BRITISH COLUMBIA Copper concentrate production from the Gibraltar mill and refinery near Williams Lake are slated to begin next month, says joint venture partner TASEKO MINES of Vancouver. The other partner, LEDCOR MINING, is responsible for mine operations.
The current plan is to extract 148 million tonnes of sulphide ore over 12 years, producing an average of 70 million lb of copper and 980,000 lb of molybdenum in concentrate annually, beginning in October. Oxide material, when accessed, will also be processed at a rate of up to 10 million lb/year by the solvent extraction-electrowinning plant to produce copper cathode. Substantial additional resources have also been outlined to extend the life of the operation well beyond the current mine plan.
Ledcor personnel were mobilized to site in late May to accelerate preparations for restart. Two shovels, eight haul trucks and two drills were recommissioned for predevelopment mining operations in the Pollyanna pit on June 10. To the end of August, some 3.35 million tonnes of material has been removed to facilitate access to the Pollyanna mineralization.
A new 40-yd P&H 2800XPB shovel arrived at site in early July and was immediately mobilized to the in-pit assembly area where it is being erected for operation in early October. The first of five new 205-t Terex-Unit Rig trucks reached the mine in August. This new equipment, financed by Ledcor for utilization by the joint venture, will be an integral part of the fleet during full mining operations.
Maintenance on other mining equipment and the site facilities is proceeding concurrently with preproduction activities. Reconditioning of the crushing, conveying and concentrating equipment in the mill is being finalized. Testing of the primary and secondary crushers and filling of the fine ore bins is also underway. Mill circuits will be commissioned and concentrate production initiated in early October.
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