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Excelsior produces first copper cathode at Gunnison in Arizona

Gunnison project. Image from Excelsior.

Excelsior Mining’s Gunnison copper project in Arizona has produced its first copper cathode. The in-situ recovery (ISR) operation is expected to sell the first copper cathodes in January 2021.

“I am happy to confirm that Excelsior Mining is the newest copper producer in the United States,” Stephen Twyerould, Excelsior’s president and CEO, said in a release. “Our focus for the coming quarter will be on expanding wellfield operations with the goal of achieving full, nameplate, capacity of 25 million pounds per annum by late 2021.”

There are a total of 57 wells at Gunnison, which includes 41 production wells and 16 compliance wells. Based on a 2017 feasibility study, the 24-year operation is expected to reach the 25 million lb. per year copper cathode production rate in its first phase of operations, with an expansion to the 125 million lb. per year rate that the site is permitted for.

The 2017 study suggests an after-tax net present value for the project of $730 million, based on $2.75 per lb. copper and using a 7.5% discount rate, with all-in sustaining costs pegged at $1.33 per lb. over the life of the operation.

The 38.7-sq.-km project includes probable mineral reserves of 709 million tonnes grading 0.29% copper, for a total of 4.5 billion lb. of copper.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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