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Phoenix Copper ups value for Empire copper project, lowers capex estimate

Phoenix Copper Ltd. completed a new economic model for its Empire copper project in Idaho following a recent 45.6% increase in measured and indicated open pit resources, according to an Aug. 1 news release.

The economic model outlined a posttax net present value, discounted at 7%, of US$55.5 million and a 33% internal rate of return at a copper price of US$3.25 per pound.

A preliminary economic assessment for the mine in April 2018 estimated a posttax NPV, discounted at 7.5%, of US$53.7 million and 23.5% IRR based on a copper price of US$3.75/lb.

Assuming the same copper price as the PEA, the NPV estimate jumps to US$85.4 million with a 45% IRR.

The project is now estimated to produce an average 7,665 tonnes copper equivalent, including 7,000 tonnes of copper and 1,600 tonnes of zinc, over an 11-year mine life.

Meanwhile, an increase in the initial pad grade allowed the mine production rate to be reduced to 1.6 million tonnes, from 2.25 Mt in the PEA.

The initial capital expenditure estimate was lowered to US$51 million, compared to US$61.2 million in the PEA.

An ongoing feasibility study is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2020, with the start of copper and zinc production from the mine targeted for late 2021.