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Canada's Copper Mountain meets projections to extend life of British Columbia mine

Louisville, Kentucky — Canada's Copper Mountain Mining produced more copper equivalent in the fourth quarter and all of last year compared with a year ago and is exploring ways to double the life of its flagship Copper Mountain open-pit mine in British Columbia, Gil Clausen, CEO of the Vancouver-based company, said Friday.

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Clausen told analysts during a conference call that his company produced 24.5 million lb of copper equivalent in Q4, up 9.7% from Q4 2017, and 92.4 million lb of copper equivalent for 2018, a 4.6% increase from 2017.

Copper led the way with 20.6 million lb and 78.8 million lb of output in Q4 and 2018, respectively. Silver production totaled 62,711 oz in Q4 and 273,913 oz for the entire year.

The company completed a large drill program last year at its New Ingerbelle deposit in British Columbia, which resulted in a new resource and a new base case for a preliminary economic assessment for mining the New Ingerbelle pit.

Clausen said Copper Mountain now is evaluating the integration of Ingerbelle into the Copper Mountain mine production plan and considering a modest expansion to the existing Copper Mountain mill to improve grinding capacity.

A mill expansion would allow for an increased throughput and recovery within the company's current operating and environmental permits for Copper Mountain.

"Work is well advanced on the integrated plan and an updated reserve statement for the Copper Mountain operation," he added. "We expect to publish the study results along wth our concurrent technical report this month."

-- Bob Matyi, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Valarie Jackson, newsdesk@spglobal.com