Copper Mountain Mining reported in late August 2010 its Copper Mountain project near Princeton, British Columbia, remains on track to reach full production by June 2011. The first of two Komatsu PC8000 hydraulic shovels was scheduled to be on site by mid-September and to be fully assembled and operational by mid-October, allowing preproduction mining activities to begin. The second half of the mining fleet, including a second PC8000, is scheduled to be on site by April 2011.
A total of 24 million mt of material is scheduled to be moved prior to startup of the 35,000-mt/d Copper Mountain mill in May 2011. At full production, the mine will move an average of 55 million mt/y of material, and the mill will produce about 105 million lb/y of copper in concentrates, plus gold and silver by-product credits. Life-of-mine production over a 17-year mine life is expected to total 1.47 billion lb of copper, 452,000 oz of gold and 4.5 million oz of silver.
Erection of the Copper Mountain concentrator building is complete, and interior work is progressing as planned. Grinding mills and major mill equipment are being received at the mine site and will be installed and tested inside the completed buildings this winter.
The project truck shop is fully erected, and the mobile mining fleet is assisting in construction activities related to the installation of an overland conveyor system that will move crushed ore from the newly constructed primary crusher to the coarse ore stockpile located behind the concentrator building. Work on the coarse ore stockpile reclaim tunnel is nearing completion.
The Copper Mountain project is owned 75% by Copper Mountain Mining and 25% by Mitsubishi Materials Corp. (E&MJ, Sept. 2009, p. 6). The property is a past producer worked as an underground mine from 1927 to 1957 and produced from open-pits from 1972 to 1996. The current project is based on development of a “super-pit” that will mine resources between and beneath three existing pits. The current resource is estimated at 5 billion lb of copper at a 0.15% copper cutoff.