Western is currently studying a possible Phase II expansion for Casino, which would extend the life of the mine to 47 years. Courtesy of Western Copper and Gold.
Western Copper and Gold Corporation on June 22 released the results of its Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for its Casino copper-gold-molybdenum deposit, located 300 kilometers northwest of Whitehorse, Yukon. The financial scenarios of the PEA, according to the press release, “indicate that the potential economic returns of the [Casino] the project justifies its further development and the obtaining of the required permits and operating licenses ”, the next stage of a project under development since 2008.
The PEA is based on a estimate of previous resources as of July 2020, which found total measured and indicated resources of 14.5 million ounces of gold at 0.19 grams per tonne, 113.5 million ounces of silver at 1.5 grams per tonne ton and 7.6 billion pounds of copper at 0.14% on 2.39 billion tons of ore. The study assessed the project as a surface mining operation that would supply 120,000 tonnes per day to the processing plant and also include a gold heap leach facility designed to process 25,000 tonnes per day.
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The study estimates an after-tax net present value (NPV) of $ 2.3 billion with an eight percent discount based on a gold price of US $ 1,600 per ounce and a copper price of 3. , US $ 35 per pound, with a 25-year mine life (LOM), processing 1.3 billion tonnes of mineralized material. The total initial investment at Casino is estimated at $ 3.25 billion, with LoM investment costs of $ 3.97 billion and operating costs calculated at $ 6.17 per tonne.
Western also considered the possibility of expanding mining into a second phase, which would seek to process the 1 billion tonnes of ore remaining from the mine over an additional 25 years, bringing the total life to 47 years. Factoring in the second phase, capital spending would increase to $ 5.06 billion from the total LoM, with an after-tax NPV slightly increased by $ 2.38 billion.
Western President and CEO Paul West-Sells said in the statement that he was “extremely pleased with the results of the PEA” and that “This study reaffirms that Casino is one of the very few copper-gold projects. long-lived with a strong economy. in a leading mining district, the Yukon. On May 31, Western announced that it had completed a strategic investment of Rio Tinto for about $ 25.6 million, giving the mining giant an 8% stake in the company.
The company said the next step will be to define a mineral reserve for the project.