Arizona Metals Corp., a Toronto-based minerals exploration company, recently announced that its latest drill results show potential to expand the long-inactive Kay Mine copper-gold deposit. No company has mined the historical deposit in over 70 years.
During drilling, Hole KM-23-103 cut down 10.5 meters grading 6.2% copper equivalent resources, including 2.4% copper, 3.25 grams of gold per ton, 36.1 grams of silver per ton, and 6.1% zinc. The results came from a depth of 386.3 meters, with the intercept showing 2.7 meters at 10.5% copper equivalent grade and 1.5 meters at 8.9% copper equivalent grade.
While these figures may not sound significant in isolation, they paint a larger picture that confirms one thing: the deposit’s western portion may contain a high-grade gold zone with copper and gold mineralization. The company thinks Kay Mine may even be part of a much larger mineralization system. The drilling results show promising potential beneath the surface.
“The high-grade copper and gold drill results reported today continue to demonstrate the expansion potential of the Kay Mine deposit,” Marc Pais, Arizona Metals’ CEO, explained in the report. “Surface outcrop sampling at the Western target has returned significant grades of both copper and gold, extending the strike length of mineralization exposed at surface in this area to approximately 800 metres.”
The Kay Mine project is 5.3 square kilometers, sitting 70 kilometers north of Phoenix, Arizona. The mine’s location is amid numerous past and present copper mineralization zones and just a couple hours from the nearest smelters. Arizona Metals acquired the deposit in 2018 after signing a contract with Silver Spruce Resources.
The company is in the midst of its two-phase drilling program that began at the beginning of 2021 near Black Canyon City and will conclude at the Kay Mine near Phoenix. The final phase involves drilling 1,250 meters at the cost of $32 million to test Kay Mine’s key western targets as well as potential northern or southern extensions.
The expansion project’s total drilling will amount to 75,000 meters after completing this portion. Arizona Metals still had $49 million in available cash at the end of March, so the company should be well-funded for this endeavor.
In its latest report, Arizona Metals also released figures from Hole KM-23-105 yielding similar successful results as the above figures. “This hole confirms the excellent continuity, thickness, and grade of mineralization within a previously unexplored 50-metre gap in the central part of the Kay Mine deposit,” Arizona Metals explained.
Phase one of Arizona Metals’ drilling program began in 2020 and involved 6,700 meters of drilling on areas from ExxonMobil’s mineral units from the 1970s and 80s. Back in 1982, the mine had proven and probable resources of 6.4 million tons grading at 2.8 grams per ton of gold, 2.2% copper, 55 grams per ton of silver, and 3.03% zinc. Despite these results, ExxonMobil did not produce ore and sold the project to Rayrock Mines in 1990, which then allowed Silver Spruce to acquire it in 2017.
The Kay Mine has a much longer available history. Its reserves date back to the 19th century when it was discovered. Shortly after, its small-scale mining began with 635 tons.
Kay Copper, a past producer in Mohave County, created shafts and built underground levels in the mine in 1918 before the company failed due to dropping precious metals prices and unfavorable court actions during the 1920s, according to Arizona Metals.
After 1949, various companies controlled and mined the project, including Black Canyon Copper, Shattuck-Denn Mining, and Republic Metals. In total, these operators produced 2,730 tons from the Kay Mine. Unfortunately, in 1956 a cave-in shut down the mine’s operations, leaving it closed ever since.
Arizona Metals is the first organization to begin drilling the mine since its cave-in nearly 70 years ago. The company began drilling its western target in February, with the first KM-23-104 and KM-23-104A holes completed and assays still pending. Given the initial results, Arizona Metals believes the mine still offers high-yielding resources untouched over the last few decades.
Aside from the Kay Mine, Arizona Metals also controls the Sugarloaf Peak project, an open-pit operation about 200 kilometers from Phoenix. The historical resource provides approximately 1.5 million ounces grading at 0.5 grams of gold per ton.
With gold demand spiking and prices rising, Arizona Metals’ drilling efforts only make sense. The opportunity to take advantage of untouched resources is a unique advantage that this company seems to strike continually. Moving forward, we can keep our eyes on drilling results to see how successful the Kay Mine becomes.