Imperial Reports Production and Red Chris Exploration Update for 2023 Second Quarter

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Imperial Metals Corporation (“Imperial” or the “Company”) (TSX:III) reports quarterly copper and gold production from Mount Polley and Red Chris mines. Imperial’s production for the second quarter was 11,181,595 pounds copper and 14,289 ounces gold, of which 7,062,836 pounds copper and 10,185 ounces gold were produced at Mount Polley and 4,118,759 pounds copper and 4,104 ounces gold from Imperial’s 30% share of Red Chris mine production. Total production increased this quarter compared to 10,155,001 pounds copper and 13,129 ounces gold produced in the previous quarter (6,678,094 pounds copper and 9,980 ounces gold coming from Mount Polley and 3,476,907 pounds copper and 3,149 ounces gold coming from its 30% share of Red Chris mine production).

Mount Polley metal production was up by 5.8% for copper and 2.1% for gold for this quarter due to higher copper and gold grades, and slightly higher throughput. The throughput averaged 15,724 tonnes per day compared to 15,440 tonnes per day in the previous quarter; copper recovery was 79.9% compared to 81.1% in the first quarter and gold recovery was 68.3% compared to 71.5% in the previous period. A lightning strike damaged a mill motor during the quarter, which inhibited the ability to increase throughput while maintaining the excellent metals recoveries that are being achieved. The motor is out for repair and expected to be returned to operation in August.

Red Chris copper and gold production (100%) for the quarter was 13,729,195 pounds copper and 13,680 ounces gold, an increase of 18% and 30% respectively from the prior quarter (11,589,689 pounds copper and 10,496 ounces gold) largely driven by higher mill throughput and higher head grades (0.35% copper and 0.34g/t gold compared to 0.33% copper and 0.31g/t gold in the previous quarter) and improved gold recovery (52.6% compared to 50.2%).

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The Red Chris Block Cave Feasibility Study is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023. Several optimization opportunities to unlock further value are being assessed as part of the Feasibility Study including options for the initial extraction level of the first block cave and alternative plant expansion options. Newcrest is reviewing various options to offset any inflationary cost pressures on future capital expenditure and operating costs. Progress towards block cave mining is advancing with the exploration decline at 3,245 metres as of July 20, 2023, and the ventilation fans have been commissioned in the first ventilation raise.

The exploration program at Red Chris is focused on the discovery of additional zones of higher-grade mineralization within the Red Chris porphyry corridor. During the quarter, there were up to four diamond drill rigs in operation, and a further 6,947 metres of drilling was completed during the quarter from 11 drill holes.

At East Ridge, located adjacent to the East Zone, 85 holes have now been completed. Assay results were received for 8 holes during the quarter, with assay results from 1 hole pending. The drilling was undertaken on a nominal 100 metre by 100 metre grid to determine the footprint, understand the mineralization, geotechnical and metallurgical characteristics and to determine the extent and continuity of the higher-grade mineralization within the East Ridge. Drilling to date has tested a corridor 1,000 metres long, 450 metres wide and to a vertical extent of 1,000 metres. Mineralization remains open at depth and to the east.

In March 2023, an updated East Ridge Exploration Target (“Exploration Target”) , was issued with ranges from a lower case of approximately 400 million tonnes at 0.49% copper and 0.42 g/t gold for 4.2 billion pounds copper and 5.4 million ounces gold and an upper case tonnage of approximately 500 million tonnes at 0.47% copper and 0.39 g/t gold for 5.1 billion pounds copper and 6.1 million ounces gold (previously reported in the March 13, 2023 news release). The updated Exploration Target is not included in the current Mineral Resource. The potential quantity and grade of the Exploration Target is conceptual in nature. There has been insufficient exploration to estimate a Mineral Resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the estimation of a Mineral Resource. The grades and tonnages in the Exploration Target are estimates based on continuity of mineralization defined by exploration diamond drilling results (previously reported including relevant sections and plans) within the Redstock Intrusive with the lower range estimate in the area with a nominal drill hole spacing of 100 metres by 100 metres and the upper range estimate extended into the area with a nominal drill hole spacing of 100 metres by 200 metres.

East Ridge is outside the current Red Chris Mineral Resource estimate. Geotechnical and metallurgical studies are underway on the East Ridge with the aim to include the East Ridge in an updated Red Chris Mineral Resource estimate in 2023.

A series of three diamond holes drilling from south to north, the opposite direction to most of the drilling to date, has commenced. The aim of the drilling is to assess the continuity of the mineralization and test for any bias from the original drill orientation. The results from the first hole RC875 returned an intercept of 406 metres grading 1.0% copper and 1.1g/t gold from 486 metres, that includes 248 metres grading 1.4% copper and 1.6g/t gold from 644 metres. Note that this result is a partial intercept and additional assays are pending. This result indicates continuity of the higher-grade mineralization across the vertical extent of the deposit. The south to north drilling was halted this spring due to poor access conditions. The plan is to restart this program in the upcoming winter when access conditions improve.

Drilling east of the East Ridge Exploration Target returned a higher-grade intercept. Hole RC876, drilled 100 metres east of hole RC860 (previously reported in the April 26, 2023 news release), returned an interval of 274 metres grading 0.45% copper and 0.67g/t gold from 998 metres. This 274 metre intercept included higher grade intervals of 42 metres grading 1.1% copper and 1.5g/t gold from 1,080 metres, 14 metres grading 0.63% copper and 1.7g/t gold from 1,144 metres and 26 metres grading 0.5% copper and 1.1g/t gold from 1,170 metres. This intersection, located approximately 200 metres east of the Exploration Target, demonstrates the prospectivity of this area for further discoveries. This new discovery, at Far East Ridge, has the potential to become the fifth zone of mineralization along the Red Chris porphyry corridor. Follow up drilling is planned for 2024.  

A regional exploration program commenced during the quarter, with a program of geological mapping, and geochemical sampling on targets generated from the application of the knowledge gained from the Red Chris discoveries. Approximately 4,000 metres of growth-related drilling targeting higher-grade mineralization within the Red Chris porphyry corridor at Far West and Gully Zone is planned for the September 2023 quarter using one drill rig.

Jim Miller-Tait, P.Geo., Imperial Metals Vice President Exploration, is the designated Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 for the Red Chris exploration program and has reviewed this news release.  Red Chris samples for the 2022/2023 drilling reported were analysed at Bureau Veritas Mineral Laboratories in Vancouver.  A full QA/QC program using blanks, standards and duplicates was completed for all diamond drilling samples submitted to the labs. Significant assay intervals reported represent apparent widths. Insufficient geological information is available to confirm the geological model and true width of significant assay intervals. 

Cross section, plan view maps and drillhole data are available on imperialmetals.com.

About Imperial

Imperial is a Vancouver based exploration, mine development and operating company with holdings that include the Mount Polley mine (100%), the Huckleberry mine (100%), and the Red Chris mine (30%). Imperial also holds a portfolio of 23 greenfield exploration properties in British Columbia.

Company Contacts

Brian Kynoch | President | 604.669.8959
Darb S. Dhillon | Chief Financial Officer | 604.488.2658
Jim Miller-Tait | Vice President Exploration | 604.488.2676        

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain information contained in this news release are not statements of historical fact and are “forward-looking” statements. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect Imperial management’s expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, but are not limited to, statements regarding Imperial’s expectations and timing with respect to current and planned drilling programs at Red Chris, including plans to expand and define the extent and continuity of mineralization at the East Ridge zone; the progress and advancement of the exploration decline; the timing regarding completion of the Feasibility Study; options to offset inflationary pressures; the timing regarding repair of a damaged mill motor; the potential grade, quantity, continuity and prospectivity of the Exploration Target; the potential for a fifth porphyry centre and other new discoveries; the estimation of a Mineral Resource and timing thereof; and the potential for further discoveries.

In certain cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “outlook”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved” or the negative of these terms or comparable terminology. By their very nature forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Imperial to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

In making the forward-looking statements in this news release, Imperial has applied certain factors and assumptions that are based on information currently available to Imperial as well as Imperial’s current beliefs and assumptions. These factors and assumptions and beliefs and assumptions include, the risk factors detailed from time to time in Imperial’s interim and annual financial statements and management’s discussion and analysis of those statements, all of which are filed and available for review on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although Imperial has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, imperialmetals.com events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended, many of which are beyond Imperial’s ability to control or predict. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and all forward-looking statements in this news release are qualified by these cautionary statements.

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