Yukon's only operating lode mine set to close; re-opening dependent on copper market outlook
Last updated 1/24/2016 at Noon
Capstone Mining Corp. Jan. 18 said it plans to temporarily halt operations at its Minto copper mine in Yukon Territory in 2017.
The planned closure is part of an overall cost-cutting initiative by the company.
"In light of the current commodity price environment our 2016 guidance and five-year outlook focuses on financial flexibility, while maximizing the cost efficiency of our existing operations," explained Capstone President and CEO Darren Pylot.
For 2016, the Minto Mine is expected to produce 27,000 metric tons of copper at an all-in cost of US$1.30-US$1.40 per pound.
Capstone said the low 2016 production and operating costs at Minto reflect a significant contribution from the high-grade Minto North open pit.
Head grade is expected to average 1.3 percent in the first quarter, ramping up to over 2.6 percent in the second half of the year, resulting in significantly lower costs.
Surface mining of the Minto North pit is expected to be completed in August, with the mill continuing to process Minto North material until the end of the first quarter of 2017.
The company said underground mining will be stopped by the end of March and the rest of the operation will be temporarily closed once all the ore from Minto North and the remaining stockpiles are processed by mid-2017.
Future decisions will depend on a number of factors, most notably an improvement in the copper market outlook.
Capstone is not planning any exploration at Minto in 2016 and limited sustaining capital expenditures are budgeted for the mine due to the expected closure.
Minto is the only currently operating hard rock mine in the Yukon Territory.