YUKON – Vancouver-based Western Copper and Gold Corp. is pleased with the positive feasibility study conducted on its wholly owned Casino copper-gold-molybdenum deposit 300 km northwest of Whitehorse. The study recommends an open pit mine with a 120,000-t/d concentrator and a 25,000-t/d gold heap leach facility. During each of the first four years of operation, the project will produce 399,000 oz of gold, 245 million lb of copper, 15 million lb of molybdenum and 1.8 million oz of silver.
The costs associated with developing the Casino deposit for production from first the heap leach in 2017 and from the concentrator in 2019 is a hefty $2.46 billion, but the project would pay for itself in three years. The pre-tax net present value (8% discount) is $2.82 billion, and after tax $1.83 billion. The pre-tax internal rate of return will be 24.0%, and after tax 20.1%.
Western Copper has made a number of changes to the project since the pre-feasibility study was done in 2011. The heap leach has been changed to a coarse crush and conveyor stacking operation rather than run-of-mine to boost gold recovery to 66%. In the mill flowsheet the pyrite leaching circuit for gold recovery has been omitted, although it might be incorporated at a later date. Electrical power will be generated on the site by a gas-fired power plant fueled with liquefied natural gas trucked to the site from Ft. Nelson, BC. LNG is also the fuel of choice for the haulage trucks.
The total reserve figure at Casino 1.12 billion tonnes, sufficient to supply the heap leach for 18 years and the mill for 22 years. Proven and probable reserves for heap leaching total 157.4 million tonnes grading 0.036% Cu, 0.292 g/t Au and 2.21 g/t Ag. The proven and probable reserves to be milled total 965.2 million tonnes grading 0.204% Cu, 0.240 g/t Au, 0.0227% Mo and 1.74 g/t Ag.
"We are enormously pleased with the Casino feasibility study", said Dale Corman, chairman and CEO of Western Copper. "This study establishes Casino as one of the very few world class, long life, copper-gold projects with robust economics at a feasibly study level. The Yukon is a top mining district, and we look forward to securing permits as our next step of development."
Additional information is available at www.WesternCopperandGold.com.wester