YUKON – The fifth phase of the pre-feasibility study for an expansion of the Minto copper-gold mine 240 km north of Whitehorse has been received by Capstone Mining of Vancouver. The study recommends increasing mill throughput to 3,750 t/d to process ore from mineralized areas discovered in 2009 and 2010 and not considered in previous studies. Over a 10-year mine life, approximately 400 million lb of copper would be recovered.
The net present value is estimated at C$284 million before tax and C$206 million after tax, using a constant US$2.75/lb copper price for un-hedged production and a 7.5% discount rate.
Proven and probable open pit and underground mineral reserves have increased to 12.9 million tonnes grading 1.53% Cu, 0.60 g/t Au, and 5.2 g/t Ag, for a contained 435 million lb of copper, 247,000 oz of gold and 2.2 million oz of silver.
Life-of-mine capital cost will be C$76.0 million (excluding a closure cost allowance of $16 million), primarily based on an assumption of conversion to self-mining, which decision will be subject to a cost-benefit analysis vs. remaining with contract mining. Capital costs include C$32.0 million for an open pit mining fleet, C$18.3 million for underground equipment, C$15.8 million for underground development, C$5.0 million for mill updates plus C$3.1 million for contingency and C$1.8 million for sustaining capital.
Life-of-mine cash costs are estimated at US$1.34/lb of payable copper, after by-product credits (with gold at US$300/oz and silver at US$3.90/oz, as per Capstone’s agreement with Silver Wheaton).
More information about the Minto mine, as well as Capstone’s Kutcho and Cozamin projects, is available at www.CapstoneMining.com.