Mr. Brian Kynoch reports
IMPERIAL REPORTS PRODUCTION FOR 2019 FIRST QUARTER
Imperial Metals Corp. had metal production from its Red Chris and Mount Polley mines for the first quarter of 15.41 million pounds copper and 14,463 ounces gold.
Red Chris first quarter metal production was 13.10 million pounds copper and 8,317 ounces gold. Mill throughput averaged 26,315 tonnes per calendar day during the first quarter, down from the 28,783 achieved in the same quarter last year. Metal recoveries were 73.84 per cent copper and 48.06 per cent gold, compared with 77.22 per cent copper and 47.37 per cent gold in the comparable 2018 quarter.
The reduced throughput and recovery in the quarter were the result of challenges with water reclaim quantity and quality. A large portion of the available water in the tailings impoundment area became unavailable due to freezing, owing to extreme cold temperatures. Operations were sustained by utilizing the available free water to continue operations at a reduced rate. The period of reduced operations extended from about Feb. 9 to March 28, with warming temperatures and adjusted tailings deposition management providing sufficient water for operations to return to normal throughput rates.
Mount Polley first quarter metal production was 2.31 million pounds copper and 6,147 ounces gold. Mill throughput averaged 13,653 tonnes per calendar day during the first quarter. Metal recoveries were 38.37 per cent copper and 57.47 per cent gold, compared with 75.67 per cent copper and 73.75 per cent gold in the comparable 2018 quarter. Copper oxide percentages in the 2019 first quarter averaged 40.9 per cent, up substantially from the average of 13.4 per cent in the comparable 2018 quarter. Copper oxide content negatively impacted metal recoveries as copper oxide minerals do not respond well to flotation recovery methods.
Extremely cold winter temperatures also affected the Mount Polley mill throughput during the first quarter. Freezing ore in chutes and stockpiles limited the milling rates from the latter part of January into late February. During February, 2019, only 9,764 dry metric tonnes were treated per calendar day milled, versus 17,531 dry metric tonnes treated during February, 2018. Warmer temperatures in March improved mill throughput, which averaged over 16,000 tonnes per day in March and about 18,000 tonnes per day for the first 20 days of April. Milling of low-grade stockpiles is targeted to continue to the end of May, 2019, at which time the mine will be placed on care and maintenance until there is a sustained improvement in the price of copper.
About Imperial Metals Corp.
Imperial is a Vancouver-based exploration, mine development and operating company. The company, through its subsidiaries, owns the Red Chris, Mount Polley and Huckleberry copper mines in British Columbia. Imperial also holds a 50-per-cent interest in the Ruddock Creek lead/zinc property. Imperial recently announced an agreement with Newcrest to sell a 70-per-cent interest in Red Chris to Newcrest for $806.5-million (U.S.), while retaining a 30-per-cent interest in the mine.
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