The Kudz Ze Kayah project is a high-grade poly-metallic deposit located in Yukon, Canada. BMC Minerals, a subsidiary of BMC (UK), acquired the project in 2015 and is solely developing the project.
Feasibility study (FS) report for the zinc-silver project was released in July 2019, followed by a technical report on the FS in August 2019. The project is expected to make first production in 2021, while the first concentrate sale is scheduled to take place in 2022.
The project is expected to produce 235 million pounds (Mlbs) of zinc, 32Mlbs of copper, 56Mlbs of lead, 7.8 million ounces (Moz) of silver, and 56,500Oz of gold.
The Kudz Ze Kayah project is expected to involve a capital cost of £467m ($587m). It is estimated to have a mine life of nine years.
Kudz Ze Kayah zinc-silver project location, geology, and mineralisation
The project is located on the northern side of the Pelly Mountain Range, approximately 260km from Watson Lake and 115km from Ross River in Yukon, Canada.
The project comprises four claims namely Wolf, Pelly, KZK, and Fyre Lake. The KZK claims include the GP4F deposit and the ABM deposit, which is a poly-metallic deposit containing concentrations of lead, copper, zinc, gold, and silver.
The ABM and the Krakatoa zones are a part of the ABM deposit and are separated by late faulting. The ABM zone contains massive sulphide, which is 39m-thick and 500m-deep, extending 700m along strike. The up-dip extent of the deposit is curtailed due to erosion, covered by a overburden of thickness ranging from 2m to 20m.
The sulphide mineralisation in Krakatoa zone is bound by faults on both east and west, while it is covered by overburden of 20m to 30m and dips 35º to the north-northeast. The thickness of massive sulphide is 22m and 500m down-dip, extending over 200m of strike and is open at depth.
Kudz Ze Kayah zinc-silver project reserves
The Kudz Ze Kayah zinc-silver project is expected to contain 15.7Mt, graded at 5.8% zinc, 1.7% lead, 0.9% copper, 138g/t silver, and 1.3g/t gold. It is estimated to contain 915,000 tonnes (t) of zinc, 265,700t of lead, 135,800t of copper, 666,000 ounces (oz) of gold, and 69.5 million ounces (Moz) of silver.
Mining at Kudz Ze Kayah zinc-silver project
Conventional open-pit mining method will be used for the majority of the ABM deposit, while underhand long hole stoping method will extract ore from the deeper portion of the Krakatoa zone.
The ABM zone is proposed to be mined in four stages, while the Krakatoa will be mined in a single stage. An estimated 14Mt of ore and 138Mt of waste is proposed to be mined from the open-pit through 8.5 years.
Underground mining is anticipated to be started in the third year, with ore production expected to be commenced in the fifth year. The underground mine will use cement paste fill to fill the mined stope voids.
Processing at Kudz Ze Kayah zinc-silver project
The Kudz Ze Kayah processing plant will be a 2.0 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) conventional flotation plant and is expected to produce separate copper, zinc, and lead concentrates.
The run-of-mine (ROM) ore will undergo primary crushing and grinding in a semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill. The resultant product will then pass through sequential flotation process involving pre-float, rougher, and cleaner copper floatation.
The copper, lead, and zinc rougher concentrates will be re-grinded in fine grinding mills. The concentrates will be thickened, filtered, and stored.
The stored concentrates will be loaded onto trucks using front-end loaders and trucks and transported to the port of Stewart (British Columbia).
Access to the Kudz Ze Kayah project is through a 24km tote road connecting the project site to the Robert Campbell Highway. The highway will also be used as a direct route to transport the concentrate to the port.
Power supply for the mine will be provided by six on-site bi-fuel generators that provide a generation capacity of 25.2 megawatts (MW).
A water treatment plant is proposed to be constructed wherein water will be collected from distributed areas and through the recycling of process water.
BMC Minerals engaged Equity Exploration, Tu Lidlini Fuel Company, Hytech Drilling, T Moon Construction, and C McLeod Contracting as part of the 2016 field programme for the Kudz Ze Kayah project.
BMC prepared the project PFS with support from consultants such as Equity Exploration Consultants, Entech Mining, Rockland, SRK Consulting Canada, and Mineral Processing Metallurgy and Mineralogy (MPMM).
CSA Global was awarded the contract for preparing the mineral resource estimate for the ABM Deposit, as part of the PFS. Other consultancies involved in the PFS preparation were Allnorth Consultants, Knight Piesold, Tetra Tech, and Alexco Environmental Group (AEG).