- Imperial acquired Red Chris project in 2007
- Prov & Fed Environmental Assessment's issued 2005 & 2006
- mine construction commenced May 2012
- hydro transmission line completion 3Q2014
- mine commissioning target 3Q2014
- mine operations target 4Q2014
- projected capital cost $570 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 km south of Dease Lake in northwest British Columbia.
Red Chris Mine Construction UpdateConstruction by BC Hydro of the 287kv Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) from Skeena substation to Bob Quinn continues, with the targeted completion date now the end of June 2014, a month later than the end of May 2014, as previously scheduled. Construction by the Company of the 93 kilometre Iskut extension of the NTL from Bob Quinn to Tatogga is now expected to be completed by the end of July 2014, also one month later than the end of June 2014, as previously scheduled.
By the end of the March 2014 quarter, work on the Iskut extension to the NTL had progressed, with 63% of the foundations installed and 93% of the structures assembled (of which 17% have been erected). The remaining foundations and structures, hardware and conductor will be installed in the coming months. There have been 125 towers assembled and stored at various locations along the route for erection by helicopter. The remaining towers will be erected using cranes. Stringing of the conductor for this line is expected to begin at the end of May.
Based on a review in late April and early May of where the project was at the end of March and forecasted costs, going forward the projected overall capital cost of the project has increased by approximately $30.0 million. The majority of the cost increase can be attributed to additional costs incurred in the construction of the Iskut extension power line. The crews worked diligently through cold temperatures and at times heavy snowfall, and the crews are now dealing with spring breakup. In addition to the cost increase, the winter conditions have delayed the schedule by about one month for getting grid power to the site.
At the plant site, interior steel, mechanical installation and the tailings and reclaim water system are all about 70% complete. Piping and electrical work in the plant are about 20% complete. Based on the current status of this work and based on the current construction schedule for the power line, we are now targeting starting commissioning of the Red Chris mill in the third quarter of 2014.
To March 31, 2014 the Company had incurred expenditures of $512.5 million (out of current estimated financial budget of $622.0 million, which includes $52.0 million to be repaid by BC Hydro for the construction of the Iskut extension) on the construction of Red Chris, of which $44.7 million was in accounts payable and accruals at that date. The forecast net construction cost of the Red Chris mine is now estimated to be $570.0 million versus the previous estimate of $540.0 million.
The Corporation's current committed credit facilities provide more than sufficient liquidity to finance completion of construction. Until closing of the long term financing arrangements for the Red Chris project March 12, 2014, the expenditures on Red Chris had been financed from cash flow from operations, a line of credit facility from the Company's bankers, equipment loans and a $250.0 million line of credit facility from Edco Capital Corporation. Concurrent with the closing of the long term financing arrangements, the existing bank line of credit and the line of credit facility from Edco Capital Corporation were repaid in full and cancelled.
The long term financing arrangements for the Company, which are being utilized primarily for the construction of Red Chris, consist of US$325.0 million 7% five year senior unsecured notes, a senior secured revolving credit facility of $200.0 million, and a $75.0 million junior unsecured credit facility with Edco Capital Corporation
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.
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.
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