Nevada Copper Corp. [NCU-TSX] has announced the results of a pre-feasibility study for an open pit mine at its 100%-owned, fully permitted Pumpkin Hollow Project 100 miles southeast of Reno, near Yerington, Nevada.
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.
Pumpkin Hollow hosts an underground mine that is currently in construction and is expected to see first production by the fourth quarter of 2019.
The permitted open pit development project is located 4 km west of the underground mine.
Within the property, the western deposits, consisting of the North and South deposits, represent the proposed open pit project.
The pre-feasibility study (PFS) is based on open pit measured and indicated resources of 553 million tonnes, grading 0.45% copper, 0.07 g/t gold, and 1.85 g/t silver per ton. That amounts to 5.0 billion pounds of contained copper, 879,000 ounce of gold and 29.78 million ounces of silver.
The PFS for the open pit foresees a mine life of 19 years, with peak annual copper production of 11,000 tonnes (244 million pounds) at a cash cost of US$1.73 a pound net of by-product credits.
The initial Capex is forecast at US$672 million and envisages a phased production growth consisting of an initial production scale of 37,000 tonnes per day, rising to 70,000 tonnes and flexibility over timing of the expansion.
“We are very pleased with the new PFS for our open pit project at Pumkin Hollow,” said Nevada Copper President and CEO Matt Gili. “The results clearly illustrate the potential to put this large, open pit project into production with a further improved internal rate of return and continued low capital and operating costs,” he said.
The 2018 completed drill program included in the open pit PFS has successfully extended the open pit mineralization, the company said in a press release.
Importantly, it also highlights the need for further drilling to test the full extent of the deposit and to continue expanding and upgrading the open pit resources.
The PFS proposes development of the open pit project independently from the company’s underground project.
The open pit project is expected to provide direct employment for up to 500 hourly and staff personnel across different phases of the life-of-mine. During the construction phase, the peak work force is expected to be approximately 600 to 800.
The Pumpkin Hollow site is currently accessible via an existing network of roads designed for heavy equipment and other vehicles. Power for the open pit project will be drawn from the existing network of transmission lines located adjacent to the site.
On Friday, Nevada Copper shares rose 2.50% or $0.01 to 41 cents. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of 33 cents and 72 cents.