Capstone Provides Information for Minto Copper-Gold Mine Expansion Permit Application
Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
Capstone Mining Corp. (CS: TSX) report that it has completed an independent life-of-mine scoping study (the “Phase V Scoping Study”) in connection with its proposed application for an amendment to its quartz mining licence under the Quartz Mining Act (Yukon) (the “Quartz Mining Act”) and other requisite permits and licences for the expansion of the Minto Mine, which requires, among other things, a review under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (“YESAA”). The application process will also involve a procedure for public notification and consultation as required under YESAA.
The Phase V Scoping Study was prepared for the purposes of this application and will form the basis for permit application documents, discussions with regulators, Selkirk First Nation and other stakeholders and public consultation during the regulatory process. The study considered the risks and opportunities highlighted in the pre-feasibility study for the Phase IV expansion of Capstone’s high grade Minto copper-gold mine in the Yukon, results of which were announced in Capstone’s news release dated December 15, 2009. This Phase V Scoping Study is not a National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Minerals Projects (“NI 43-101”) compliant technical report but a planning document prepared in order to facilitate the permitting process described above.
The YESAA public notification and consultation process implies that much of the information contained in the Phase V Scoping Study will be in the public domain. Capstone has therefore determined that it is appropriate to provide some of the key information contained in the Phase V Scoping Study to prevent selective disclosure of that information. However, since such disclosure is not based on a NI 43-101 compliant technical report, readers are cautioned to not rely on the disclosure herein and the Phase V Scoping Study as anything other than an indication as to Capstone’s future plans for the Minto Mine and the contents of this entire news release should therefore be considered forward-looking information and readers are referred to additional disclosure at the end of this release about the nature of such forward-looking information..
Phase V Scoping Study Highlights
The Phase V Scoping Study is preliminary in nature and includes unclassified material that is considered too speculative geologically to support a mineral resource estimate or to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the results of this study will be realized.
Brief highlights of the Phase V Scoping Study are summarized below. Normally such information would not be disclosed by Capstone until a NI43-101 compliant pre-feasibility study is completed; however, the majority of this information is a necessary component of the environmental and socio-economic impact assessment process, as well as consultations with stakeholders during the review and assessment process. Therefore, since it is recognized that this information will become publicly available in the near term, Capstone has determined that it is appropriate, in this particular instance, to release the following information:
– The Minto Mine life-of-mine plan is based on the parallel development of open pit and underground mineralization.
– Development will be split into two phases: (1) “Phase IV”, which entails the permitting, development and open pit and underground extraction of the Area 2 and Area 118 deposits, as well as underground exploration in the Minto East and Copper Keel areas; and (2) “Phase V”, which will entail the subsequent permitting for the open pit mining of the Minto North and Ridgetop deposits and, if sufficient mineral resources are defined, the underground development of the Minto East and Copper Keel areas. There are currently no mineral resources defined at Minto East or Copper Keel, although exploration is continuing.
– As a result of the decision to develop underground mineral resources previously beyond the limits of the proposed Area 2 open pit as detailed in the Phase IV PFS, the third push back at Area 2 is now eliminated and this material is proposed to be extracted by underground methods;
– There will be a staged increase in mill throughput to 4,000 tonnes per operating day, resulting in a sustained 1.46 million tonnes of ore per year;
– Mining will extract an estimated 9.9 million tonnes of measured and indicated mineral resources over an estimated six year period with average grades of 1.7% copper, 0.66 g/t gold, and 6.1 g/t silver, for a contained 361 million lbs of copper, 210,000 oz of gold, and 1.9 million oz of silver, with an additional 1.0 million tonnes in stockpiles accumulated prior to 2010 processed on an as required basis to sustain mill production. This includes an estimated 1.4 million tonnes of material mined by underground methods from Area 2 and Area 118. For planning purposes, an additional 600,000 tonnes of unclassified material is assumed to be mined from the Minto East and/or extensions of the Area 2 mineralization by underground methods. It is important to note that this 600,000 tonnes is unclassified material and is not currently defined to standards sufficient to support a NI43-101 compliant mineral resource estimate and requires additional drilling prior to inclusion as mineral reserves in a pre-feasibility study.
– The Phase V Scoping Study assumes processing of an estimated 11.5 million tonnes of material over an approximately eight year life grading 1.67% copper, 0.64 g/t gold, and 6.0 g/t silver, for a contained 423 million lbs of copper, 236,000 oz of gold, and 2.2 million oz of silver, of which 600,000 tonnes comes from the unclassified material. Due to the uncertainty that may be attached to unclassified material, it cannot be assumed that all or any part of this material will be upgraded to an indicated or measured mineral resource (as defined in NI43-101) as a result of continued exploration. However, the unclassified material is included in the life-of-mine plan since it will form an integral part of the regulatory process.
– Mining continues through 2015, while processing continues into early 2018, with an average of 54 million pounds of copper produced in concentrates for the first six years, followed by 2.1 years of processing of low grade stockpiles producing an average of 27 million pounds of copper in concentrates over that period;
– Life-of-mine capital cost of C$75.7 million including: C$33.7 million for open pit equipment in 2011 as the operation converts to self-mining, C$21.5 million for underground development and equipment, C$9.1 million for plant expansion, plus sustaining capital and a 15% contingency;
– Open pit mining costs are estimated to average C$2.41/tonne mined, underground mining is assumed to be by room and pillar methods, with access provided by a decline, with operating costs of C$26.88/tonne mined. Milling costs are estimated at C$13.98/tonne, with camp, power, technical and administration costs forecast to average C$13.83/tonne milled.