Consolidating its landholding at its flagship Macmillan Pass project in the eastern edge of Yukon was a major highlight. So too was the publication in January of a resource estimate, which represented the largest undeveloped zinc and lead resource in the world held by a junior.
What does the company do?
The explorer is focused on advancing Macmillan Pass, which is host to the Tom, Jason, Boundary Zone & End Zone zinc-lead-silver deposits.
Located in the Yukon, the project can be accessed by gravel road. The property also has the Macmillan Pass Airstrip.
The company boasts has a veteran management team with a strong track record of successful exploration, development, financing and operation.
Consolidating the known mineralized systems in the region was an exciting move
In November last year, the firm, which already had the Tom and Jason deposits, closed the previously announced acquisition of the Nidd property with Teck Metals Ltd, a subsidiary of Teck Resources Ltd.
The Nidd property lies on the western extension of the Macmillan Pass and covers 7,393 hectares in 372 mineral claims and expanded Fireweed's claims to 544 square kilometers (sq km).
With the addition of Nidd, Fireweed now has all four known large zinc mineralized systems in the region – Tom, Jason, Boundary Zone and End Zone – as well as many other zinc exploration targets including the entire highly prospective “fertile corridor”, extending from Tom to the Boundary Zone and beyond.
"We've always believed this is a district," said CEO Brandon MacDonald in a recent Proactive interview.
"The only two that have resources on them are Tom and Jason but we want to develop both End zone and Boundary zone as well as explore for others."
A day after closing the Nidd deal, the group revealed it had hit high grade zinc at the early exploration stage End zone, and returned better results than had been indicated in historical data.
One hole hit 4.78% zinc, 10.17% lead and 87 grams per tonne (g/t) silver over 11.08 metres (true width) in the middle of the zone. Those results were hot on the heels of positive assays from the Tom West Zone.
"We look forward to the 2019 field season where we can continue to delineate the extent of the known zones as well as conduct exploration for additional discoveries along the entire fertile corridor which remains highly prospective for the discovery of additional zinc mineralization including newly acquired ground extending west to the Boundary zinc zone and beyond," the company said.
Encouraging preliminary economic assessment
In May last year, the PEA was published, which showed a long mine life of 18 years, and showed net present value (NPV) of C$779mln, using an 8% discount rate, with an internal rate of return of 32%.
"This first NI43-101-compliant PEA on the Macmillan Pass Project represents a significant step for the company as we progress the project towards production,” said Macdonald at the time.
"Project economics in the PEA demonstrate that Macmillan Pass is not just viable at the zinc, lead and silver prices levels contemplated in the study, but highly robust."
Highlights from the PEA included:
18-year mine life with 32.7mln tons of mineralization mined at an average processing rate of 4,900 tons per day.
1.54mln tons of zinc, 0.88mln tons of lead, and 37mln ounces of silver in concentrate shipped.
Average yearly contained-metal production of 85kt zinc, 48kt lead and 2mln ounces of silver.
The company used base case metal price forecasts of US$1.21 per pound for zinc, US$0.98 per pound for lead and US$16.80 per ounce for silver.
After copper, aluminium and iron, zinc is the most commonly used metal by industry - mainly for galvanizing, to protect iron and steel from rust.
Zinc oxide is also widely used in making many household products such as paints, rubber, cosmetics.
But the price of the commodity has not been so positive in recent years and it has taken a hit since the trade war kicked off in June and July last year.
But zinc watchers - both analysts and company leaders - reckon there will be an upturn in the short- term.