Nevada Copper Corp. provided a progress update including the achievement of key milestones on Nevada Copper's underground and open pit projects at Pumpkin Hollow in Yerington.
The progress demonstrates the company's intention to rapidly accelerate toward a construction decision in 2018, Nevada Copper stated in a Feb. 26 release, with the aim of first copper production in 2019. The company is also evaluating development alternatives with respect to its large-scale open pit project with a new staged-development approach.
• Rapid preparations for restart of construction of underground mine
• Key contracts executed with leading global engineering firms, Sedgman Engineering and Mining Plus
• Underground mining development contract tender process in progress
• Geotechnical drilling commenced
• Commencement of open pit optimization
• Commencement of mineral resource extension and infill drilling
• Golder Associates and Sedgman Engineering appointed for open pit optimization study
"The engagement of two highly regarded engineering firms, Golder Associates and Sedgman Engineering, allows the company to advance its plans to define an optimized 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 become North America's next copper producer," said Abraham Jonker, interim CEO of Nevada Copper.
Underground construction progress
Surface engineering and construction —Sedgman Engineering
Nevada Copper has signed an agreement with Sedgman Ltd., 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 finalization of ongoing EPC contract discussions.
Underground mine development — Mining Plus
The company has executed a technical services contract with Mining Plus for further preconstruction 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.
Open pit optimization underway
Drilling commences on high-value open pit targets
An initial 10,000-meter surface drilling campaign is focused on high-value targets that Nevada Copper believes have significant upside potential, including:
• Expanding areas of high-grade mineralization 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.
Open pit optimization concept study commissioned
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, 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, Nevada Copper could 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.