Copper Mountain Mining has released 2019 operating results and provided three-year production guidance for its 75% owned Copper Mountain mine. The company’s total production of 87.2 million lb. copper-equivalent last year came in at the lower end of its guidance range of 86 million lb. to 95 million lb. for the year, with 22.6 million copper-equivalent pounds produced in the fourth quarter.
Over the next three years, the miner expects production around the 100 million lb. copper-equivalent level with a plant expansion to 45,000 tonnes per day, up from 40,000 tpd currently, expected to be commissioned by the end of this year.
“We are now well-positioned to deliver strong production, improved grades and lower costs as a result of the significant development completed in 2019 at the Copper Mountain mine,” Gil Clausen, the company’s president and CEO said in a release. “The benefits of that investment were evident in the fourth quarter of 2019, with strong production and grade improvement as we opened up more high-grade zones in our main pit.”
The improvements in grade are expected to continue into this year.
In 2020, all-in sustaining costs are forecast at $1.95 to $2.20 per lb. of copper. An additional $33 million is planned for expansion projects, primarily allocated towards the concentrator expansion at Copper Mountain.
The company acquired the Copper Mountain mine in 2006 and started production in 2011 with a 35,000 tpd mill.
Current reserves across the Copper Mountain project stand at 477 million tonnes grading 0.23% copper, 0.1 g/t gold and 0.73 g/t silver for a current mine life of 31 years. The company is currently working on a pre-feasibility study to examine the option of a plant expansion beyond the 45,000 tpd level.
Mitsubishi Materials holds a 25% stake in the Copper Mountain project.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)