Mr. Brian Kynoch reports
IMPERIAL REPORTS PRODUCTION FOR 2019 SECOND QUARTER
Imperial Metals Corp.'s metal production from the Red Chris and Mount Polley mines for the 2019 second quarter was 19.12 million pounds copper and 12,052 ounces gold.
Red Chris second quarter metal production was 17.60 million pounds copper and 7,580 ounces gold. Copper production was up from the first quarter by 26%, while gold production was down by 10%. Gold production was down on lower grade as virtually all mill feed came from the Main zone, with less feed coming from the mid pit area where gold grades are higher. Metal recoveries were 76.20% copper and 42.56% gold, compared to 73.84% copper and 48.06% gold achieved in the first quarter.
The Company is working to obtain the necessary approvals and consents for the previously announced sale of a 70% interest in the Red Chris project to Newcrest Mining Limited.
Several factors that contributed to a strong production improvement in the quarter include:
Improved primary haul truck fleet availability that enabled pit production targets to be met and targeted copper and gold grades were delivered.
- Unscheduled downtime was reduced substantially and a 91.6% plant availability was achieved versus the 89.6% budgeted.
- During the quarter, tonnes per operating hour (TPOH) averaged 1,348, a 12.6% increase from the prior quarter's average of 1,197 TPOH.
- With the better availability and processing rate, 2.694 million tonnes were treated compared to 2.368 million tonnes in the previous quarter, a 14% increase.
- Copper recovery improved and averaged 76.2% versus the previous quarter's average of 73.8%.
During the third quarter Red Chris management plans to focus on:
Maximizing throughput through optimization of the pebble crusher and other debottlenecking initiatives to increase throughput rates. These efforts are achieving the desired result; for the first 20 days in July the plant treated an average of 1,454 TPOH, and on July 19, 2019 set a new record for daily throughput of 38,823 tonnes.
- Completion of the tailings dam construction using both Red Chris equipment and personnel, and TNDC (a Tahltan construction company).
- Confirm that installation of additional column cell residence time would improve plant recoveries by completing a program of test work using a recently installed pilot sized cleaning cell in the circuit.
Mount Polley metal production for the two months prior to the suspension of operations in late May 2019 was 1.52 million pounds copper and 4,472 ounces gold. Mill throughput from the low grade stockpiles averaged 16,432 tonnes per calendar day for April and May, and metal recoveries were 28.92% copper and 46.60% gold as low grade, oxidized stockpiles were treated.
A care and maintenance team is in place to look after the site and complete the final work on rehabilitation of Hazeltine Creek during the suspension of operations.
Subsequent to the quarter end, USW-Local 1937 was certified as bargaining agent for certain employees at the Red Chris mine. This certification follows the reconsideration of a previous decision by the Labour Relations Board. The company has filed a petition seeking judicial review of the Labour Relations Board's reconsideration decision.
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% interest in the Ruddock Creek zinc/lead property. In March 2019, Imperial announced it had entered into an agreement to sell a 70% interest in its Red Chris asset to Newcrest Mining Limited for US$806.5 million, while retaining a 30% interest. Imperial and Newcrest will form a joint venture for the operation of the Red Chris asset going forward, with Newcrest acting as operator.
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