BRITISH COLUMBIA - THOMPSON CREEK METALS of Toronto has announced plans to increase molybdenum production by 43% from the Endako mine near Fraser Lake. The project will cost an estimated Cdn$373 million by the time it is completed in Q2 2010. Annual moly production will grow to 16.0 million lb from the current level of 11.2 million lb.
The feasibility report for the expansion project was prepared by HATCH. It evaluated the potential to increase the milling rate to 50,000 t/d of ore from the current 28,000 t/d (a 78% increase). The capital cost estimate includes acquiring new equipment for the mine and mill and increasing roasting capacity to 21.0 million lb a year, and a $44-million contingency, but it does not include costs related to new mine equipment for sustained operation at current production rates.
To expand the mill throughput, new crushing, grinding and flotation circuits will be needed. Proposals call for adding one SAG and two ball mills, seven stages of rougher-scavengers, and three stages of cleaners to the flowsheet. The resulting improvements in the process are expected to add four points to the recovery rate.
Based on molybdenum price assumptions made by management and used in the study, the internal rate of return (IRR) for the expanded operation would be 21.3% over a 16-year mine life. In July 2007, Thompson Creek restated the Endako resource estimate, saying it would provide 27 more years of life for the project at current production rates. The increased milling rate will reduce the project life to 16 years.
Mining at Endako was interrupted by a slide that occurred on the evening on Nov. 12 at the east end of the pit. A shovel was partially buried, but the operator sustained only a minor injury. Milling continues using material from the Denak West pit and an ore stockpile.
The Endako mine is owned 75% by Thompson Creek Metals (the operator) and 25% by Sojitz Corp., a Japanese company. Visit the website at www.ThompsonCreekMetals.com.