Copper Fox's strategy is value creation by the acquisition, exploration and development of potentially low cost, large copper-gold projects in Canada and the United States. Utilizing this strategy, Copper Fox has grown its ownership of "in the ground" metal significantly over the past seven years. Our approach is conservative and is guided by technical and economic factors that affect the copper industry while at the same time maintaining our commitment to responsible mining and environmental stewardship.
Copper Fox's balanced portfolio of projects increases the probability of value creation through a combination of exploration and development. Our assets include varying working interests in four copper-gold projects, one in British Columbia, three in Arizona and a controlling equity interest (39.5%) in District Copper Corp.
Our primary and most advanced asset is the 25% carried Joint Venture interest in the Schaft Creek project which hosts one of the largest undeveloped polymetallic porphyry copper deposits in North America. Since 2013, Teck Resources Limited; the operator of the Schaft Creek Joint Venture has funded approximately $20 million on field programs, desktop studies, reviewed the major components of the 2013 Schaft Creek Feasibility Study and collected additional technical information from the project.
Over the past year, the project has been included in Teck's Project Satellite initiative and the status of the 2013 Feasibility Study demonstrate the advanced nature of the project. The 2018 Schaft Creek work program has the objective of evaluating a number of scenarios to identify value enhancing opportunities for the Schaft Creek project. This work needs to be completed in order to determine the next steps for the Schaft Creek project.
Since the date of the 2013 Schaft Creek Feasibility Study, a significant number of the input parameters of the 2013 Schaft Creek Feasibility Study have changed significantly. Some of these changes could have a significant effect on the results and conclusions of the 2013 Schaft Creek Feasibility Study. The Reader is cautioned that the results of the 2013 Schaft Creek Feasibility Study may not be achieved.
Copper Fox's primary focus will be the Schaft Creek project in 2018. A limited amount of exploration is planned at Sombrero Butte and to date, a trench re-sampling program has been completed at Mineral Mountain. These early-stage porphyry exploration projects provide an excellent opportunity to enhance the value of Copper Fox assuming exploration success.
The robust economics and recommendation of the 2015 Preliminary Economic Assessment on the Van Dyke project was a significant achievement that added value to the Company. Advancing the project to the stage of completing a pre-feasibility study at this time in the context of the current share price of Copper Fox would be considered expensive. Copper Fox will continue evaluating its options for this project; including seeking an industry partner to advance the project.
In 2018, Copper Fox intends to take a passive financial approach towards its investment in District Copper Corp. This approach reduces our equity interest in District Copper Corp, limits dilution to Copper Fox while providing indirect exposure to an early-intermediate stage porphyry exploration project located in north central British Columbia.
The last few years have been especially difficult for companies in the resource sector. Over that time, the value of the company has increased and a balanced portfolio of copper projects in geopolitical stable jurisdictions was established. The positioning, while it may not yield immediate results, has established a basis from which to take advantage of the next commodity cycle.
Going forward; I am optimistic that metal prices will continue to increase due to a combination of factors. Our number one priority in 2018 is to stay focused and to continue building value by adding metal to Copper Fox's balance sheet. If successful, this work combined with a return to a positive commodity cycle is expected to increase our asset valuation leading to a more robust company valuation and shareholder returns.
Elmer B. Stewart, P.Geo., M.Sc.
President and Chief Executive Officer