Copper Mountain Mining (TSX: CMMC) has announced updated mineral resource and reserve estimates for its 75% owned copper mine located in southern British Columbia. Based on the new reserves, the company has also provided a revised life of mine plan that supports a mill expansion scenario to 65,000 t/d from 45,000 tonnes per day.
The latest update sees the Copper Mountain mine grow its measured and indicated resources to 1.1 billion tonnes averaging 0.22% copper, 0.09 g/t gold and 0.64 g/t silver. Total contained metals of 5.5 billion lb. of copper, 3.4 million oz. of gold and 23.4 million oz. of silver each represent 70%, 68% and 62% increases over the previous estimate.
Included in the resources were proven and probable reserves of 702 million tonnes averaging 0.24% copper, 0.10 g/t gold and 0.71 g/t silver, for 3.7 billion lb. of copper, 2.3 million oz. of gold and 16 million oz. of silver.
Incorporating the updated reserve base, the Copper Mountain mine plan has been extended to 32 years with the 65,000 t/d expansion commencing in 2028. Annual production is projected at 114 million lb. of copper, 54,000 oz. of gold and 367,000 oz. of silver.
The revised life of mine plan also results in robust economics of $1.24 billion in after-tax net present value (at 8% discount), up from its previous estimate of $1.0 billion. The initial capital cost required to increase throughput to 65,000 t/d is estimated to be $237 million.
“These results illustrate the size and scale of the Copper Mountain mine,” says Gil Clausen, Copper Mountain’s president and CEO. “Our large mineral reserves base underpins our updated 65,000 t/d expansion study, which estimates total production of over 4.1 billion lb. of copper-equivalent over a mine life that will extend beyond 30 years.
“Increasing plant capacity to 65,000 t/d requires only modest initial development capital, which is self funded with mine cash flow. In fact, not only is the Copper Mountain mine able to fund capital required over the life of mine, but it is also expected to generate significant free cash flow beyond these requirements. In addition, higher-grade exploration upside remains, particularly at depth, providing further reserve expansion potential,” he adds.
With the new resource update, the company’s total mineral reserve base, including the Eva copper project in Australia, now stands at 5.4 billion lb. of copper and over 2.6 million oz. of gold.
The Copper Mountain mine is located 20 km south of Princeton, BC. Mitsubishi Materials owns the remaining 25% of the project.