Sandfire holds a 78.1% interest, via North American-listed company Sandfire Resources America Inc (formerly Tintina Resources Inc) (TSX-V: SFR) in the premier, high-grade Black Butte Copper Project, located in central Montana in the United States. The project is being permitted by Tintina Montana Inc, a 100%-owned subsidiary of Sandfire Resources America Inc and is located close to existing road, power and rail infrastructure, with the ability to access a residential workforce located nearby and competitive sources of materials and power. Located on private ranch land, the Black Butte Project copper resource consists of three flat-lying sedimentary hosted copper deposits which have been extensively drilled by Tintina (over 53,000m of diamond drilling).
An Updated Technical Report and Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) completed by Tintina in July 2013 was based on reported NI 43-101 Measured and Indicated Resources totalling 15.7Mt grading 3.4% Cu, 0.1% Co and 14g/t Ag for 533,600t of contained copper and Inferred Resources totalling 2.3Mt grading 2.8% Cu, 0.09% Co and 14g/t Ag for 63,500t of contained copper (calculated using a 1.6% copper cut-off grade) for the Johnny Lee Upper Zone and Lowry deposits, and a 1.5% Cu cut-off for the Johnny Lee Lower Zone. This makes Black Butte one of the top-10 undeveloped copper projects worldwide by grade.
The PEA confirmed that the deposit has the potential to underpin a robust underground mining operation with forecast life-of-mine production of ~30,000tpa of copper-in-concentrate over a mine life of ~11 years, based on total mill throughput of 11.8 million tonnes at an average head grade of 3.1% Cu.
Following receipt of the Draft Operating Permit for the Black Butte Copper Project in September 2017, an independent third party contractor (Environmental Resources Management) has been appointed to produce an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”). The Scoping Period for the EIS concluded on 16 November 2017, clearing the way for the EIS to proceed.
The current tentative schedule anticipates issuance of a draft EIS from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (“MT DEQ”) in mid-2018, followed by a public comment period, and a Final EIS and Record of Decision before the end of CY2018.
This will allow construction and development of the underground mine to commence on private ranch land in Meagher County.
In addition to the EIS, Tintina is required to obtain a number of ancillary permits which will be incorporated in to the Final EIS and Record of Decision.
The proposed underground mine at Black Butte is designed to provide economic opportunity to Central Montana while fully protecting the Smith River Watershed.
Further details can be found on the Sandfire America Resources website, www.sandfireamerica.com.