AMARC 2022 A TRANSFORMATIVE YEAR AND CORPORATE OUTLOOK
Significant Programs & Strategic Partnerships:
A testament to the quality of our BC Cu-Au Districts
I am pleased to provide this summary of our major achievements and milestones over the past twelve months, as we look forward to another highly active exploration year progressing our JOY, DUKE and IKE Districts. This information was also distributed in a news release on January 17, 2023.
In 2022, we successfully expanded the opportunities for development within our portfolio of copper-gold districts, added further depth and breadth to our exploration and management team and engaged a communications consultant, enhancing our ability to provide effective and timely information to our shareholders and the market.
Advancing our portfolio of copper-gold districts
Amarc and Freeport McMoRan Mineral Properties Canada Ltd. ("Freeport") made considerable progress at the JOY District ("JOY"), completing a second comprehensive program with a substantial drilling component in 2022. In November 2022, Amarc and Boliden Mineral Canada Ltd. ("Boliden") completed an agreement on the DUKE District ("DUKE"), and initiated a drilling program at DUKE before year end. Freeport at JOY and Boliden at DUKE can earn up to a 70% interest in the districts by funding CDN$110 million and CDN$90 million of staged earn-in expenditures, respectively. At both JOY and DUKE we are the Operator, which is a positive reflection on our team's operational abilities and high standards across all aspects of exploration and development.
We believe that these strategic earn-in agreements are a testament to the high quality of our project portfolio, located in British Columbia - a premier mining jurisdiction, and its attractiveness to major mining companies. The investments made through these agreements will be important catalysts to the advancment of exploration and development of our projects, while being non-share dilutive, and will further the growth of the Company. In addition, the fully-funded, on-going exploration activities at the JOY and DUKE Districts will provide a significant flow of news in 2023.
Leading into 2022, Amarc revealed expansions of the PINE Deposit laterally and to depth through a comprehensive CDN$5.94 million Freeport-funded program at the JOY Copper-Gold District in 2021. Notably, the three long core holes completed at the PINE Deposit intersected some of the highest grades over the longest intervals ever encountered to date (see March 7, 2022 news release). The program also confirmed the potential for additional, large-scale porphyry copper-gold deposits in the District.
In 2022, we operated a significant exploration program that included core drilling, designed to test additional extensions to the know mineralization at the PINE Deposit and initially test the more advanced deposit-scale copper-gold targets clustered across the JOY District. Geological mapping, geochemical sampling and geophysical ground surveying was also done to better define existing and also new copper-gold targets within the District in preparation for current and future drilling. As the work progress, the drilling component of the program was significantly expanded with three drill rigs active; all told, some 15,427 m of drilling was completed in 37 holes. In line with increased activities, the initial exploration budget was also expanded to approximately CDN$14 million. Although we experienced significant processing delays at the laboratory in 2022, assays are now being received and we look forward to releasing assay results over the coming weeks.
In late November, we announced an earn-in agreement with Boliden Mineral Canada Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Boliden Group, for our 100%-owned DUKE Copper-Gold District and immediately commenced a drill program focused on delineating the size of the DUKE Deposit, that will continue into this year. The DUKE District's excellent infrastructure enables the Company to drill year round. In addition to the drilling at DUKE Deposit, ground geophysical and other surveys are planned as part of a comprehensive program to advance both the DUKE Deposit and prioritized porphyry copper deposit targets for drill testing. To the end of 2023, Boliden is to fund CDN$10 million of which CDN$5 milllion are committed expenditures.
Amarc also continues to focus on plans to advance the IKE District, which includes the higher grade Empress Deposit and the IKE Deposit - a copper-silver-molybdenum discovery, and our other copper-gold projects in British Columbia.
Building our managment team for the long term
Early in 2022, Amarc strengthened our experienced management team with the appointment of Dr. Roy Greig, P.Geo., as the new Vice President, Exploration. The appointment of Dr. Greig enhances Amarc's leadership team for the longer term and reinforces the Company's existing relationship with C.J. Greig & Associates, one of Canada's premier mineral exploration and discovery groups. C.J. Greig & Associates will be assisting with Amarc's initiatives to explore and develop our copper-gold districts in BC.
Copper has typically been recognized as an economic indicator. This was reflected in its performance in 2022, particularly in the latter half of the year when prices dropped as global economic growth slowed as a result of a number of factors, such as "tighter U.S. monetary policy, the energy crisis arising from Russia's war in Ukraine and China's combination of strict Covid-19 lockdowns and a weak property market"; however the influential Wall Street Bankers Goldman Sachs and Bank of America expect copper prices to recover in 2023 as China opens up and supplies tighten[i].
And the outlook for copper is positive over the long term as the green energy transition gains momentum. A growing number of countries have set new zero policies with aggressive goals. Canada has acknowledged the key part that copper plays in the generation, transportation and transmission of energy by including copper in its critical minerals strategy[ii]. The United States is making massive public and private investments in renewable power, EVs, charging stations and other electrification techologies that are heavily reliant on copper, and has announced its intent to work with Canada to to secure a reliable supply chain to meet its policy goals[iii]. The influence is already being felt: "...collated data on demand growth from sectors linked to net-zero policies indicated an expansion in copper consumption of 4.5% year-on-year out to 2030...in contrast to demand growth ...[of] 2.1% over the past two decades," noted Bank of America analyst Michael Widmer[iv].
Expert studies such as The Future of Copper by S&P Global[v] show that the world needs to find and develop new deposits of copper - and soon. We believe that Amarc is ideally positioned to do so. British Columbia is the heartland of Canada's copper production. With two agreements with major producers, it is clear that our district-scale projects are being noticed. The fundamentals of the copper market over the long term are highly positive. The stage is set for an exciting 2023!
A collaborative effort
The planning and successful execution of productive programs is dependent on the ongoing efforts of the members of Amarc's team, inclusive of our partners, consultants, contractors and, in particular, the willingness of Indigenous groups, local governments and stakeholders to work collaboratively with us. We extend our thanks to all of you. We also want to acknowledge our shareholders for their continued support that contributes to the success of the Company.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Amarc,
Dr. Diane Nicolson
President & CEO
Amarc Resources Ltd.
[v] see endnote 1
Dr. Roy Greig, a Qualified Person as defined under National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed and approved the technical content of this letter.