Capstone Mining has suspended work on the Santo Domingo copper project in Chile and lowered operating mine site capital expenditure by around $20m for 2015, citing low copper prices.

The Canadian company also plans to cut mine site operating costs by a further $20m over the year’s second half.

Capstone Mining president and CEO Darren Pylot said: "We have taken the steps we outlined with our initial 2015 guidance to reduce our overall capital expenditures, and have reduced operating costs in order to enhance our financial position and provide sufficient liquidity to execute our operating plan in the current market environment.

"This includes reducing and deferring capital expenditures at our operating mines, suspending all work on the Santo Domingo project, eliminating non-essential operating and general and administrative expenses and reducing exploration expenditures."

Total expenditures for Santo Domingo for this year are expected to be $17m.

"We have taken the steps we outlined with our initial 2015 guidance to reduce our overall capital expenditures."

Located 50km west of Codelco’s El Salvador copper mine, and 130km north-northeast of Copiapó in Region III, the Santo Domingo Project is 70% owned by Capstone and 30% by Korea Resources.

The company’s latest move is expected to affect 23 positions out of the total 31.

As part of its plans, the company reduced capital expenditure at the operating mines by $17.9m, or 13% from the initial $136.8m budget.

Sustaining and development capital at Pinto Valley mine in the US has been reduced by $7m, while capitalised stripping is estimated to be higher than originally planned.

Around $10m of capitalised stripping at Minto mine in Canada is expected to be pushed into next year due to the delay in accessing the Minto North pit.

Capstone reduced capitalised exploration expenditures at Mexico’s Cozamin mine to $3.5m from an initial budget of $5.6m and plans to invest an additional $5.4m in exploration at the Providencia project in Chile.

For the Canadian Kutcho project, maintenance costs are expected to be $100,000.

Image: Capstone plans to slash mine site operating costs by $20m over the second half of 2015. Photo: courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.