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Kutcho Copper Increases Life of Mine Copper Recovery to 96%, Silver to 83% and Gold to 70%

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kutcho Copper Corp. (KC.V) (KCCFF) (“Kutcho Copper” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce results of additional metallurgical testing on its 100% owned Kutcho Project in British Columbia, Canada. These latest results came from a program focused on optimizing performance from the Main Lens composite and have shown improved copper and silver recoveries versus the 2017 Prefeasibility Study. In addition, the Company has conducted leach tests on the tailings, which has shown the potential to significantly increase copper, silver and gold recovery from both the Esso and Main Lenses. Completion of this recent test program represents a significant portion of the metallurgical work required to complete the Feasibility Study for the Kutcho Project.

Highlights

  • Main Lens flotation recoveries improved to 87.4% copper, 63.8% zinc, 36.9% gold and 59.0% silver

  • Esso Lens flotation recoveries improved to 94.5% copper, 89.3% zinc, 40.8% gold and 71.2% silver

  • Main Lens tailings stream leaching achieves additional incremental recoveries of an estimated 8.0% copper, 32.9% gold and 20.7% silver

  • Esso Lens tailings stream leaching achieves additional incremental recoveries of an estimated 2.7% copper, 27.6% gold and 11.2% silver

  • Approximate Life of Mine (LOM) blend comprising 75% LOM feed from the Main Lens and 25% LOM feed from the Esso Lens and combining flotation and tailings leach recoveries yields 96.4% copper, 75.1% zinc, 70.4% gold and 82.9% silver

“We are extremely pleased with the metallurgical performance from the Kutcho project and the upside opportunities available from leaching the tailings materials for additional copper and precious metals recovery. We look forward to including these improved results in our upcoming Feasibility Study, where we believe they will have a positive impact on the economics of the Kutcho project.” said Vince Sorace, President & CEO of Kutcho Copper.

The results were produced from a recent Locked Cycle Test completed on Main lens material which is contemplated to be processed at a 50:50 blended ratio with Esso lens material during the mid-years of production at the Kutcho Project. These results, in combination with those provided in the November, 2019 news release, demonstrate the robust nature of the developed Kutcho flowsheet.

The recoveries of copper and silver to the copper concentrate has improved significantly over historic test work. Given that the largest and most important contributor to the Net Smelter Return (NSR) value of Kutcho material is recoverable copper, the Company has focused efforts on maximizing this NSR value. Silver recovery was also significantly improved in this most recent testing. The copper and zinc concentrates produced from both the Main and Esso lenses are of good quality and are below threshold limits for common deleterious elements.

2019 - 2020 Locked Cycle Test Results

Main Lens Composite

Product

Wt.

Grade

Recovery

(%)

Cu
(%)

Zn
(%)

Au
(g/t)

Ag
(g/t)

Cu
(%)

Zn
(%)

Au
(%)

Ag
(%)

Cu concentrate

6.0

25.0

11.8

2.09

280

87.4

30.9

36.9

59.0

Zn concentrate

2.7

1.80

54.6

3.03

98

2.8

63.8

23.0

9.2

Feed (Main Lens Comp MC4)

100

1.72

2.30

0.34

29

Esso Lens Composite

Product

Wt.

Grade

Recovery

(%)

Cu
(%)

Zn
(%)

Au
(g/t)

Ag
(g/t)

Cu
(%)

Zn
(%)

Au
(%)

Ag
(%)

Cu concentrate

8.8

27.9

4.45

4.57

565

94.5

7.1

40.8

71.2

Zn concentrate

8.4

0.62

58.2

2.95

96

2.0

89.3

25.2

11.6

Feed (Esso Lens Comp)

100

2.60

5.50

1.00

70


2020 Projected LOM Metallurgical Parameters (75% Main; 25% Esso)

Product

Weight

Grade

Recovery

(%)

Cu
(%)

Zn
(%)

Au
(g/t)

Ag
(g/t)

Cu
(%)

Zn
(%)

Au
(%)

Ag
(%)

Cu concentrate

6.7

26.0

9.41

2.91

375

89.8

20.3

38.8

64.5

Zn concentrate

4.1

1.20

56.6

2.99

97

2.5

75.1

24.5

10.3

Feed

1.94

3.10

0.50

39

The flowsheet utilized for the Main material bench scale test work is the same simplified flowsheet utilized for the Esso deposit as reported in the November 19, 2019 news release. A single stage of flotation cleaning has been used in the copper circuit and three stages of zinc cleaning were required. The current contemplated process plant design incorporates a primary grind size target of 58 microns K80 followed by sequential Cu-Zn flotation; the rougher concentrates are reground to approximately 17 microns K80 and approximately 20 microns K80 for the copper and zinc respectively. The total mass of material that will be subject to finer grinding is less than 20% of the anticipated mill feed.

Leading up to recent Locked Cycle Tests extensive mineralogical evaluations carried out on drill core composites by QEMSCAN that have been incorporated into block models to fully quantify and characterize the mineralization in terms of mineral abundance, which is important for controlling metallurgical performance. The mineralogical study allowed the Company to accurately define copper deportment and speciation (chalcopyrite and bornite) and pyrite content as well as head grades reflective of the Measured and Indicated resource grade. This gives the Company an added measure of confidence in the metallurgical results and their representation of the Main lens.

Tailings Streams Leach Test Work

Preliminary leach test work of the cleaner tailings streams from both Main and Esso Lens material using cyanide indicates that copper, gold and silver recovery could be significantly increased and is a candidate for sulphidization-acidification-recycling-thickening (SART) treatment.

Flotation of a pyrite concentrate from the combined zinc tailings streams of the Main Lens MC4 composite was reground to approximately 25 microns K80. Cyanide leaching of the Main lens material yielded an additional 8.0% of copper recovery, 32.9% of gold recovery and 20.7% silver recovery. Similar treatment of the zinc tailings streams of the Esso Lens composite yielded an additional 2.7% of copper recovery, 27.6% of gold recovery and 11.2% silver recovery. Combined with the locked cycle test results above on approximate Life of Mine (LOM) blend comprising 75% LOM feed from the Main Lens and 25% LOM feed from the Esso Lens yields 96.4% copper, 82.9% silver and 70.4% gold recovery.

Incremental Leach Recovery (from LCT)

Product

Recovery

Cu (%)

Au (%)

Ag (%)

Pyrite Concentrate

6.6

28.7

18.7

Main

Zn 1st Cleaner Tails

1.4

4.2

2.1

Total

8

32.9

20.7

Pyrite Concentrate

2.0

24.8

8.8

Esso

Zn 1st Cleaner Tails

0.6

2.8

2.3

Total

2.7

27.6

11.2

Pyrite Concentrate

5.4

27.7

16.2

LOM

Zn 1CT Cleaner Tails

1.2

3.9

2.1

Total Combined

6.7

31.6

18.3

As a result of the high levels of soluble copper in the cleaner tailings streams, cyanide consumptions were very high, but copper was notably extracted to the leach liquor. This extraction result suggests that the leach liquor is a good candidate for the SART process, which can recover copper as a precipitate and regenerate cyanide for recycling.

As a result of producing a pyrite concentrate for leach, the Kutcho project benefits from generating a desulfidized tailing stream, from both Main and Esso lenses, that initial environmental analytical results suggest is potentially non-acid generating (NPAG) as determined by acid base accounting methodologies (ABA). Furthermore, preferential use of the residual pyrite concentrate for paste backfill underground may reduce, or eliminate the volume of potentially acid generating (PAG) tailings for surface storage and management that could yield benefits for the project in terms of minimizing environmental impacts. The full potential of these results will be investigated during the Feasibility Study.

Qualified Person

Tom Shouldice, Chief Executive Officer of Base Metallurgical Laboratories is a professional metallurgical engineer with over 20 years of experience in mineral processing. His relevant experience includes plant operations, project management, engineering and all aspects of metallurgical testing. Tom specializes in flotation and mineralogical interpretation in relation to metallurgical response. Mr. Shouldice is a “Qualified Person” as defined in National Instrument 43-101 “Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects” of the Canadian Securities Administrators and has reviewed and approved this press release.

Rory Kutluoglu, B.Sc. P.Geo., a “Qualified Person” as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has read and approved all technical and scientific information contained in this news release. Mr. Kutluoglu is the Company’s Vice President, Exploration & Development.

About Kutcho Copper Corp.

Kutcho Copper Corp. is a Canadian resource development company focused on expanding and developing the Kutcho high grade copper-zinc project in northern British Columbia. Committed to social responsibility and the highest environmental standards, the Company intends to progress the Kutcho Project through feasibility and permitting to a positive construction decision.

Vince Sorace
President & CEO, Kutcho Copper Corp.

For further information regarding Kutcho Copper Corp., please email info@kutcho.ca or visit our website at www.kutcho.ca.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

This news release contains certain statements that may be deemed “forward-looking statements” with respect to the Company within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and are generally, but not always, identified by the words “expects”, “plans”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “intends”, “estimates”, “projects”, “potential”, “indicates”, “opportunity”, “possible” and similar expressions, or that events or conditions “will”, “would”, “may”, “could” or “should” occur. Although Kutcho Copper believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance, are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results or realities may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such material risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the Company’s ability to raise sufficient capital to fund its obligations under its property agreements going forward, to maintain its mineral tenures and concessions in good standing, to explore and develop the Kutcho project or its other projects, to repay its debt and for general working capital purposes; changes in economic conditions or financial markets; the inherent hazards associates with mineral exploration and mining operations, future prices of copper and other metals, changes in general economic conditions, accuracy of mineral resource and reserve estimates, the potential for new discoveries, the potential to convert inferred resources to indicated or measured resources, the potential to optimize the mine plan, the ability of the Company to obtain the necessary permits and consents required to explore, drill and develop the Kutcho project and if obtained, to obtain such permits and consents in a timely fashion relative to the Company’s plans and business objectives for the projects; the general ability of the Company to monetize its mineral resources; and changes in environmental and other laws or regulations that could have an impact on the Company’s operations, compliance with environmental laws and regulations, aboriginal title claims and rights to consultation and accommodation, dependence on key management personnel and general competition in the mining industry. Forward-looking statements are based on the reasonable beliefs, estimates and opinions of the Company’s management on the date the statements are made. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements in the event that management’s beliefs, estimates or opinions, or other factors, should change.