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Capstone looks to boost copper output at Pinto Valley mine in Arizona

Louisville, Kentucky — Canada's Capstone Mining is focused on optimizing production at its Pinto Valley open-pit copper mine in Arizona in the latter half of 2018 after output increased in the second quarter as a result of the grade extracted exceeding expectations and improved recoveries, a company official said Thursday.

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The Vancouver-based company produced a total of 20,000 mt of copper in the three months that ended June 30, including 13,400 mt at Pinto Valley, 3,500 mt at its Cozamin mine in Mexico's Zacatecas state and 3,100 mt at its soon-to-be-sold Minto open-pit mine in Canada's Yukon Territory.

The company produced 19,200 mt of copper in the first quarter of 2018 and remains on track to turn out about 90,000 mt for all of 2018.

While Pinto Valley is "running pretty well," the company is looking to boost its throughput, Cindy Burnett, Capstone vice president of investor relations and communications, told S&P Global Platts in an interview.

"The market was disappointed with our throughput, especially in the first quarter," she said.

Copper production in Q2 from Pinto Valley and Cozamin was within Capstone's forecast range, according to CEO Darren Pylot.

In June, Capstone added an additional 115,000 mt of "indicated" copper reserves to Cozamin following a recent drilling campaign that is expected to extend the mine's life.

Capstone and a minority partner, Korea Resources, are pursuing the large-scale Santo Domingo copper-iron development project in Chile.

Burnett said Minto's sale to London-based Pembridge Resources for $37.5 million in cash is is set to close "pretty soon," perhaps by the end of July.

--Bob Matyi,

--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,