The 15,000-tpd Similkameen open-pit copper mine, 10 miles south of Princeton, B.C., started production during 1972. The two main ore zones are separated by the deep canyon of the Similkameen River, with the Ingerbelle or western deposit being mined first. The location, design and construction of the plant were complicated by the steep terrain and the situation of the orebodies. Mining, utilizing 10-cu.yd electric shovels and 100-ton electric-wheel trucks, is conventional. Closely integrated with the preproduction mining was the construction of a 4-mile section of main highway to bypass the lngerbelle pit. This entailed a very large fill, placed with mine equipment. Ore is crushed to minus 9 inches, stockpiled and reclaimed for direct delivery to three 32-ft-diameter by 14 ft single-stage autogenous grinding mills, each driven by two 4000-hp motors. Because of the friable ore in the upper part of the mine, 4-inch balls are added, with higher than design throughput attained. Classification is by 91>-inch spiral classifiers and cyclones. The flotation section comprises three parallel lines of ten 400-cu.ft rougher- scavenger cells and a single line of 100-cu.ft cleaner and recleaner cells. Concentrate is transported in enddump, closed trucks to Vancouver for dockside storage prior to shipment to the smelter. Tailings are piped across the canyon on a suspension bridge and through a tunnel to an empoundment area. Water is reclaimed and returned to the concentrator, forming a closed system. Dams are raised with cycloned ands, with the downstream section compacted.
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