American West has an option to earn an 80% interest in the Storm project. Last season, the company discovered a potentially large, sedimentary copper system on the license, which totals more than 3,000 square kilometers. The footprint of near surface, high grade copper mineralization at Storm has been defined to date over an area of approximately 40 ha with an average thickness of mineralization of 24 m @ 2.15% Cu (weighted average grade from 32 drill holes). Four main zones of mineralization have been identified to date. At the Storm Project, there are numerous unexplored targets within a 120 km mineralized trend, including the Tempest Copper Project where 10 grab samples returned >1% Cu and up to 32% Cu in gossans. Tempest is located 40 km south of Storm. Its location and distance from Storm highlight the extent of the prospective copper horizon in the project area.
The near-surface mineralization around Storm offers the potential for a low-cost open pit mining scenario due to its high grades and shallow depth, as well as for direct shipping of copper ore as so-called Direct Shipping Ore (DSO). American West is planning initial studies this season for the operation of a DSO mining operation with a copper concentrate of >50 percent.
Figure 1: The Storm Project on is located north of the Arctic Circle at 75 degrees latitude in the Arctic Archipelago west of Greenland.
The additional reverse circulation (RC) drill rig serves as a supplement to the two diamond drill rigs currently on site. It can drill to depths of up to 200 meters and is ideal for defining resources at shallow depths. The drilling is intended to further define and expand the near-surface, high-grade copper mineralization encountered on several prospects during the 2022 drilling season.
Dave O'Neill, Managing Director of American West Metals, commented, "Logistical preparations are underway for a significantly expanded program that will build on American West Metals' highly successful initial drilling campaign in 2022. Surface geophysical surveys will commence in March, closely followed by an extensive drilling program. Permitting for the potential development of a DSO mine is underway, with a baseline environmental survey scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2023."
Figure 2: American West views Storm as an upcoming copper district.
Figure 3: Map showing planned surface geophysical surveys for 2023, highlighting the expansion of activities to the Tornado, Blizzard and Tempest properties.
Potential for large sedimentary copper system
The recent discovery in hole ST22-10 (see ASX news release September 28, 2022: New copper system confirmed at the Storm Project, Canada) suggests that the known copper occurrences at Storm may be associated with a large, sedimentary copper system below the near-surface deposits (Figure 3). The other near-surface copper occurrences at Storm (Zones 2750N, 2200N, and 3500N) are also associated with large geophysical anomalies, suggesting the potential link between the two types of mineralization.
Figure 4: Conceptual geological and exploration target model for the Storm project showing the depth of current drilling and the conceptual location of discovery hole ST22-10.
Expanding exploration to new areas
New high-resolution geophysical surveys will begin in March. These surveys will also extend to new areas not previously explored. These new areas include the Blizzard, Tornado and Tempest prospects. The Tempest prospect is located approximately 40 kilometers south of the Storm deposits and contains a large (over 250 meters long) copper gossan that was exposed at surface and returned up to 32% Cu.
Figure 5: Tests on ore samples from the Storm prospect have yielded a DSO-grade copper concentrate of 53 percent on the first attempt.
Conclusion: American West's breakthrough exploration success last year has fundamentally redefined the Storm Project. The newly discovered sedimentary copper structures over a wide area have opened up a world-class opportunity. As a reference: The copper discoveries on the Storm and Tempest targets are geologically related, but 40 kilometers apart! At the same time, the near-surface, high-grade copper mineralization at the targets around the Storm discovery could lend themselves to direct shipping of copper concentrate. Last year, successful tests have already achieved >53% concentrate. Few junior companies have projects amenable to DSO production. Therefore, unlike a lot of competitors, American West has the opportunity to become a high margin copper producer in a short time, with low investment costs. American West is working with Australian specialists who have already been successful in a similar starting position. The copper concentrate could be shipped to Europe in particular thanks to it’s expected good ESG rating. We therefore look forward to the upcoming DSO study. In addition to the Storm flagship project, American West also owns two other highly prospective projects at strategic addresses in the state of Utah in the USA: For the West Desert zinc-copper skarn (59 million tons historical resource), American West plans to publish a new resource estimate this spring. The Copper Warrior project, with surface samples of >3% copper, is located on strike between two copper mines, 15 kilometers from the second largest copper mine in Utah. American West's current valuation is about A$26 million at a share price of A$0.125. American West has many catalysts in 2023 that could drive share price and valuation much higher.
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