The electrification transition is well underway and gaining momentum, with 64 countries pledging or legislating to achieve net-zero emissions in the coming decades. But, while encouraging, there are significant roadblocks beyond legislation standing between the present and future goals: minerals. Every current and emerging clean energy technology requires critical minerals such as copper, lithium, nickel and cobalt.
Despite global ambitions to pivot away from fossil fuels, there hasn’t been enough new production of the minerals we need to do so. S&P Global’s “Future of Copper” report, published in July 2022, found global copper demand will roughly double by 2035, rising from 25 million metric tonnes (MMt) to approximately 50 MMt. Where will the copper we need for the electrification transition come from?
Pacific Empire Minerals Corp. (TSXV:PEMC) is a resource development company focused on the exploration and development of gold-enriched copper resources in British Columbia. Pacific Empire owns a portfolio of assets in this Canadian province, including additional royalty-generation and pipeline projects.
The company is currently focused on its copper assets, particularly the Jean Marie property, and its recently acquired Col property, all located in British Columbia. Pacific Empire benefits from the province’s straightforward permitting policy and friendly tax incentives that allow the company to drastically reduce its exploration and development costs for projects located in British Columbia.
Partner-funded exploration continues on its Pinnacle property located immediately to the west of the Col property and to the north of Jean Marie.
“We always believed there was potential for significant copper mineralization at Jean Marie, and results to date clearly support this,” Pacific Empire president and CEO Brad Peters said. “With a project of this scale, these results are a significant revelation for us, and we will work to expand further and develop the potential for a significant copper deposit on this project.”
A diamond drilling program at the Jean Marie project recently extended the area of known copper mineralization, with both holes intercepting mineralized breccias and copper mineralization. The targets were identified by thoroughly analyzing exploration data, and the drilling program’s success speaks to the company’s accurate exploration data and analysis. In the same announcement, Pacific Empire revealed high gold assays of 1,460 parts per billion and 8,010 ppm from partner-funded soil geochemistry at its Pinnacle Property.
In addition to its own drilling work, Pacific Empire has partner-funded exploration at its Pinnacle project, where 1111 Acquisition Corp. is expected to continue with exploration in 2023. Under the terms of the agreement, 1111 Acquisition has the option to earn 70 percent interest in the property by completing $5.7 million in exploration expenditures and making C$375,000 in cash payments to Pacific Empire.
“Our hybrid business model allows shareholders to have partner-funded drilling in addition to PEMC-funded drilling, resulting in multiple ongoing drill programs and opportunities for discovery,” Peters said.
The company continues to pursue its own exploration activities, informed by advisor Dr. Paul Johnston, who brings considerable experience and knowledge of copper porphyry systems to the team. Johnston previously worked with Teck Resources Limited (TSX:TECK.A,TECK.B,NYSE:TECK) and is expected to be instrumental in future exploration work and acquisition analysis.
Pacific Empire Minerals is an exploration and development mining company with a hybrid generator model that allows the company to pursue its own drilling programs while also enabling partner-funded drilling.Flagship Jean Marie project has recently shown potential as a sizable copper project after first being identified as a copper-molybdenum project. The newly identified Leap Target Area at Jean Marie has returned 8.79 g/t gold, 86.6 g/t silver and 1.75 percent copper.A diamond drilling program at the Jean Marie project recently expanded the known copper mineralization, with both holes intercepting copper.Pinnacle porphyry is being explored through partner-funded drilling, including approximately $5.7 million in exploration expenses. Early assays from its exploration campaign indicate the presence of high-grade gold.An experienced management team leads Pacific Empire with the right expertise to reach its goals. Copper porphyry expert Dr. Paul Johnston brings significant copper-gold experience to the team and is expected to advise on future exploration projects.
Jean Marie Copper Project
Pacific Empire Minerals’ flagship Jean Marie project is a copper-gold-silver-molybdenum porphyry prospect comprising 7,352 hectares in central British Columbia, approximately 180 kilometers north of the town of Prince George. The property is located only 50 kilometers west of Centerra Gold’s (TSX:CG) Mt. Milligan copper-gold mine, which hosts 959 million lbs of copper and 2.4 million ounces of gold. The Jean Marie property contains several zones of mineralization that remain open for expansion with additional drilling.
Promising Historical Exploration: Historical exploration work was conducted on the Jean Marie property between 1970 and 1974, including over 10,000 meters of drilling and dozens of ground-based geophysical and geochemical surveys. Historical exploration predominantly focused on three copper porphyry zones: the A, B, and C zones, each of which straddles the Jean Marie fault, a major structure that runs through the property.
Pinnacle Porphyry Project
Pacific Empire’s Pinnacle Porphyry property comprises the company’s NWT and Pinnacle Reef properties, which have been combined to create a 14,040-hectare land package. The property was acquired through staking in 2012 and has since seen over $2 million in partner-funded exploration.
Underexplored Asset: The property saw limited exploration between 2014 and 2017, including 14 diamond drill holes and four induced polarization (IP) surveys. During this era, exploration at the Elbow Zone returned five holes of anomalous gold, including 94 meters grading 0.34 g/t gold. In 2018, Pacific Empire staked the northern half of the Pinnacle property, covering an anomalous area of gold geochemistry in stream sediments. The company later completed a high-resolution airborne magnetic survey over the entirety of the property to determine if more significant levels of detail could help improve its understanding of the underlying bedrock.Completed RC Drill Program with Promising Results: Pacific Empire conducted a 20-hole RC drill program in 2019 focused on high-priority targets discovered during partner-funded exploration work in 2015. This exploration program targeted both the Elbow Zone and the Sooner Zone found at Pinnacle, with the goal of establishing additional drill targets for the future. Additionally, 2022 assays indicate the presence of high-grade gold up to 1,460 parts per billion.
Copper King Project
The Copper King pipeline project comprises 4,178 hectares in north-central British Columbia. The project is wholly owned by Pacific Empire, which began exploring the property through reconnaissance IP surveillance and rock chip sampling in 2015. The company later followed up this exploration work with two airborne magnetic surveys covering the property’s northeast portion.
Promising Results from Drill Program: In 2018, Pacific Empire conducted an RC drill program at the Copper King property that was focused on the North Valley Target Area. Four drill holes totaling 459 meters were cut on the property with the company’s mounted RC drill, revealing disseminated chalcocite mineralization in two of the four holes. Based on the widespread copper mineralization found at Copper King, Pacific Empire believes there is significant potential to discover a buried porphyry system. The company is currently looking for partners on the Copper King project.Robust Existing Infrastructure: The project is already vehicle-accessible and close to a strong infrastructure due to the presence of nearby projects. The existing infrastructure will significantly decrease future development costs.
Pipeline and Royalty Projects
Pacific Empire Minerals has five projects either designated to generate revenue from royalties or within the pipeline for future exploration and development.
Stars: The royalty Stars project includes an agreement between Pacific Empire and Aurwest Resources. Pacific Empire holds a 2-percent net smelter return (NSR) on the property, while Aurwest has the option to purchase one-half of the NSR for C$1 million. Red: The Red royalty project includes an agreement between Pacific Empire and EnGold Mines Ltd. Pacific Empire holds a 2-percent NSR on the property, while EnGold Mines has the option to purchase one-half (1 percent) of the NSR for C$1 million. Abby: The Abby pipeline project covers 3,675 hectares and is located approximately 50 kilometers west of Centerra Gold’s Mt. Milligan Copper-Gold Mine. The project contains copper-gold porphyry deposits and has significant exploration potential.Kitimat: The pipeline Kitimat project is an exploration stage copper-gold prospect with nearby existing infrastructure. The project covers 3,070 hectares with historical exploration results of 38 diamond drill holes. Intersections have demonstrated 0.60 percent copper and 1.15 g/t gold.Col: This pipeline project is located in north-center British Columbia and totals 6,618 hectares. The Col Copper project has mainly been underexplored. The asset has three known mineralizations that warrant additional exploration and may lead toward development, depending on results.
Brad Peters – CEO, President and Director
Brad Peters began working for Canadian junior exploration companies in 2007 and has been involved in mineral property exploration, management, acquisition, development and research in British Columbia, the Yukon, Ontario, Arizona and Mexico. Peters’ diverse skill set, exploration experience and market knowledge have provided insight to all facets of the exploration industry. Peters graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2009 with a bachelor of science degree in Earth and ocean sciences, and he earned an honours diploma in broadcast communications from BCIT in 2002.
Thomas Hawkins – Vice-president Exploration
Thomas Hawkins has 18 years of international experience identifying, assessing and advancing mineral exploration projects. He graduated in 2004 from Imperial College, London, with a masters in geology and geophysics, and gained a PhD in geology in 2012 from the Natural History Museum, U.K. Hawkins has extensive experience managing projects in Ghana, Mexico, Canada, U.S.A., the U.K., and Kazakhstan. Most recently, Hawkins was part of the Kenorland Minerals team that discovered the Regnault deposit and was vice-president of exploration of Northway Resources, a Vancouver-based Alaska exploration company. In 2018, as president of Vanmin Development Corp. Hawkins discovered the Vanadium Pass deposit in British Columbia. His PhD research furthered the understanding of the Central Asian deposit camps and IOCG type deposits.
Peter Schloo – Director, CEP, CA, CFA
Peter Schloo has over eight years of progressive experience in capital markets, operations and assurance. He holds the CPA, CA and CFA designations. He has over C$80 million in associated capital raising opportunities, comprising public and private companies, with the majority in the junior natural resource sector.
Doug Reed – Chief Financial Officer
Doug Reed holds a bachelor of science from the University of Victoria and is a chartered professional accountant and chartered accountant. Reed brings more than 10 years of accounting experience in the mineral exploration and mining industry focusing on financial reporting, regulatory compliance, internal control and corporate finance activities. He has also worked in public practice as an audit manager overseeing the annual audits of public companies and auditor requirements related to various special transactions. Reed is chief financial officer of Revelo Resources and the corporate controller of EMX Royalty Corporation. He was formerly the CFO of Sundance Minerals Ltd.
Kim Casswell – Corporate Secretary
Ms. Casswell has been the corporate secretary of several public companies listed on the TSX Venture Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange since 1994. Casswell has played an important role in the growth of these companies and is familiar with regulations governing public companies in several jurisdictions. Casswell is currently the corporate secretary for Atico Mining Corporation, EMX Royalty Corporation, Revelo Resources Corp., Lara Exploration and Legend Gold Corp, and was corporate secretary for Reservoir Minerals Inc. before it was acquired by Nevsun Resources Ltd. in June 2016.
Larry Donaldson – Director
Larry Donaldson is a chartered professional accountant with over 40 years of accounting, auditing and tax experience. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1971 with a bachelor of commerce degree. He is the managing partner of a local chartered professional accounting firm and has extensive experience in public company audits and in accounting and tax planning for mineral exploration based companies. Donaldson is currently the chief financial officer of Rockhaven Resources Ltd., ATAC Resources Ltd., Strategic Metals Ltd., Trifecta Gold Ltd., GGL Resources Corp., Califfi Capital Corp. and Silver Range Resources Ltd.
Samantha Shorter – Director and Chair of Audit Committee
Ms. Shorter is a senior finance and accounting professional with 15 years of experience in the mineral exploration sector and has served as CFO of various junior mining companies. She has extensive international experience with development projects as well as operating assets. Shorter was also previously employed as an audit manager at a major Canadian accounting firm specializing in the mining industry and has extensive experience providing financial reporting and corporate services to companies in the mining and mineral exploration industries. Shorter is a CPA, CA and CIA and holds a bachelor of commerce degree with honours from the University of British Columbia.
Jennifer Roskowski – Technical Advisor
Jennifer Roskowski is a senior consulting geologist with OreQuest Consultants, providing technical guidance to PEMC. Roskowski is a highly skilled geologist with key expertise in district-scale exploration targeting. Roskowski’s experience in evaluating large exploration datasets has been invaluable in developing PEMCs regional exploration thesis.
Dr. Paul Johnston – Advisor
Dr. Paul Johnston was most recently with Teck Resources Limited and has valuable in-depth knowledge of copper, silver and gold deposits. His extensive experience with porphyry copper systems is valuable in enhancing the value of PEMC’s portfolio of copper-gold porphyry projects and guiding future exploration and potential acquisitions.
Chris Tucker – Director
Chris Tucker holds a Bachelor of Science (Environment) from Simon Fraser University and a Master of Applied Science (Mining Engineering) from the University of British Columbia. Tucker brings over 10 years of experience working in the mining industry in project finance, risk management, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy and reporting.