For the three months ended February 28, 2013, NovaCopper reported mineral property expenses of $0.8 million compared to $0.6 million for the corresponding period in 2012. Similar expenses were incurred consisting of engineering, project support expenses for the upcoming field season and community initiatives.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
At February 28, 2013, NovaCopper had $18.7 million in cash and cash equivalents and working capital of $16.8 million. We expended $3.5 million on operating activities during the three-month period ended February 28, 2013, compared with expenditures of $1.3 million for operating activities for the same period in 2012. Cash spent on operating activities in 2013 was mainly expended on mineral property expenses, general and administrative expenses, salaries, and reducing current liabilities. A majority of cash spent on operating activities in the three months ended February 29, 2012 was expended on mineral property expenses.
NovaCopper has approved a budget of $16.0 million for its 2013 exploration program, technical reviews, formal studies and general and administrative costs. During 2013, we plan to carry out additional diamond core drilling focused on the Bornite Project and complete a preliminary economic assessment study on an open-pit mining scenario at the Arctic deposit during the summer of 2013.
We are continuing to work with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority ("AIDEA") and plan to sign a memorandum of understanding during the first half of 2013 as the next step to advancing the road into the Ambler mining district. The State of Alaska and AIDEA are working on initiating permitting for the road which is expected to provide access to NovaCopper's Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects ("UKMP Projects") which includes the Arctic and Bornite Projects. We are also continuing to focus efforts on community relations and workforce development strategies, working closely with NANA on these efforts.
Scott Petsel, P.Geo., UKMP Projects Manager, is a qualified person as defined by NI 43-101 and has reviewed and accepts responsibility for the technical information contained within this press release.
NovaCopper Inc. is a base metals exploration company focused on exploring and developing the Ambler mining district in Alaska. It is one of the richest and most-prospective known copper-dominant districts located in one of the safest geopolitical jurisdictions in the world. It hosts world-class VMS deposits that contain copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver, and carbonate replacement deposits which have been found to host high-grade copper mineralization. Exploration efforts have been focused on two deposits in the Ambler district - the Arctic VMS deposit with approx. 7%(1) copper-equivalent grades and the Bornite carbonate replacement deposit which contains Indicated Resources of 179 million lbs of copper and Inferred Resources of 3.3 billion lbs of copper at the Ruby Creek and South Reef zones(2). Both projects are located within NovaCopper's land package that spans approximately 143,000 hectares. NovaCopper has formed a partnership with NANA Regional Corporation, Inc., an Alaskan Native Corporation that provides a framework for the exploration and potential development of the Ambler Mining District in cooperation with the local communities. Our vision is to develop the Ambler mining district into a premier North American copper producer.
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