Copper Mountain Mining began commissioning the concentrator at its Copper Mountain mine 15 km southwest of Princeton, British Columbia, in late May 2011. Mechanical adjustments were completed quickly, and production began June 4. The company was targeting full production by mid June. An official mine opening ceremony was scheduled for mid-August.
At full production, the Copper Mountain mine will move an average of 55 million mt of material per year, and the mill will produce about 105 million lb/y of copper in concentrates, plus gold and silver byproduct credits. Based on current reserves, 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.
The Copper Mountain processing plant is designed for a nominal throughput of 35,000 mt/d, using conventional crushing, grinding, and flotation processes and equipment. The new mining fleet includes two Komatsu PC8000 hydraulic shovels, 13 240-mt haul trucks, a Komatsu WA1200 loader, two Cat D375 dozers and two Cat 16G graders.
The Copper Mountain project is owned 75% by Copper Mountain Mining and 25% by Mitsubishi Materials Corp. The property is a past producer that was 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 cut-off.