Copper Mountain tightens its belt

The plummeting cost of copper has forced Copper Mountain Mine to look at economies

Copper Mountain is tightening its belt as it moves into 2015, however there are no plans for layoffs at the town’s largest employer, according to Chief Financial Officer Rod Shier.

“No, not at all,” said Shier. “We’ve already done our budget for 2015 and we’re happy with the mine plan and the operation, but any time your price goes down you always want to look at how you can operate more efficiently.”

Copper Mountain employs approximately 420 people at its Princeton operation.

A spiraling copper price has forced Copper Mountain to look at other efficiencies for the coming year, Shier told The Spotlight in an interview Monday.

“You do look at ways to improve operations whenever you are selling your product for less,” said Shier. “It’s that simple. We will look at things like extending tire life. The price of fuel has come down and that’s a plus, there’s no question.”

Copper is trading for approximately 25% less than a year ago, however Shier said some industry experts see a disconnect between the current price and inventories that should correct.

“We are hoping that this slump…that it’s just a temporary situation.

Copper Mountain released its 2014 production report Monday.  The mine produced 81 million pounds of copper last year. “We met our production guidance but it’s just on the lower end of that,” said Shier, who added the company had projected to produce between 80 and 90 million pounds.

“We were very happy with that, that we met our production guidance, because this was a first.”

The plan for 2015 is to produce 80 million pounds of copper.

A press release issued by Copper Mountain said “the company’s goal for 2015 is to continue to optimize performance of the Copper Mountain Mine and to maximize copper production in spite of the slightly lower projected head grade for 2015.”

The same release addressed future exploration at the 18,000 site. “The mine has significant exploration potential that will need to be explored over the next few years to fully appreciate the property’s full development potential.”

According to Shier exploration is still scheduled for the coming year. “That’s in our budget and in our plan for 2015 but if all of a sudden you have a lower commodity price you certainly are looking at those things.”