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Trilogy Metals announces UKMP 2022 programme and budget

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Global Mining Review,

Trilogy Metals Inc. has announced that Ambler Metals LLC, the joint venture operating company equally owned by Trilogy and a wholly-owned subsidiary of South32 Ltd, has approved the 2022 programme and budget of approximately US$28.5 million for the advancement of the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects (UKMP) located in Northwestern Alaska. The budget is 100% funded by Ambler Metals and was confirmed by the NANA/Ambler Metals Oversight committee.

Highlights of the approved 2022 programme

  • Approximately US$28.5 million budget fully funded by Ambler Metals.
  • Up to 10 000 m to be allocated between resource development drilling at the Arctic Project and priority drill-ready exploration targets in the district.
  • Engineering studies advancing the Arctic Project.
  • Submission of the Federal 404 permit application in early 2022.

Proposed 2022 Arctic and UKMP drilling programme

A two-day technical review of the 2021 exploration programme, involving geologists from Trilogy, South32 and Ambler Metals, was held in Fairbanks, Alaska on 8 – 9 December 2021. Ambler Metals presented technical results received to date and a preliminary outline of the 2022 exploration programme. A full technical review of the 2021 exploration results and ranking of drill targets and target areas for the 2022 field season will be held in early 2022 once all assay results have been received, compiled, and interpreted.

The 2022 budget for Ambler Metals, approved by the owners, Trilogy and South32, will cover up to 10 000 m of helicopter-supported diamond drilling that is expected to commence in early June. The meterage will be divided between resource development drilling at Arctic and scout drilling of both volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) targets in the Ambler Belt, with a focus on targets near Arctic, and Carbonate-Hosted Copper targets around Bornite and the Cosmos Hills. A greater effort on the ground to identify and evaluate new targets for drilling, including the use of ground and down-hole electro-magnetic (EM) surveys, is planned.

Arctic permitting

An independent consulting company has completed a preparedness review of the draft permitting package for the Arctic Project and presented the results of this review to the technical teams of South32 and Trilogy. The review concluded that the Ambler Metals permitting strategy is sound and the permitting package can proceed with minor changes. Ambler Metals is now making the recommended changes to the permitting package and expects to file the permitting application, which will start the formal permitting process for the Arctic Project, with the US Army Corps. of Engineers (USACE) in early 2022.

Given that the Arctic Project is located on state and private land, the key federal permit will be the 404 Dredge or Fill Permit that is issued by the USACE, the lead agency during the federal permitting process. The permitting process will be carried out in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. In parallel with the federal permitting process, the State of Alaska, specifically the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Natural Resources and Alaska Department of Fish and Game, will be the state agencies responsible for issuing the state permits which include the Mine Operating Permit, the Air Quality Permit, the Dam Construction and Operating Permits, and the Water Discharge Permit. There will also be other permits issued by the Northwest Arctic Borough. The company expects to file the permit application during 1Q22, and for the overall permitting process to take 24 – 30 months to be completed.

Tony Giardini, President and CEO of Trilogy, commented: “We are pleased that we are continuing to make progress on de-risking the Arctic Project and that we are now very close to commencing the formal permitting activities. Senior management at Trilogy Metals is working very closely with representatives from South32 and Ambler Metals in devising a 2022 programme that will greatly assist in moving the Arctic Project forward and to continue to add value through the drill bit. We believe that 2022 will be another significant year for the company.”

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