VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 23, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Arras Minerals Corp. (TSX-V: ARK) (“Arras” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce assay results from holes Bg21009, Bg21010 and Bg22012 from the ongoing exploration drill program at the Beskauga copper-gold deposit and surrounding area (“Beskauga” or the “Project”).
- Hole Bg22012 returned a significant intersection of 365.0 metres (“m”) of mineralization grading 0.88 % copper-equivalent (“CuEq”) or 1.06 gram per tonne (“g/t”) gold-equivalent (“AuEq”) (0.54 g/t gold (“Au”), 0.40 % copper (“Cu”), 2.0 g/t silver (“Ag”) and 35.3 ppm molybdenum (“Mo”)) starting at 41.0 m from surface to 406.0 m.
- Including 29.0 m grading 1.01 % CuEq or 1.22 g/t AuEq (0.60 g/t Au, 0.48 % Cu, 2.1 g/t Ag and 31.8 ppm Mo) from 87.0 m depth down-hole.
- And Including 64.0 m grading 2.62 % CuEq or 3.17 g/t AuEq (1.82 g/t Au, 1.04 % Cu, 4.6 g/t Ag and 66.5 ppm Mo) from 120.0 m depth down-hole.
- Including 30.0 m grading 4.00 % CuEq or 4.84 g/t AuEq (2.95 g/t Au, 1.47 % Cu, 6.2 g/t Ag and 63.8 ppm Mo) from 120.0 m depth down-hole.
- Holes Bg21009 and Bg21010 tested areas outside of the Beskauga Main deposit. Strong advanced argillic to argillic alteration and local zones of copper-gold mineralization in hole Bg21010 demonstrates the potential for concealed porphyry-style mineralization hosted within the thick volcano-sedimentary package that is separated from Beskauga Main by a prominent regional-scale NW-SE trending fault zone.
Diamond drilling is ongoing at Beskauga (Figure 1) and Beskauga South (Figure 2) with further assay results expected in the coming months.
Tim Barry, CEO of Arras, commenting on these latest results, stated, “Drilling at Beskauga continues to deliver near-surface, broad intervals of significant copper-gold mineralization. Hole 22012 also included a high-grade intersection of 64m @ 2.62% Cu Eq at 120m from surface which also included a spectacular zone of 30 meters at 4.00% CuEq. These grades are indicative of high-grade zones found throughout the deposit which we continue to review as we explore for the core of this very extensive system.” Mr. Barry went on to add, “We continue with one core rig currently drilling on the Beskauga license rotating between areas adjacent to the known deposit and also new targets which have been proved up on the 63 sq km license from geophysics and field programs completed in 2022.”
A summary of the results announced in this news release is outlined in the table below.
Table 1. Summary table for holes Bg21009, Bg21010 and Bg22012
Notes: Copper Equivalent (“CuEq”) grades reported for the drill holes at Beskauga were calculated using the following formula: CuEq % = Copper (%) + (Gold (g/t) x 0.8264) + (Silver (g/t) x 0.0107) + (Molybdenum (ppm) x 3.3333). Gold Equivalent (“AuEq”) grades reported for the drill holes at Beskauga were calculated using the following formula: AuEq g/t = Gold (g/t) + (Copper (%) x 1.2100) + (Silver (g/t) x 0.0129) + (Molybdenum (ppm) x 4.0334). Assumptions used for the copper and gold equivalent calculations were metal prices of US$3.00/lb. Copper, US$1,700/oz Gold, US$22/oz Silver, US$10/lb. Molybdenum, and metallurgical recoveries were assumed to be 100%.
Results of Bg21009, Bg21010 and Bg22012:
Bg21009: (see Figure 1) was collared outside of the area covered by the current NI-43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate for Beskauga. It was designed to test a broad zone of demagnetization, identified in the airborne magnetics, at the southwestern margin of the monzodiorite intrusion (that has been drilled in Arras drill holes Bg21005 and Bg21008; refer to our press releases dated September 14, 2022 and October 19, 2022, respectively). The monzodiorite forms an approximately 400 x 500-meter circular “bulls-eye” magnetic high surrounded by a >500-meter-wide zone of demagnetization. The intrusion is interpreted to dip steeply to the south.
The zone of demagnetization is also coincident with anomalous copper-gold-bismuth values in “KGK” (top of bedrock) drill holes. The upper portion of the hole intersected sodic (albite-hematite) altered diorite that has been overprinted by moderate to strong argillic (illite-smectite) alteration. The diorite lacks any significant copper-gold mineralization. The lower portion of the hole intersected the potassic altered monzodiorite intrusion, with a 62.0 m zone of weak mineralization grading 0.29 % CuEq intersected from a depth of 452 m down-hole. Although generally low-grade, occasional high tenor veins do occur, for example, 1 m grading 2.79 % CuEq (2.33 g/t Au, 47.2 g/t Ag, 0.35 % Cu and 26.8 ppm Mo) occur within the monzodiorite. Compared to the diorite that hosts the bulk of the known mineralization at Beskauga, the
monzonite intrusion hosts significantly higher Mo grades, with up to 2,850 ppm in this hole. Alteration in the monzodiorite comprises k-feldspar, secondary (“shreddy”) biotite, magnetite, Mg-rich chlorite, and epidote, with variable argillic overprint comprising illite and smectite localized near the contact with the diorite, as well as around faults and fractures (confirmed by Arras using TerraSpec SWIR/NIR spectroscopy).
Bg21010: (see Figures 1) was collared in an area immediately north of the current NI-43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate for Beskauga. The hole was designed to test a thick volcano-sedimentary package, separated from Beskauga Main by a prominent NW-SE orientated fault. The volcano-sediments contain the largest lobe of the Beskauga Main induced polarization (IP) anomaly, which remained un-drill-tested despite its proximity to the known mineralization at Beskauga. The hole was designed to drill through this chargeability high.
The volcano-sedimentary package intersected in this hole comprises mainly of andesite breccias and tuffs of andesitic composition that are iron oxide (hematite) flooded and variably advanced argillic to argillic (kaolinite-dickite-illite-smectite) altered (confirmed by Arras using TerraSpec SWIR/NIR spectroscopy). At depth the alteration transitions into a propylitic assemblage (chlorite-magnetite-epidote) with a weak advanced argillic to argillic overprint persisting throughout. The volcano-sedimentary package has been intruded by several 10 to 25 m wide, copper-gold mineralized dykes of dioritic composition. However, based on their trace element composition the diorite dykes are geochemically distinct from the diorite that hosts the bulk of the mineralization at Beskauga Main. Mineralization is localized within and proximal to these dioritic dykes and comprises of quartz-chalcopyrite ± bornite, molybdenite veins in the upper argillic altered part of the hole, transitioning to quartz-pyrite veins deeper in the hole.
Despite only modest zones of mineralization in this hole, the presence of a separate generation of mineralized diorites demonstrates the potential for concealed porphyry-style mineralization hosted within the thick volcano-sedimentary package. This is further supported by “KGK” (top-of-bedrock) drilling which returned > 1 g/t Au, > 1 % copper and highly anomalous bismuth values in this area. A prominent magnetic high immediately to the NE of hole Bg21010 remains un-drill tested.
Bg22012: (see Figures 1, 3 and 4) was collared 90 metres southwest from Bg21001 (973.2 m of mineralization grading 0.82 % CuEq; for further information see our press release dated January 31, 2022) and 90 metres southeast from hole Bg21004 (1,120.4 m of mineralization grading 0.60 % CuEq; for further information see our press release dated June 22, 2022) and drilled at an angle of 85 degrees towards the northeast to a final depth of 1,091.0 m. The hole was designed to test a prominent NW-SE orientated fault separating the diorites that host Beskauga Main (on the southern side of the fault) from the thick volcano-sedimentary package (on the northern side of the fault). Previous drilling by Arras in Bg21002 has demonstrated that copper-gold mineralization occurs at depth on the northern side of this fault zone.
The hole started in moderately, to very strong, argillic altered diorite. The argillic alteration consists of intense kaolinite-dickite-illite-smectite with local silicification, before transitioning to illite-smectite with depth (confirmed by Arras using TerraSpec SWIR/NIR spectroscopy). Mineralization occurs as a mixture of quartz vein, fracture-controlled zones and hydrothermal breccias of tennantite, chalcopyrite, pyrite, magnetite (or hematite after magnetite) with minor molybdenite locally. From 120 metres depth, the hole entered an exceptionally high-grade zone of 64.0 m grading 2.62 % CuEq, including 30.0 m grading 4.00 % CuEq.
From 408 metres the hole entered a series of post-mineral basaltic dykes that have filled the NW-SE orientated fault zone, before re-entering into diorite characterized by variably argillic (illite-smectite) overprinted sodic (albite-hematite) alteration. From a depth of 576.3 m the hole entered the volcano-sediments that comprise primarily of fine-grained, propylitic (chlorite-magnetite-hematite-epidote) altered andesitic tuffs. Generally, the volcano-sediments are poorly mineralized, but several narrow zones of mineralization were intersected. Here mineralization consists of quartz-tourmaline ± pyrite-chalcopyrite veins with k-feldspar alteration halos and quartz-pyrite-chalcopyrite-molybdenite veins.
Figure 1. Location of the holes completed to date as part of Arras’ planned 30,000-metre drill program on the Beskauga Main deposit and wider area. The surface projection of the block model from the current NI-43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate is shown for copper. The inset map in Figure 2 below shows the location of Beskauga Main relative to Beskauga South.
Figure 2. Location of the holes completed to date at the Beskauga South area, located approximately 3.2 kilometres SSW from the Beskauga Main deposit, and outside of the current NI-43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate. The inset map shows the location of Beskauga South relative to Beskauga Main.
Figure 3. Cross-section showing hole Bg22012 in relation to several historical holes drilled by Copperbelt. Also shown are grade contours based on the Beskauga block model for copper (only) developed for the purposes of the current Mineral Resource Estimate for Beskauga (for further details, please see Arras’ press release on June 20, 2022). CuEq grades of key intercepts in Bg22012 and historical holes are shown. The cross-section demonstrates the steep, southwest dipping high-grade copper-gold-silver trend observed through Arras’ exploration to date. This trend is observed beginning at the paleo-bedrock surface (41 m in depth), to average between 200-300 m wide and to be consistently mineralized down to at least 1000 metres.
Figure 4. Cross-section showing hole Bg22012 in relation to several historical holes drilled by Copperbelt. Also shown are grade contours based on the Beskauga block model for gold (only) developed for the purposes of the current Mineral Resource Estimate for Beskauga (for further details, please see Arras’ press release on June 20, 2022). AuEq grades of key intercepts in Bg22012 and historical holes are shown. The cross-section demonstrates the steep, southwest dipping high-grade copper-gold-silver trend observed through Arras’ exploration to date. This trend is observed beginning at the paleo-bedrock surface (41 m in depth), to average between 200-300 m wide and to be consistently mineralized down to at least 1000 metres.
In October 2021, Arras announced the start of the initial phase of a permitted 30,000-metre diamond drill program targeting the extensions of the Beskauga deposit both laterally and at depth (Figures 1 and 2). The drill program is being conducted under the Option to Purchase Agreement (“Option Agreement”) executed on January 26, 2021, with Copperbelt AG (“Copperbelt”), a private mineral exploration company registered in Zug, Switzerland.
In addition to testing the extents of the Beskauga deposit, the drill program is also targeting a series of previously undrilled targets in the wider area. These wider targets are supported by both ground and airborne geophysics, as well as in-situ geochemistry, derived using “KGK” drilling (a drilling method akin to ‘wet’ reverse circulation drilling, that recovers a 1 to 3 m core sample from the top of the underlying bedrock which is used by Arras to efficiently map lithology, alteration, and geochemistry across the property beneath overburden).
For both the diamond and KGK drilling, Arras has been using the local company “Tsentrgeolsemka LLP”. Arras later changed drilling contractors to “GRK Iskander Ltd” and mobilized a diamond drill rig with the capacity to drill deeper holes, if required, as well as improved core orientation through triple tube core barrel drilling. GRK Iskander Ltd is one of the leading drilling companies in Kazakhstan, with clients including Rio Tinto, Kazzinc (Glencore), ESAN, and Kazakhmys. Both Tsentrgeolsemka LLP and GRK Iskander Ltd are both independent of Arras.
About the Beskauga Deposit
The Beskauga deposit is a gold-copper-silver deposit with an “Indicated” Mineral Resource of 111.2 million tonnes grading 0.49 g/t gold, 0.30% copper, and 1.3 g/t silver for 1.75 million ounces of contained gold, 333.6 thousand tonnes of contained copper, and 4.79 million ounces of contained silver and an “Inferred” Mineral Resource of 92.6 million tonnes grading 0.50 g/t gold, 0.24% copper and 1.1 g/t silver for 1.49 million ounces of contained gold, 222.2 thousand tonnes of contained copper, and 3.39 million ounces of contained silver. The constraining open pit was optimized and calculated using a Gross Metal Value (“GMV”) cut-off of $20/tonne based on a price of $1,750/oz for gold, $3.50/lb for copper, $22/oz for silver, and with an average recovery of 85% for copper and 74.5% for gold and 50.0% for silver.
Based on exploration undertaken to date, the Beskauga deposit is interpreted by Arras to represent a gold-rich porphyry copper-gold deposit that has been overprinted by high-sulfidation epithermal mineralization, either through telescoping or due to clustering of multiple porphyry centers within the Beskauga license that have superimposed alteration and mineralization upon earlier phases. Beskauga is located within the highly under-explored Bozshakol-Chingiz Volcanic Arc, which hosts KAZ Minerals’ Bozshakol porphyry Cu-Au mine only 130 km west of Beskauga. Bozshakol is one of the largest copper resources in Kazakhstan with 1.123 billion tonnes at 0.35% Cu, 0.14 g/t Au and 1.0 g/t Ag in Measured and Indicated Resources. The mine has 30 Mtpa ore processing capacity and a remaining mine life of >40 years.
Contrary to many porphyry copper deposits being developed in other jurisdictions globally, the Beskauga project, located only 350 metres above sea-level, benefits from excellent modern infrastructure and accessibility. The region is mining-friendly and hosts several large-scale mining operations. Arras’ operations are based out of the nearby mining town of Ekibastuz, which services the largest coal mine in Kazakhstan and provides a highly trained workforce for the Company to draw upon. Paved road access, 1100 KVA power lines, heavy rail, and the Irtysh–Karaganda irrigation canal all lie within a 25-kilometre radius of the project. The capital city of Nur-Sultan, located approximately 300 kilometres along a double lane highway to the west of the project, has a major international airport allowing for easy access and administration of the Beskauga project.
Assay and QAQC Procedures
On receipt from the drill site, the diamond drill core was systematically logged for geological attributes, photographed and sampled at Arras’ operational base in the town of Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan by Company personnel. A default 1 m downhole sample length was used in mineralized zones, except were shortened by geological contacts. A default of 2 m downhole sample length was used in zones that were clearly unmineralized. Core diameter is a mix of HQ (63.5 mm) and NQ (47.6 mm) dependent upon the depth of the drill hole. Bg21009 was drilled with HQ to end of hole. Bg21010 was drilled with HQ to a depth of 688.2 m before reducing to NQ to the end of hole. Bg220012 was drilled with HQ to a depth of 835.0 m before reducing to NQ to the end of hole. Core was cut in half lengthwise along a pre-determined line offset from the orientation line by approximately 25 degrees, with one half (same half, consistently) collected for analysis and one half (preserving the orientation line) stored as a record. Bagged samples were sealed to ensure integrity during transport. All sample preparation and geochemical analysis of the diamond drill core were undertaken by ALS Global at its laboratories in Karaganda (Kazakhstan) and Loughrea (Republic of Ireland), respectively. ALS preparation and analytical labs are accredited to ISO 17025:2005 UKAS ref 4028 and have internal QA/QC programs for monitoring accuracy and precision. ALS Global is entirely independent of the Company.
After drying samples were crushed by ALS to >70% passing below 2 mm and split using a riffle splitter. 250 g splits were pulverized to 85 % passing below -75-microns. A 30 g split of the pulp was analyzed for gold content by fire assay with an Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) finish (ALS method: Au-AA25™) at ALS Karaganda. A second pulp split was then air freighted to ALS Loughrea and analyzed for 48 elements by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) after four-acid digestion on a 0.25 g aliquot (ALS method: ME-MS61™). Any samples exceeding 1% copper were re-analyzed using a 4-acid digest ICP-MS ore grade method (ALS method: Cu-OG62™).
Arras Minerals operates according to its rigorous internal Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) protocols, which are consistent with industry best practices. This includes the insertion of certified standards, blanks, and field duplicates comprising of quarter drill core into the sample stream at an insertion rate of 2.5%, 2.5%, and 5% respectively, which is deemed appropriate for this stage of exploration. The blanks and standards are Certified Reference Materials (CRM’s) supplied by Ore Research and Exploration, Australia. Internal QA/QC samples were also inserted by the analytical laboratories and reviewed by the Company prior to release. No material QA/QC issues have been identified with respect to sample collection, security, and assaying.
The scientific and technical disclosure for the Quartzite Gorka Project included in this news release has been prepared under supervision of and approved Tim Barry, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Arras Minerals Corp., who is also a Member and Chartered Professional Geologist (MAusIMM CP(Geo)) of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Mr. Barry has sufficient experience, relevant to the styles of mineralization and type of deposits under consideration and to the activity that he is undertaking, to qualify as a Qualified Person (“QP”) for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure of Mineral Projects (“NI 43-101”).
On behalf of the Board of Directors
Tim Barry, MAusIMM CP(Geo)
Chief Executive Officer and Director
+1 604 687 5800
Further information can be found on the Company’s website https://www.arrasminerals.com or follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/arrasminerals or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/arrasminerals
About Arras Minerals Corp.
Arras is a Canadian exploration and development company advancing a portfolio of copper and gold assets in northeastern Kazakhstan, including the Option Agreement on the Beskauga copper and gold project. The company’s shares are listed on the TSX-V under the trading symbol “ARK”.
Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors concerning estimates of Measured, Indicated, and Inferred Resources
This press release uses the terms “measured resources”, “indicated resources”, and “inferred resources” which are defined in, and required to be disclosed by, NI 43-101. The Company advises U.S. investors that these terms are not recognized by the SEC. The estimation of measured, indicated and inferred resources involves greater uncertainty as to their existence and economic feasibility than the estimation of proven and probable reserves. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that measured and indicated mineral resources will be converted into reserves. The estimation of inferred resources involves far greater uncertainty as to their existence and economic viability than the estimation of other categories of resources. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that estimates of inferred mineral resources exist, are economically minable, or will be upgraded into measured or indicated mineral resources. Under Canadian securities laws, estimates of inferred mineral resources may not form the basis of feasibility or other economic studies.
Disclosure of “contained ounces” in a resource is permitted disclosure under Canadian regulations, however the SEC normally only permits issuers to report mineralization that does not constitute “reserves” by SEC standards as in place tonnage and grade without reference to unit measures. Accordingly, the information contained in this press release may not be comparable to similar information made public by U.S. companies that are not subject NI 43-101.
Cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding future events and Arras’ future results that are subject to the safe harbors created under the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Exchange Act, and applicable Canadian securities laws. Forward-looking statements include, among others, statements regarding the use of net proceeds from the recent private placement, plans and expectations of the drill program Arras is in the process of undertaking, including the expansion of the Mineral Resource, and other aspects of the Mineral Resource estimates for the Beskauga project. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts, and projections about Arras’ exploration projects, the industry in which Arras operates and the beliefs and assumptions of Arras’ management. Words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “targets,” “goals,” “projects,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “continues,” “may,” variations of such words, and similar expressions and references to future periods, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond management’s control, including undertaking further exploration activities, the results of such exploration activities and that such results support continued exploration activities, unexpected variations in ore grade, types and metallurgy, volatility and level of commodity prices, the availability of sufficient future financing, and other matters discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” in the Non-Offering Prospectus filed on the Company’s profile on SEDAR on May 31, 2022 and in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2021 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed on February 17, 2022 available on www.sec.gov. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and that actual results or developments may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement made by the Company in this release is based only on information currently available and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments, or otherwise.