Based on commonly-asked questions from investors and shareholders, we have added some simple explanations for some of the mining terms that are used in our news releases and on our web site.

Anomaly

An anomaly is a departure from the norm which may indicate the presence of mineralization in the underlying bedrock. Geochemical anomalies and Induced Polarization (IP) anomalies are two of the most common anomalies described in exploration.

Assay

The chemical analysis of an ore, mineral, concentrate of metal to-determine the amount of valuable species. Precious metals are usually given in ounces per short ton or grams per metric tonne, while base metals are given in percentage.


Breccia

A rock in which angular fragments are surrounded by a mass of fine-grained minerals. These fragments may be produced by volcanic explosion, faulting or sedimentary deposition. The sharpness of the fragments indicates that they did not travel far from where they fractured.

Bornite

Bornite is an important copper ore mineral. It ranks up there with many of the other copper ores such as chalcocite, chalcopyrite, covellite, digenite, cuprite and tetrahedrite. Bornite copper content is 50% atomic ratio.

Chalcocite

Chalcocite is an important copper mineral ore. It has been mined for centuries and is one of the most profitable copper ores. The reasons for this is its high copper content (67% atomic ratio and nearly 80% by weight) and the ease at which copper can be separated from sulfur.


Chalcopyrite

Chalcopyrite (or copper pyrite), is one of the minerals refered to as "Fool's Gold" because of its bright golden color.

As a copper ore, the yield of chalcopyrite is rather low in terms of atoms per molecule. It is only 25%, compared to other copper minerals such as chalcocite, Cu2S - 67%; cuprite, Cu2O - 67%; covellite, CuS - 50% or bornite Cu5FeS4 - 50%. However the large quantities and widespread distribution of chalcopyrite make it the leading source of copper. Chalcopyrite is a common mineral and is found in almost all sulfide deposits.

Channel Sample

A sample composed of pieces of vein or mineral deposit that have been cut out of a small trench or channel. These are usually the first samples taken from an ore deposit that are of significance. Grab samples refer to samples of outcrop that are taken at the early stages of exploration, but they are not as significant as they may represent only a few highly concentrated samples based upon visual indications.


Chip Sample

A method of sampling a rock exposure whereby a regular series of small chips of rock is broken off along a line across the face.


Copper Oxide

There are two major divisions of copper classes found in copper porphyry deposits. These are oxides and sulphides. Copper oxide, often referred to as "supergene", are the more highly concentrated material generally found at the top of a deposit.


Copper Sulphide

Copper sulphide, often referred to as "hypogene", is the copper mineralization generally found at the bottom of a deposit.


Copper Porphyries

Copper porphyries are large low-grade stockwork to disseminated deposits of copper which may also carry minor recoverable amounts of molybdenum, gold and silver. Usually they are copper-molybdenum or copper-gold deposits. They must be amenable to bulk mining methods, that is open pit or, if underground, block caving. Most deposits have copper grades of between 0.4-1%, and are up to several billion tonnes in size.

The typical porphyry copper deposit occurs in a cylindrical, stock-like, composite intrusion having an elongate or irregular outcrop about 1.5 x 2 km, often with an outer shell of equigranular medium-grained rock. The central part is porphyrite - implying a period of rapid cooling to produce the finer-grained groundmass - the porphyry part of the intrusion.


Crushing and Grinding

Mined ores have to be crushed and milled into a fine powder to liberate the economic mineral particles in a number of stages. The primary crushers are used for the initial phase after the ore is conveyed to stockpiles.

Conventional milling circuits takes the coarse ore through secondary, and possibly tertiary, crushing which produces pebble-sized fine ore. The fine ore is then fed into a grinding circuit of rod and ball mills, which reduce the ore to fine powder. Water is added during the milling process.


Decline

A sloping underground opening for machine access from level to level or from surface; also called a ramp.


Diamond Drill

A drill using small diamond chips embedded on the head of the drill bit to cut the rock and the drill turns.


Dore

Impure and unrefined mixture of metallic gold and silver produced through the smelting of gold and silver concentrate, sand or precipitate. Typical impuritics include base metals. Doré is further refined to almost pure gold by a smelter or refinery.


Drill Core

The cylindrical piece of rock, usualy between one and three inches in diameter brought to surface by diamond drilling.

Enargite

Enargite is a somewhat rare copper mineral. Enargite is related to the rare mineral wurtzite. Wurtzite is a zinc sulfide with a formula of ZnS. In enargite 75% of the zinc atoms are replaced by copper and 25% of the zinc atoms are replaced by arsenic, Cu3AsS4.


Environmental Impact Study

A written report, compiled prior to a production decision, that examines the effects proposed mining activities will have on the natural surroundings.


Epithermal

A term applied to deposits formed at shallow depths from ascending solutions of moderate temperatures.


Flotation Cells

Flotation cells are commonly used in conventional copper concentrators to separate the copper minerals from the waste rock. After being crushed and ground, the copper ore is pumped into flotation cells. Chemical reagents are added and the mixture is aerated and mechanically agitated. The mineral particles are separated from the host rock and float to the surface on air bubbles, forming a froth, which is skimmed off, filtered and dried.


Gangue

Worthless rock or other material in which valuable minerals are found.


Heap Leaching

A process whereby valuable metals (usually gold and silver) are leached from a heap, or pad, of crushed ore by leaching solutions percolating down through the heap and are collected from a sloping, impermeable liner below the pad.


Intrusive

A body of igneous rock formed by the consolidation of magma intruded into other rocks, in contrast to lavas which are extruded upon the surface. It is through intrusion of magma that porphyry deposits are formed.


Inferred Resources

Mineralization which does not have demonstrated economic viability.


Leaching

A chemical process for the extraction of valuable minerals from ore: also, a natural process by which ground waters dissolve minerals, thus leaving the rock with a smaller proportion of some of the minerals than it contained originally.


Leach pad

A large, impermeable foundation or pad used as a base for ore during heap leaching. The pad prevents the leach solution from escaping out of the circuit.


London Metals Exchange

This is the single most important metals exchange for copper. It is the major bidding market for base metals.


Molybdenum [Mo]

Molybdenum is an element often found in copper porphyry deposits. It is used extensively in steels particularly grinding steels and as a filament material.


National Instrument 43-101

National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101) is a rule developed by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and administered by the provincial securities commissions that governs how issuers disclose scientific and technical information about their mineral projects to the public. It covers oral statements as well as written documents and websites. It requires that all disclosure be based on advice by a "qualified person" and in some circumstances that the person be independent of the issuer and the property.


Open-pit Mining

Open-pit mining is the most common method mining porphyry copper and these open pits account for some of the largest man made holes in the world. When determining the size of an open pit the normal ratio is 50% of the shortest distance across. In other words if a deposit is 800 ft long by 600 ft wide, the pit can be 300 feet deep. This is because the ramps need to be wide enough to allow large trucks to go up and down.

The open pit mine is the least expensive kind, and it is every developer's first choice where an orebody is situated close to the surface, is big enough and has little overburden.


Ore Reserves

The calculated tonnage and grade of mineralization which can be extracted profitably: classified as possible, probable and proven according to the level of confidence that can be placed in the data.


Outcrop

An exposure of rock or mineral deposit that can be seen on surface.


Overburden

The alluvium and rock that must be removed in order to expose an ore deposit.


Oxidation

A chemical reaction caused by exposure to oxygen that results in a change in the chemical composition of a mineral.


Qualified Person

A qualified person (QP) as defined in NI 43-101 as an individual who:

a) is an engineer or geoscientist with at least five years of experience in mineral exploration, mine development or operation or mineral project assessment, or any combination of these;
b) has experience relevant to the subject matter of the mineral project and the technical report; and
c) is a member in good standing of a professional association.


Porphyry copper deposit

A disseminated large-tonnage, low-grade deposit, in which the copper minerals occur as discrete grains and veins throughout a large volume of rock.


Pre-Feasibility Study

A pre-feasibility study is a comprehensive study of the viability of a mineral project that has advanced to astage where the mining method has been established, and which, if an effective method of mineral processing has been determined, includes a financial analysis based on reasonable assumptions of technical, engineering, operating, economic factors and the evaluation of other relevant factors which are sufficient for a qualified person, acting reasonably, to determine if all or part of the mineral resource may be classified as a mineral reserve.


Primary Mineralization

Valuable minerals deposited during the original period or periods of mineralization as opposed to those deposited as a result of alteration or weathering.


Proven Reserves

Reserves that have been sampled extensively by closely-spaced diamond drill holes and developed by underground workings in sufficient detail to render an accurate estimation of grade and tonnage. Also called measured reserves.


Scoping Study

A scoping study is the first level of study that is performed on a mineral deposit to determine its economic viability. This is usually performed to determine whether the expense of a full pre-feasibility study and later full feasibility study is warranted. Much can be determined from a scoping study. A proper scoping study must be performed by independent engineers.


Secondary Enrichment

Secondary Enrichment refers to the process whereby a vein or mineral deposit has been enriched by minerals that have been taken into solution from one part of the vein or adjacent rocks and re-deposited in another. Secondary enrichment usually results in higher concentrations of ore although this is not always the case.


Supergene Enrichment

A mineral deposition process in which near-surface oxidation produces acidic solutions that leach metals, carry them downward, and re-precipitate them, thus enriching sulfide minerals already present.

Copper sulphides are soluble and therefore the upper part of the orebody may be oxidized and generally leached of many of its valuable elements right down to the water table. This is called the zone of oxidation.

Generally the bulk of dissolved material is carried on down to the zone of supergene enrichment.


Tailings

The material rejected from a mill after the valuable minerals have been recovered.

Tuffs

Ash-flow tuffs are consolidated deposits of volcanic ash, which were emplaced by flowage of a turbulent mixture of gas and pyroclastic materials. Ash-flow deposits consist principally of glass shards and pumice fragments that are usually less than 0.15 inch in length, although some flows consist of ejecta of larger size.


Vein

A zone or belt of mineralized rock lying within boundaries clearly separating it from neighboring rock.