Big step closer to bringing back mining to Upper Peninsula
Shares of Highland Copper (CVE: HI) were trading unchanged midday Tuesday on the Toronto Venture Exchange after announcing a maiden resource estimate for its 543S copper deposit in the Keweenaw region of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The 65%-owned deposit is one of four the Quebec-based company hopes to consolidate to re-establish copper mining in the region where production dates back to the mid-19th century. The area produced in excess of 11 billion pounds of copper until production stopped in 1977.
The National Instrument 43-101 compliant estimate is headlined by a 1.52 Mt indicated resource grading 3.27% copper and 5.1 g/t silver, and an additional 0.19 Mt inferred resource grading 3.08% copper and 4.8 g/t silver (based on a 1.9% copper-equivalent cut-off grade)
This high-grade volcanic deposit will be combined with Highland's G2 project and the much larger sedimentary White Pine and Copperwood deposits acquired last year from First Quantum Minerals and Orvana Minerals respectively.
The White Pine Copper project includes a historic mine and mill complex which produced nearly 1.7 million tonnes of copper and 4.5 million ounces of silver between 1953 and 1996.
Highland is now carrying out a preliminary feasibility study for the development of four mines through a central processing facility located at White Pine which boasts an existing 40 megawatt power plant, copper refinery and water processing plant.
The pre-feas is expected next year and earliest start-up is envisaged for 2018 for a capital outlay of roughly $700 million. Highland, worth $47 million on the TSX-V, raised $20 million in June to further the project.
In May 2014, Highland and AMCI entered into a non-binding letter of intent to form a 50-50 joint venture for the development of the mining complex whereby AMCI could contribute $45 million by the end of year.