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Hardman & Co

ANALYST INTERVIEW: PHOENIX COPPER LTD First stage in potential world-class copper mine

PHOENIX COPPER LTD (LON: PXC) is the topic of conversation when Paul Mylchreest, Analyst at Hardman & Co joins DirectorsTalk. Paul gives us an overview of the company, explains its slightly unusual strategy, its new economic model for the Empire Project, why Empire has world class potential and outlines some of the key investment criteria for the company.

Phoenix Copper Limited is a North American focused, base and precious metal explorer and developer, which is fast-tracking the historically-producing Empire Mine in Idaho, USA, back into production, and exploring for cobalt in Idaho.

Phoenix’s flagship project is a brownfield, past producing, copper, gold, silver, zinc and tungsten underground mine, the Empire Mine near Mackay in Idaho. Phoenix acquired an 80% interest in the property in 2015. Based on a total of 320 drill holes an oxide resource was completed in late 2017. A NI 43-101 compliant PEA (preliminary economic assessment) for an open pit heap leach solvent extraction and electrowinning (“SX-EW”) mine was completed in April 2018. In June 2018 a drilling campaign consisting of 8,600 metres in 93 holes was started and completed in late 2018. This programme was designed to upgrade and increase the oxide resources, provide samples for ongoing metallurgical testwork, geotechnical and hydrological studies and condemnation drilling for the heap leach pad site, waste dump and plant site. An updated NI 43-101 compliant resource was completed in early May 2019 which resulted in an increase from the PEA resources of 37% contained copper and 108% contained zinc. This resource has been used for this economic analysis and will now be used as the basis for the Bankable Feasibility Study (“BFS”) scheduled for completion in mid 2020.

At Empire, it is estimated that only 1 to 2% of the potential ore system has been explored to date and, accordingly, there is significant opportunity to increase the resource through phased exploration; the current resources relate to the oxide resource only, with the exception of the Red Star discovery “Inferred” resource, which remains open along strike and does not include the deeper, higher grade sulphides. In addition, Phoenix has increased the claim area from 818 acres at the time of its acquisition to 5,717 acres, mainly to the northwest and west, and in so doing has increased the potential for additional oxide and sulphide resources by a total strike length of approximately 2,500 metres towards another brownfield mine, the Horseshoe Mine, which is now within the property boundary.

The Company also holds two prospective cobalt properties in Idaho, US, which are located north of the Empire Mine. These are situated close to the town of Cobalt and are close to projects being advanced by Canadian junior miners, including eCobalt Solutions and First Cobalt. Fieldwork, consisting of mapping and sampling and locating drill holes for the 2019 drilling programme, has been completed.

With a management team that has successfully constructed, commissioned and operated mines and low risk, mining-friendly jurisdictions with excellent infrastructure, Phoenix is looking to fulfil its ambitions to become a mid-tier base metal, precious metal and cobalt production company, offering exposure to high value and high demand metals with compelling demand/supply fundamentals.