Canadian Mining Journal


COPPER-GOLD: Imperial cites low prices in decision to suspend Mount Polley mining

The Mount Polley mill will continue to operate until the end of May 2019 to treat low grade stockpiles. (Image: Imperial Metals)

BRITISH COLUMBIA – Vancouver-based Imperial Metals Corp. says the low price of copper is responsible for its decision to suspend mining at its Mount Polley copper-gold project 55 km northeast of Williams Lake. Processing of low grade stockpiles will continue to the end of May 2019.

The company says the suspension will not impact the mine’s ongoing environmental monitoring and remediation program.

Mount Polley was the site of a devastating tailings dam failure in August 2014. Millions – or by some estimates billions – of litres of raw tails spewed into the south end of Polley Lake, down Hazeltine Creek and into Quesnel Lake. Imperial bore the cleanup costs that eventually reached $70 million.

The open pit mine was recently treating 16,800 tonnes of ore daily. In 2018 the operation had guidance of 77.5 million lb. of copper and 82,700 oz. of gold.

Imperial says it will reopen Mount Polley when the copper price rebounds, and the project becomes economically sound. Meanwhile, mining will continue at Red Chris 80 km south of Dease Lake.

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