Mount Polley Mine eyes drilling permits for further exploration

Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch said the company wants to explore new ground for copper

Imperial Metals is eyeing further exploration in hopes of extending the life of Mount Polley Mine, which has been closed since May 2019.

The 3,331-hectare area the company is interested in pursuing is just north and east of the mine site, said Brian Kynoch, Imperial Metals president.

“We will be asking for a permit to go drill some new ground that we’ve never owned before. We hope to go find some more copper so when we re-open we would have a longer mine life.”

Copper prices would have to be over $3 for the company to be interested in re-opening, he added.

“I was getting hopeful, but since this flu has taken hold, the prices are back down around $2.60 again.”

Read more: Mount Polley Mine’s sampling of Quesnel Lake questioned by local resident

Remediation continues at the mine site due to the August 2014 tailings breach when more than 21 million cubic metres of water and mine tailings were released.

“We’ve completed about three quarters of Hazeltine Creek so there’s a quarter left to go,” Kynoch said. “Our guys will be working on that this summer and then we should be finished.”

When asked about the mine’s maintenance while it is closed, Kynoch said it was shut down from 2001 to 2004.

“We have been there before and we know what we need to do to keep it in shape.”

Read more: Five years after Mount Polley Mine breach, resident still feels ‘angry, betrayed’

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A close up of Hazeltine Creek taken on the Labour Day weekend in 2019. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

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