Water shortage threatens BC copper-gold mine

Due to reduced precipitation and a minimal snow melt, Centerra Gold's Mount Milligan may have to reduce production.

Centerra Gold (TSX:CG), which warned investors about water constraints in its second quarter news release, has applied to British Columbia regulators to access additional water sources through July 2020.

"If regulatory approvals to access water sources are not received as expected and given the expected maintenance shutdowns, the Mount Milligan mill would need to operate only one ball mill to conserve water and throughput would be reduced to approximately 30,000 tpd for the fourth quarter," says the company in a news release.

"At that rate, the outlook for 2018 production at Mount Milligan would be reduced to 175,000-195,000 payable ounces of gold and 40-47 million payable pounds of copper."

Mount Milligan, located approximately 90 miles northwest of Prince George in central British Columbia, is an open-pit copper and gold mine with a 62,500 tpd design capacity. Mount Milligan has faced water issues in the past.

Miners worldwide are facing growing water constraints and with grades declining, mines will need more water to operate.