The future is so bright for Copper Mountain Mining Corporation that company president Jim O’Rourke is shopping for shades.
Last week the company announced the $93 million acquisition of Altona Mining in Queensland Australia.
More importantly for residents here, the life expectancy of Copper Mountain Mine in Princeton is now being projected at between 21 and 22 years in total from its 2011 start up date, O’Rourke told the Spotlight in an interview Monday
Eighteen years were originally assigned to the Princeton site.
“This year we’ve had two drilling campaigns. One is around the mine site itself in the pit area and we are looking to extend that pit to the west. That’s been fairly successful.”
Recently drilling commenced at the New Ingerbelle deposit near the present mine. “It’s looking pretty good,” said O’Rourke. “So far [the results] look fairly attractive.”
Based on the recent exploration and historical data, O’Rourke said the New Ingerbelle site has the potential to extend the mine’s life a further ten years [to 31-32 years total].
The upsurge in copper prices has stabilized the company’s operation, he said.
“About a year ago, when the price of copper was $2, we were struggling to make ends meet, but with the increase in the price of copper we have been able to gain in terms of some cash but also in terms of paying back some of our debts.”
In the last quarter copper sold at $2.91.
“Every ten cent increase in the price of copper allows us to gain about $12 million on a yearly basis,” said O’Rourke. “A strengthening copper price is really important.”
Copper Mountain Mine employs 455 people, and has expanded its work force slightly in the past few months.
“We are running a couple of extra trucks – there’s eight people right there. And I believe we have added some maintenance people,” said O’Rourke.
Earlier in the month the corporation released impressive financial results for January to September.
Revenues for the first three quarters were $218.4 million, compared to $193.5 million for the same period in 2016.
Adjusted EBITDA increased 43 per cent during the same time period this year, to $62.5 million from $35.8 million last year.
O’Rourke said the Altona Mining acquisition will have little effect on BC operations, other than to strengthen the position of the parent company.
While only half the size of Princeton Copper Mountain, the Clonclurry Copper Project is expected to double the company’s overall production because of the Australian site’s higher recovery rate.
Asset and geographical diversification will result in a lower risk profile for the combined entity, he added.
The $93 million cost will be paid in Copper Mountain Mining Corporation shares, and the company receives $30 million in cash.
Copper Mountain will also take possession of a significant land package and its mineral claim rights “which would be about 50 times of what we have now at Copper Mountain,” said O’Rourke.
He said he anticipates sharing expertise and technology between the two mines.
“We would be leaning on the technology and good advice of some of our men and women at the mine.”