Regional Director George Hanson looks way up to see the end of the mining pit and beginning of blue sky above Copper Mountain Mine.  The mine near Princeton is the first one to open in B.C. for over a decade and a recent tour included mayors and directors from neighbouring districts.

Regional Director George Hanson looks way up to see the end of the mining pit and beginning of blue sky above Copper Mountain Mine. The mine near Princeton is the first one to open in B.C. for over a decade and a recent tour included mayors and directors from neighbouring districts.

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation holds tour for dignitaries

Life has a funny way of coming around full circle. Princeton has been a mining town since way back when and now again in the year 2011, it is a mining town again.

  • Jul. 21, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Life has a funny way of coming around full circle.  Princeton has been a mining town since way back when and now again in the year 2011, it is a mining town again.  The Copper Mountain Mining Corporation has taken control of a mountain full of precious metal near town and is breathing new life into a community and a province that could use some good news about economic recovery and new business from an old source.  In fact, the reopening of the mine is so significant it brought in a few good people for a viewing recently that had a whole lot of people talking.

Regional Director Brad Hope hosted Regional Director from Cawston George Hanson, Regional Director from Keremeos/Hedley Elaf Christensen, Mayor of Keremeos and OSRHD Chair Walter Despot, Keremeos Councillor Gary Thielman, Mayor of Princeton and OSRHD Vice-Chair Randy McLean, Mayor of Penticton and RDOS Director Dan Ashton, Mayor of Oliver Pat Hampson, Area F Director Michael Brydon, Assistant Regional Director Princeton Charles Weber, RDOS Vice Chair Tom Chapman and RDOS Manager of Finance Warren Everton with the help of Princeton Councillor and CUMC human resources manager Frank Armitage and CUMC general manager Bill Dodds on a tour of the mine itself.  The crew first went into the mine’s conference room to gather up their safety gear, receive a warm welcome from mining staff and get a briefing on the tour before loading onto a bus.  Then, the group saw up close the impressive mine operation.

The mine is now in production and has been since May 27, 2011.  “We are expecting to be at full production sometime later this month,” announced Dodds.  Two hundred and seventy workers and twenty-nine university students are now employed by Copper  Mountain Mining Corporation.  The mine has 13 massive trucks hauling up to 240 tonne maximum loads to the processing mill.  The mine aspires to haul 35,000 tonnes each day.  The trucks are so enormous that the tires cost more than some peoples’ cars.  They are from anywhere between $25,000 to $35,000 each and they last for around 2500 hours/tire.  The trucks top speed is 60 km/hr.

The world’s largest shovel built by Komatsu drops 45 cu metres of material into the trucks at a time.  In 3 to 3 and a half passes a truck is full.  The shovel operates with electric motors which are “much cheaper to run,” said Mining Engineer Hugh Eisler.  The big shovel should load two million tonnes each month during peak performance.

The original discovery of copper on the mountain was made by an unlikely cowboy who went by the name of “Sunset” Brown.  Since that discovery in 1884, the mine has metamorphosed many times over.  Starting in 1923 as Granby Consolidated Mining, the operation was underground for years.  Production ended in 1957 because of the low value of copper at the time and reopened again in 1972.  The mine ran until 1985 as Newmont Mine.  Then, in 1988 the mine again was up and running.  This time it shut down in 1995.  With the prices of copper rising and falling and production costs doing the same, copper mining has seen some hard times.

Copper is at over $4/pound right now and with the growing dependency on technology seen as a growing commodity.  The present operation is continually crossing signs of the old operations including some of the dangerous deep pits.  The ore is hauled to a huge mill operation where it goes through several stages.  It is crushed and sorted as it goes through the crusher, grinding mill, sag mill and separation process.  The copper, gold and silver are all sorted with organic chemicals and hauled off for smeltering in Japan.  Copper Mountain Mining Corporation is 25 per cent owned and operated by Mitsubishi who is committed to taking 100 per cent of the concentrate.  Arrow Trucks haul the concentrate to the wharfs where it is loaded into shipping containers destined for Japan.

The water used is recycled.  It goes into a tailings pond and is dumped back up to re-use.  17,000 gallons of water/minute are utilized.

With a predicted 17 year life span, optimism continues to grow for B.C.’s economy.  The wheels of production are in motion and local businesses are feeling the good honest growing pains of expansion.  The Princeton Museum was a recent and appreciative recipient of the mine re-opening with a cheque for $10,000 given to them for their future.  “We want to be a positive presence in Princeton,” said Armitage.  “Princeton is our community too and we hope to help it become stronger.”

There has been over 100 million dollars in immediate spending put into the re-opening.  The economic spin-offs have been felt across Princeton and the rest of the province.  Fifty per cent of employees came from the Similkameen Valley and the total payroll is anticipated at $30 million/year.  Explosives are brought in from Williams Lake, fuel and steel balls come from Kamloops and Kal Tire has a mining division on site.  General Manager Bill Dodds said, “Copper Mountain Mining is committed to supporting local businesses as much as we can.   There are billions of tonnes of copper resource here and we will have a tremendous impact on the local economy.”

Just Posted

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Gord with a mom and her young son outside Pathways which was defunded on May 31. (Facebook)
Gord Portman with a mom and her child outside of Pathways. The sign says it all about the difference Pathways has made in people’s lives. They were defunded by Interior Health on May 31.
Penticton man takes the plunge for the recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read