Highland Copper Company Inc. selects G Mining Services Inc. to provide a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) on the combined development scenario of its Copperwood and White Pine North projects in Michigan, USA.
We are very excited about the combined scenario PEA. It has the potential to create a larger, long-life project with considerable development and operating synergies and a minimized environmental footprint. We look forward to working with the state of Michigan and our key stakeholders as we define the project and its benefits.
Denis Miville-Deschênes, President and Chief Executive Officer, Highland Copper Company Inc.
With measured and indicated copper resources of 3.2 billion pounds (133.4 million tons at 1.07% copper grade) and 1.7 billion pounds (49.3 million tons at 1.54% copper grade), respectively, White Pine North and Copperwood both feature substantial copper deposits.
With 2.2 billion pounds for White Pine North (97.2 million tons at 1.03% copper grade) and 1.3 billion pounds for Copperwood (51.5 million tons at 1.16% copper grade), the inferred category is also significant.
A PEA for the White Pine North project, effective as of September 22nd, 2019, was posted to SEDAR on November 7th, 2019. A feasibility study for the Copperwood project, effective as of June 14th, 2018, was posted there on July 31st, 2018.
The two studies considered independent projects and did not consider any potential synergies from integrating the development and operational activities.
The projects, which are about 60 km apart, have a lot in common regarding deposit type, mining technique, and processing. As a result, Highland has a lot of flexibility in developing its assets.
The possibility of shipping ore by rail from Copperwood to a centralized processing facility that will be constructed at White Pine North will be taken into account in the PEA that G Mining is conducting on the combined scenario.
If the projects are to be developed collaboratively, this scenario should result in a lot of synergies as some buildings and infrastructures would be shared, reducing the environmental footprint and impact.
The Copperwood PEA will explore removing a significant amount of infrastructure, including the processing facility and tailings storage facilities, as outlined in the independent Copperwood Feasibility Study.
The PEA will contemplate replacing it with a single processing facility at White Pine. The White Pine site is a brownfield since the old mine, which was in operation until the middle of the 1990s for about 50 years, left behind a substantial amount of existing infrastructure, including tailing storage facilities to which the project has access.
The White Pine North project also has access to a gas distribution line, a grid-available electricity source, and a water supply, along with roads and rails. Still, the railroad would need to be renovated.
The combined scenario will evaluate all potential synergies between the two mines that have been identified. The effects of a central processing facility, centralized inventories, shared technical services, and the resultant effect of shared general and administrative expenditures will all be considered in this assessment. Throughout the operational period, this is anticipated to result in significant savings.
The Copperwood project is approved for construction and has a shorter schedule for mine development and ore delivery; therefore, management anticipates that there will be staging of ore delivery even though the PEA will provide a combined scenario. The supply of White Pine North ore would then be scheduled after its permits and development phase.
Metallurgical tests and other significant technical work are being done in support of the PEA to determine the plant design required to treat the mixed ore through a single processing line. The use of ore-sorting technology is also being researched. As new information from metallurgical and other technical tests becomes available, the company will update the public.