Nevada Copper Corp. [NCU-TSX] shares tumbled Thursday after the company said it requires additional financing in order the complete the ramp-up of the underground mine at its Pumpkin Hollow copper operation in Yerington, Nevada.
The shares eased 14.3% or $0.015 to $0.09 on volume of 367,950 in early trading. The shares previously traded in a 52-week range of 40 cents and 10.5 cents.
As previously disclosed, Nevada Copper has fully drawn US$25 million of debt pursuant to a deferred funding agreement with its two largest shareholders, Pala Investments Ltd. and Mercuria Holdings (Singapore) Ptd Ltd. While Pala has continued to support the company it is under no obligation to do so, said Nevada Copper, adding that is also in discussions with third parties.
“There is no assurance that additional financing will be obtained in a sufficient amount, or at all,’’ it said in a press release. “In the absence of securing sufficient funding from Pala or other parties, the company will not be able to continue carrying on business.’’
Pumpkin Hollow is a high-grade skarn/iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) deposit located within a porphyry copper district within the Walker Lane mineral belt of western Nevada.
The project hosts an underground mine as well as a permitted open pit development project located four kilometres west of the underground mine.
“Since restarting the mining and milling operations, we’ve made progress in a number of areas, including the completion of life of mine projects such as the Geho dewatering system and phase two of the underground crushing and ore handling system, development of significant stope inventory underground realignment of the site operations team, under the leadership of Chuck Pollard, as Assistant General Manager,’’ said Nevada Copper President and CEO Randy Buffington.
“However, several unforeseen setbacks impacted our progress on meeting operational targets,’’ he said. “We took critical steps and refocused resources to mitigate and address these issues. The hoisting and ore handling system has returned to full capacity and mill operations continue to incrementally improve with over two months of mill feed stockpiled on surface.’’
Buffington went on to say that while he is disappointed that these challenges have negatively impacted the company’s ability to meet hoisting and processing targets, it will continue to ramp up towards steady state operations.
In a project update, the company said a number of challenges impacted its progress in the fourth quarter. It said a build up of water underground from increased development activities prior to completing the Geho dewatering pump project caused several delays in progress including hoisting, capital projects construction, development and operations.
The mill restarted in October, 2023, and operated intermittently throughout the fourth quarter of 2023. The milling and flotation circuits operated well, achieving expected recoveries of during periods of stable operations. However, unanticipated bottlenecks were encountered in the thickener and tails filter presses that caused repeated mill shutdowns.