Imperial to shut down Mount Polley mine as copper prices fall

8 January 2019 (Last Updated January 9th, 2019 07:30)

Imperial Metals is closing down its Mount Polley mine in British Columbia, Canada, due to declining copper prices.

Imperial to shut down Mount Polley mine as copper prices fall
Declining copper prices have made the Mount Polley mine unprofitable. Credit: Wikimedia

Imperial Metals is closing down its Mount Polley mine in British Columbia, Canada, due to declining copper prices.

According to the firm, the suspension plan includes milling of low grade stockpiles, which is targeted to extend operations to the end of May 2019.

However, the company added that there will be no impact on the mine’s ongoing environmental monitoring and remediation programme and full operations will resume once the economics of mining at Mount Polley improve.

Owned and operated by Mount Polley Mining, a subsidiary of the Imperial Metals, the Mount Polley mine is located in the province, 56km north-east of Williams Lake.

More than four years ago, this mine experienced one of the worst spills in the history of the province.

Due to the collapse of the tailings dam, more than 24 million cubic metres of mine waste spilled into Hazeltine Creek, Quesnel Lake and Polley Lake.

Until the spillage was cleaned up, local residents were not allowed to use the water. Following the spill, the mine had only resumed operations in July 2017.

In November 2018, Imperial reorganised the management structure at the Red Chris mine and appointed its vice-president for operations Randall Thompson as general manager. Thompson was tasked to make direct improvements of Red Chris mine operations.

“The suspension plan includes milling of low grade stockpiles, which is targeted to extend operations to the end of May 2019.”

During the same month, the company also reported that legal action for damages due to the 4 August 2014 failure of the perimeter embankment at the Mount Polley mine had been settled, resulting in net payments totaling around C$108m.

Canada-based Imperial, through its subsidiaries, owns the Red Chris, Mount Polley and Huckleberry copper mines in British Columbia.

It also holds a 50% interest in the Ruddock Creek lead/zinc property.