Rick Rule and Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, president and CEO of Trilogy Metals, discuss the company’s high-quality copper projects — the Arctic and Bornite Projects — in the Ambler District of northwest Alaska, which is known for its copper-dominant polymetallic deposits. Both are exceptionally high-grade copper projects. While the worldwide average grade for open-pit copper mining has dropped from 1% to around 0.5% in the last 10 years, the open-pit mining deposit at Arctic is 5%. Compare this also to the Bornite Project, whose open pit grade is 1%, twice the worldwide average grade.
Van Nieuwenhuyse says Alaska represents an attractive geopolitical jurisdiction; it’s more secure and “if you find something, you can keep it.” The state was the first North American jurisdiction to truly settle out aboriginal land claims. In fact, the Ambler District is located on aboriginal land. Mining is part of the culture there, with second and third generation families working in the industry. The federal and state governments are also supportive with resource and infrastructure development. A 200-mile road joining the Ambler District to the Dalton Highway in the east is currently going through permitting. Once permitted, the rest will fall into place, predicts Van Nieuwenhuyse.
On the horizon is South32 Limited’s decision by year end whether to exercise the option to form a 50-50 joint venture with Trilogy. South32, one of the largest mining companies in the world, is without a copper asset, making the joint venture an attractive entry to the North American market.
Listen below to Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, president and CEO of Trilogy Metals, talk about the Arctic and Bornite Projects’ advantages and upcoming developments.
Interview Date: February 22, 2019