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Huckleberry mine life extended

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by Richard Gilbert

Huckleberry Mines Ltd. has approved the expansion and extension of the life of the Huckleberry Mine to 2021, which includes the construction of a new tailings storage facility.

Huckleberry Mines Ltd. has approved the expansion and extension of the life of the Huckleberry Mine to 2021, which includes the construction of a new tailings storage facility.

“We are extremely excited to be proceeding with the Main Zone expansion of the Huckleberry mine,” said Minoru Yamaguchi, president and CEO of Huckleberry Mines Ltd.

“We know Huckleberry’s operations are a critical element to the local economy and we are pleased that will continue for at least another nine years. We also believe this project is a great example of co-operation between British Columbia and Japanese mining companies, our First Nation partners and the government of B.C.”

Huckleberry Mines is an open pit copper/molybdenum mine located about 130 kilometres south of Smithers and 86 kilometres southwest of Houston, in west central British Columbia.

Huckleberry is building the East Pit Plug dam to a level of 1,040 meters by the year 2012, which will increase the waste and tailings that can be stored.

It is estimated to cost about $13.9 million. In addition, the company will start the construction of another dam in 2012, which is expected to be completed by 2019.

The new dam will have an elevation of 995 metres.

It is anticipated that this work will be contracted out for the years 2012 to 2014 because the company will have insufficient equipment and manpower to perform the construction themselves.

After 2014, fewer resources will be devoted to mine operations and dam construction responsibilities will be taken over internally.

The total cost of the new dam construction is estimated to be $87.1 million, which includes a 10 per cent contingency. This seven year extension will preserve 230 full time and 30 contract positions on site. In addition, about 70 new positions will be created.

The mine received approval of its Mines Act Permit from the province on Dec. 30, 2011.

As a result, production from 2011 to 2021 is estimated to be 424 million pounds of copper, with an average of 43.2 million pounds per year until 2019.

Production in 2020 and 2021 will be reduced, as stockpiles are milled.

The mine started commercial production in October 1997.

An exploration program, with the objective of extending the mine life, has been ongoing and this expansion permit will see this plan come to fruition.

Imperial Metals Corporation holds a 50 per cent interest in Huckleberry Mines Ltd.

The remaining 50 per cent interest is held by a consortium consisting of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Dowa Mining Co. Ltd. and Furukawa Co.

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