Update -Tuesday, Jan. 8 President of Imperial Metals on Temporary Mount Polley Closure
The President of Imperial Metals says it’s sad but they just can’t keep the Mount Polley Mine running at these prices.
Brian Kynoch says they probably could have come up with a plan to remain operational if the prices had stayed at three dollars or more.
“Once you close maybe it will be a slightly different price,” he said.
“But you know, after we suspend we’ll do some studies, maybe do some more exploration drilling and come up with a plan to re-open the mine.”
Kynoch adds this is not the first time that they’ve had to suspend operations.
“This is the second time that we would have to suspend operations at Mount Polley and the last time during a suspension we found what ended up being the best deposit on the site and were able to come back into operations so, at any rate, it’s a combination of price and mine plans.”
The last suspension was in 2001 and lasted until 2005.
Kynoch says the closure will impact around 250 people.
He says most will work until the end of May.
“As we were mining we milled the best of the ore that came out of the deposit, and we stockpiled material that had lower copper and gold grades, so what we’re doing right now is we’re going to mill those stockpiles until the end of May, and then we’ll suspend operations.”
Kynoch says moving forward they will continue to monitor copper prices.
Local Politicians React
“That is devastating to the Cariboo Chilcotin as a whole,” said MLA Donna Barnett.
“When you have that many people going to be unemployed you’re looking at over 1,000 who will be affected-your trucking industry, your grocery stores, your gas stations, your schools. It affects everybody.”
Mayor of Williams Lake Walt Cobb says the news is not the way he wanted to start 2019.
“When you’re tied into the global markets there’s always any possibility,” Cobb said.
“Of course Mount Polley had a lot of problems in the last two or three years anyway with the breach and the costs so I don’t know what I can say other than we can hope for better days and we hope by May it won’t be necessary.”
Barnett said she is very concerned that the news of industry struggling could be a continuing trend.
“What could be done is when there was some troubles a few years ago and our government was in power we helped them with the hydro bill and deferred it,” she said.
“The government has imposed all these new taxes and it takes years to get permits so the business atmosphere in British Columbia right now is the worst I’ve seen it in many, many years.”
Original Story-Monday, Jan 7
Imperial Metals has announced the suspension of operations at the Mount Polley Mine.
Declining copper prices is cited as the reason behind the decision.
The company’s website also states that the suspension plan includes milling of low-grade stockpiles which is targeted to extend operations to the end of May.
It also states that there will be no impact to the mine’s ongoing environmental monitoring and remediation program.
The company says full operations will resume once the economics of mining at Mount Polley improve.