Nevada Copper Corp. [NCU-TSX] said Monday it has shipped the first copper concentrate from its flagship Pumpkin Hollow underground project in Nevada. Production at Pumpkin Hollow’s processing plant began on December 16, 2019, utilizing development ore stockpiled during the underground mine construction.
The company expects to complete the ramp up to full commercial production in the first half of 2020.
Nevada Copper shares advanced on the news, rising 4.3% or $0.015 to 36 cents on volume of 325,850. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of 18.5 cents and 53 cents.
“Our first shipment of copper concentrate has left Pumpkin Hollow, representing another important milestone as we look forward to continuing our ramp-up to full commercial production in 2010,” said Nevada Copper CEO Matt Gili.
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 that is currently moving into the production phase as well as a permitted open pit development project located four kilometres west of the underground mine.
Nevada Copper is expected to produce 31 million pounds of copper in 2010, which compares to an average of 50 million pounds over a 14-year mine life. During the first five years of production, the all-in-sustaining cost is expected to be US$1.86 a pound. The life of mine all-in-sustaining cost is expected to be US$1.96 a pound.
On Tuesday, copper was trading on the spot market at US$2.82 a pound.
Nevada Copper recently announced the results of a pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the open pit mine, which is expected to be developed independently from the underground mine.
The 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.
It envisages 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.
The open pit mine 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.