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Rio Tinto-backed junior Western Copper and Gold on Tuesday unveiled the results of an updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for a large copper/gold/molybdenum deposit in the Yukon, which failed to excite the market.

The study examined the development of the Casino project, which comprises the processing of 1.3-billion tonnes of mineralised material for the mill and heap leach.

The project would require an initial capital investment of C$3.25-billion for the 25-year Phase 1 operation. The mine would produce a yearly average of 178-million pounds of copper, 231 000 oz of gold, 1.36-million ounces of silver and 16.6-million pounds of molybdenum.

The study calculated an afterax net present value, using an 8% discount, of C$2.33-billion and an internal rate of return of 19.5%.

“This study reaffirms Casino as one of the very few long-life copper/gold projects with robust economics in a top mining district, the Yukon. We look forward to continuing working with our recent strategic investor, Rio Tinto, First Nations and other stakeholders to advance this project through additional engineering to feasibility,” said CEO Paul West-Sells.

The PEA results failed to lift Western Copper and Gold’s market share, with the company closing 1.93% down at C$2.03 a share, giving it a market capitalisation of C$338-million.