Copper Mountain Mining Corporation (TSX:CMMC) (ASX:C6C) is pleased to announce positive results from its 2020 Feasibility Study Update on its 100% owned Eva Copper Project, which is located in Queensland, Australia. The 2020 FS demonstrates significantly improved economics and operating metrics, including a higher after-tax NPV, increased production, lower cash costs and a longer mine life, when compared to the prior 2018 Feasibility Study. All dollars are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise indicated.
2020 FS Highlights
Economic metrics highlights:
Operating metrics highlights:
|Key Metrics||Feasibility Study Update
|Total copper production (Mlb)||1,502||959||57%|
|Average annual copper production (Mlb/a)||100||80||25%|
|C1 cash costs per pound, after by-product credits(1) ($)||1.44||1.74||-17%|
|Project life (years)||15||12||25%|
|(1)||Assumes bank consensus metal prices: Year -1 of $2.97 per pound copper and $1,466 per ounce gold, Year 1 of $3.03 per pound copper and $1.434 per ounce gold and Year 2 and long-term prices of $3.04 per pound copper and $1,362 per ounce gold.|
“These results demonstrate the high quality nature of the Eva Copper Project,” commented Gil Clausen, Copper Mountain’s President and CEO. “The economics of the Project have been improved with higher production, a longer mine life and lower operating costs. The Blackard and Scanlan deposits were added to Mineral Reserves, increasing total Mineral Reserves by 46%, and we have made process flow sheet optimizations. Eva Copper has the potential to add significant production and cash flow to our existing solid operating base. While we are and will continue to add value to Eva Copper, it should be noted that we will only move forward with development in the right copper price environment. Eva provides Copper Mountain shareholders with high quality organic growth potential in a low risk jurisdiction.”
Conventional open pit mining methods, which include drilling, blasting, loading, and hauling, will be employed at the Eva Copper Project. There are seven pits that make up the Project’s mine plan: Little Eva is the primary pit and will be supplemented by progressively mining six satellite pit areas at Blackard, Scanlan, Turkey Creek, Bedford, Lady Clayre, and Ivy Ann. The pit designs for the seven deposits were based on a Whittle Lerchs-Grossmann optimization at US$2.75 per pound copper price, generated using Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources only. Mining costs are based on a first-principles model based on locally-sourced costs for major inputs.
The mine plan includes mining 551 million tonnes of ore and waste from seven deposits over a mine life of 15 years. Total ore mined is expected to be 170 million tonnes and total waste is expected to be 380 million tonnes, for a waste to ore strip ratio of 2.2 to 1. With an overall copper recovery of 87%, the Project’s total copper production is expected to be approximately 1.5 billion pounds of copper, while gold production would be 205,000 ounces based on a gold recovery of 78%. Metal production on an average annual basis would be 100 million pounds of copper and 13,650 ounces of gold. However, the first two years of mining are expected to produce approximately 128 million pounds of copper per year.
The process plant is designed to mill 31,200 tonnes per day (tpd) for an average throughput of 11.4 million tonnes per year. Sequenced mining from the seven deposits will deliver a mixture of sulphide and native copper ore in a ratio of 75% to 25%. The sulphide deposits include Little Eva, Turkey Creek, Bedford, Lady Clayre, and Ivy Ann, whereas the Blackard and Scanlan deposits contain both native copper and sulphide ore. The processing flowsheet consists of a crushing, grinding, gravity separation and flotation to recover copper and gold in concentrate form. The flotation concentrate will be thickened, filtered and stockpiled for shipping to the Mt. Isa Smelter. Full transportation, smelting and refining costs were based on the Company’s existing long-term contract with Glencore’s Mt. Isa Smelter, which is situated 194 kilometres to the SW of Eva Project area.
A key update in the 2020 FS flowsheet from the 2018 Feasibility Study is the change from a SAG mill and pebble crushing circuit to a secondary crusher and High-Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGR) design. The ball mill has also been upsized in order to support 31.2 kt/d at a P80 target grind of 165 µm. The process plant flowsheet developed for the Eva Copper Project is a standard concentrator design and all the unit operations selected for the plant consist of proven technology and are considered low-risk.
The Project is near existing infrastructure with power available through a 220 kV powerline. Water for the operations will be supplied through a well field located near the processing facility, pit dewatering and water reclaimed from the tailings storage facility, all of which are located on the Company property. The well field has been drilled, pump tested and verified by independent hydrologists as sufficient for the Project’s water consumption needs.
A summary of mining and production parameters is provided below. A summary of the Eva Copper Project’s life of mine production schedule by year is available in appendix 1. A detailed life of mine production schedule by deposit and zone is available in the 2020 FS Technical Report.
|Total material mined (kt)||550,959|
|Total ore processed (kt)||170,386|
|Total waste (kt)||380,574|
|Waste to ore strip ratio||2.2:1|
|Processing Rate (tpd)||31,200|
|Total copper production (Mlbs)||1,502|
|Annual copper production (First two years) (Mlbs)||128|
|Annual copper production (LOM) (lbs)||100|
|Total gold production (koz)||205|
|Annual gold production (LOM) (koz)||14|
|Average copper recovery (%)||87%|
|Average gold recovery (%)||78%|
|Average copper feed grade (%)||0.46%|
|Average gold feed grade (g/t)||0.05|
|Mine life (years)||15|
Capital and Operating Costs
Total initial development capital for the Eva Copper Project is estimated to be approximately $382 million, which includes a contingency of $42 million and pre-production revenue of $11 million. Capital is estimated using an Australian dollar to U.S. dollar exchange rate 1.55 to 1.
|Total Initial Development Capital
(Years -2 to 1)
|Total Direct Costs||279|
|Total Indirect Costs||72|
Total life of mine development capital is estimated to be $492 million which includes total sustaining capital of approximately $34 million and total rehabilitation costs of $14 million.
Average C1 cash cost, net of by-product credits, is approximately $1.44 per pound of copper. Total operating costs are estimated to be $11.39 per tonne milled. Total mining costs are estimated to be $1.66 per tonne mined or $5.26 per tonne milled. Total operating costs do not include royalties, which are estimated to be approximately $1.18 per tonne milled.
|Unit operating cost||$ per tonne milled|
|Accommodation & Travel||0.43|
The after-tax NPV using an 8% discount rate is $437 million and the after-tax IRR is 29%. The economics are calculated using average bank consensus metal prices, which are as follows: for copper, $2.97 per pound in Year -1, $3.03 per pound in Year 1, and $3.04 per pound in Year 2 and long-term. For gold, $1,466 per ounce in Year -1, $1,434 in Year 1 and $1,362 per ounce Year 2 and long-term. The Australian Dollar to United States Dollar exchange rate used was 1.55. A sensitivity analysis on varying copper prices and other variables was completed on the after-tax NPV (8%) and the results are summarized below.
|Factor||NPV (8%) $M|
|1.00 (base case)||437|
|Factor||NPV (8%) $M|
|1.00 (base case)||437|
|Factor||NPV (8%) $M|
|1.00 (base case)||437|
|Factor||NPV (8%) $M|
|1.00 (base case)||437|
Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves
The Eva Copper Mineral Reserve increased 46% to 171 million tonnes grading 0.46% copper and 0.05 g/t gold for a total of 1.7 billion pounds of copper and 260,000 ounces of gold, when compared to the previous September 2018 Mineral Reserve. The Mineral Reserve is included in the Mineral Resource and the effective date of the Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource is January 30, 2020. A summary of the Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource is provided below. A complete detailed Mineral Reserve and Mineral Resource table by deposit is available in the 2020 FS Technical Report.
|Eva Copper Mineral Reserve|
|Total Proven and Probable||171,047||0.46||0.05||1,718||260|
|Total Proven and Probable (Gold only)||106,380||0.08||260|
|Mineral Reserve Notes:|
|1.||CIM Definition Standards were followed for Mineral Reserves.|
|2.||Mineral Reserves were generated using the December 31, 2019 mining surface.|
|3.||Mineral Reserves are reported at an NSR cut-off value of $8.95/t for Little Eva and Turkey Creek, $9.35/t for Bedford and Blackard, $10.32/t for Lady Clayre and Scanlan, and $11.44/t for Ivy Ann.|
|4.||Mineral Reserves are reported using copper and gold prices of $2.75/lb and $1,250/oz, respectively.|
|5.||Average process recoveries of 95% for copper sulphide, 63% for native copper, and 78% for gold were used for all deposit areas.|
|6.||Little Eva, Turkey Creek, Bedford, and Lady Clayre have an equivalent 5.3% NSR royalty; Ivy Ann has an equivalent 5.8% royalty.|
|7.||Blackard, Scanlan, and Turkey Creek do not contain gold.|
|8.||Totals may show apparent differences due to rounding.|
|Eva Copper Mineral Resource|
|Total Measured + Indicated||260,659||0.42||0.04||2,419||330|
|Mineral Resource Notes:|
|1.||Joint Ore Reserves Code (JORC) and CIM definitions were followed for Mineral Resources.|
|2.||Mineral Resources are inclusive of Mineral Reserves.|
|3.||Mineral Resources are constrained within a Whittle pit shell generated with a copper price of $3.50/lb, a gold price of $1,250/oz and an exchange rate of AU$1.35 = US$1.00.|
|4.||Density measurements were applied (ranges from 2.4 t/m3 to 3.0 t/m3).|
|5.||Significant figures have been reduced to reflect uncertainty of estimations and therefore numbers may not add due to rounding.|
The 43-101 compliant technical report for the Eva Copper 2020 FS (“Technical Report”) is available on SEDAR at www.SEDAR.com and on the Company’s website at www.CuMtn.com. Ausenco Limited (Ausenco) designed the 2020 process plant and associated site infrastructure for the Eva Copper Project and provided technical input into the preparation of this Technical Report. Klohn Crippen Berger (KCB) designed the 2020 Tailings Storage Facility and provided input to water management. Merit Consultants International (Merit), a division of Cementation Canada Inc., developed the 2020 capital cost, construction management, and execution plan of the Project.
The Mineral Resource estimate for the Eva Copper Project was prepared by Copper Mountain Mining Corporation in accordance with standards as defined by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (“CIM”) “CIM Definition Standards-For Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves”, adopted by CIM Council on May 10, 2014.
Messrs. Paul Staples, Alistair Kent, David Johns, Peter Holbek, Stuart Collins, Mike Westendorf, Roland Bartsch and Richard Klue serve as Qualified Persons as defined by National Instrument 43-101 for the Technical Report related to the Eva Copper Project. Mr. Stuart Collins of SEC Enterprises Corp., who is independent of the Company, is the Qualified Person for Mining and the Mineral Reserve. Mr. Peter Holbek, Vice President, Exploration at Copper Mountain Mining Corporation, is the Qualified Person for the related Mineral Resource. Mr. Alistair Kent, Senior Project Manager for Merit Consultants International, who is independent of the Company, is the Qualified Person for the Development Capital Estimate. Mr. Paul Staples, Vice President and Global Practice Lead for Ausenco Limited, who is independent of the Company, is the Qualified Person for Ore Processing. Mr. Richard Klue, Mr. Alistair Kent, Mr. Paul Staples, Mr. Johns, Mr. Peter Holbek, Mr. Mike Westendorf, Mr. Roland Bartsch and Mr. Stuart Collins have reviewed and verified that the technical information related to the Eva Copper Project in this news release is accurate.
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 senior officer and 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.
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 on average approximately 90 million pounds of copper equivalent annually. Copper Mountain also has the development-stage Eva Copper Project in Queensland, Australia and an extensive 4,000 km2 highly prospective land package in the Mount Isa area.
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