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Copper Mountain Announces New Life of Mine Plan, Including Proposed 65,000 tpd Mill Expansion

November 30, 2020

Canada NewsWire

 

VANCOUVER, BC , Nov. 30, 2020  /CNW/ - Copper Mountain Mining Corporation (TSX: CMMC) (ASX: C6C) (the “Company” or “Copper Mountain”) is pleased to announce a new life of mine plan, which includes a proposed mill expansion to 65,000 tonnes per day (“65ktpd Expansion”), for its 75% owned Copper Mountain Mine, located in southern British Columbia . The new life of mine plan increases Copper Mountain’s after-tax Net Present Value (NPV) by over 60% to US$1.0 billion , on higher annual production and lower costs, when compared to the previously published 2019 Technical Report. The 65ktpd Expansion builds upon the 45ktpd mill expansion currently underway.

Copper Mountain has filed a NI 43-101 Technical Report (“2020 Technical Report”) for the new life of mine plan for the Copper Mountain Mine on SEDAR ( www.sedar.com ). The 2020 Technical Report work was completed at a Pre-feasibility Study level. All Dollars in this press release are United States Dollars. All metrics are shown on a 100% basis.

Highlights:

 

Metric

 

Unit

2020 

Technical Report

After-tax NPV (8%) (1)

$M

$1,010 

Average Annual Copper Equivalent Production (1,2)

Mlbs

139 

Average Annual Copper Production (2)

lbs

106 

Average Annual Gold Production (2)

koz

60 

C1 Cash Costs (1,2)

($/lb)

1.19 

(1)

Based on $3.15 per pound copper, $1,700 per ounce gold and $22 per ounce silver and a C$1.30 to US$1.00 exchange rate.

(2)

For the first ten years, starting in 2021 

“The 65ktpd Expansion, which moves the Copper Mountain Mine to about a billion dollars of asset value, clearly underscores the mine’s quality, and our team’s ability to potentially grow reserves and value further,” stated Gil Clausen , Copper Mountain’s President and CEO. “This mill expansion study builds upon the growth projects that are already underway and illustrates the immense potential that the Copper Mountain Mine provides. In two years, we have more than doubled the mine life, grown the mine’s productive capacity, increased net asset value and significantly decreased cash costs. Following the completion of this 2020 Technical Report, we will further refine the capital estimates of this project in preparation for a development decision.”

Mr. Clausen added, “All of the deposits at the Copper Mountain Mine remain open and have significant exploration potential to add to our reserve and resource.  We are steadily working to unlock the unrealized value and low risk growth potential at the Copper Mountain Mine and we expect to fund this production growth with the mine’s internal cash flow.”

Mining & Processing

The Copper Mountain mill flowsheet is currently a conventional two-stage crushing, SAG, pebble crusher, ball milling, and sulphide flotation circuit design. The current capacity supports 40,000 tonnes per day of ore processing.  The 45ktpd Expansion that is currently underway will add a third ball mill in parallel with the two existing ball mills.  The 65ktpd Expansion Plan includes the installation of a High Pressure Grinding Roll (HPGR) circuit, the addition of a fourth ball mill, a regrind verti-mill, additional rougher and cleaner flotation circuit capacity, and electrical system upgrades. The existing SAG mill will be retired. The fourth ball mill, a 22 ft by 38 ft mill, will be installed adjacent to the third ball mill within the existing building. With the addition of the fourth ball mill, the ball milling line will comprise four mills operating in parallel. Two identical 24 ft x 30 ft mills, and two identical 22 ft x 38 ft mills. (See Appendix 2 for the Proposed 65ktpd Process Flowsheet).  This work will allow for increased throughput and a grind size P80 of 165 µm.  The 65ktpd Expansion Technical Report assumes construction to be completed at the end of 2023 for commissioning in the beginning of 2024.

The 65ktpd Expansion is a planned plant-wide improvement that increases throughput in addition to:

  • Reducing operating costs using newer but proven technologies and equipment;
  • Reducing energy consumption through more efficient grinding unit operations;
  • Improving flotation performance with substantially more capacity at the rougher and cleaner stages; and
  • De-bottleneck concentrate dewatering, allowing for more flexibility at high tonnage during high head grade periods.

The 65ktpd Expansion will not require any additional mining fleet, as the existing fleet already produces sufficient ore supply to feed the concentrator at the planned milling rates.

The mine life is estimated to be 21 years, including three years of processing stockpiled ore. The production plan is based on Mineral Reserves only and does not include any other Mineral Resource categories. The Company believes that the potential exists to increase life of mine production further by converting Resources to Reserves as well as increasing resources through further exploration.

Total ore mined is expected to be 400 million tonnes and total waste mined is expected to be 671 million tonnes, with a strip ratio of 1.68. Using average recoveries of 85.4% for copper, 66.1% for gold and 66.2% for silver, total production is expected to be 2.0 billion pounds of copper, 978,000 ounces of gold and 6.7 million ounces of silver.  A summary of mining, processing and production metrics is provided below. A more detailed life of mine production schedule is available in the 2020 Technical Report on SEDAR.

Parameter (1)

Unit

Value

Total Ore Mined

kt

400,377 

Total Waste

kt

670,802 

Strip Ratio

w:o

1.68 

Processing Rate (after year 2024)

t/d

65,000 

Total Copper Produced

Mlbs

1,979 

Total Gold Produced

koz

978 

Total Silver Produced

koz

6,715 

Average Annual Copper Produced (2)

Mlbs

106 

Average Annual Gold Produced (2)

koz

60 

Average Annual Silver Produced (2)

koz

316 

Average Cu Head Grade (2)

%

0.26%

Average Au Head Grade (2)

g/t

0.13 

Average Ag Head Grade (2)

g/t

0.70 

Cu Recoveries

%

85.4 

Au Recoveries

%

66.1 

Ag Recoveries

%

66.2 

Mine Life (including stockpile years)

years

21 

(1)

All parameters do not include 2020.

(2)

For the first ten years, starting in 2021 

Capital Costs

The initial capital cost required to increase throughput to 65,000 tonnes per day is estimated to be approximately $123 million , plus a $25 million contingency for a total of $148 million . This includes the installation of the HPGR circuit, fourth ball mill, regrind circuit, verti-mill, additional rougher and cleaner flotation circuits and electrical system upgrades. A breakdown of the initial capital cost items for the 65ktpd Expansion is provided below.

Initial 65ktpd Expansion CAPEX Breakdown

$M

Direct Costs

 

Crushing, Ore Storage and Conveying

50.0 

Flotation and Regrind

22.2 

Grinding

16.3 

Buildings

12.6 

Main Substation

7.8 

Reagents

0.1 

Direct Subtotal

109.0 

   

Indirect Costs

 

EPCM

9.8 

Project Indirects

4.7 

Indirect Total

14.5 

Sub-total

123.4 

Contingency

24.9 

TOTAL Initial CAPEX

148.3 

Total life of mine expansionary capital, including the capital for the 45,000 tonne per day mill expansion planned for 2021 and the integration of New Ingerbelle, is estimated to be $204 million .

Total sustaining capital for the life of mine is estimated to be $255 million . The majority of sustaining capital is related to the replacement of mobile mining equipment.

Operating Costs

Total LOM operating unit costs are estimated to be $7.60  per tonne milled, which includes mining cost per tonne milled of $3.70  , milling cost per tonne milled of $3.63  and G&A per tonne milled of $0.26  .  Mining cost per tonne mined is estimated to be $1.55  .  Unit milling costs are estimated to be 25% lower for the 65ktpd Expansion compared to the current 45ktpd mill expansion as a result of a higher milling rate and lower operating cost of the HPGR circuit, as compared to the existing SAG mill. A unit cost breakdown is provided below.

Unit Operating Costs

$ per tonne milled

Mine Cost per Tonne Milled

$3.70 

Mill Cost per Tonne Milled

$3.64 

G&A Cost per Tonne Milled

$0.26 

Total Operating Cost per Tonne Milled

$7.60 

Notes: Mining costs are inclusive of costs to rehandle the existing ore stockpiles.

The above costs result in an average C1 cash cost per pound of copper of $1.19  for the first ten years and $1.21  over the life of mine, net of by-product credits.

Economics

The after-tax NPV for the Copper Mountain Mine assuming an 8% discount rate is estimated to be $1.01 billion . The economics are calculated assuming a Canadian Dollar to U.S. Dollar exchange rate of 1.30 to 1 and metal pricing of $3.15  per pound copper, $1,700  per ounce of gold and $22  per ounce of silver. Metal price assumptions are based on 60% bank consensus long-term prices and 40% spot prices.  A sensitivity analysis on varying copper prices was completed on the after-tax NPV (8%) and the results are summarized below.

Copper prices

After-tax NPV (8%)

-10%

$809 million

$3.15 

$1,010 million

+10%

$1,211 million

Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource

The effective date of the Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource for the Copper Mountain Mine is as of September 1, 2020  and does not include the recent drilling the Company completed in the second half of 2020. The Company plans on including these drill results in its year end Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource estimate, which is expected to be announced in the first quarter of 2021.

A summary of the Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource is provided below. The Mineral Resource is inclusive of the Mineral Reserve.

Copper Mountain Mine Mineral Reserve

Category

Tonnes
(kt)

Cu Grade
(% Cu)

Au Grade
(g/t)

Ag Grade
(g/t)

Cu Pounds
(Mlb)

Au Ounces
(koz)

Ag Ounces
(koz)

Proven

             

CMM Total Pit

98,525 

0.29 

0.08 

1.27 

624 

249 

4,010 

Ingerbelle Pit

58,040 

0.25 

0.16 

0.51 

324 

296 

952 

Subtotal Pit Only

156,565 

0.27 

0.11 

0.99 

948 

545 

4,962 

Stockpile

52,240 

0.15 

0.04 

0.45 

177 

67 

756 

Total Proven

208,805 

0.24 

0.09 

0.85 

1,125 

612 

5,717 

Probable

             

CMM Total Pit

118,777 

0.22 

0.07 

0.79 

565 

268 

3,025 

Ingerbelle Pit

134,757 

0.23 

0.14 

0.46 

683 

625 

1,999 

Total Probable

253,534 

0.22 

0.11 

0.62 

1,248 

892 

5,024 

Proven + Probable

             

CMM Total Pit

217,302 

0.25 

0.07 

1.01 

1,189 

517 

7,035 

Ingerbelle Pit

192,797 

0.24 

0.15 

0.48 

1,006 

920 

2,951 

Subtotal Pit Only

410,099 

0.24 

0.11 

0.76 

2,196 

1,437 

9,986 

Stockpile

52,240 

0.15 

0.04 

0.45 

177 

67 

756 

Total

462,339 

0.23 

0.10 

0.72 

2,373 

1,504 

10,741 

1.

Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) and CIM (2014) Definition Standards were followed for Mineral Reserves.

2.

Mineral Reserves were generated using the September 1, 2020 mining surface.

3.

Mineral Reserves are reported at a 0.10% Cu cut-off grade.

4.

Mineral Reserves are reported using long-term copper, gold, and silver prices of $2.75/lb, $1,500/oz, and $18.50/oz, respectively.

5.

An average CMM copper process recovery at block model domain recovery, gold process recovery of 65%, and silver process recovery of 70% is based on geo-metallurgical domains and actual plant values.

6.

An average Ingerbelle copper process recovery of 88.5%, gold process recovery of 71%, and silver process recovery of 65% is based on geo-metallurgical domains, historical recoveries, and recent testwork.

7.

Average bulk density is 2.78 t/m .

8.

Stockpile tonnes and grade based on production grade control process.

9.

Totals may not add due to rounding.

 

Copper Mountain Mine Mineral Resource

 

Category

Tonnes
kt

Copper
(%)

Gold
(g/t)

Silver
(g/t)

Copper
(Mlb)

Gold
(Moz)

Silver
(Moz)

Measured

168,166 

0.25 

0.10 

0.83 

940 

0.56 

4.49 

Indicated

433,989 

0.22 

0.10 

0.66 

2,097 

1.39 

9.14 

Measured and Indicated

654,395 

0.22 

0.10 

0.68 

3,214 

2.02 

14.39 

Inferred

323,502 

0.20 

0.10 

0.50 

1,420 

1.01 

5.21 

1.

Mineral Resources were estimated using the September 1, 2020 mining surface for Copper Mountain Mine.

2.

Mineral Resources are constrained by a $3.50/lb Cu pit shell.

3.

Cut-off grade is based on copper grade only.

4.

Mineral Resources are inclusive of Mineral Reserves and 54Mt at 01.5% Cu of stockpiled material has been added to the  Measured & Indicated total. 

5.

Cut-off grades applied at 0.10% Cu.

6.

Totals may not add due to rounding.

Competent Persons Statement
The information in this report that relates to Exploration Targets, Exploration Results, Mineral Resources or Ore Reserves is based on information compiled by Peter Holbek , B.Sc (Hons), M.Sc., P. Geo. Mr. Holbek is a full time employee of the Company and has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralization and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity being undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2012 Edition of the ‘Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves’. Mr. Holbek does consent to the inclusion in this news release of the matters based on their information in the form and context in which it appears.

Qualified Persons

The Mineral Resource estimate for the Copper Mountain mine was prepared by Mr. Peter Holbek , B.Sc (Hons), M.Sc., P. Geo, who is the Vice President, Exploration of Copper Mountain Mining Corporation. Mr. Holbek serves as the Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Holbek consents to the inclusion of the mineral resource in this news release, and has approved the mineral resource information included in this news release.

Mr. Stuart Collins, P.E., serves as the Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 and is the Qualified Person for information regarding the Copper Mountain Mine’s Technical Information and Mineral Reserve. Mr. Collins is Mine Technical Services Director of Copper Mountain Mining Corporation, and has reviewed and approved the contents of this news release.

About Copper Mountain Mining Corporation
Copper Mountain’s flagship asset is the 75% owned Copper Mountain mine located in southern British Columbia near the town of Princeton . The Copper Mountain mine currently produces approximately 90 million pounds of copper equivalent.  Copper Mountain also has the development-stage Eva Copper Project in Queensland, Australia and an extensive 2,100 km highly prospective land package in the Mount Isa area. Copper Mountain trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “CMMC” and Australian Stock Exchange under the symbol “C6C”.

Additional information is available on the Company’s web page at www.CuMtn.com .

On behalf of the Board of

COPPER MOUNTAIN MINING CORPORATION
“Gil Clausen”

Gil Clausen , P.Eng.
President and Chief Executive Officer

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release may contain forward-looking statements and forward-looking information (together, “forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of applicable securities laws.  All statements, other than statements of historical facts, are forward-looking statements.  Generally, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of terminology such as “plans”, “expects”, “estimates”, “intends”, “anticipates”, “believes” or variations of such words, or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might”, “occur” or “be achieved”.  Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, performance and opportunities to differ materially from those implied by such forward-looking statements.  Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include the successful exploration of the Company’s properties in Canada and Australia , the reliability of the historical data referenced in this press release and risks set out in Copper Mountain’s public documents, including in each management discussion and analysis, filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com .  Although Copper Mountain believes that the information and assumptions used in preparing the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on these statements, which only apply as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all.  Except where required by applicable law, Copper Mountain disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

APPENDIX 1: LIFE OF MINE PRODUCTION PLAN (Excluding Stockpile Years)

 

Units

2021 

2022 

2023 

2024 

2025 

2026 

2027 

2028 

2029 

2030 

2031 

2032 

2033 

2034 

2035 

2036 

2037 

2038 

Ore mined

kt

21,929 

17,816 

30,243 

33,076 

14,552 

20,293 

23,011 

31,299 

29,837 

30,532 

25,263 

21,048 

23,130 

12,035 

15,741 

25,037 

18,959 

6,576 

Tonnes mined - waste

kt

48,483 

70,437 

51,782 

29,539 

38,883 

39,744 

37,275 

33,818 

34,973 

30,170 

30,389 

30,828 

27,149 

37,264 

32,838 

31,442 

40,538 

25,251 

Total material mined  (excl. rehandle)

kt

70,412 

88,252 

82,025 

62,615 

53,435 

60,036 

60,286 

65,117 

64,810 

60,702 

55,652 

51,876 

50,280 

49,298 

48,579 

56,479 

59,497 

31,827 

Stripping ratio

w:o

2.21 

3.95 

1.71 

0.89 

2.67 

1.96 

1.62 

1.08 

1.17 

0.99 

1.20 

1.46 

1.17 

3.10 

2.09 

1.26 

2.14 

3.84 

                                       

Tonnes milled per day

TPD

42,016 

45,000 

45,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

65,000 

                                       

Head Grades Milled:

                                     

Copper

%

0.34%

0.31%

0.26%

0.28%

0.29%

0.20%

0.23%

0.25%

0.24%

0.25%

0.22%

0.24%

0.24%

0.19%

0.24%

0.33%

0.19%

0.17%

Gold

g/t

0.09 

0.07 

0.15 

0.17 

0.13 

0.10 

0.12 

0.14 

0.12 

0.14 

0.13 

0.12 

0.07 

0.06 

0.07 

0.09 

0.07 

0.05 

Silver

g/t

1.62 

1.49 

0.67 

0.67 

0.85 

0.41 

0.46 

0.48 

0.43 

0.44 

0.44 

0.50 

0.85 

0.53 

1.19 

1.81 

0.54 

0.47 

                                       

Recoveries:

                                     

Copper

%

81.6%

84.5%

88.1%

88.0%

86.6%

85.7%

85.2%

87.7%

87.3%

88.0%

87.8%

87.2%

84.4%

82.0%

82.5%

85.2%

84.5%

82.6%

Gold

%

63.0%

63.1%

70.1%

70.0%

66.9%

68.7%

69.7%

71.0%

70.2%

69.7%

69.2%

66.5%

63.0%

63.0%

63.0%

63.0%

63.0%

63.0%

Silver

%

67.0%

67.0%

65.2%

65.3%

66.0%

65.6%

65.3%

65.0%

65.2%

65.3%

65.4%

66.1%

67.0%

67.0%

67.0%

67.0%

67.0%

67.0%

                                       

Recovered Metal:

                                     

Copper

Mlbs

92.6 

93.6 

84.1 

129.1 

129.3 

90.4 

103.5 

114.1 

111.7 

114.8 

102.0 

107.7 

103.8 

83.2 

105.5 

148.5 

82.6 

71.4 

Gold

Koz

28 

24 

56 

92 

68 

54 

65 

76 

66 

73 

66 

60 

32 

29 

32 

42 

34 

26 

Silver

Koz

534 

528 

232 

332 

427 

207 

228 

237 

215 

221 

220 

252 

434 

272 

608 

928 

274 

238 

APPENDIX 2: Proposed Flowsheet for 65ktpd Mill Expansion

APPENDIX 2: Proposed Flowsheet for 65ktpd Mill Expansion (CNW Group/Copper Mountain Mining Corporation)

 

Copper Mountain Mining Corporation Logo (CNW Group/Copper Mountain Mining Corporation)

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SOURCE Copper Mountain Mining Corporation

 

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