Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC) announced on March 11, 2011 that they have suspended operations at its Onahama copper smelter because of the terrible damage by the earthquake and tsunami, as well as the damages to the infrastructures and logistics for the smelter. MMC is currently evaluating the situation and yet to have an estimate of when the Onahama copper smelter will resume its operation. MMC operates three copper smelters, two in Japan, Onahama (subsidiary of MMC) with annual copper cathode production capacity of 258,000 tons and Naoshima with capacity of 225,000 tons, and the PT smelting (subsidiary of MMC) in Indonesia with 300,000 tons. MMC has contracted to purchase 100% of the copper concentrate produced by the Copper Mountain Project. In accordance with the contracts, MMC will implement necessary actions to fulfill its obligations in good faith. MMC’s commitment to the Project is unchanged.
According to the “International Copper Study Group,” Global smelting capacity will expand by 14 percent to 20.68 million tons by 2014, while mining capacity will only reach 18.98 million tons. According to an article by Reuters on Mar 11, 2011 they reported that Japan was expected to produce 1.6 million tonnes of refined copper in 2011, about 7.6 % of world output. Currently there is excess smelter capacity, the majority of which is in China as the country continues to feed its need for raw materials and refined copper in particular. The Copper Mountain concentrate is very clean and an acceptable concentrate at most smelters.
Construction work on the Company’s Copper Mountain Project continues to proceed on schedule and as planned. The overall schedule for the project remains unchanged with construction expected to be completed by the end of April 2011, commissioning of equipment is scheduled to occur during May 2011, and full production scheduled to be achieved by the end of June 2011. Preproduction mining activities are well underway and the Company’s new mining fleet is operating as expected. Commissioning of the primary crusher, ore stockpile recovery system and pebble crusher is now underway, while installation of the grinding mills is proceeding and are expected to be ready for testing by the end of April. Mechanical installation in the concentrator is well advanced with the bulk of construction activities directed at piping and electrical activities.
The project currently has 557 workers on site, of which 180 are Copper Mountain personnel and the rest associated with the construction activities. At full production, the project will employ 271 personnel.
About Copper Mountain Mining Corporation:
Copper Mountain is a Canadian resource company managed by an experienced team of professionals with a solid track record of exploration and development success. The Company’s shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “CUM”. Copper Mountain owns 75% and Mitsubishi Materials Corporation owns 25% of the Copper Mountain Project. The 18,000 acre mine site is located 20 km south of the town of Princeton in southern British Columbia. The Copper Mountain Project has a current resource of approximately 5 billion pounds of copper, the Copper Mountain Project is fully financed ($438M) and in construction and on schedule for the mine to produce approximately 100 million pounds of copper per year by mid 2011. Additional information is available on the Company’s web page at www.CuMtn.com.