Imperial Metals releases B.C. production update

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Imperial Metals Corp. (III-TSX) said it achieved its 2023 production target by producing 30.1 million pounds of copper and 41,834 ounces of gold at its Mount Polley mine in British Columbia.

Imperial’s principal properties in British Columbia include the wholly-owned Mount Polley and Huckleberry copper mines, plus the 30%-owned Red Chris mine, which is now 70%-owned by Newmont Corp. [NGT-TSX, NEM-NYSE].

Newmont acquired the Red Chris interest via its acquisition of Australian company Newcrest Mining Ltd. The acquisition was completed during the fourth quarter of 2023.

Mount Polley is an open pit copper/gold mine located in south-central British Columbia, 56 kilometres northeast of Williams Lake. The mine is 100%-owned by an Imperial subsidiary.

During the fourth quarter, 1.56 million tonnes of ore were treated at Mount Polley, (up 44.6% compared with the Q4, 2022). During the quarter 8.34 million pounds of copper (up 120.5% from Q4 2022) and 10,349 ounces of gold (up 48% from Q4 2022) were produced.

With the damaged third ball mill returned to service in October, the November mill throughput averaged 19,609 tonnes per day, and from December 20 to December 30, mill throughput averaged 20,076 tonnes per day. With all mills operational, the plant is nearing historic throughput highs and achieving better availability while maintaining strong copper and gold recoveries.

The 2024 production target for Mount Polley is 34 million to 37 million pounds of copper and 37,000 to 41,000 ounces of gold.

Imperial Metals shares were unchanged Thursday at $2.25 and trade in a 52-week range of $2.85 and $1.70.

Imperial said details about Red Chris mine production will be released when the reconciled information is received from Newmont.

Newmont noted, in a presentation, that considerations for 2024 include “taking time to access and integrate the Newcrest assets; thoughtful approach to longterm view.’’

Prior to the Newmont takeover, Imperial said its partnership with Newcrest aimed to leverage Newcrest’s technical expertise in block caving operations.

Imperial previously said the Red Chris Block Cave feasibility study was expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.

In its latest press release, Imperial said Newmont has since taken over the block cave feasibility study with further details to be released by Imperial when the information is received from Newmont.

During the quarter, diamond drill rigs continued to explore at Red Chris. Diamond drilling was focused in the East zone block cave area gathering geological and geotechnical information.

Block cave development continues with the second ventilation raise bore expected to be on schedule for completion within the first half of 2024. The ramp is more than halfway to the extraction level elevation.

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