Key progress milestones at Pumpkin Hollow underground mine and open pit project
Nevada Copper Corp has provided a project progress update, including the achievement of key milestones on Nevada Copper's underground and open pit projects at Pumpkin Hollow.
Nevada Copper continues to make rapid progress with the restart of construction of its 5,000 tons/day underground mine project, with the aim of first copper production in 2019. In parallel, it is evaluating development alternatives with respect to its large-scale open pit project with a new staged-development approach.
Nevada Copper has signed an agreement with Sedgman Limited, a market leader in the design, construction and operation of mining plants and infrastructure, to advance critical path engineering services and the procurement of long lead time items. The signing of this contract allows for the continuation of detailed engineering and design during the negotiation and finalisation of ongoing EPC contract discussions.
The Company has executed a technical services contract with Mining Plus for further pre-construction mine design work and key areas of detailed engineering for the underground mine. This scope includes facilitation and administration of the ongoing tender process to appoint an underground mining contractor.
Drilling has commenced on site, focused on select underground geotechnical targets intended to provide additional information for detailed mine planning, including the location of the secondary vent shaft, and to further de-risk the commencement of underground development and mining.
An initial 10,000-meter surface drilling campaign is focused on high-value targets which Nevada Copper believes have significant upside potential, including expanding areas of high-grade mineralisation primarily in the North deposit and converting waste and inferred material into proven and probable reserves.
The drilling program targets waste-to-ore conversion both within the North Pit and in the Northern Extension and Connector Zones which were previously untested due to the timing of the land transfer program that was completed in 2015.
The full details of the planned drilling program were announced in a November 28, 2017, news release which is available on the Company's website and on SEDAR.
Nevada Copper has engaged two leading global mining engineering companies, Golder Associates and Sedgman Engineering, to evaluate the opportunity to significantly enhance the economics of an open pit project development. The concept study will focus on the potential for a reduced-capital, a staged-development approach focused initially on the high-grade North Pit.
By applying the same 'margin-over-tons' operating philosophy demonstrated in the re-scoped underground project in the Company's previously announced Technical Report, Nevada Copper believes there is potential to significantly reduce open pit capital costs while retaining full optionality over a larger-scale project. As results from the ongoing drilling program are received, opportunities to further reduce stripping and increase mill feed head grades early in the mine life will also be evaluated.
Abraham Jonker, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Nevada Copper, commented: "The engagement of two highly-regarded engineering firms, Golder Associates and Sedgman Engineering, allows the Company to advance its plans to define an optimised approach to its large-scale open pit, whilst continuing its focus on the near-term restart of construction of the underground mine and Nevada Copper's swift transition to becoming North America's next copper producer."