(TSXV: MIN) shares have jumped 17% since the company tabled a positive feasibility study on the North Star deposit of its Gunnison copper project in southeastern Arizona.
The project, located in Cochise County, is a 2.5-hour drive southeast from Phoenix and 105 km southeast of Tucson. The Dec. 5 feasibility study, completed by Tucson-based M3 Engineering & Technology Corp., envisions North Star as a low-cost copper in-situ recovery (ISR) mine, with a 24-year mine life.
Excelsior’s CEO Stephen Twyerould says the feasibility study is the “last major technical milestone” before the company receives final operating permits in 2017.
North Star’s initial production rate is 25 million lb. a year of copper cathode using the adjacent Johnson camp mine facilities, which Excelsior acquired last December from Nord Resources. Excelsior paid US$5.2 million on closing the agreement and has another US$3.2 million in payments due by the end of 2017.
Following initial production, the company intends to expand annual production to 75 million lb. in year four, and then to 125 million lb. in year seven. The final stage would require the construction of an acid plant. That should occur in year six and will significantly reduce the amount Excelsior spends on sulfuric acid.
The study advises staging the production profile so Excelsior could fund future expansions out of cash flow.
Read the entire story at The Northern Miner.