Foran's shares have bounced from C39c to 58c so far in January after the company raised C$4.95 million at an average 49c through a non-brokered private placement late last year.
Its market value now is around C$65 million.
Foran said this week it was moving to feasibility study stage after "preliminary analysis" of McIlvenna Bay by Swiss metals group Glencore under their technical services agreement. Glencore is due to finish a comprehensive review of project data next month. Under the agreement reached last year, it gets exclusive offtake access to minerals produced from McIlvenna Bay in return for providing technical services, including taking over engineering and technical aspects of the feasibility study, expected to take nine months, and helping Foran seek project finance.
Patrick Soares, Foran's president and CEO, said this week in Vancouver the company's planned 10,000m drilling program would aim to upgrade resources to reserves at the "largest undeveloped VMS deposit" on the 200km-plus Hanson Lake District VMS trend extending from Snow Lake, Manitoba, through Flin Flon to Foran's ground in Saskatchewan.
It would also continue drilling, previously aborted due to unstable ground, on a large geophysical target - "Target A" 2km south-east of the main McIlvenna Bay deposit - Soares said at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference this week was a "potential game changer" for the company and project.
He said drill-hole MR-17-09 was prematurely suspended last April when drilling had reached 1,323m depth and a sudden spring thaw compromised the integrity of the drill set-up and access roads.
"We are excited to be back on site and advancing our McIlvenna Bay assets, including Target A," Soares said.
Computer modelling of time domain EM data from drill hole MR-17-09 and adjacent hole MR-14-08 indicated the presence of a moderate to steeply dipping source with "extremely high conductivity and dimensions exceeding 1,100m laterally and 700m down-dip".
The up-dip extent of modelled conductor plates was interpreted to lie just beyond the end of MR-17-09.
Soares said a diamond drill was on site and had re-entered MR-17-09. Another drill pad had been set up in anticipation of a third deep hole at Target A.
Foran's preliminary economic assessment for McIlvenna Bay, filed back in 2014, put an estimated pre-tax NPV of $382 million ($263 million after-tax) and 22% IRR (19% after-tax) on a 14-year, 5,000t/day underground mine and plant, costing circa-$250 million in pre-production capex. The PEA used a 7% discount rate, a copper price of US$3.08/lb and a zinc price of US$1.06/lb.