The Minto mine could be back in operation before the end of the year.
That’s according to officials with Pembridge Resources that announced June 4 it had purchased the copper/gold/silver mine from Capstone Mining Corp. for up to US$20 million.
Minto was put into care and maintenance mode in 2018 amid falling copper prices.
“We believe in the future geology of the site,” Pembridge president Peter Bojtos said in an interview June 4 after the deal was announced.
“It’s a real premium concentrate.”
Under the sale agreement, Pembridge’s payments for the mine will come from its resources with the first payment of $5 million due when production reaches 60 per cent of the mill capacity.
Another $5 million payment will be due when the mine is at 60 per cent mill capacity and the price of copper has averaged at least US$3/lb. for two consecutive quarter periods.
A final $10 million payment would be due when copper averages US$3.50/lb. for two consecutive quarter periods.
The agreement allows Pembridge to get to work immediately on reopening the mine, Bojtos said.
Pembridge is set to open an office in Whitehorse over the next couple of months that will deal with the administrative side of things as efforts continue to get the mine back into operations.
Bojtos couldn’t put an exact number on how many workers would be hired under Pembridge’s ownership, but he expects it will be similar to the number of workers there previously, at about 200 total.
“We’ll continue with a significant number,” he said, also emphasizing Pembridge’s commitment to work with the Selkirk First Nation.
“We look forward to many years of working together,” he said.
Bojto said most of the mining work would now be done underground with the material that was taken out through the open pit now depleted. “Our job is to bring up the resources to the surface,” he said.
The sale of the mine has been more than a year in the making. Pembridge and Capstone had an agreement worth $37.5 million for the purchase in the early part of 2018, but that fell through when the price of copper dropped.
Bojtos said the two companies had continued talks since then, which resulted in the latest announcement.
“The sale of the Minto mine is very good news all around. Capstone will no longer incur the expense of having the mine on care and maintenance, and the recommencement of operations will be positive for Minto employees, contractors and the local economy,” Capstone president and CEO Darren Pylot said in a statement.
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