Aston Bay and American West Metals Announce Field Season Summary for Storm Copper Project, Canada

14 September 2023


Spring and Summer geophysical and drilling programs in 2023 have significantly advanced the Storm Project on several fronts:

  • Sediment Hosted Copper Discovery
    • Discovery of multiple regional scale sediment hosted copper systems, as evidenced by intersections of what appears to be stratiform chalcocite (copper sulfide) mineralization as predicted by both the geological and geophysical models - the discovery has similarities to the world-class copper belts in Central Africa and Botswana
    • Confirmation of geophysical methods effective at targeting sediment-hosted copper mineralization: both gravity and deeper electromagnetic (EM) anomalies have been shown to be strongly associated with sulfide mineralization
    • Significant kilometre-scale historical gravity anomalies that conform to the predictive geological model remain untested and are priority targets for follow-up modern geophysical surveys this coming spring and drilling in summer 2024
  • New Near-Surface Copper Discoveries
    • 76 metres (m) of visual heavily mineralized breccia to massive copper sulfide (chalcocite, bornite and chalcopyrite) at “Thunder” and 19m of strong visual copper sulfide mineralization at “Lightning Ridge”
  • Ground Truthing of “Tempest” Copper Gossans
    • Chalcocite, malachite and sphalerite at surface along 4km gossan trend, 40km south of Storm mineralization
  • Delineation Drilling and Near-Term Development Potential
    • Continuity of the near-surface copper mineralization confirmed in over 10,000m of Reverse Circulation (RC) and core drilling: 41m @ 4.18% Cu from 38m downhole, including 5m @ 24.28% Cu from 48m downhole (ST22-05) and 46m @ 2.2% Cu from 64m downhole, including 15.6m @ 4.2% Cu from 65m downhole (SM23-02) (all core lengths).
    • Maiden copper resources anticipated Q4 2023, with environmental, processing and metallurgical studies underway
  • American West has completed the exploration expenditure requirement to earn an 80% interest in the Storm Project
  • Assays are pending for 29 drill holes from the 2023 drill program – including those for the deep sediment hosted copper discovery holes as well as those from the Thunder and Lightning Ridge discoveries – with results expected over the coming weeks

(September 14, 2023) Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. (TSXV: BAY) (OTCQB: ATBHF) ("Aston Bay" or the "Company”) is pleased to provide an interim summary of the spring and summer 2023 exploration programs at the Storm Copper Project (“Storm” or the “Project”) on Somerset Island, Nunavut, Canada with the field component now concluded. The program was conducted by American West(as defined below), who is the operator of the Project.  Aston Bay is also pleased to report that American West has successfully completed the minimum exploration expenditure required to earn an 80% undivided interest in the Project.

As previously disclosed, Aston Bay entered into an Option Agreement dated March 9, 2021 (the “Option Agreement”) with American West Metals Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tornado Metals Ltd. (collectively, “American West”) pursuant to which American West was granted an option (the “Option”) to earn an 80% undivided interest in the Project by spending a minimum of CAD$10 million on qualifying exploration expenditures (“Expenditures”). The parties amended and restated the Option Agreement as of February 27, 2023 to facilitate American West potentially financing the Expenditures through flow-through shares but did not change the commercial agreement between the parties.

The Expenditures were completed during the 2023 drilling program and American West is expected to exercise the Option in accordance with the terms of the Option Agreement, as amended. Upon exercise of the Option, American West and Aston Bay will form an 80/20 unincorporated joint venture and enter into a joint venture agreement. Under such agreement, Aston Bay shall have a free carried interest until American West has made a decision to mine upon completion of a bankable feasibility study, meaning American West will be solely responsible for funding the joint venture until such decision is made. After such decision is made, Aston Bay will be diluted in the event it does not elect to contribute its proportionate share and its interest in the Project will be converted into a 2% net smelter returns royalty if its interest is diluted to below 10%.

“The highlights outlined above speak to the quality of the work completed by American West and to their commitment to the partnership,” stated Thomas Ullrich, CEO of Aston Bay.

“In addition to the discoveries made this season, two developments are critical: we have both a confirmed predictive geological model, as well as geophysical methods that produce anomalies that can only be explained by sulfide mineralization. This combination is very powerful in exploration, already providing discoveries and, we anticipate, more to come.

“We believe we have tapped into a significant stratiform sediment hosted copper system at depth at Storm but have so far only grazed the edge. The deep holes drilled this season have intersected chalcocite and other copper sulfides, confirming the model, but we believe this may be just a hint of what is to come. The combination of the predictive geological model, known mineralogical zonation and proven geophysical methods will allow refinement of our drill targeting to get to the cores of these mineralized zones in future programs.

“We are very pleased that American West has so successfully advanced Storm in such a short time. It is no surprise, given the calibre of their leadership. We look forward to further advancement and additional discovery with our ongoing partnership. With no expenditures required by Aston Bay until a positive production decision, Storm offers excellent optionality with potentially significant upside for Aston Bay’s shareholders.”