VANCOUVER, March 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Copper North Mining Corp. ("Copper North" or the "Company") (TSX.V: COL) announces changes to the plans for development and closure of the Carmacks Copper Mine ("Carmacks") located in the Yukon, Canada.
The Carmacks Copper Mine is a proposed open-pit mine which will utilize acid heap leaching technology to extract copper, and a solvent extraction and electrowinning processing facility to remove copper from solution and produce copper cathode. The mine has obtained a Quartz Mining Licence and is permitted to start construction. Once in operation, it will produce approximately 32 million pounds of cathode copper per year at an estimated cash cost of US$0.84/lb of copper based on a positive Feasibility Study completed in May 2007. Copper North has commissioned an update of the 2007 Feasibility Study which is expected to be complete at the end of the second quarter 2012 (see News Release dated, February 1, 2012).
The design changes to the Heap Leach Facility ("HLF") are part of the Company's on-going project optimization plan which focuses primarily on operations and closure of the HLF. The design changes are directed toward improving operational management of the HLF and to ensure successful closure by implementing industry standard closure technology. Copper North believes that these changes (which are currently under review by the Yukon regulators) will address the issues raised by the Yukon Water Board in response to the previous Water Use License ("WUL") Application (QZ08-084).
The Company has engaged Golder Associates ("Golder") to prepare a revised feasibility level design for the permanent HLF, to update the site wide water balance, and to incorporate the water quality model into the water balance model as Copper North prepares its re-application for a WUL.
In addition, Copper North has engaged the service of HydroGeoSense Inc. ("HydroGeoSense") HydroGeoSense was established in 2009 by Principal Hydrogeologist and leaching industry veteran, Amado Guzman. HydroGeoSense provides hydrodynamic services to the mining and environmental industries from process design, operational troubleshooting, to closure of facilities.
HLF Operation and Closure
Development of the permanent HLF will be modified to include the use of inter-lift liners. The inter-lift liners will function to promote leaching efficiency by preventing pregnant leachate solution ("PLS") from entering previously leached ore lifts and expediting the PLS flow to the process plant. The benefits of inter-lift liners include:
- Ensuring good heap permeability throughout operation
- Reducing the copper inventory in the heap
- Reduced water treatment and sludge generation during operations and closure
The plan for closure of the HLF will be modified to include an enhanced store and release cover optimized to limit water infiltration into the closed heap. Neutralization of the spent ore prior to capping has been eliminated from the closure plan. This conventional closure approach of oxide copper heaps has emerged as an industry standard around the world. The expected benefits of these closure modifications include:
- Volume of water draining from the heap at closure is significantly reduced - drastically reducing the volume of water requiring treatment and therefore the quantity of sludge generated by the water treatment plant.
Water Quality Model & Discharge Management Plan
The development of a new, dynamic Water Quality Model that will be integrated with the site wide water balance has been commissioned by the Company. Integration of the water quality and the site wide water balance will demonstrate how variations in environmental and operating conditions will affect water quality originating from the site.
Further, the Discharge Management Plan is being reviewed by the Company and its consultants with a view to adopting site-specific, end-of-pipe effluent quality standards.
Dr. Sally Eyre, President and Chief Executive Officer of Copper North stated "Implementation of these design changes will significantly enhance the operational management of the Carmacks Copper Mine and will ensure the Closure Plan is in-line with global industry standard closure technology for the successful closure of copper heaps. We continue to work constructively with the regulators as we further advance mine development and optimization".
About Copper North
Copper North is a Canadian mineral exploration and development company. Copper North's mineral resource assets include the Carmacks Copper Project located in the Yukon, and the high-grade, stratiform-copper Redstone Deposit, located in the Northwest Territories. Copper North trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol COL. Please visit www.coppernorthmining.com.
On behalf of the Board of Directors:
"Sally L. Eyre"
Dr. Sally L. Eyre
President, CEO and Director
This news release includes certain "forward-looking statements" There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. In making the forward-looking statements in this release, the Company has applied certain factors and assumptions that the Company believes are reasonable. Forward-looking statements in this release are subject to numerous risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those express or implied in such forward-looking statements. The Company expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise except as otherwise required by applicable securities legislation.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
For further information:
Peter Oates, Manager, Investor Relations