Business is just rocking at Princeton’s Copper Mountain Mine.
“We have lots of exciting plans,” said general manager Eric Dell. “The team is doing great and we are not facing any serious challenges.”
In November, Copper Mountain announced a new mine plan, extending its life by at least 21 years.
That is in conjunction with an expansion proposal that would see production increase from 40,000 to 65,000 tonnes per day.
When completed, the expansion – with a capital cost of about $148 million – would push the mine’s net asset value to $1 billion.
“It’s an extension of the old Ingerbell Pit,” Dell explained. “Outside of the old pit we found some very high quality ore and we’ve looked at that and we believe it is economical to us.
“We are preparing…to essentially get our mining permits to include that area.”
Copper Mountain employees 460 people and there are plans for 30 new hires in 2021, said Dell.
An expansion to 45,000 tonnes a day production is already in the works, requiring the building of a third ball mill.
Moving to 65,000 tonnes a day would mean a fourth mill installment and numerous system upgrades.
Dell said presently engineers are testing an overhead trolley assist which could move haul trucks along an electric trolley line.
“It’s oldish technology,” said Dell. “There are not many mines in the world that use it…One of its main benefits is it reduces diesel consumption.”
The company is also focusing on growth in other ways.
This year, and for each of the next five years, Copper Mountain will reclaim 25 hectares of land.
That project is being managed with input from First Nations.
“We have regular meetings with Upper Similkameen Indian Band and Lower Similkameen Indian band and we keep them informed with what is happening at the mine site. We also have regular meetings with the town and with the local (regional district areas).”
In 2020, Copper Mountain received a AAA rating for its Aboriginal and Community Outreach program, and a AA rating for safety and health. “We are part of a global industry making sure we are doing the best for our community,” said Dell.
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