Discover, Develop, Operate


  • Imperial acquired Red Chris project in 2007
  • mine construction May 2012-Nov 2014
  • hydro transmission line completed 4Q2014
  • mine commissioning commenced 4Q2014
  • construction cost $661.9 million (Dec 31/14)
  • 30,000 tpd open pit conventional milling operation
  • current mine life to 2043

On March 10, 2019, Imperial announced an agreement to sell a 70% interest in Red Chris to Newcrest Mining Limited. The agreement is expected to be finalized in Q3 2019.

Imperial and Newcrest will form a joint venture, with Newcrest acting as operator of the Red Chris mine. The joint venture partnership will enable Imperial to unlock significant value at Red Chris by leveraging Newcrest’s unique technical expertise in block caving operations. A plan to mine the deep resource beneath the current open pits will be developed to exploit the high grades in the deep East zone.


Historical exploration of the Red Chris property by previous operators focused on establishing open-pit mineable reserves above a depth of approximately 400 metres. With Imperial’s acquisition of Red Chris in 2007, the strategy was to explore for mineral potential below the planned pit for longer term mine planning.

Deep drilling was conducted in relatively small programs in 2008 while camp and road infrastructure were upgraded. Geophysical surveys were undertaken, including a Titan-24 deep imaging IP-MT survey, a property-wide aeromagnetic survey, and extensive proton ground magnetometer surveys. A program of deep diamond drilling to over 1,500 metres depth over the projected open-pit footprint intensified in 2010 and was completed in 2011, resulting in refinement of the block model. Deep drilling was also initiated in the Gully zone, intersecting long intervals of mineralization, with improving grade with depth.

Exploration was suspended when construction of the 30,000 tonnes per day open pit conventional mine began in May 2012. Mine site infrastructure was completed in late 2014 at a cost of $661.9 million. Commissioning of the mine lead to commercial production being achieved July 1, 2015.

During 2018, work advanced on the underground resource conceptualization in conjunction with Golder Associates. A geotechnical hole was completed to gather geotechnical information regarding the proposed block cave. Notably this hole also intersected significant copper and gold mineralization below the East zone pit. Work on a preliminary economic assessment of the block cave potential, incorporating the information from the geotechnical drill hole, was initiated in 2018 by Golder Associates.

2018 drilling significant intervals:

Drill Hole # Total
Length (m)
From (m)
To (m)
Length (m)
RC18-588 1,057.67 12.2 896.0 883.8 0.34 0.33
including 381.9 748.5 366.6 0.53 0.60
including 448.5 616.0 167.5 0.70 0.84

Jim Miller-Tait, P.Geo., the designated Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed and approved this disclosure relating to drill hole RC18-588. A full QA/QC program using blanks, standards and duplicates was maintained for all samples submitted to the Red Chris laboratory where the core samples were analyzed.

Imperial and Newcrest plan to initiate an exploration program in 2019 to expand the already large copper and gold resource at Red Chris.


Production in Q4 2018 was 15.57 million pounds copper and 12,366 ounces gold, an increase of 15% and 41% respectively from the 13.55 million pounds copper and 8,741 ounces gold produced in the third quarter of 2018. Metal recoveries for 2018 averaged 75.60% copper and 47.13% gold.

Red Chris mine 2019 metal production is targeted in the range of 72-76 million pounds copper and 36-38 thousand ounces gold. The target for 2019 is to achieve 100% of design capacity, averaging 30,000 tonnes per calendar day.

YE 2018 YE 2017 YE 2016
Copper - 000’s pounds 60,349 74,636 83,614
Gold - ounces 41,935 33,416 47,088

Red Chris Development Company Ltd., a subsidiary of Imperial, is current owner/operator of the Red Chris copper/gold mine in NW British Columbia, 80 km south of Dease Lake. The mine site is located on 23,142 hectares, and the property is comprised of the main and south claim groups, consisting of 77 mineral tenures, five of which are mining leases.

Update Apr | 2019