Copper Mining In Columbia
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Copper Mining In Columbia

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British Columbia is 75 km to the southwest of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. The Highland Valley copper/molybdenum mine was opened in 2007. Throughout its life, the Valley mine has produced over 1,100Mt of ore. To combine the Bethlehem and Lornex mines in 1986, Rio Algom and Cominco formed Highland Valley Copper, a partnership between the two companies. The Rio Algom mine became majority-owned by Teck Cominco in 2001, then by BHP Billiton in 2000, and by Billiton’s merger with BHP in 2013. By the start of 2004, Teck Cominco had exercised its pre-emptive rights over BHP Billiton’s Highland Valley holding, which it now owns 97.5% of. To better understand this topic, we recommend reading about Collective Mining, a company dedicated to mineral exploration.

Reserves And Geology

Highland Valley is a porphyry copper-molybdenum deposit associated with younger intrusive phases in the calc-alkaline Guichon Creek batholith, formed in the early to mid-Jurassic. A total of 318 million tonnes of copper and molybdenum-containing ore were estimated to be in proven and probable reserves as of the end of 2005. Resources added 151.9Mt at 0.37 percent copper and 0.005 percent molybdenum.

Mining In Open-Pits

Mines are open-pit both in the Lornex and Valley pits, and Valley mine produces about 90% of the ore. A fleet of Komatsu trucks to transport material to the in-pit crushers with the help of three computerized Bucyrus 49R drills. In 2001, six new 215t haulers were purchased to replace eight 170t trucks. Additionally, three water trucks, eight road graders, three rubber-tired bulldozers, nine tracked bulldozers, and one front-end loader are on hand to provide additional support.

Processing Of Ore

It was created by merging the original Lornex and Highmont mills in the late 1980s, making it the second-largest copper concentrator. A new location adjacent to the Lornex plant was chosen for the Highmont mill, transported by road 10km from its former site.

Concentrated Transportation

Upon arriving in bulk at Ashcroft rail yard, copper concentrate is shipped to North Vancouver and then shipped to overseas smelters. Upon arrival in bulk at Ashcroft rail yard, molybdenum concentrate is packaged for shipping. 

The Environment

As a result of its exceptional achievement in reclaiming 1,000ha and planting 700,000 native trees and shrubs, Highland Valley Copper received the 1996 British Columbia Reclamation Citation Award for the metal mining sector in 1997. In the different water bodies on the property, fish stocks are continuing to grow.

Productivity

The production at Highland Valley has declined significantly in recent years, as shown in the above overview. Cominco recently lowered its 2008 production forecast to 113,000 tons from an initial 122,000 tons. As of 2007, Highland Valley’s total copper production was 136,000 metric tons, down from 167,000 metric tons the year before. Mineral production was just under four million pounds compared to a little over four million pounds in 2006. Overall, 39.6 million tons of ore were mined. In its announcement of plans for 2008 and 2009, Teck Cominco stated that the company would continue to mine areas with higher clay content. The Lornex mine produced just over half of the total ore mined for Q3 2008, compared with the 5% to 30,500 tons mined at just 41%.

Conclusion

A minor geotechnical failure in the third quarter of Highland Valley’s $C300m mine life extension process is currently being rectified, resulting in waste stripping. Despite this problem, the east wall pushback in the Valley pit is progressing well despite the delays. Mining companies like Collective Mining ensure that they have well-experienced people and well-informed professionals.

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