The 7,400 hectare Hopper Project is located near Hopkins Lake, east of Aishihik Lake, within the southern Dawson Range copper-gold belt, southwestern Yukon. Access is by road, 180 km northwest of Whitehorse via the paved Alaska Highway, followed by the gravel Aishihik Lake road, which extends along the western property boundary. The Project covers the Hopper, Gal, and Guy claims in the Whitehorse Mining District, which are 100% owned by Strategic Metals Limited, subject to an option agreement for a 70% interest with Alpha Copper.
The Hopper Project constitutes a property of merit based on the presence of:
The Hopper Project is a Copper Gold porphyry and Skarn system. Below is an image through an idealized porphyry section which shows the types of mineralization on the claim. The skarn mineralization is a peripheral effect of the porphyry intrusion itself. Even so, the skarn has seen most of the historical exploration efforts whille the porphyry has only been tested with two drill holes.
Idealized cross section through an intrusive system and its alteration zones and potential mineralized zones. Copper Castle contains skarn mineralization and has been extensively drilled. The Hopper North target is a porphyry target. Drilling has encountered predominately chloritic alteration and minor sericitic and potassic alteration. Drilling is planned in 2022 to vector into the potential higher-grade potassically altered core.
The below image shows all drill-holes on the claim since 2010. The Hopper north zone has seen minimal drilling in comparison to the Copper Castle zone. The Copper Castle zone contains proven mineralization over 1,200m in strike length.
Based on the results of its 2021 drill program, Alpha Copper has applied for a 10-year exploration permit to continue drilling with up to three drills. The Hopper North porphyry target is the immediate focus, to vector towards higher-grade portions of the porphyry system. Continued infill and step-out drilling is planned on the Copper Castle, to build towards a maiden resource and an understanding of the full extent of high-grade skarn mineralization.
Geologically, the Project is underlain by the 4 by 6 km early Late Cretaceous aged Hopper pluton, which intrudes Devonian and older metasedimentary rocks of the Snowcap assemblage of the Yukon-Tanana terrane, which include marble and limy metasedimentary rocks, commonly altered to calc-silicate and skarn. These are intruded by predominantly north trending feldspar-hornblende, Â±biotite, Â±quartz porphyritic dykes and lesser sills, cogenetic and coeval with the Hopper pluton. Basalt and rare rhyolite dykes of probable Paleogene age also intrude the above units. The Project covers four Minfile occurrences, as documented by the Yukon Geological Survey, which include southern copper skarn prospects, and a northern copper porphyry prospect. Mineralization is associated with the Hopper pluton, dated at approximately 78-76 Ma, placing it in the same metallogenic episode as the Patton Porphyry. The Patton Porphyry is associated with mineralization at the Casino porphyry copper-gold-molybdenum-silver deposit of Western Copper and Gold Corporation, situated 190 km to the north-northwest of the Hopper Project. The Casino deposit contains a NI 43-101 compliant proven and probable reserve of 965 million tonnes of mill ore grading, 0.204% Cu, 0.240 g/t Au, 0.0227% Mo and 1.74 g/t Ag, and 157 million tonnes grading 0.292 g/t Au, 0.036% Cu and 2.21 g/t Ag of heap leach ore (Huss et al., 2013). The above reserve information has not been independently verified by the author and is not necessarily indicative of the mineralization on the Hopper Project. Skarn mineralization at the Hopper Project is similar to skarn deposits that were mined in the Whitehorse Copper belt, 120 km southeast of the Project, which produced at least 123,145,041 kg of copper, 7,062.4 kg of gold and 85,577 kg of silver from 1900 to 1981 (Deklerk, 2009). Grades generally ranged from 0.71% to 1.84% Cu, with about 0.7 g/t Au and 13 g/t Ag (Deklerk, 2009). The above production and grade information has not been independently verified by the author and is not necessarily indicative of the mineralization on the Hopper Project, which is the subject of this report. Many of the skarns in the Whitehorse Copper belt are related to irregularities (embayments, pendants, screens, xenoliths) in the margin of the batholith, similar to the setting on the Project.
Mineralization on the Project occurs within two main zones, with potential for expansion and the delineation of additional zones. The Copper Castle zone (formerly referred to as Hopkins South and Hopper South) covers an 800m by 1.5 km area of skarn mineralization south of the Hopper pluton encompassing the JG and LV prospects and the Hopkins South (Franklin Creek) drilled prospect. At least 10 mineralized skarn horizons have been identifiedwithin a 425m elevation difference. The Hopkins North zone covers a 2.3 km by 650m zone of porphyry copper style mineralization, primarily open to the south and east, within the northwest portion of the Hopper pluton, and adjacent skarn mineralization, primarily associated with a large embayment at the northern margin of the pluton and xenoliths in the northwest.
Previous exploration, prior to initial acquisition by Strategic in 2006, included prospecting, mapping, minor hand and cat trenching, widely spaced soil and rock geochemistry, airborne electromagnetic, magnetic and radioactivity geophysical surveys, ground magnetic, electromagnetic and induced polarization geophysics, 2,163m of diamond drilling in 20 holes and 2,490m of percussion drilling in 46 holes. Work by Strategic, completed between 2006 and 2016, included geological mapping and prospecting with concurrent geochemical sampling, petrography, grid and contour soil sampling, rock chip and channel sampling, hand and excavator trenching, a helicopter-borneversatile time domain electromagnetic (VTEM) and magnetic survey, a 28.2 km ground 3DIP survey, an aerial photography and topographic survey, access and heritage studies, core re-logging and 5,833m of diamond drilling in 16 holes. In 2011 Bonaparte Resources Inc., under option from Strategic, completed soil and minor rock geochemistry, expansion of the airborne VTEM and magnetic geophysical survey, 1,731m of reverse circulation drilling in 58 holes and 1,309m of diamond drilling in 6 holes. Since the granting of the option, Alpha Copper completed a 2021 program of re-evaluation of the 3DIP survey, road rehabilitation, a 177 km high resolution airborne gradient magnetic, VLFEM and radiometric survey, a test beep-mat electromagnetic survey, 1,119m of diamond drilling in 6 holes, and a heritage resource impact assessment.
Airborne electromagnetic and magnetic surveys now cover the entire property; approximately 30% of the property has been covered by soil geochemistry and 20% by detailed mapping, with 14,645.5m of documented drilling in 152 holes (10,424m of diamond drilling in 48 holes and 4,221m of percussion drilling in 104 holes). The majority of the work on the Project has been conducted on the southern skarn target (Copper Castle), with prospect pits along Franklin Creek and on the escarpment (JG showing area) dating to 1907-08, unreported packsack drilling prior to 1977, and hand trenching and 12,051m of drilling in 101 holes documented between 1977 and 2021. The 101 drill holes include 9,290m of diamond drilling in 45 holes and 2,761m of percussion drilling in 56 vertical holes. Most of this work was conducted in the southeastern part of the zone over a 750m diameter area centred on the Franklin Creek showing due to the exposure of mineralized skarn horizons here with easy access At least 10 mineralized skarn horizons have been identified across an 800m wide zone with a 425m elevation difference within the Copper Castle zone, which can be intermittently traced 1.5 km from the JG prospect area near the southern contact of the Hopper pluton to south of Franklin Creek, where PH80-10 returned 0.24% Cu over 15.3m. More widely spaced diamond drilling (generally 200m) in the northern portion of Copper Castle returned intercepts including 0.60% Cu with 1.11 g/t Au, 2.9 g/t Ag, 184 ppm Mo over 14.4m in DDH-15-04 in the JG area, 0.95% Cu with 12.95 g/t Au, 5.5 g/t Ag over 2.65m in DDH-15-01 in the LV area, 0.06% Cu with 43.6 g/t Au over 1m from DDH-15-08 further south. The more closely spaced drilling in the Franklin Creek area returned 1.29% Cu with 0.35 g/t Au, 10.5 g/t Ag over 20.6m in DDH-89-4, 1.58% Cu with 0.84 g/t Au, 14.8 g/t Ag over 8.0m in DDH-15-09, and 1.94% Cu with 0.87 g/t Au, 14.6 g/t Ag over 18.6m in DDH-77-02. DDH-21-01 yielded 1.40% Cu with 0.53 g/t Au, 3.4 g/t Ag over 22.3m just south of Franklin Creek.
South of Franklin Creek two to three narrow, northerly trending linear copper in soil Â± spot gold anomalies (including 1.84 g/t Au) extend for over 1 km which may represent individual skarn horizons, one lying northerly along trend of a marble exposure. Gold-copper soil geochemical anomalies are evident to the south, and electromagnetic conductors to the south and southeast of the Copper Castle zone, which remain unexplored. The eastern and western extents of the zone are covered by glacial till. Gold occurs as native gold and electrum, is associated with bismuthinite, bismuth and silver tellurides and was found to be associated with a lower temperature, second stage retrograde chlorite-actinolite alteration that may be controlled by fault zones (increased porosity) which would also control dyke emplacement. Many gold-rich intervals are spatially associated with the cogenetic and coeval, but slightly later, dykes and to breccia zones; both would facilitate fluid migration. Gold is particularly enriched in some of the lower skarn horizons with 12.95 g/t Au over 2.65m in DDH-15-01, 43.6 g/t Au over 1m in DDH-15-08, 9.44 g/t Au over 2m in DDH HOP11-1, and 6.83 g/t Au over 3m from the LV showing. There is good potential to find additional precious metal enriched skarn mineralization with infill drilling. Molybdenite is most evident in and proximal to the JG showing (skarn) at the southern margin of the Hopper pluton and in the central pond area (the â€œPondsâ€™) within the pluton (porphyry). There is a 350m by 350m area of chalcopyrite mineralization associated with magnetite skarn and calc-silicate alteration (similar to the JG zone at the southern contact) within the embayment along the northern boundary of the Hopper pluton, adjacent to the porphyry copper mineralization and individual skarn horizons are evident 1.5 km further north. Values of 0.32% Cu over 5.1m, 0.36% Cu over 1.4m and 0.78% Cu over 2.75m were obtained from DDH 15-6, the only diamond drill hole to test the northern skarn zone. Two (PDH 11-13 and -17) of the eight short percussion holes (271m), which tested but did not directly target mineralization within this zone, returned significant intervals of 0.54% Cu over 3.05m and 0.16% Cu over 16.76m, both ending in mineralization. Anomalous copper soil geochemistry and a favourable conductive, high chargeability induced polarization geophysical anomaly extends through the northern region with isolated anomalous rock samples, including 0.86% Cu, 0.7 g/t Au, 12.45 Ag across 1m.
At the Hopper North zone exploration has uncovered porphyry copper style mineralization within the Hopper pluton over a 2.3 km (east-west) by 650m area, primarily open to the south and east. Historical composite chip samples (Kikuchi, 1968) returned significant results including 0.18% Cu over 61m in the east (Mitsu East), and, 0.24% Cu over 45.72m from the Ponds (Kikuchi, 1968), with follow up by Strategic yielding 0.40% Cu over 13m from the Ponds. Historical composite chip samples of skarn/porphyry style mineralization carrying 0.52% Cu over 45.7m further west (Mitsu West), returned 0.43% Cu, 0.06 g/t Au and 1.83 g/t Ag across a 51.3m approximate true thickness in hand trench TR14-11 by Strategic. The porphyry mineralization has only been tested by two diamond drill holes, as a partial westeast fence, 275m apart. Intersections were 0.17% Cu over 162.85m in DDH-15-05 and 0.22% Cu over 114.38m in DDH-21-06. Several of the 40 widely spaced short, vertical 2011 percussion holes through the porphyry intersected significant porphyry copper mineralization in the area of the two diamond drill holes including 0.36% Cu over 9.15m in PDH-11-19, and 0.24% Cu over the entire 39.62m in PDH-11-39, despite the unfavourable orientation to intersect the steep fracture sets controlling mineralization. Two additional holes (PDH-11-45 and -46) bottomed in 0.10% Cu over1.52m in both holes.
Dominant mineralized fracture sets trend 010-040Â° and 320-350Â° with dips primarily steep east and west, which vary locally to moderate (60-75Â°) east and west. Additional mineralized fracture sets in the Mitsu West area include a 060Â°/70Â°S set. The more northerly trends are thought to be related to the porphyry system as they appear to have controlled the orientation of the northern and southern embayments within the Hopper pluton and the cogenetic porphyry dyke swarm, and the north-northwest and northeast trends are later. Petrography and field mapping has indicated late quartz monzonite, monzonitic and gabbroic phases of the Hopper pluton which appear to be more copper rich. They occur within the Ponds, Mitsu East and Mitsu West areas where exposure is more limited. Consequently, alteration is difficult to discern, and may be preferentially weathered. Conductive, high chargeability features, suggestive of the presence of sulphides, underlie the Ponds (Hopkins North porphyry zone), and further southeast, with a branch off this anomaly extending northerly into the Mitsu East area. Another similar feature occurs proximal to the southern margin f the pluton about 1 km northeast of the JG zone. The geophysical anomalies are coincident with anomalous copper in soil geochemistry. The central area of porphyry mineralization exhibits a lower anomalous copper in soil response probably due to thick overburden through this area, including glacial till.