YUKON – Western Copper of Vancouver has updated pre-feasibility study for the Casino copper-gold project 300 km northwest of Whitehorse. Notably, the size of the proposed open pit, mill and heap leach operation has been increased to 120,000 t/d. At that rate, the Casino project would produce 435,000 o of gold, 234 million lb of copper, 13 million lb of molybdenum, and 1.6 million oz of silver annually during the first four years of production.
The initial capital investment is estimated at $2.13 billion, but the payback period would be less than four years. Capital will be spent for mine and processing plant development ($1.76 billion), a power plant ($260 million) and infrastructure ($120 million). The pre-tax internal rate of return will be 19.6% and the pre-tax net present value will be $1.6 billion.
Western Copper calculated the mining and milling operating costs at $9.70/tonne of ore processed over the life of mine. Heap leach operating costs were calculated to average $2.96/tonne of ore leached over the life of mine.
The study used both milling and leaching ore to calculate proven and probable reserves. The portion suitable for milling will be 976 million tonnes grading 0.202% Cu 0.238 g/t Au, 0.0229% Mo and 1.73 g/t Ag. The leachable material is estimated to be 82 million tonnes grading 0.041% Cu, 0.370 g/t Au and 2.55 g/t Ag (no recoverable molybdenum).
Older technical reports covering the Casino project are available at www.WesternCopperCorp.com, and the most recent will be posted soon.