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NorthWest Copper Announces Positive PEA for the Kwanika-Stardust Copper-Gold Project, Describing a Low CAPEX Project With Scale

Press Release

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 05, 2023– NorthWest Copper Corp. (“NorthWest” or “the Company”) (TSX-V: NWST) (OTCQX: NWCCF) is pleased to announce the results of the preliminary economic assessment (“2023 PEA”), conducted by Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc. (“Ausenco”) and Mining Plus Canada Consulting Ltd (“Mining Plus”), on its 100% owned Kwanika-Stardust Project comprising the Kwanika and Stardust deposits (the “Project”). This represents the first technical and economic evaluation of the combined deposits outlining a robust project with manageable initial capital cost and multiple opportunities for project growth. NorthWest plans to continue to evaluate the possibility of further synergies with nearby deposits and the proposed Project infrastructure, with a particular focus on the nearby 100% owned Lorraine Project 1 .

The 2023 PEA outlines a project that proposes mining approximately 96 million tonnes (“Mt”) of material in a combination of open pit and underground operations from the Company’s 100% owned Kwanika and Stardust deposits. The 2023 PEA contemplates a 22,000 tonnes per day (“tpd”) process plant, producing high-quality copper concentrate with significant gold and silver by-product credits.

Highlights

  • The 2023 PEA describes Kwanika-Stardust as a unique project combining manageable initial capital with a significant Cu-Au production profile:
    • Peak copper equivalent (“CuEq” 2 ) production of 152.1 million pounds of copper (“Mlbs”) per year (year 6) and life of mine (“LOM”) CuEq average production of 90.6 Mlbs per year over 11.9 years;
    • Total LOM production of 694 Mlbs Cu, 803 koz Au, and 3,204 koz Ag (1,078 Mlbs CuEq)
    • Average cash operating costs 3 of US$1.58/lb CuEq (US$0.44/lb Cu on a by-product 4 basis);
    • Average all-in sustaining cost (“AISC”) 5 of US$2.01/lb CuEq (US$1.12/lb Cu on a by-product 6 basis);
    • Initial capital of C$567.9 M (US$438.5 M 7 ), with a construction period of two years;
    • Attractive economics with NPV (7%) of C$440.1 M (US$339.8 M) and IRR of 17.1% pre-tax and NPV (7%) of C$215.0 M (US$166.0 M) and IRR of 12.7% after tax 8 ; and
    • At spot prices economics improve, with NPV (7%) of C$665.6 M (US$513.9 M) and IRR of 21.7% pre-tax and NPV (7%) of C$363.3 M (US$280.6 M) and IRR of 16.4% after tax 9 ;
    • The 2023 PEA is preliminary in nature. It includes Inferred Mineral Resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as Mineral Reserves and there is no certainty that the 2023 PEA will be realized.
  • Mineral Resources include mineralized material from four sources:
    • Kwanika Central open pit:
      • 30.7 Mt of Measured Resources (0.31% Cu, 0.31 g/t Au, 1.05 g/t Ag);
      • 35.9 Mt Indicated Resources (0.22% Cu, 0.19 g/t Au, 0.80 g/t Ag); and
      • 4.1 Mt Inferred Resources (0.15% Cu, 0.15 g/t Au, 0.58 g/t Ag);
    • Kwanika Central underground block cave:
      • 25.6 Mt Measured Resources (0.50% Cu, 0.61 g/t Au, 1.62 g/t Ag); and
      • 11.3 Mt Indicated Resources (0.51 Cu%, 0.65 g/t Au, 1.56 g/t Ag);
    • Kwanika South open pit:
      • 25.4 Mt Inferred Resources (0.28 % Cu, 0.06 g/t Au, 1.68 g/t Ag);
    • Stardust underground:
      • 1.6 Mt Indicated Resources (1.49% Cu, 1.63 g/t Au, 30.1 g/t Ag); and
      • 4.1 Mt Inferred Resources (1.00% Cu, 1.38 g/t Au, 22.8 g/t Ag);
    • Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
  • NorthWest is committed to working collaboratively with First Nations to ensure that sound cultural and environmental practices based on sustainability and shared value are incorporated into any mine development plans:
    • NorthWest will continue to engage based on open communication and collaboration to create benefits for First Nations;
    • The Project will look to minimize the development impact by using existing infrastructure and processing mineralized material from multiple sources in one central facility;
    • The Project plans to connect to the BC Hydro electrical grid and will thereby use primarily renewable electricity, reducing the Project’s carbon footprint; and
    • The Project could contribute to British Columbia’s and Canada’s critical mineral supply by providing copper, a much-needed element for the green energy transition.

Table 1: Summary Project Metrics

Production Per Year AISC Economics
Cu
(Mlbs)
Au
(koz)
Ag
(koz)
CuEq 10
(Mlbs)
Cu
(US$/lb)
CuEq
(US$/lb)
Initial
Capital
(C$M)
Total
Operational 11
ATCF
(C$M)
After-
Tax
NPV-7
(C$M)
After-
Tax
IRR %
LOM
Average
58.31 67.43 269.12 90.56 $1.12 $2.01 $567.90 $1,324.98 $215.04 12.7%

“This study is a major step in demonstrating the value created by combining Kwanika and Stardust, the cornerstone deposits of the NorthWest portfolio,” stated President and CEO Peter Bell. “We have been describing a project with manageable initial capital and significant copper production to the market since creating the Company in 2021. This PEA supports that vision. We are also now working towards advancing the Project including exploring whether the nearby 100% owned Lorraine Project, located approximately 40 km away, can be developed with the infrastructure contemplated in the Kwanika-Stardust PEA. Conducting the necessary studies to ascertain whether Lorraine can be incorporated into the Kwanika-Stardust project will be the main objective of the Company in 2023, as we believe that this will add further value to the strong project we have outlined with this PEA.”

“The focus in Canada is turning to critical minerals, including copper,” continued Mr. Bell. “Our project is extremely well located, has both meaningful scale and manageable capex, benefits from existing infrastructure, has access to renewable power and is in a Tier 1 jurisdiction making it rare and highly valuable. We look forward to working collaboratively with First Nations to advance the project as part of BC and Canada’s push for critical Canadian copper production.”

The Company will host a conference call and webcast on Thursday, January 5, 2023 at 11:30 AM Eastern time (8:30 AM Pacific time). Details to access the call can be found below.

Mineral Resources
Mineral Resources for Kwanika have been updated with parameters from the 2023 PEA. Stardust is also updated to reflect refined operating and capital costs. Mineral Resources at Kwanika Central are 95% in the Measured and Indicated categories, reflecting the amount of drilling and geological data that have been completed in this area. Kwanika South and Stardust represent areas for both further growth of Mineral Resources as well as conversion of Inferred Resources to Measured and Indicated Resources. The quantity of mineralized material was estimated and included in the mine plan using a Net Smelter Return (“NSR”) threshold approach, alternately called economic cut off, rather than a copper cut-off grade.

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