The new mine plan for Copper Mountain supports a 65,000 tonne per day mill expansion, according to the company. Courtesy of Copper Mountain Mining.

On Sept. 28, Copper Mountain Mining updated its mineral reserve estimate and life of mine plan for southern British Columbia’s Copper Mountain mine, increasing both its total copper and its life span by over a decade.

According to the report, the new Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources estimate of 1.1 billion tonnes saw the amount of copper increased by 70 per cent to 5.5 billion pounds at average grades of 0.22 per cent. The gold estimate experienced a 68 per cent increase to 3.4 million ounces at average grades of 0.09 grams per tonne, and silver rose 62 per cent to 23.4 million ounces at average grades of 0.64 grams per tonne.

Additionally, the Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves estimate of 703 million tonnes increased copper reserves by 57 per cent to 3.7 billion pounds of copper at average grades of 0.24 per cent, gold by 54 per cent to 2.3 million ounces at average grades of 0.10 grams of per tonne, and silver up 49 per cent to 16 million ounces at average grades of 0.71 grams of gold per tonne.

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The company’s updated life of mine plan  has been extended to 32 years, up from 21 previously, and indicates that the operation supports Copper Mountain’s planned mill expansion to 65,000 tonnes per day. The plan also reflected an annual average production of 138 million pounds of copper equivalent – consisting of 114 million pounds of copper, 54,000 ounces of gold and 367,000 ounces of silver – with 4.1 billion pounds of copper equivalent expected to be produced over the mine’s life, at an all-in cost of US$1.76 per pound.

These results have been reflected in Copper Mountain’s new valuation of the mine, which sports an after-tax net present value of US$1.24 billion, at an eight per cent discount rate.

“These results illustrate the size and scale of the Copper Mountain mine,” Gil Clausen, the company’s president and CEO, said. “Our large Mineral Reserves base underpins our updated [65,000 tonne per day] expansion study, which estimates total production of over 4.1 billion pounds of copper equivalent over a mine life that will extend beyond 30 years.”

According Clausen, the mill expansion will be fully self-funded with mine cash flow, and that the mine will be capable of self-funding any capital required over its life of mine, as well as generating “significant free cash flow beyond these requirements.”