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Minto copper-gold mine to open near budget, ahead of schedule


Last updated 9/30/2007 at Noon

Sherwood Copper Corp. has completed phase 1 construction of the Minto copper-gold mine ahead of schedule and essentially on budget, while production continues to ramp up at the central Yukon Territory mine.

Sherwood, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based junior mining company, expects to recover 300 million pounds of copper, 122,000 ounces of gold and 1.8 million ounces of silver from Minto over the life of the original mine plan.

The operation's mill is currently undergoing commissioning and is expected to ramp up to full production by October. Sherwood plans to officially open the mine with a ceremony Oct. 11.

Capital costs projected for phase 1 construction at Minto was C$98.1 million, and actual costs totaled C$100.2 million, about 2 percent above budget. Sherwood also anticipated a July 1 mill start-up, but the mine actually produced its first concentrates May 28, and achieved continuous operations in early June.

Sherwood President & CEO Stephen P. Quin called the performance is a remarkable, considering current heated competition for people, equipment and supplies in the industry.

"Considerable credit for this outstanding result belongs to JDS Energy & Mining, the construction managers for the Minto Mine, as well as to project engineers, Hatch Ltd., general contractors, Clark Builders, mining contractors, Pelly Construction, and their numerous other subcontractors, trades and suppliers," he said.

Meanwhile, ramp up of production continues at the mine. During August, the mill reached peak throughput of more than 1,750 metric tons per day relative to Phase 1 design capacity of 1,563-metric t/d. It averaged 1,363 metric t/d, or 87 percent of design capacity, for the entire month. Mill availability averaged 89 percent for the month. Copper recoveries averaged about 80 percent and concentrate grades 35 percent copper, which is in line with or better than expectations at this stage of the ramp-up to full production, the company said.

Sherwood also began trucking ore concentrates some 250 highway miles to the Skagway Ore Terminal this summer. The ore is then loaded onto oceangoing carriers for transport to smelters in Asia.


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