Highland Copper Provides Update on Key Projects

LONGUEUIL, Quebec, Sept. 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Highland Copper Company Inc. (TSXV: HI, OTCQB: HDRSF) (“Highland Copper” or “Highland” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update update on the status of its key projects.

Following the sale of its exploration properties, a CA$26.0 million capital raise in September last year, the appointment of six new directors with the skills to support the team experienced management of the Company on its journey to construction and production, Highland Copper believes the time is right to develop the Copperwood and White Pine projects in Michigan.

Copper fundamentals remain strong given strong demand for electric vehicles and renewables, while supply struggles to keep up. The supply imbalance is particularly notable in the United States where the state of Michigan prioritizes funding for industries that support electrification.

Denis Miville-Deschênes, President and CEO, said, “We love the location of our projects in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula historic mining district. We appreciate the strong support we receive from surrounding communities and the state, and we will be relentless in our commitment to developing these long-term assets, creating value and creating jobs for the benefit of all communities, shareholders and stakeholders who support us. .”

Corporate update

The Company is intensifying its efforts to develop its two 100% owned projects as the best way to create value in the short term.

Both Copperwood and White Pine North have significant contained copper resources totaling 4.8 billion pounds in the measured and indicated category (182.7 million tonnes at a copper grade of 1.20%).1, and 3.5 billion pounds in the inferred category (148.7 million tonnes at a copper grade of 1.08%). Both deposits are in sedimentary rock and through a process of flotation would produce a clean concentrate attractive to various smelters and traders. Previous metallurgical tests have also indicated that the concentrate can be leached to produce copper cathodes on site, which would be favorable from an environmental, sustainability and governance (“ESG”) perspective.

The Company’s most advanced asset, the Copperwood Project, has a feasibility study dated June 14, 2018 (published on SEDAR on July 31, 2018). Copperwood is expected to produce around 30,000 tonnes of copper per year for 11 years. Production is generated from the mining and processing of 2.4 million tonnes per annum at an average diluted grade of 1.43% copper (Source: Copperwood Project Feasibility Study, Michigan, USA, as of June 14, 2018).

According to the Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) dated September 22, 2019 (published on SEDAR November 7, 2019), the White Pine Project is expected to produce approximately 45,000 tonnes of copper per year for over 20 years. Production is generated by mining and processing 5.4 million tonnes per year at a diluted average grade of 0.98% copper content (Source: Preliminary Economic Assessment White Pine North Michigan, USA dated 22 September 2019)2.

Copperwood Feasibility Study Update

In light of market and industry changes over the past several years, the Company has decided to update the previous feasibility study to reflect increases in many entry costs for capital expenditure. necessary for construction as well as for operating expenses to produce and transport concentrate.

At the same time, opportunities will be considered to mitigate cost increases to provide the Company with a delivery plan within budget and schedule. A key opportunity being evaluated will be the inclusion of continuing miners to develop and produce in the underground mine. Highland will also assess the appropriate long-term copper price to use in the updated Feasibility Study, which is expected to be higher than the $3.15 per pound used in the 2018 Feasibility Study. ore to eliminate dilution waste and increase grade at the mill is also under consideration.

All necessary permits to begin construction have been received and the project is currently awaiting a federal operating permit to construct and operate a pump station on Lake Superior. Highland is actively engaged with the US Army Corps of Engineers to assist with their approval of this required final permit.

The Company expects to publish the updated feasibility study before the end of the year.

Northern White Pine Update

The White Pine mine operated for approximately fifty years and produced over 5 billion pounds of copper. This past activity provides good information about the geology, mining and ore processing, which is of significant help in the design process and in reducing the risks generally attributed to a new project.

Highland Copper believes the opportunity at White Pine North is significant, as demonstrated by the 2019 PEA study. The continuity of the deposit considered in the PEA mine plan represents 133.4 million tonnes at 1.07% copper in the Measured and Indicated category and 97.2 million tonnes at 1.03% copper in the Inferred category.

The White Pine North project is robust enough to warrant pursuing a feasibility study. A drilling program will be conducted this winter with the aim of upgrading the inferred resources to the measured and indicated category for use in a feasibility study.

As a former operating mine, some permits are already in place, such as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, Dam Safety Permit, and Water Intake Permit. The Company has begun the baseline environmental work required for the remaining permits.

The goal remains to have the White Pine North project fully licensed and ready for construction immediately following the development of Copperwood.

Other opportunities and studies

Given the geographic proximity of the projects located approximately 60 km apart and the many similarities in deposit type, mining method and processing, the Company has many options for development and ways to maximize potential synergies for its two key assets. The option that may be the most economical is the development of a central treatment facility. Ore from both sites could then be transported from the mines, blended and processed through the plant for the production of a concentrate.

The Company has initiated a study to better define the potential of this combined scenario, which should be finalized in the first half of 2023. As part of this study, the viability of rehabilitating an existing railway line for the transport of ore and concentrate will be studied. The potential appeal of this scenario is a minimized environmental footprint and considerable operating synergies.

In addition, since July, the Company has been analyzing the possibility of economically leaching the concentrate and producing copper cathodes as an end product. This broad view would allow copper to be sold to manufacturers in Michigan. This would align the Company’s interests with those of the State of Michigan and potential corporate partners seeking to secure the nation’s supply of critical metals.

Updates on the status of this study will be provided as milestones are achieved.

1. Grade measured is 27.3 million tonnes at 1.68% copper content. The grade shown is 155.4 million tonnes at a copper grade of 1.11.
2. The White Pine North PEA includes an economic analysis of the mineral resources. Readers are cautioned that Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

Qualified person

The technical information contained in this press release has been reviewed and approved by Denis Miville-Deschenes, P Eng., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Mr. Miville-Deschenes is a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101.

About the Highlands

Highland Copper Company Inc. is a Canada-based company focused on the exploration and development of copper projects in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, United States. Company information is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on the Company’s website at www.highlandcopper.com.

Caution

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” and “forward-looking information” (collectively, “forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. These include, but are not limited to, statements regarding: (a) the Company’s expectations and beliefs regarding the development of its mining projects, including the timing and ultimate economic results thereof; (b) the timeline and expectations for the completion of the updated Feasibility Study on the Copperwood Project, including the development schedule by the end of 2022 (c) the Company’s plans for the White Pine project, including development plans for 2023, the progress of a feasibility study on the project, and the timeline for completion of studies on alternative development scenarios. These forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions, which may prove to be incorrect. Significant assumptions regarding each of the development projects are contained in the Feasibility Study (for Copperwood) and the PEA (for White Pine). Important factors that could materially affect the Company’s expectations include: uncertainties regarding the availability of funding in the debt and capital markets; uncertainties associated with the estimation of reserves and resources, including uncertainties associated with the interpretation of drilling results and other geological and geotechnical data, actual exploration results, interpretation of metallurgical characteristics of the mineralization, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; availability of skilled labour; the effects of regulation by governmental agencies; unforeseen variation in geological structures, metal grades or recovery rates; unexpected cost increases, which could include material increases in estimated capital and operating costs; fluctuations in metal prices and currency exchange rates; and general market and industry conditions. All forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based on information available to the Company as of the date hereof, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements except as required by law.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

For more information, please contact:
Denis Miville-Deschênes, President and Chief Executive Officer
Tel: +1.450.677.2455
Email: [email protected]