The Rateria and West Valley properties are underlain by multiple phases of the Guichon Batholith that is Upper Triassic-Lower Jurassic in age. The younger phases of the Guichon Batholith host five large deposits totaling over 1.8 billion tonnes of resources. The oldest rocks are Border phase that are comprised of hornblende rich diorite, gabbro or pyroxenite and occur peripherally to younger phases of the Batholith. The Rateria property covers portions of the younger phases of the Batholith that includes from youngest to oldest, Bethsaida, Skeena, Bethlehem and Chataway-Guichon phases, respectively. These rocks vary from quartz monzonite to quartz diorite and granodiorite in composition. Syn to post-Bethsaida age dykes consist of fine to medium grained grey to pale green colored quartz feldspar phyric or porphyry and orange-tan colored fine grained k-feldspar rich aplite. Locally aplite appears with a micro feldspar porphyritic texture and can contain strong copper mineralization. Proximity with geological contacts of the younger intrusive phases and dykes are spatially associated with hydrothermal alteration and copper mineralization. Regional to district scale fault zones cut the batholith in north, northwest and northeast to east-west orientations that also, in part, control emplacement of the various intrusive rocks, associated hydrothermal alteration and copper sulphides. Pre-mineral, syn-mineral and post-mineral faults occur. Displacement of mineralized zones by faults may be significant in the district and at the south end of Zone 1 an east-west oriented fault is thought to have displaced the zone. Faults may be strike-slip, normal or reverse in sense. Rock alteration varies from potassic (biotite, k-feldspar, quartz), propylitic (chlorite, epidote, carbonate), phyllic (quartz, sericite/2M1 muscovite) and argillic (kaolinite, montmorillonite, dickite and other clay). Phyllic and argillic alteration and laumontite, heulandite or other zeolite minerals appear in part to overprint potassic and propylitic alteration. Magnetite can be variably altered and martite, hematite, jarosite, goethite and specularite occur.
The copper sulphide minerals identified to date are comprised bornite (63.3% copper), chalcocite (79.8% copper) and minor chalcopyrite (34.6% copper). Pyrite is generally rare in all alteration assemblages, and less than 1% in proximity to Zone 1 and 2. Pyrite appears in greater quantity where chalcopyrite greatly exceeds bornite and also in the outer Border phase rocks on the Rateria and West Valley properties.
Zone 1 is located near the contact between Bethsaida and Skeena phase and dykes of aplite to feldspar porphyry composition occur. Bethlehem phase rocks may occur but are not confirmed. Fractures are filled by quartz and sericite/ phengitic muscovite, forming veins, veinlets, stringers, and locally stockwork to breccia textures occur. Outward, more chlorite and clay minerals appears. Dominantly chalcocite, bornite and associated copper and silver values occur to depths of over 450 metres. Chalcocite replaces bornite that replaces chalcopyrite to great depth in Zone 1. At depth and adjacent the bornite-chalcocite zone, relatively more chalcopyrite occurs and the muscovite is less phengitic.
Zone 2 occurs near the contact of Skeena, Bethlehem and Chataway phases of the Batholith, and dikes of quartz feldspar porphyry and aplite occur. Major structures trend north, northeast and northwest and these faults and conjugate fractures form stockwork and breccia textures locally. Zone 2 is less well defined than Zone 1. Drilling has outlined an area approximately 1.5 kilometres by 1.0 kilometre in dimension that contains positive copper values in drill core, and is undefined and open in extent. Zone 2 is comprised of predominantly bornite, minor chalcocite, chalcopyrite and locally molybdenite, with associated copper, molybdenum, gold, silver and rhenium values. Gold values in Zone 2 can reach 1.0 g/t over 3.0 metres, and are elevated in general within the mineralized zone. Rhenium ratios ranges from 4 to 9 kg Re per tonne of molybdenite. These ratios and presence of elevated gold values are thought to be high, similar to copper-gold porphyry systems.
Zone 2 is part of a "corridor" defined by the contact between the younger and older phases of the batholith that can be seen in geophysical surveys for over five kilometres through the Rateria property. Reconnaissance drilling within the “corridor” have returned long intervals of low grade copper and intermediate argillic to phyllic alteration that couldreflect large scale structures and a good setting for porphyry deposits to occur.
In general, mineralized zones are controlled by proximity to geological contacts between younger phases of the Guichon batholith including dikes, the intensity of fracturing, and a phyllic to argillic overprint of potassic alteration. Lower temperature phengitic muscovite occurs near surface in Zone 1, South Yubet, corridor, and the Sho prospects; which in some research, suggests potential for higher-temperature porphyry style mineralization to occur at depth. The copper oxides malachite, azurite and native copper occur in minor amounts and generally very near the surface. However, very fine grained native copper averaging 0.02 to 0.09% copper occurs with weak sericite alteration to depths of at least 250 to 300 metres in several widely spaced drill holes to the east of Zone 2.
For the West Valley property, the younger phases of the Batholith outcrop along the east side, in proximity to the Lornex fault, and also appear as dikes that cut the Chataway, Guichon and Border phase rocks further west. Based on the presence of the younger felsic phase dykes, associated copper prospects and broad areas of propylitic to locally argillic and phyllic alteration, there is thought to be potential for porphyry systems to occur hosted within older phases of the Batholith. At least four large target areas have been identified for follow-up exploration.
The intra-batholith setting, strong structural controls, predominance of bornite copper sulphides, minimal pyrite within younger phases and more pyrite in the older outer phases of the batholith respectively, suggest in part, that the porphyry copper systems reflect a relatively deep level of formation and have potential to be very large in size.