- Imperial acquired Red Chris project in 2007
- Prov & Fed Environmental Assessment's issued 2005 & 2006
- mine construction commenced May 2012
- hydro transmission line completion 4Q2014
- mine commissioning target 4Q2014
- mine operations target early 2015
- projected capital cost $643 million
- conventional open pit mine
- 30,000 TPD flotation mill
- 28 year mine life
Imperial's wholly owned Red Chris copper/gold property is located 80 kilometre south of Dease Lake in northwest British Columbia. The property covers a total area of 29,482 hectares and is comprised of five 30 year mining leases covering 5,141 hectares and 83 mineral claims encompassing 24,341 hectares. The Red Chris project was issued a Mines Act permit in May 2012 by the Province of British Columbia.
Red Chris Mine UpdateImperial's construction of the 287kv Iskut extension of the Northwest Transmission Line from Bob Quinn to Tatogga, and the 16 kilometre 287kv power line from Tatogga to the Red Chris main substation are both complete, and the entire line from Bob Quinn to the main substation at Red Chris is now energized and commissioning of various sections of the 25kV site power systems can begin. This milestone will now allow for the commissioning of the plant and allow for the $52.0 million sale of the Iskut extension to BC Hydro to proceed.
Commissioning will begin with the crushing, pit and reclaim water systems and then work through the grinding and flotation sections of the processing plant. The gyratory crusher, overland conveyors, reclaim apron feeders, reclaim conveyors, reagent building and associated E-houses have been pre-commissioned using generators.
The mining equipment fleet procurement is complete. The P&H 2800 electric shovel is assembled and ready for commissioning. The diesel fleet has pre-developed the mine. Soil was stripped off the East Zone Starter Pit and non-acid generating rock was excavated and used to construct haul roads or hauled to the rock disposal site. Ore has been stockpiled for plant commissioning. A haul road to the Main Zone Starter Pit has been completed and a bench readied for drilling.
The North Starter Dam was raised to 1098 metres by the end of October. The tailings impoundment basin contains sufficient water for mill startup. The booster pumphouse, reclaim and tailings pipelines and process water system installation are complete. The site infrastructure including mine access road, truck shop, warehouse, assay lab and camp are operational.
The process building mechanical installations are essentially complete. The piping crews are installing heat tracing and insulation and completing the final punch list of outstanding items. The electrical crews are working throughout the process building with priority on equipment terminations.
A commissioning team of contractors and employees have been assembled to commission the plant.
To start operations at Red Chris, an environmental management act permit to discharge tailings is required. We anticipate the permit will be issued in time to begin tailings discharge to the impoundment in December. In this regard, a third party review of the Red Chris tailings dam was completed by the consultants reporting to representatives of the Tahltan Nation. The Tahltan Central Council and Imperial are working together to develop a work plan to implement the recommendations contained in the review. Imperial is also working with the representatives of the Tahltan Nation to finalize an Impacts & Benefits Agreement.
As reported in the Company's 2014 third quarter report, the forecast construction cost to complete the Red Chris mine is estimated at $643.0 million versus the previously estimated construction costs of $631.0 million. The Company completed a $115.0 million unsecured convertible debenture financing in September, which management estimates will provide sufficient liquidity to complete and commission the Red Chris mine.
Transmission Line Route
Red Chris InfrastructureThe Red Chris project is in the development stage of an open pit mining and milling operation. The planned mining fleet would include a 311mm electric rotary drill, 40m³ electric cable shovel, 20m3 wheel loader, 230 tonne capacity haul trucks and associated support equipment. Other mining fleet additions to assist with pre-development and construction include 178mm DTH drills, 12m3 diesel powered hydraulic excavator, 10m3 wheel loader and 86 tonne capacity rigid frame haul trucks and 40 tonne capacity articulated trucks. Ore would be fed to a 1.4m x 2.0m gyratory crusher for crushing to a nominal -150mm. Crushed ore would be held in a 120,000 tonne capacity intermediate stockpile before reclaim to the plant.
Plant design is based on a standard porphyry copper flow sheet employing SAG and ball milling, flotation, regrinding, thickening and filtering to produce a concentrate for export averaging 27% copper at a moisture content of 8%. The grinding circuit would include a 10.36m x 4.72m x 11,200kW SAG mill feeding one 7.32m x 12.80m x 13,428kW ball mill providing a primary grind of K80 of -150µ. Coarse rejects from the SAG mill would be crushed in a 600kW pebble crusher. Ball mill discharge would feed one bank of 5 x 200m³ rougher flotation cells followed by 1 x 183m3 and 1 x 61m3 cleaner flotation columns and a bank of 5 x 100m³ cleaner scavenger flotation cells. Cyclone underflow would be fed to a 4.12 m x 6.93m x 2,200kW primary regrind ball mill and a 4.6m x 4.4m x 14.3m x 1,120kW secondary regrind vertical mill to provide a K80 of -24µ. The primary and regrind product sizes were determined by G&T Metallurgical Services Ltd. to provide the optimum conditions for copper recovery and concentrate grade.
Concentrate would be thickened and filtered and then loaded on B-Train trucks of nominal 50 tonne capacity for hauling to the Port of Stewart for shipment to smelters in the Pacific Rim. The construction of the concentrate storage shed at the Port of Stewart was complete at the end of October. The mechanical and electrical installations inside the shed are ongoing. The shed will be ready to receive concentrate when the mine commences operations.
Red Chris ExplorationThe Red Chris exploration program was suspended in May 2012 when the project focus shifted from exploration to mine development.
For additional information refer to the Company's Quarter Reports & Annual Information Form.
Forward Looking Information