A miner’s work is never done, and Copper Mountain Mining (TSX:CUM) has certainly illustrated that maxim this year. The company has been working hard to construct a secondary crusher at its Copper Mountain mine in Southern British Columbia, and is set to reap huge benefits with the project’s completion on time and on budget today.
The Copper Mountain mine, which has been producing since the summer of 2011, is Copper Mountain Mining’s flagship asset. The property’s copper resource still has significant exploration upside, and the project is 75-percent owned by Copper Mountain through a strategic alliance with Mitsubishi Materials (TSE:8058).
Copper Mountain started testing ore with the new $40-million crusher earlier this week and reported today that “since then, commissioning of the crusher is progressing smoothly.” The permanent machine will replace temporary portable crushing units put in place over the previous 12 months. Those will now be dismantled, and Copper Mountain says that the switch “will reduce operating costs at the site.”
Copper Mountain’s president and CEO, Jim O’Rourke, said in today’s release, “[t]he benefits to the mine will be immediate. By reducing the size of the SAG Mill feed down to minus 2 inches we are confident that the mine will achieve our production expectations.”
In other words, the secondary crusher will allow Copper Mountain’s mill to be more efficient, upping its capacity from 32,000 tpd to 35,000 tpd, according to a February press release from Copper Mountain. That’s because the crusher will turn out smaller-sized feed.
Hard work pays off
That isn’t to say Copper Mountain has waited until now to increase the mill’s throughput. Last year, the miner implemented short-term measures to help the mill along; for instance, it increased the powder factor in the blasting of ore and added the three portable crushers mentioned above. Although those changes proved successful, Copper Mountain didn’t stop there. The team has worked hard to ensure that the addition of a permanent secondary crusher will provide even better efficiency for the SAG mill.
O’Rourke is proud of the work his team has put into improving the mine’s production, stating, “[w]e are extremely pleased with everyone’s efforts that have allowed us to bring the addition of this new secondary crusher into operation within our timeframe and budget. Our team has successfully met and overcome all the challenges to complete the project in the seven month construction schedule.”
Notably, Copper Mountain has also managed to tie the new secondary crusher into the existing 1-kilometer overland conveyor used to transfer ore to the primary crusher without any interruption to operations at SAG. Certainly, the completion of the project on budget and in such a short time frame is a testament to Copper Mountain’s management practices and commitment to its shareholders, points that deserve attention from long-term investors interested in producing mines.
At close of day on today, the company’s shares were up 3.77 percent, trading at $2.75.
Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no investment interest in any of the companies mentioned.