The person who steered Copper Mountain Mine through five years of growth, challenge, and success is leaving Princeton for a new position with the corporation.
Don Strickland is the new vice president and chief operating officer, and will oversee all the company’s mining operations.
The position, a newly created title, takes him to Vancouver.
“It’s a good opportunity for me,” said Strickland in an interview. “I will be responsible for Copper Mountain as well as any new assets that we build and operate.”
A recruitment process to replace Strickland as Copper Mountain Mine’s general manager is underway.
“I will slowly transition to Vancouver and just make sure we have a smooth transition here.”
Maximizing production and site improvements were two key focuses for Strickland during his time in Princeton.
“And certainly working with the team through the low copper price, that was a real success. We kept our team together,” he said. “We’ve got some tremendous people here and we’ve got a culture where we are all working together. That’s what makes it enjoyable. You can do some amazing things when everyone works together.”
Expanding the mine life will be an ongoing priority, said Strickland.
The mine was originally assigned a life expectancy of 18 years when it opened in 2011 and that has already been extended to 22 years.
In November Copper Mountain president Jim O’Rourke told The Spotlight that recent exploration of the New Ingerbelle site has the potential to add another decade to the operation.
At about the same time Copper Mountain announced the $93 million acquisition of Altona Mine in Australia.
In his new role Strickland will oversee those operations as well, and will be spending time in Queensland. “That’s the plan, yes.”
The announcement of Strickland’s promotion came days before the release of Copper Mountain’s 2017 financials.
Last year the corporation recorded revenues of $304 million – a nine percent increase over 2016 – and a gross profit of $59 million, compared to $19.6 million in the previous year.
Strickland said he will genuinely miss the community.
“Princeton is a great town. Everybody’s really friendly and it offers lots of outdoor activities that I really enjoy…I won’t be able to walk across the road and snowshoe down to the river anymore with my dogs.”