Nevada Copper ships first copper concentrate from Pumpkin Hollow Mine
Nevada Copper Corp. announced that it has shipped the first copper concentrate from its Pumpkin Hollow project in Nevada. As previously announced, the company commenced production at Pumpkin Hollow’s processing plant on Dec.16, 2019 and expects to complete the ramp-up to full commercial production in the first half of 2020.
Matt Gili, chief executive officer of Nevada Copper, stated “Our first shipment of copper concentrate has left Pumpkin Hollow, representing another important milestone as we look forward to continuing our ramp-up to full commercial production in 2020.”
Nevada Copper spent about $200 million to develop the underground mine, less than 100 km (60 miles) from Tesla’s massive Gigafactory in the state’s northern edge. The mine is expected to produce about 27 kt/a (30,000 stpy) of copper concentrate.
Reuters reported that the mine’s operating cost of $1.86/lb is about 49 percent below current copper prices.
In a press release, Nevada Copper said the mine as a projected life of 13.5 years with a further 636 million lbs of inferred resources.
Nevada Copper plans to finish a feasibility study by the end of next year on whether to construct a nearby openpit mine. The company controls about 22,000 acres in northern Nevada and says it believes it has expansion potential.
The mine was developed amidst a push by U.S. President Donald Trump and other officials in Washington to boost domestic minerals production to reduce the nation’s reliance on rivals.
Nevada Copper has agreements to supply all of its copper for the next three years to several parties, including commodities trader Transamine Trading SA.
Tesla Inc, SK Innovation Co and other automakers and battery makers are opening or expanding across the United States, facilities that are expected to consume a rising share of copper produced in the country.
Rival miner Rio Tinto Plc said earlier this month it would spend $1.5 billion to expand its Kennecott copper mine in Utah. Glencore Plc took control earlier this year of PolyMet Mining Corp, which is developing a Minnesota copper and nickel mine. And Freeport-McMoRan Inc is spending heavily to build out several Arizona copper mines.