Nevada Copper Corp. has restarted processing operations at its Pumpkin Hollow underground mine near Yerington, Nevada, with the first ore being fed to the mill. “The restart of the mill has been orchestrated through careful planning and establishing the infrastructure needed to ensure sustained process plant operations, including the building of significant surface stockpiles and progression on critical capital projects,” said Randy Buffington, president and CEO of Nevada Copper. “We are now well positioned to move toward steady state operations of 5,000 tons per day (t/d).”
Processing operations restarted at an initial feed rate to the mills of 3,000 t/d to allow for the process team to optimize reagent addition and establish procedures to ensure consistent operations. The mill is being recommissioned on lower grade ore stockpiles and will transition to a combination of mined stope ore and stockpiled ore. By mid-October, throughput is planned to be increased steadily toward a goal of achieving steady state operations of 4,500-5,000 t/d by the end of 2023.
Pumpkin Hollow miners crossed the third dike successfully in September, clearing the way for planned 2024 stope development. Continued development beyond the dike will ultimately provide a full ventilation circuit for the Lower East North stoping areas, along with additional headings for the development contractor to open targeted 2024 stopes. The rock formation beyond the dike continues as predicted by the geotechnical model.
The initial stope in the 2023 mining sequence was mined in July and August with 9,000 tons of ore extracted in the Sugarcube area of the East South (ES) Zone. Stope back filling activities began in September and a full stope was backfilled, completing successful testing of the recently commissioned paste plant and the underground paste delivery system. This Sugarcube stope is part of the ES Zone planned stopes and ground conditions encountered during mining were conducive to a successful paste back fill. Drilling and blasting on the next planned stope in the Alphabet area of the ES Zone is in progress and is expected to yield 20,000 tons of ore by the end of October.
Work on the underground crusher and ore handling system is progressing. The electrical and piping installation for the dewatering systems is in process and expected to be completed and commissioned by the end of October 2023.
The Nevada Copper workforce has doubled to more than 200 employees over the last year with the most significant additions in technical roles as well as mining and process teams.