Imperial Metal’s Red Chris mine in north-western BC is nearing completion and is expected to open in June 2014. Also significant is the completion of the 287 kV Northwest Transmission Line from Terrace to Bob Quinn Lake.
Imperial’s wholly owned Red Chris copper/gold property is located 80 km south of Dease Lake in the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation in northwest British Columbia. Access to the site is 20 km from Highway 37.
Red Chris has reserves of over 300 million tonnes grading 0.359% copper and 0.274 g/t gold provide for a 28 year project life at a milling rate of 30,000 tonnes per day. The mine plan has pre-production period of only four months during which 1.8 million tonnes of rock and overburden would be relocated. The Red Chris orebody is exposed at surface resulting in a comparatively limited pre-production phase. Recovered metal in concentrate would total 2.08 billion lbs copper and 1.324 million oz gold. The mine construction activity required 400 workers during construction 300 when in production. The capital cost of the mine is $500M, largely being financed by the company’s internal cash flow.
BC Hydro’s 287 kV Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) from Skeena substation to Bob Quinn (344 kms) will be completed by May 2014. A subsidiary of Imperial is constructing the 93 kilometre extension (Iskut Extension) from Bob Quinn to Tatogga.This is a $750M project for BC Hydro. The Northwest Transmission Line will create enormous potential for future mining and clean energy investments, in addition to creating positive spin-off effects for local communities. During the construction phase alone, this project is expected to create up to 280 jobs. The NTL line will also enable greater accessibility to an area positioned to provide additional electricity through clean energy generation projects, such as the Forest Kerr run-of-river project (AltaGas-BC Hydro joint PPP project).
BC Hydro is committed to mutually agreeable consultation with all First Nations groups whose rights, including title, in the North Transmission Line area may potentially be affected by the project: Tahltan Nation; Kitsumkalum First Nation; Kitselas First Nation; Metlakatla First Nation; Nisga’a Nation; and Lax Kw’alaams Nation.
Imperial Metals Corporation (ticker III on TSX) trades at $13.90/share with a market cap of $1B. With red Chris the company will have 4 operating mines in BC.
Economically Red Chris is boon for north-west BC. The NTL transmission line will create enormous opportunities for other mining projects in the north-west corner of the Province.
Imperial Metals has brought Red Chris to completion without taking on too much debt with weakening copper and gold prices over the past 2 years. Well done.