November 2010

The way forward

By Peter Caulfield

Engineers conducting environmental planning | Photo courtesy of Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc.


Terrane Metals Corp. was created in 2006 when Goldcorp Inc. sold its copper and gold project, Mt. Milligan, to Rob Pease and his partners. However, Terrane could not secure the financing to begin construction. “In the end, we had to sell the company in order to build the mine,” says Pease, former president and CEO of Terrane. On October 20, 2010, Denver-based molybdenum miner Thompson Creek Metals Company acquired all of the issued and outstanding equity of Terrane. The total value of consideration paid to the shareholders of Terrane was approximately $700 million, of which approximately $420 million was paid in cash, and the remainder was from the issuance of approximately 24.3 million shares of Thompson Creek.

Industry analysts say the project, which should commence production sometime in 2013, could kick start the B.C. mining industry as a whole, as well as benefit local First Nations and job seekers in central B.C.

Shovel-ready

Mt. Milligan is 155 kilometres northwest of Prince George in central British Columbia — about 150 kilometres northeast of Thompson Creek’s Endako Mine. Mt. Milligan has proven and probable reserves of about 2.1 billion pounds of copper and six million ounces of gold. Average annual production over the 22-year lifespan of the mine is forecast to be 81 million pounds of copper and 194,000 ounces of gold. The mine could create up to 400 permanent jobs.

Pease says Mt. Milligan is completely engineered, financed and has almost all of its permits in place. “The mine will be a conventional truck-and-shovel open pit operation that will produce copper concentrate with a high gold content,” Pease says. Mt. Milligan will be developed over the next two and a half years. Commissioning of the mine and mill complex is expected in 2013.

Development is scheduled to commence late in 2010. Key components of the project include a 54,000 tonne-per-day copper flotation process plant, tailings storage facility, plant ancillary facilities and a 92-kilometre power transmission line. Upgrading of a 26-kilometre-long mine access road was 90 per cent complete this fall.

“At the plant site we’ve cleared the building area, and a 600-man construction camp is being assembled.” says Pease. “We expect to be finished that part of the project by the end of 2010, and then we can start pouring concrete and erecting mine buildings in spring 2011.”

Pease adds that according to the mine development plan, the pit will be dug in fall 2011. “By late summer of 2012, we can start processing ore, with full commercial production by the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013,” he says. The concentrate will be transported to port facilities on the coast and shipped to smelters in Japan and Korea.

Logging core samples Employees logging core samples | Photo courtesy of Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc.

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