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Nevada Copper provides operational activity update

Published by
Global Mining Review,


Nevada Copper Corp. has provided an operations update and overview of the 2H21 milestones achieved at its underground mine at the Pumpkin Hollow Project (the underground mine).

 

The company has experienced a significant reset and demonstrated significant operational and corporate improvements in 2H21. These milestones provide a foundation for an accelerating pace of operational ramp-up.

“I am very pleased with the progress the company has made in 2H21,” stated Randy Buffington, President and CEO. “Our mining rates, a key metric for ramp-up production advancement, have been increasing month over month. We are now seeing the efficiencies generated from the advanced management systems implemented in 3Q21. The building blocks are in place for increased mining rates and production as we move into 1H22.”

Operations

  • Equipment availabilities materially improved: 14% improvement from 65% to 74% in total fleet availability since the beginning of 4Q21. Additional equipment expected to be added in 4Q21.
  • Contractor performance improved: Productivity increased by 31% from 1.75 to 2.29 ft per person shift between October and November, resulting in substantial improvement in operating efficiency as well as cost reductions.
  • Increased mining development rates: Sequential monthly increases in development rates, a key leading indicator of production ramp-up, delivered since management changes in August 2021. Rates achieved in December are currently 50% higher than August. Commissioning of additional bolters planned to deliver a further 50% increase in development rates in the coming weeks.
  • Consistent mill performance: Milling operations have performed well throughout 2021, with batch processing reaching 4700 tpd, recoveries over 90% and concentrate quality performing in-line with design specifications.
  • Dike crossing completion: First crossing of the water bearing dike was completed in August 2021, and the second crossing is anticipated to occur later this year. No further crossings are required during the ramp up to 3000 tpd expected in 1H22.
  • Ventilation infrastructure in place: All underground ventilation infrastructure was completed in 1H21. Final addition of surface ventilation fans remains on schedule, with commissioning planned to be completed in January 2022, with ventilation no longer expected to be a constraint to production rates thereafter.

Corporate

  • Transformational financing completed:
    • Closed CAN$125 mililion public equity offering in November 2021, with a significant portion of the funds provided by select mining sector corporates. This was further complemented by broad participation from other new and existing institutional investors.
    • The upsized financing provides additional liquidity to fund exploration and expansion studies at the company’s opencast project in addition to the ramp-up of underground mine.
  • Significantly enhanced balance sheet flexibility:
    • Long term debt reduced by approximately 30% during 4Q21.
    • First debt repayment under the company’s senior credit facility with KfW-IPEX Bank deferred by two years to July 2024.
  • Hiring of key management positions:
    • Joining as CEO on 6 October 2021, Randy Buffington brings substantial operational and development experience in both underground and opencast mines in Nevada and internationally.
    • Eight key operational management positions added in 2H21, resulting in operational improvement and enhanced planning and execution systems.

Development

  • Developed programme for opencast project resource extension and feasibility study: The budget and execution plan have been defined and the company expects that drilling to support the updated opencast feasibility study will commence in 2Q22, potentially sooner depending on drill rig availability.
  • Opencast project decarbonisation programme advanced:
    • Solar power studies were completed in 2021, which show:
      • Pumpkin Hollow benefits from ample sun and land to support a large solar project with the capacity to meet a significant portion of the opencast project’s power requirements.
      • The solar potential at the site is up to 200 MW.
      • The already low grid power costs in Nevada could be further reduced through an on-site solar plant.
      • A third-party solar project provides an option to remove upfront power infrastructure costs from the opencast project.
  • Electric fleet study for mobile mining equipment fleet electrification at the opencast project was completed by US-based energy and sustainability consultant Sprout Energy, which concluded:
    • Scope 1 carbon emissions over the life of mine could be reduced by approximately 10% of total estimated emissions.
    • Fuel and maintenance costs could be reduced by up to approximately US$200 million over the life of mine.

Exploration

  • Undertook further property reconnaissance on the Copper Ridge Area, which is located to the northeast of the opencast.
  • Defined target exploration plan: Initiated further refinement and interpretation of the newer geophysics in key areas such as Tedeboy, Tedeboy porphyry and Copper Ridge.
  • Initial grab sampling and mapping of these areas have resulted in areas with high grade copper samples. Surface mapping and sampling are planned for 1Q22, supporting the commencement of drilling in 2Q22.

Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/exploration-development/10122021/nevada-copper-provides-operational-activity-update/

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US mining news Copper mining news Opencast mine news