Relief program aids Copper Mountain Mine

Copper Mountain Mine spends $30 million each year on electricity

If you felt a strong wind blowing through the streets of Princeton last week it just might have been the collective sighs of relief coming from Copper Mountain Mine and its more than 400 employees, following an aid announcement from the provincial government.

“We’re pretty happy,” said operations manager Don Strickland. “It’s pretty important for our site and I’m sure it’s very important for other mines in BC. Certainly our team has been hopeful the government would help out and that announcement last week was a positive indication. Now we need to find the details of it and move forward.”

Last Friday the BC government unveiled a five-year program allowing metal and coal mines to defer a significant portion of their energy bills.

Copper Mountain Mine spends $30 million a year on hydro.

“It’s now our second largest cost at the mine site next to labor” said Strickland. “The hydro rate has increased quite substantially since Copper Mountain made the decision to open operations and it’s a really big number for us. We’ve still got to pay the bill, but it’s a matter of when we pay it.”

Under the terms of the program mines can defer the equivalent of 75 per cent of two year’s worth of their hydro costs. In the case of Copper Mountain that equals a temporary reprieve on  $44 million dollars.

Despite spiraling metal prices and the closure of mines around the province, Copper Mountain has so far managed to avoid lay offs or suspending operations.

“We’ve managed to keep our team together. There’s always a few people that leave and there is regular turn over but in terms of layoffs we’ve managed to keep our team together and that’s the objective we set last year,” said Strickland.

The government’s intervention means – barring a further plummet in copper prices – that Copper Mountain Mine will continue to operate as the town’s second largest employer.

“Certainly we expect that,” said Strickland. “It’s our intention to keep running at these copper prices and under the present economic conditions and now with additional support of government.”

The price of copper in December 2015 was $2.10 US per pound compared to a high of $4 per pound in 2012.

“We did a plan earlier this year to operate at $2.10 for copper and that’s what we need to do,” said Strickland.

Mining companies are encouraged to borrow before accessing the recently announced program.  Companies with a low debt level will be assigned a 12 per cent interest rate for monies deferred, while others will pay approximately 8 per cent.

Strickland said Copper Mountain needs more information before it can accurately assess how it will use the program.

“Our team is certainly optimistic and looking forward to finding out the details. I think it’s positive for our team and for the Town of Princeton.”

In a press release from the Ministry of Energy and Mines minister Bill Bennett said: “Rural communities across BC depend on the high-paying jobs that their mines provide residents. We are in the midst of a challenging time for the sector and this will provide some temporary support to help the mines stay open as long as possible, hopefully until commodity prices bounce back.”


There are eight metal and five coal mines currently operating in BC, employing 7,500 people.



Just Posted

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

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Most Read