The scope of bcMetals Corporation’s (C-V) Red Chris porphyry copper-gold proposed mine in northwestern British Columbia has been increased from a 25,000 to a 27,500 tonne per day operation over an 18-year mine life. The proposed mine site is located 12 km east of Highway 37 and will need a 100 km transmission line to plug into the province’s power grid.
AMEC E&C Services’ original bankable feasibility study is to include capital cost estimates for the project and should be completed this fall. AMEC was recently commissioned to begin a parallel bankable feasibility study for a 50,000 tonne per day operation alongside its ongoing 25,000 tonne per day bankable feasibility study.
The company recently became the sole owner of the property. bcMetals said that a 10 million tonne per year production rate was deemed to be better considering that it would be footing the entire bill for the project whose capital costs are not yet known.
At a 27,500 tonne per day production rate, concentrate production is estimated to be 166,000 dry tonnes grading 27% copper and 12 grams gold per tonne over the first five years or 95 million pounds copper and 62,000 ounces of gold per year.
A new power transmission line must be constructed to connect the project to B.C. Hydro’s power grid thanks to high fuel costs killing the viability of generating power for the project. The line would start at the Bob Quinn airport turnoff on Highway 37 some 110 km south of the Red Chris mine site.
The company says that connecting Red Chris to the power grid makes economic sense because it would only be required to pay around US$0.025 per kilowatt hour as a large industrial user. Uncertainties concerning the final capacity of a new power transmission line remain, however.