March 17, 2021, Vancouver, British Columbia – Surge Copper Corp. (TSXV:SURG) (“Surge” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the results of an updated independent resource estimate prepared by Tetra Tech for the Berg copper-molybdenum-silver deposit (“Berg”), located in the Huckleberry district in central British Columbia.


  • Total Measured and Indicated resources of 610.0 million tonnes grading 0.38% copper equivalent (see Table 1, Note 1)
  • Measured resource containing 207.2 million tonnes grading 0.45% copper equivalent
  • Pit constrained resource with total strip ratio of 1.85:1
  • High-quality resource estimate with 96% contained within the Measured and Indicated categories
  • Deposit remains open with good expansion potential laterally and at depth

Leif Nilsson, Chief Executive Officer of Surge, commented: “This updated resource represents a moment in time snapshot of the Berg deposit based on the significant investment and high-quality work performed by prior operators, updated for today’s commodity pricing and cost benchmarking environments. For Surge, it serves as a baseline prior to our maiden work program under our operatorship, and will guide our investment programs to deliver value in key focus areas. More generally, this resource estimate underscores the strategic significance of our acquisition and the district scale potential we see in our assets. Recent corporate transactions have demonstrated the strategic value and significance of porphyry deposits in British Columbia with a similar overall size and grade tenor to Berg. Combined with our Ootsa Property, Surge controls four advanced porphyry deposits with Measured and Indicated resources totaling 834 million tonnes in an attractive jurisdiction with excellent infrastructure.

The Berg deposit is located within the 34,798 hectare Berg Property, in which the Company is earning a 70% interest from Centerra Gold Inc. through spending commitments totalling C$8 million over a five-year period (see December 16, 2020 news release). The Berg Property is contiguous with the Company’s 100% owned Ootsa Property, which hosts 224.2 million tonnes of NI 43-101 compliant mineral resources in the Measured and Indicated categories, containing resources of copper, gold, molybdenum, and silver.

Figure 1. Map of the Huckleberry Mining District Showing the Berg and Ootsa Properties.

Shane Ebert, President and VP Exploration, commented: “As evidenced by this resource update, our acquisition of Berg was a step change for Surge in terms of our total resource base. The deposit’s size, grade profile, and near-surface geometry make it a highly attractive open pit target in the district, and there is significant potential to both increase the size of the deposit and define the near-surface higher-grade zones.

Table 1. Mineral Resource Estimate for the Berg Deposit at 0.2% CuEq Cut-off with Effective Date of March 9, 2021.
      Grade   Contained Metal
Material Type Resource Category Tonnes Cu Mo Ag CuEq   Cu Mo Ag CuEq
    (Mt) (%) (%) (g/t) (%)   (Mlbs) (Mlbs) (Moz) (Mlbs)
Supergene Measured 86.9 0.41 0.03 2.46 0.50   789 52 6.9 960
  Indicated 88.5 0.29 0.02 2.67 0.37   572 43 7.6 724
  Measured & Indicated 175.4 0.35 0.02 2.57 0.44   1,362 95 14.5 1,685
  Inferred 7.2 0.23 0.01 4.26 0.29   37 2 1.0 47
Hypogene Measured 120.3 0.28 0.04 3.42 0.41   752 97 13.2 1,098
  Indicated 314.1 0.22 0.03 3.10 0.34   1,537 226 31.3 2,343
  Measured & Indicated 434.3 0.24 0.03 3.19 0.36   2,289 323 44.6 3,441
  Inferred 20.8 0.22 0.02 3.57 0.30   101 8 2.4 138
Leachate Measured 0.0 0.04 0.09 5.62 0.21   0 0 0.0 0
  Indicated 0.2 0.14 0.12 2.37 0.25   1 1 0.0 1
  Measured & Indicated 0.2 0.13 0.12 2.41 0.25   1 1 0.0 1
  Inferred 0.1 0.11 0.09 6.13 0.21   0 0 0.0 0
Total Measured 207.2 0.34 0.03 3.0 0.45   1,541 149 20.1 2,058
  Indicated 402.8 0.24 0.03 3.0 0.35   2,110 270 39.0 3,069
  Measured & Indicated 610.0 0.27 0.03 3.0 0.38   3,651 419 59.1 5,126
  Inferred 28.1 0.22 0.02 3.8 0.30   138 11 3.4 185
  1. Copper Equivalent (CuEq) calculated using metal prices of $3.10/lbs Cu, $10.00/lb Mo, and $20/oz Ag. Recoveries were applied to correspond with estimated individual metal recoveries based on limited metallurgical testwork for production of a copper and molybdenum concentrate: supergene zone (Cu = 73%, Mo = 61%, and Ag = 52%), hypogene zone (Cu = 81%, Mo = 71%, and Ag = 67%), leachate zone (Cu = 0%, Mo = 61%, and Ag = 52%). Smelter loss was not applied.
  1. A cut-off value of 0.2% CuEq was used as the base case for reporting mineral resources that are subject to open pit potential. The resource block model has been constrained by a conceptual open pit shell, however, economic viability can only be assessed through the completion of engineering studies defining reserves including PFS and FS. The CIM Definition Standards (May 10, 2014) were followed for classification of Mineral Resources. It cannot be assumed that all or any part of Inferred Mineral Resources will be upgraded to Indicated or Measured as a result of continued exploration.
  1. Dry bulk density has been estimated based on 2,996 in situ specific gravity measurements collected between 2007 and 2011. Values were applied by geology model domain (n = 18) representing the weathering profiles and major lithological units; values ranged from 2.38 t/m3 to 2.74 t/m3.
  1. There are no known legal, political, unnatural environmental, or other risks that could materially affect the potential development of the mineral resources.
  1. All numbers are rounded. Overall numbers may not be exact due to rounding.

Background and Description of Resource

The Berg deposit forms a ring-like shape around a quartz-monzonite intrusive body called the Berg Stock. A total of 53,754 metres of drilling in 215 drill holes has been completed between 1964 and 2011 by previous operators including Kennecott, Placer Dome, Terrane Metals and Thompson Creek. This drilling has defined two highly-fractured mineralized zones in the northeast and southern portions of the ring. A well-developed supergene enrichment zone is superimposed on hypogene mineralization, and is predominantly controlled by topography, fracture intensity, and hypogene sulphide abundance. Drilling in many areas of the deposit remains widely spaced and mineralization is open to depth and outwards from the Berg Stock. Additionally, metallurgical test programs have been conducted on the resource, most recently between 2007 and 2012. This body of work indicates that conventional flotation processes can be used to produce marketable copper and molybdenum concentrates from the mineralization, with copper recoveries locally exceeding 80%.

Figure 2. Selected cross section and plan map with drill hole collar locations.

The resource model was developed utilizing a database containing 20,281 assays from 49,461 metres of drilling in 201 drill holes. Drill hole assay data was composited into 3 metre intervals and a block model with 10m x 10m x 10m block size was constructed using Datamine modeling software. To better honour geological contacts, sub-celling was allowed to a minimum dimension of 5m x 5m x 5m. Mineralized domains with reasonable prospects for economic extraction were constrained incorporating geological, structural, and lithological parameters and using a 0.2% CuEq cut-off value. Within these domains, grades for copper, molybdenum, and silver were estimated using ordinary kriging (OK) grade interpolation guided by geostatistical analysis. The resulting resource model was subject to pit optimization to define a pit constrained mineral resource.

Figure 3. Berg Deposit Constraining Pit Shape and Mineralized Zone in 3D

Table 2. Berg Deposit Resource Estimate Sensitivity to Cut-off Grade
CuEq % Cut-off Category Tonnes CuEq % Cu % Mo % Ag g/t
0.1 Measured 224,609,062 0.43 0.32 0.03 2.91
0.1 Indicated 573,094,464 0.29 0.20 0.02 2.57
0.1 M&I 797,703,526 0.33 0.23 0.03 2.67
0.2 Measured 207,228,768 0.45 0.34 0.03 3.02
0.2 Indicated 402,757,347 0.35 0.24 0.03 3.01
0.2 M&I 609,986,115 0.38 0.27 0.03 3.01
0.3 Measured 171,106,355 0.49 0.37 0.04 3.19
0.3 Indicated 237,451,842 0.41 0.28 0.04 3.43
0.3 M&I 408,558,197 0.45 0.32 0.04 3.33
0.4 Measured 124,735,864 0.54 0.41 0.04 3.38
0.4 Indicated 111,967,437 0.49 0.34 0.04 3.82
0.4 M&I 236,703,301 0.52 0.37 0.04 3.59
0.5 Measured 71,641,098 0.61 0.47 0.04 3.54
0.5 Indicated 38,519,523 0.57 0.41 0.05 4.31
0.5 M&I 110,160,621 0.60 0.45 0.04 3.81

2021 Work Program

Surge’s maiden work program at Berg will focus on defining and expanding known near-surface high-grade zones, identifying the outer limits of mineralization which remain open in several areas, and improving understanding of structures which may influence mineralizing controls, particularly for high-grade silver occurrences. Drill planning is currently underway, anticipating an initial program to commence in mid-summer 2021 following completion of access upgrade work. Prior drilling at Berg was inconsistently assayed for precious metals, and given the significant economic contribution, especially from silver, this represents a low-cost opportunity to re-assay existing core and pulps and potentially increase the precious metal content in the resource. Recommended metallurgical test work to optimize process conditions and improve target metal recovery will be further planned and progressed. Additionally, an airborne ZTEM geophysical survey is being planned for early summer to cover the entire Ootsa-Berg project area. Field teams will be active throughout the summer conducting surface work on existing regional exploration targets (see Figure 4) including any new ZTEM anomalies. Surge plans to conduct sufficient field work on regional targets to allow them to be prioritized for advanced exploration work and drill testing.

Figure 4. Merged 2010 and 2017 total magnetic intensity geophysics, displaying known mineral showings and prospects on the Berg Property.

Qualified Person

The Berg mineral resource estimate has been completed by Tetra Tech in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. The mineral resource estimate has been prepared by Cameron Norton, P.Geo., Independent Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, and has an effective date of March 9, 2021. The mineral resource estimate technical report will be filed on SEDAR within 45 days of this news release.

Cameron Norton, P.Geo. has reviewed and approved the technical disclosure in this news release for Tetra Tech. Shane Ebert, Ph.D., P.Geo. is the Qualified Person for Surge and has reviewed and approved the contents of this release.

About Surge Copper Corp.

The Company owns a 100% interest in the Ootsa Property, an advanced stage exploration project containing the East Seel, West Seel and Ox porphyry deposits located adjacent to the open pit Huckleberry Copper Mine, owned by Imperial Metals. The Ootsa Property contains pit constrained NI 43-101 compliant resources of 224 million tonnes in the Measured and Indicated categories with contained metals of 1.1 billion pounds of copper, 1 million ounces of gold, and 20 million ounces of silver as summarized in the table below.

Ootsa Project Pit Constrained Mineral Resource Estimate at $8.50/t NSR Cut-off Value
Category Tonnes
M lbs
M lbs
K oz
M lbs
K oz
Measured 187,148 0.38 0.23 0.15 0.021 2.8 1,568 934 916 85 17,089
Indicated 37,041 0.35 0.21 0.12 0.023 2.8 286 175 146 19 3,368
M&I 224,189 0.37 0.22 0.15 0.021 2.8 1,854 1,109 1,062 104 20,457
Notes: The current technical report supporting the resource statement and PEA is available on SEDAR or the Company's website at www.surgecopper.com and has an effective date of January 2016.  The resource estimate uses $8.50 per tonne NSR cut-off value.  Mineral resources are not mineral reserves and by definition do not demonstrate economic viability. There is no certainty that all or any part of the mineral resource will be converted into mineral reserves.  A 'Measured Mineral Resource' is that part of a mineral resource for which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape and physical characteristics are so well established that they can be estimated with confidence sufficient to allow the appropriate application of technical and economic parameters, to support production planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit.   An 'Indicated Mineral Resource' is that part of a Mineral Resource for which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape and physical characteristics can be estimated with a level of confidence sufficient to allow the appropriate application of technical and economic parameters, to support mine planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit.  Copper Equivalent (CuEq) calculations are based on base case metal price (US$3/lb Cu, US$1260/oz Au, US$10.30/lb Mo, and US$17/oz Ag) and process recovery assumptions and take into account smelter payable rates and refining costs.  M&I = measured and indicated. The resource update and Preliminary Economic Assessment was completed by P&E Mining Consultants Inc. in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

The Company is also earning into a 70% interest in the Berg Property from Centerra Gold. Berg is a large, advanced stage exploration project located 28 km northwest of the Ootsa deposits. Berg contains pit constrained 43-101 compliant resources of copper, molybdenum, and silver in the Measured and Indicated categories. Combined, the adjacent Ootsa and Berg properties give Surge a dominant land position in the Ootsa-Huckleberry-Berg district and control over four advanced porphyry deposits.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors

“Leif Nilsson”
Chief Executive Officer

For further information, please contact:

Telephone: +1 604 416 2978 or +1 604 558 5847
Email: info@surgecopper.com
Web: www.surgecopper.com

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.

This News Release contains forward-looking statements, which relate to future events. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as "will", "may", "should", "expects", "plans", or "anticipates" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. All statements included herein, other than statements of historical fact, are forward looking statements, including but not limited to the Company’s plans regarding the Berg Property and the Ootsa Property.  These statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company’s actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking-statements. Such uncertainties and risks may include, among others, actual results of the Company's exploration activities being different than those expected by management, delays in obtaining or failure to obtain required government or other regulatory approvals or financing, inability to procure equipment and supplies in sufficient quantities and on a timely basis, equipment breakdown and bad weather. While these forward-looking statements, and any assumptions upon which they are based, are made in good faith and reflect the Company's current judgment regarding the direction of its business, actual results will almost always vary, sometimes materially, from any estimates, predictions, projections, assumptions or other future performance suggestions herein. Except as required by applicable law, the Company does not intend to update any forward-looking statements to conform these statements to actual results.