phyllically-altered zones, which cut those of the potassically-altered zones. Rhenium-osmium (Re-Os) age dating showed that the timing of the potassic and phyllic alteration are contemporaneous at around 74.4 ± 0.28 Ma. Significant Cu-Mo mineralization is related to the potassically-altered breccias surrounding the core Patton Porphyry, as well as in the adjacent phyllically-altered host rocks of the Dawson Range Batholith.

Mineralization in the potassic zone comprises mainly finely disseminated pyrite, chalcopyrite and molybdenite, as well as trace sphalerite and bornite. The phyllic alteration zones have increased gold, copper, molybdenite and tungsten values concentrated within disseminations and veinlets of pyrite, chalcopyrite and/or molybdenite along the inner part of the pyrite halo. The pyrite halo occurs within the phyllic alteration zone along the potassic-phyllic contact and discontinuously surrounds the main breccia body. It is host to the highest copper values on the property.

Chalcopyrite commonly occurs in veinlets, as disseminations, and as irregular patches. Within breccia zones and granodiorite west of the Casino Fault, disseminated chalcopyrite is more abundant than vein and veinlet-style chalcopyrite, whereas to the east of the fault, chalcopyrite is controlled by brittle deformation and occurs in fractures and open space fillings. Pyrite to chalcopyrite ratios range from less than 2:1 in the core of the deposit, to greater than 20:1 in the outer phyllic zones. Locally, coarse-grained bornite and tetrahedrite are intergrown with chalcopyrite.

Molybdenite is not generally intergrown with other sulphides and occurs as selvages in early, high-temperature, quartz veinlets with potassic-alteration halos and as discrete flakes and disseminations.

Native gold occurs as free grains (50 to 70 microns) in quartz and as inclusions in pyrite and/or chalcopyrite grains (1 to 15 microns). High-grade smoky quartz veins with numerous specks of visible gold have been reported but are rare, and do not contribute significantly to the gold inventory of the deposit.

Overall, the copper, gold, and molybdenum grades are not sympathetic to each other suggesting that, at least in part, each metal is distinguished by its own hydrothermal event.

 

 

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Late-stage, commonly vuggy, polymetallic veins, similar to the Bomber Vein, extend along roughly parallel, steeply dipping fractures trending 150° to 170°. Metallic mineralogy includes abundant sphalerite and galena, with less abundant tetrahedrite, chalcopyrite (commonly intergrown with tetrahedrite), and bismuth-bearing minerals, and are geochemically anomalous in any or all of Ag, As, Bi, Cu, Cd, Mn, Pb, Sb, Zn and locally W.

In drill-core, the hypogene zone is unweathered and unoxidized. Figure 7-7 is a cross section of the deposit showing the main metallurgical zones.

Figure 7-7: Casino Property Geology - Cross Section

 

 

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7.3.4Structurally Hosted Gold Mineralization

Structurally controlled gold mineralization within the Canadian Creek portion of the Casino property occurs mostly in the northwestern part of the property. Drilling in 2009 and 2017 discovered widespread anomalous gold mineralization associated with clay altered-shears, sheeted pyrite veins and quartz-carbonate veins hosted in both intrusive and metamorphic rocks. To date, the identified structures are generally less than 3 m thick and of short strike length. Gold is accompanied by silver, arsenic, antimony, molybdenum, barium, and bismuth.

 

 

 

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8                                 Deposit Types

The Casino deposit is best classified as a calc-alkalic porphyry deposit associated with a dacitic intrusive stock (the Patton Porphyry). Primary copper, gold and molybdenum mineralization was deposited from hydrothermal fluids in the matrix of the contact breccias as well as fractures in wall rocks. Higher grades occur in the contact breccias, and grades gradually decrease away from the contact zone, both towards the centre of the stock and outward into the host granitoids and schists. A general zoning of the primary sulphides occurs, with chalcopyrite and molybdenite occurring in the core dacite and breccias, grading outward into pyrite-dominated mineralization in the surrounding granitoids and schists. Alteration accompanying the sulphide mineralization consists of an earlier phase of potassic alteration and a later overprinting of phyllic alteration. The potassic alteration typically comprises secondary biotite and K-feldspar as pervasive replacement and includes veins and stockworks of quartz and anhydrite veinlets. Phyllic alteration consists of replacements and veinlet-style sericite and silicification.

The Casino Copper deposit is unusual amongst Canadian porphyry copper deposits in having a well-developed enriched secondary supergene blanket of copper mineralization. This is similar to those found in deposits in Chile, including the Escondita deposit, and the Morenci Deposit in the southwest United States. Unlike other porphyry deposits in Canada, the Casino deposit’s enriched supergene copper blanket was not eroded by the glacial action of ice sheets during the last ice age. At Casino, weathering during the Tertiary Period leached most of the copper from the upper 70 m of the deposit and re-deposited it lower in the deposit, forming the Supergene Sulphide zone. This resulted in a layer-like sequence comprising an upper leached zone, where all sulphide minerals have been oxidized and copper mostly removed leaving a bleached, iron-oxide leached cap containing residual gold. Beneath the leached cap is a zone up to 100 m thick of secondary copper mineralization, consisting primarily of chalcocite and minor covellite. The copper grades of the enriched, blanket-like zone are up to twice that of the underlying, unweathered hypogene zone hosting primary copper mineralization. Primary mineralization consists of pyrite, chalcopyrite and lesser molybdenite. The primary copper mineralization is persistent at depth, extending to more than 600 m of vertical depth, which is beneath the deepest drill holes completed to date.

The Casino deposit also differs from typical Andean/Arizonan porphyry copper deposits, in which mineralization is characterized by a dense stockwork of veinlets. Within the Casino deposit, mineralization occurs both as fine disseminations and within a low density of veinlets, with the highest concentrations occurring within the matrix of the Intrusive Breccia zones surrounding the central Patton Porphyry intrusion. In a typical Andean/Arizonan porphyry, the onset of mineralization propagates through a magma “mush” resulting in multiple veinlet-forming events as the magma cools. The final pulses permeate a cooled, fractured intrusive body, resulting in a dense stockwork of multiple superimposed veinlet-formational events, each with a distinctive mineralogy. However, at the Casino deposit, the Patton Porphyry had apparently already cooled prior to the main mineralizing event, the latter manifesting as the IX breccia containing clasts of both the Patton Porphyry and the Dawson Range Batholith. The brecciation event allowed for subsequent fluid movement into both sets of intrusive rocks but resulted in the highest grades occurring in the IX breccia. Re-interpretation of select drill core concluded that multiple events of brecciation occurred throughout the emplacement history of various phases of Patton Porphyry resulting in superposed mineralizing events during the Patton Porphyry emplacement history.

 

 

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9Exploration

9.1Exploration Procedures Prior to 2021

The history of exploration on the property includes prospecting, geological mapping, multi-element soil geochemical sampling, magnetic and Induced Polarization (IP) surveying, trenching and diamond and reverse-circulation drilling. Drilling will be discussed in Section 10.

A Titan TM Geophysical survey was carried out by Quantec Geoscience Limited of Toronto, Ontario in 2009, to search for potential deeply buried porphyry mineralization beneath or peripheral to the Casino deposit. The survey utilized Titan-24 Galvanic Direct Current Resistivity and Induced Polarization (DC/IP) surveys as well as a Magnetotelluric Tensor Resistivity (MT) survey over the entire grid. Magnetotelluric Resistivity surveys result in high resolution and deep penetration (to 1 km), whereas the Titan DC Resistivity & Induced Polarization surveys provide reasonable depth coverage to 750 m. The survey grid, covering a 2.4 km by 2.4 km area, was centered on the Casino deposit. The grid comprised nine 2.4 km long lines, spaced 300 metres apart, at an azimuth of approximately 064°, perpendicular to the Casino Creek Fault. Results of the Titan survey were used by Quantec to identify a series of drill targets within the survey grid and adjacent to the known mineralization. A total of 10 holes, comprising 4,327 m, were drilled to test geophysical targets. With the exception of several distal Pb-Zn veins and arsenopyrite-rich veins intercepted during this drilling, no porphyry copper mineralization was found.

To the west of the Casino deposit, on the recently acquired Canadian Creek Property, exploration utilized grid soil sampling, ground magnetic and IP surveys to generate targets for trenching and drilling. Initially, the focus of the geochemical and geophysical surveys was to locate porphyry copper mineralization. Subsequent to 2016, the focus of this work switched to the identification of gold mineralization similar to that discovered at the nearby Coffee Creek project (Johnston, 2018).

Soil geochemical sampling surveys, to the west of the Casino Deposit, were carried out from the mid 1990s through to 2011. The soil surveys targeted mainly B horizon soils, but due to local talus cover and permafrost, sampling of the B horizon was not always possible. Soil samples underwent multi-element and gold analysis, mostly at Acme Analytical Labs Vancouver, using ICP methods and fire assay with atomic absorption finish for gold. The historical soil grids utilized a 200-metre line spacing and sampling spacings that ranged from 25 m to 75 m. Locally, infill sampling to define Au and As anomalies from the original grids was done at a 100-metre line spacing and a 25-metre station spacing. Soil geochemical results show a coincident Cu-Au anomaly at the 50 ppm Cu and 15 ppb Au threshold levels respectively, extending approximately 3 km west from the western limits of the Casino deposit. Copper values are shown in Figure 9-1. This coincident Cu-Au anomaly has been tested by 16 core holes. The holes closest to the Casino Deposit revealed moderate potassic alteration and strong propylitic alteration. The four closest holes intersected zones of leached cap or incipient leaching, weak supergene enrichment, and hypogene copper-gold-molybdenum mineralization typical of the outer edges of a porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum deposit. Copper grades are in the 300 - 700 ppm (0.03% to 0.07%) range, gold grades range from 0.1 g/t to 0.3 g/t, and molybdenum values range from 20 - 40 ppm (0.002% to 0.004%). There is a progressive eastward increase in Cu, Au, and Mo grades in the Casino B drill holes towards the Casino deposit. Results from these holes define the western limits of the Casino deposit system.

 

 

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Figure 9-1: Copper and Gold in soil results (Johnson, 2018)

 

 

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Elsewhere, the soil results identified a number of areas of anomalous Au, As and Bi. These anomalies were explored further with trenching, core drilling and reverse circulation drilling. This work identified scattered narrow zones of gold mineralization associated with clay-altered shears, sheeted pyrite veins and quartz-carbonate veins, hosted both in intrusive and metamorphic rocks. With few exceptions, gold grades in the structures are sub-1.0 g/t (1,000 ppb). The structures identified to date are mainly less than 3 m thick and of short strike length.

Ground magnetic surveying at a line spacing of 100 m was undertaken over the Canadian Creek portion in 2011 and 2017. The surveys detected a number of lineaments, oriented mostly northwest-southeast, though none obviously align with the soil geochemical anomalies. A plot of the un-levelled magnetic survey results of the property is shown in Figure 9-2. The ground magnetic data shows a trend of magnetic high features extending from the Casino Deposit through the Ana Zone area to the Koffee Bowl area. This west-southwest trend follows the trend of Patton Porphyry dykes extending from the main intrusive complex.

Induced polarization (IP) surveys were carried out in 1993, 1996, 2009 and 2011. The 1993 and 1996 surveys used a pole-dipole array with a spacing of 75 m and an N1 to N4 depth profile. The 2009 survey was a pole-dipole survey using an a spacing of 25 m and an N1 to N6 depth profile. The 2011 pole dipole survey used a spacing of 25 m and an N1 to N8 profile. The surveys mainly utilized small “n” spacings resulting in limited depth profiles. The survey identified a number of high chargeability anomalies which remain to be tested. A compilation of the results is shown in Figure 9-3.

9.2Exploration in 2021

The 2021 program comprised regularly spaced reconnaissance soil geochemical sampling, re-analysis of select core from 1992 through 2020 and all 2021 core utilizing “Enersoft Inc’s “GeologiAI” (Artificial Intelligence) instrument, and completion of a diamond drilling program comprising 6,074.97 metres in 22 holes, including 8 geotechnical holes for 1,957 metres. “Televiewer” and piezometer surveying was also done on the geotechnical holes. Seven additional geotechnical holes were drilled to test ground conditions for proposed construction of the Tailings Management Facility (TMF), the heap-leach facility and mineral processing facilities. Drilling will be discussed in Section 10.1.6.

Camp and logistical management, including fixed wing and heli-support, was contracted to High Altitude Construction of Whitehorse, Yukon. Kluane Diamond Drilling of Whitehorse, Yukon, completed the main diamond drilling program. For the eight geotechnical holes, televiewer surveying was done subsequent to core drilling by DGI Geoscience Inc. of Toronto, Ontario. This was followed by piezometer surveying done by TetraTech EBA Inc. based in Whitehorse, Yukon. Geotechnical holes targeting proposed milling, heap leaching and tailings facilities were completed by Kluane Drilling and supervised by Knight-Piesold Consulting of Vancouver, British Columbia.

9.2.1Soil Sampling

A reconnaissance-style soil geochemical sampling program was completed in 2021. This program involved B-Horizon soil sampling on an evenly spaced 200-metre spaced grid, covering previously unsampled areas east and south of the Casino deposit. A total of 2,502 samples were obtained (Figure 9-2). All soil samples underwent preliminary X-ray Diffraction (XRF) analysis utilizing a portable unit encased within a protective chamber to prevent radiation leakage. Preliminary XRF analysis was done for Cu, Mo, As, Pb, Sr and for Cu: Zn and Cu: Mo ratios. The XRF results were considered sufficiently reliable to determine anomalous zones per element.

By mid-August, three Cu anomalies were identified from XRF results (Figure 9-3), and were considered robust enough to warrant diamond drilling, which was done later in 2021 (Section 10.1.6). The sampling program was still underway at the time of XRF data compilation, resulting in incomplete data coverage, compared to that for assay results. Three further anomalies, D, E and F, were identified from lab analytical results.

 

 

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Figure 9-4 through Figure 9-8 show ranges of analytical results for Cu, Mo, Au, Ag, and As, respectively. Assay results for Cu from soil geochemical sampling confirmed XRF results identifying Anomalies A and C. Anomaly B was less well defined from assay results (Figure 9-4). Assay results also indicated two other areas of elevated Cu values: Anomaly D, at the extreme northeastern tip of the survey; and Anomaly E, along the northwest side of Canadian Creek at the northwestern survey margin (Figure 9-4).

High Cu values for Anomaly A show a strong correlation with Au, Ag and As, but not Cu, indicating this is unlikely to represent a porphyry-style target. The Cu-Au-Ag-As signature is more representative of outlying bonanza vein or epithermal-style mineralization, or structurally controlled mineralization, which tend to be less Cu-enriched. The anomaly extends downslope to the southwest, with highest values of all elements occurring towards the base of slope.

Figure 9-2: Layout of 2021 Soil Sampling Program

 

 

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Figure 9-3: Cu assay values from on-site XRF analysis (Rio Tinto)

 

 

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Figure 9-4: Cu assay ranges, 2021 soil sampling program, Casino Project (Image: Wolfbear Consulting)

 

 

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Figure 9-5: Mo assay ranges, 2021 soil sampling program, Casino Project (Image: Wolfbear Consulting)

 

 

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Figure 9-6: Au assay ranges, 2021 soil sampling program, Casino Project (Image: Wolfbear Consulting)

 

 

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Figure 9-7: Ag assay ranges, 2021 soil sampling program, Casino Project (Image: Wolfbear Consulting)

 

 

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Figure 9-8: As assay ranges, 2021 soil sampling program, Casino Project (Image: Wolfbear Consulting)

 

 

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At Anomaly B, laboratory analytical results for Cu (Figure 9-4) are more subdued compared to those from XRF analysis (Figure 9-4). Elevated Cu results show a weak correlation with Au and Ag values, and essentially no correlation with Mo. The anomaly covers the northern portion of an extensive As anomaly (Figure 9-8), which may represent a broad area of enrichment, rather than one specifically associated with the Cu anomaly.

At Anomaly C, lab analytical results for Cu from its southern portion supported XRF results, although less so in its northern portion. Elevated Cu results show a strong correlation with As, a moderate correlation with Mo, and little to no correlation with Au and Ag. The elevated Cu, Mo and As values form part of a continuous east-west trending band of Cu, Mo and As enrichment, with a weak Ag and negligible Au correlation. The strongly defined Cu values from XRF analysis in its northern part are less pronounced from lab analysis. Anomaly C may cover a portion of the continuous Cu-Mo-As enriched band, rather than a discreet anomaly.

At Anomaly D, Cu values in the 98th percentile in its the western part are associated with 98th percentile Au (Figure 9-6) and Ag (Figure 9-7) values, elevated values of As (Figure 9-8) but near-background values of Mo (Figure 9-5). Elevated As values represent the northeast limit of sampling of a more extensive trend, extending northeast from the deposit area. Portions of this trend also show notable Au and Ag enrichment, although this is not significantly enriched in Cu and Mo. The Au-Ag-As trend is roughly parallel to local drainage and topographic features, which in turn may be marking structural features.

Anomaly E comprises moderately elevated Cu values (Figure 9-4) from lab analysis, supporting on-site XRF results. The anomaly also comprises high Au, Ag and As values (Figure 9-6 to Figure 9-8). The anomaly covers the west flank of the Canadian Creek valley, on the opposite side of the stream from the Casino deposit. Casino Creek marks a sharp eastern terminus for anomalous metal values, indicating an upslope source to the west. The west boundary of the anomalous area is also the western limit of surveying marking the boundary of the Casino block. However, the Cu-Au-Ag anomaly likely extends farther west onto the Canadian Creek block, now 100% held by Western.

Anomaly F, southeast of Anomaly A, shows moderately elevated Cu values (Figure 9-4) with a strong correlation to Mo and Au values (Figure 9-5 and Figure 9-6). Figure 9-7 indicates a moderate correlation with Ag as well, although this is partially masked by a halo of elevated Ag values surrounding the Bomber Vein area. No significant correlation occurs with As. The geochemical signature, centered on a topographically elevated area, is the most indicative of a second potential porphyry centre, compared to Anomalies A through E.

The east-west trending As anomaly is not precisely marked by a similar Mo-Cu anomaly, but the aerial extent and locations are similar. High As values show only a very weak correlation with Ag, and a very weak and inconclusive association with Au.

9.2.2Enersoft “AI” Analysis

In 2021, “GeologicAI” scanning instrumentation by Enersoft Inc. of Calgary, Alberta (Figure 9-9), was utilized on site to scan select core from 1992 through 2020 and all 2021 core. Scanning involved chemical XRF analysis, hyperspectral analysis for alteration and mineralization, including sulphide mineral, identification, “Light Detection and Ranging” (LiDAR) textural mapping, and high-resolution photography (Figure 9-10). The purpose was to establish consistency of scanned data across all drilling programs from 1992 through 2021. A total of 48,673 metres of core were scanned in 2021, comprising slightly over 40% of the total amount drilled from 1992 through 2020.

 

 

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Figure 9-9: "GeologicAI" Scanning Apparatus (Enersoft Inc.)

 

 

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Figure 9-10: An example of Hyperspectral Scanning results, 2021 Drilling, Casino project

 

 

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10Drilling

Targets of early diamond and reverse-circulation drilling on the Casino Deposit were based mainly on coincident copper and molybdenum-in-soil anomalies. Since 1993, with the exception of a Titan TM Survey, exploration in the vicinity of the Casino deposit has comprised drilling on a grid pattern using a core drill of NQ and NTW thickness, with a smaller number of holes drilled with HQ diameter core. The earlier soil sampling and geophysical survey anomalies, in the vicinity of the Casino Deposit, have all been tested by drilling and shown to be caused by porphyry copper-related mineralization.

The following sections describe the various drilling programs developed on the Casino Property.

10.11992-1994 Drilling Program

Drilling prior to 1992 (Figure 10-1) comprised reverse circulation drilling and NQ-diameter diamond drilling. There is little documentation that specifically focused on this early drilling, its specifications, or challenges. Drilling following the acquisition of Casino Silver Mines Ltd. by Archer Cathro and Associates, then by PSG, is well documented.

The drilling campaigns from 1992 through 1994, (Figure 10-2) were contracted to E. Caron Drilling Ltd. of Whitehorse, Yukon. Up to six diamond drills were utilized. The 1994 drilling program fulfilled a variety of purposes: infill and delineation drilling, and geotechnical, structural, and waste rock characterization. Infill drilling involved a program of angle and vertical holes designed to outline and define more fully the Leached Cap (Oxide Gold zone) and Supergene copper zones. Delineation drilling to the north, northeast, east and southeast outlined the extent of the deposit area. Four oriented angle holes were drilled into the deposit area for geotechnical information, primarily rock strength and structural characteristics, and for geological information regarding vein-set orientations. Five vertical holes targeted peripheral areas of the deposit for waste rock characterization studies. Seven vertical holes were drilled into the peripheral areas of the deposit for geotechnical information. Eighteen vertical holes were drilled outside the deposit area for geotechnical and geological information regarding potential site development.

The combined drilling from 1992 through 1994 comprised 71,437.59 m of NQ and HQ core in 236 holes. Core recoveries were consistently in the 80% to 90% range in the Leached Cap and Supergene zones and 90% to 100% in the Hypogene zone.

The 1992 to 1994 collar co-ordinates (northing, easting, and elevation) were surveyed using a total station Nikon C-100 system. Surveying of the 1992 and 1993 drill holes was done by Lamerton & Associates. The 1994 holes were surveyed by Z. Peter, Surveyor from Burnaby, B.C.

Drilling can be carried out at Casino from mid-May through September under summertime conditions, although some heating of water lines may be necessary from early September onwards. Drilling can also occur in March and April, and October and early November, although these would entail wintertime conditions and the necessity of winter drilling equipment and heating of water lines. The use of a water supply truck would be necessary during very cold weather conditions, due to freezing of water lines. Three reliable water supply sites exist on the property.

10.22008 to 2012 Drilling

From 2008 through 2012 Western Copper and Gold Corp. (Western) continued the drilling pattern established by PSG, utilizing mainly a vertical drill hole orientation and a nominal 100 m grid spacing (Figure 10-3). Later in this series of programs, Western drilled a series of inclined holes in the northern part of the deposit. Several inclined holes were also drilled in the western deposit area to establish contacts with the post-mineral explosion breccia (MX) and to confirm orientation of the interpreted N-S structure.

 

 

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The 2008 to 2012 drilling programs were contracted to Kluane Drilling Ltd. of Whitehorse, Yukon, utilizing up to three hydraulic diamond drills. Water for the drilling was pumped from the Canadian Creek bend, at the location of the old placer camp (which has undergone renewed placer mining commencing in 2019), and from Casino Creek.

Drilling was carried out from March through November, although drilling from March to early May, and October and November required winter-adapted drilling equipment. The main challenges during the winter drilling were water supply, due to the low water level in both creeks, and the freezing of long water lines.

All drilling was done using “thin wall” drill rods. Holes CAS-001 to CAS-007 utilized HTW-size rods (core diameter 70.92 mm) and the remainder of the drilling was done utilizing primarily NTW core size (core diameter 56.00 mm). Deeper holes were collared using HTW rods and reduced to NTW rods typically from 200 m to 300 m of depth. In a few cases, holes were reduced further to BTW core size (core diameter 42.00 mm). Core recoveries in the Leached Cap and Supergene zones were consistently in the 80% to 90% range and 90% to 100% in the Hypogene zone.

Down-hole orientation surveying was performed by Yukon Engineering Services of Whitehorse, Yukon, using an Icefield Tools MI3 Multishot Digital Borehole Survey Tool for holes CAS-002 to CAS-076. For holes CAS-077 to CAS-092, as well as the geotechnical and hydrogeological holes, a Reflex Instruments downhole survey instrument was used.

A 2010 geostatistical study indicated that the 100-metre spacing was sufficient for delineation of supergene mineralization, but only marginally sufficient for delineation of hypogene copper mineralization.

10.32013 Drilling

Drilling during the 2013 field season was contracted to Kluane Drilling Ltd. of Whitehorse, Yukon. Up to two hydraulic diamond drills were used for this program.

Drilling in 2013 was primarily for water wells and hydrogeological purposes. Each hole was fully logged by core loggers, but no samples were taken. Eleven holes (MW13-01D/S through MW13-06D/S) were drilled throughout June and another fifteen (DH13-01 through DH13-12) were completed during August. See Figure 10-4 and Figure 10-5 for detailed locations of drilling.

The 2013 drill collars were surveyed by CAP Engineering from Whitehorse. CAP used a Stonex GPS RTK Unit and a Topcon GPS RTK Unit to complete the surveys. These results were reported in UTM NAD83, Zone 7 coordinates.

No diamond drilling was completed on the property from 2014 through to the end of 2018.

10.42019 Drilling

Between May and October of 2019, Kluane Drilling Ltd. of Whitehorse, Yukon, completed a 13,590-metre diamond drilling program in 72 core holes (DH 19-01 through DH 19-53, CRD 19-54 through CRD 19-59 and DH 19-60 through DH 19-69) on the Casino Property, using up to two hydraulic diamond drills. The purpose of the 2019 drill program was to infill the previous drill hole spacing, in order to upgrade the resource estimate for the deposit.

All drill holes in 2019 were of NTW core size (core diameter 56.00 mm) with the exception of several holes in difficult ground that were collared with HTW core size (core diameter 70.92 mm) and reduced to NTW when drilling conditions improved. Water was pumped from the Canadian Creek bend, from Casino Creek, and from several small ponds in the property area. Core recoveries were consistently in the 75% to 80% range within the Leached Cap, 80% to 90% within the Supergene zones and 90% to 100% within the Hypogene zone. Down-hole orientation surveying was performed using a DeviShot Magnetic Multishot survey tool. Each drillhole was surveyed on 30-50 m increments by the Kluane drilling team.

 

 

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All holes were logged, sampled, and photographed by geologists on site before samples were sent to ALS Global (ALS) in Whitehorse for analysis. A total of 20% of those pulps from ALS were randomly selected and sent on to SGS Canada Inc. (SGS) in Vancouver for Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) check analysis.

CAP Engineering, of Whitehorse, Yukon was on site for 2 days in late August to survey the drill hole collars. A team of two people used a Stonex GPS RTK Unit and a Topcon GPS RTK Unit to complete the surveys. Figure 10-4 and Figure 10-5 show detailed locations of the drill holes.

10.52020 Drilling

Between June and September of 2020, Kluane Drilling Ltd. of Whitehorse, Yukon, drilled a total of 12,008 metres in 49 core holes (DDH20-01 through DDH20-49) on the Casino Property, utilizing up to three hydraulic drill rigs.

The majority of holes in 2020 comprised NTW core with the exception of some holes in difficult ground that were collared with HTW core and reduced to NTW when drilling conditions improved. Several NTW core holes were reduced to BTW core (where difficult rock conditions were encountered.

Core recoveries were consistently in the 75% to 90% range within the Leached Cap, 80% to 100% within the Supergene zones and 90% to 100% within the Hypogene zone. Down-hole orientation surveying was performed using a DeviShot Magnetic Multishot survey tool. Each drillhole was surveyed on 30 m to 50 m increments by the Kluane drilling team.

CAP Engineering, of Whitehorse, Yukon surveyed the drill hole collars, using a Stonex GPS RTK Unit and a Topcon GPS RTK Unit to complete the surveys. These results were reported in UTM NAD83, Zone 7 coordinates. See Figure 10-6 for a detailed location of the drill holes.

By the end of the 2019 program, three major zones were interpreted: 1) the “Gold Zone”, an arcuate zone along the southern and western deposit boundaries and hosting the majority of previous short high-grade gold intercepts; 2) the “North Porphyry Zone”, extending north and northwest of the main deposit; and 3) the “Canadian Zone” immediately west of the deposit. The 2020 program tested the continuity of porphyry mineralization at the “North Zone”, attempted to confirm the roughly east-west oriented “Gold Zone”, and investigated the continuity of the “Canadian Zone” .

All holes were logged, sampled, and photographed by geologists at the camp site before samples were sent to ALS Global (ALS) in Whitehorse for analysis, with 5% of those pulps from ALS randomly selected and sent on to Bureau Veritas Canada Inc. (BV) in Vancouver for QA/QC check analysis.

Drilling results in 2020 indicate the eastern area of the “Gold Zone” hosts an area of higher-grade Cu-Au mineralization, now termed the “Deposit Core” (Table 10-1) (Williams, 2021). Several holes returned CuEq values over widths significantly exceeding deposit averages. However, no further high-grade intercepts were returned from the “Gold Zone,” which is no longer considered a discrete mineralized horizon. High-grade intercepts were also determined not to be significant contributors to the mineral resource base at the Casino deposit.

At the Canadian Zone, Cu and Au values somewhat increase towards the northern limit marked by Canadian Creek. The Canadian Zone has been re-named the “Casino West” zone. Results from the North Porphyry Zone show a progressive northward decrease in Cu and Au values, essentially negating potential for a second porphyry centre in this area.

 

 

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Table 10-1 lists the location per zone of the 2020 holes. Results of 2020 drilling are incorporated into this Feasibility Study.

Table 10-1: Summary of drill targets in 2020

Sector 2020 Drill holes
System Core (4 holes) DH20-05, -08, -27, -45
“Gold Zone” (14 holes) DH20-01, -02, -10, -12, -13, -17, -18, -20, -22, -24, -25, -29, -32, -35
Northern Porphyry (13 holes) DH20-03, -04, -05, -07, -09, -11, -15, -42, -44, -45, -47, -48, -49
Western Sector (7 holes) DH20-33, -34, -37, -38, -39, -41, -43
Casino West (Canadian) (8 holes) DH20-14, -16, -19, -21, -23, -26, -28, -30
Ana Zone (3 holes) DH20-31, -36, -40

Source: Williams, 2021

10.62021 Drilling

Between June and September of 2021, Kluane Drilling Ltd. of Whitehorse, Yukon, drilled a total of 6,074.97 metres in 22 core holes (DDH20-01 through DDH20-49) on the Casino Property utilizing up to three hydraulic drill rigs. Water for the drilling was pumped from the Canadian Creek bend, from Casino Creek, and from several small ponds in the property area.

In 2021, four categories of diamond drilling were employed, as follows:

Resource Confirmation Drilling: 5 holes for 1,483 m

Metallurgical Drilling: 3 holes for 1,001 m

Geotechnical Drilling (Deposit area): 8 holes for 1,957 m

Exploration Drilling: 6 holes for 1,634 m

The majority of the Resource Confirmation, Geotechnical and Exploration holes were collared using HTW core (core diameter: 70.92 m), with some holes reduced to NTW core (core diameter 56.00 m) depending on rock conditions. Metallurgical drilling utilized PQ core (core diameter 85.00 m) to facilitate a larger sample size for metallurgical testing. The Metallurgical, Geotechnical and Resource Confirmation holes were collared mainly at the Deposit Core or along the eastern, northern, and southern periphery of the Casino deposit. Drilling results were not incorporated into this feasibility study.

All 2021 core underwent geotechnical and geological logging as well as scanning by the Enersoft “GeologicAI” instrument on site. The “Geotechnical” holes were drilled using “Split Tube” (also known as “Triple Tube”) coring equipment, and underwent “Televiewer” surveying, which included down-hole optical, acoustical, and gamma-ray surveying. This was followed by piezometer surveying, designed to determine groundwater conditions per hole. To facilitate the piezometer, the holes were grouted, the instruments were lowered to their respective depths, and the holes were then cemented, sealing the piezometers in place. Televiewer surveying was done by DGI Geoscience Inc. of Toronto, Ontario, and piezometer surveying was done by TetraTech EBA Inc. based in Whitehorse, Yukon.

Core recoveries were consistently in the 75% to 90% range within the Leached Cap, 80% to 100% within the Supergene zones and 90% to 100% within the Hypogene zone. Down-hole orientation surveying was performed using a DeviShot Magnetic Multishot survey tool. Each drillhole was surveyed on 30 m to 50 m increments by the Kluane drilling team.

 

 

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Challenger Geomatics, of Whitehorse, Yukon was on site for 2 days in September 2021 to survey the drill hole collars. A team of two people used a Stonex GPS RTK Unit and a Topcon GPS RTK Unit to complete the surveys. See Table 10-2 and Figure 10-7 for a detailed location of the drill holes, and Table 10-3 for significant intercepts.

Table 10-2: 2021 Drill Collar data

Drill hole Proposed hole UTM East UTM North Elevation Azimuth Dip Final Depth (m)
DDH 21-01 CAS21_RES_A 611065 6958785 1238 225 -60 352.04
DDH 21-02 CAS21_RES_C 611100 6958375 1288 315 -60 350.22
DDH 21-03 CAS21_RES_B 611220 6958506 1253 195 -60 228.60
DDH 21-04 CAS21_MET_A 610940 6958340 1358 35 -60 350.52
DDH 21-05 CAS21_RES_D 610890 6958220 1391 240 -60 300.23
DDH 21-06 CAS21_MET_B 610971 6958746 1251 215 -60 324.61
DDH 21-07 CAS21_MET_C 611430 6958705 1178 170 -55 326.14
DDH 21-08 CAS21_RES_E 611520 6958670 1169 60 -60 252.98
DDH 21-09 CAS21_GTH_E 611510 6958620 1162 100 -60 225.55
DDH 21-10 CAS21_GTH_F 611430 6958530 1165 220 -55 202.69
DDH 21-11 CAS21_GTH_C 610860 6958310 1368 240 -60 251.46
DDH 21-12 CAS21_EXP_K 611200 6959465 1323 45 -75 326.14
DDH 21-13 CAS21_GTH_A 611020 6958450 1349 140 -60 300.23
DDH 21-14 CAS21_EXP_H 612100 6958660 1136 225 -60 350.52
DDH 21-15 CAS21_GTH_B 610850 6958650 1320 260 -60 225.55
DDH-21-16 CAS21_EXP_F 612350 6958250 1089 215 -60 300.23
DDH-21-17 CAS21_GTH_D 611145 6958640 1256 55 -60 300.23
DDH-21-18 CAS21_EXP_N 612700 6958500 1171 225 -60 254.51
DDH-21-19 CAS21_EXP_O 613900 6954800 1060 315 -60 251.46
DDH-21-20 CAS21_GTH_G 610860 6958310 1368 240 -60 248.41
DDH-21-21 CAS21_EXP_P 611700 6954700 910 135 -60 150.88
DDH-21-22 CAS21_GTH-H 611430 6958530 1165 220 -55 202.99

Table 10-3: Significant Intercepts, 2021 Diamond Drilling Program

Hole Zone3 From
(m)
To
(m)
Width2
(m)
Cu
(%)
Au
(g/t)
Ag
(g/t)
Mo
(%)
CuEq1
(%)
DDH21-01 All 0.50 352.04 351.54 0.17 0.21 0.99 0.027 0.45
  Cap 0.50 57.25 56.75 0.07 0.15 0.98 0.035 0.33
  SUP 57.25 177.98 120.73 0.28 0.26 1.11 0.038 0.65
  HYP 177.98 352.04 174.06 0.13 0.20 0.91 0.017 0.36
DDH21-02 All 5.20 350.22 345.02 0.20 0.45 3.06 0.038 0.74
  CAP 5.20 109.93 104.73 0.01 0.47 3.92 0.010 0.46
  Including 88.10 91.10 3.00 0.00 5.20 9.23 0.033 4.36
  SUP 109.93 217.61 107.68 0.34 0.44 2.35 0.051 0.91
  HYP 217.61 350.22 132.61 0.24 0.44 2.96 0.050 0.82
DDH21-03 All 0.00 228.60 228.60 0.10 0.21 2.36 0.026 0.40
  CAP 0.00 115.54 115.54 0.01 0.20 1.39 0.039 0.34
  SUP 115.54 228.60 113.06 0.19 0.22 3.34 0.012 0.45

 

 

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Hole Zone3 From
(m)
To
(m)
Width2
(m)
Cu
(%)
Au
(g/t)
Ag
(g/t)
Mo
(%)
CuEq1
(%)
DDH21-04 All 3.05 350.52 347.47 0.26 0.55 4.03 0.031 0.86
  CAP 3.05 115.91 112.86 0.05 0.61 3.67 0.020 0.65
  SUP 115.91 301.41 185.50 0.39 0.56 4.87 0.033 1.01
  HYP 301.41 350.52 49.11 0.23 0.42 1.66 0.052 0.80
DDH21-05 All 3.05 300.23 297.18 0.16 0.37 1.98 0.013 0.53
  CAP 3.05 82.00 78.95 0.04 0.49 2.23 0.008 0.48
  SUP 82.00 159.82 77.82 0.21 0.38 2.21 0.015 0.59
  HYP 159.82 300.23 140.41 0.21 0.30 1.72 0.015 0.53
DDH21-06 All 0.00 324.61 324.61 0.27 0.45 2.03 0.026 0.74
  CAP 0.00 39.62 39.62 0.11 0.19 0.77 0.007 0.30
  SUP 39.62 73.41 33.79 0.21 0.34 1.24 0.015 0.55
  HYP 73.41 324.61 251.20 0.30 0.50 2.33 0.030 0.84
  Including 115.41 151.41 36.00 0.71 0.86 2.17 0.035 1.55
DDH21-07 All 18.29 326.14 307.85 0.42 0.52 2.14 0.030 0.98
  CAP 18.29 36.58 18.29 0.05 0.53