Work is underway to restart the Mount Polley mine operation east of Williams Lake. And, after that mine is up and running, Imperial Metals will start to re-open its Huckleberry Mine near Houston.
Imperial Metals began the work required to reopen the Mount Polley mine in the fourth quarter of 2021. Management is targeting to start the milling operations in the second quarter of 2022, according to the company’s first quarter report. The plant refurbishing activities by mechanical and electrical contractors was ongoing during the quarter. The crusher is operational and is providing stemming, road crush and TSF filter material. Crews are active in the grinding bay, flotation and dewatering areas getting the plant ready for operation.
Mining operations began in November 2021 and by March 31, 2022, approximately 4.5 million tonnes had been mined in preparation for the restart of operations. For the March 2022 quarter, Mount Polley incurred restart costs comprised of $21.7 million in operating costs and $0.7 million in depreciation expense.
Exploration, development, and capital expenditures in the March 2022 quarter were $2.3 million compared to $0.3 million in the 2021 comparative quarter.
The Huckleberry operations ceased in August 2016 and the mine remains on care and maintenance status. The company anticipates working towards the restart of Huckleberry following the start of operations at Mount Polley.
Site personnel continue to focus on maintaining site access, water management (treatment and release of mine contact water into Tahtsa Reach), snow removal, maintenance of site infrastructure and equipment, mine permit compliance, environmental compliance monitoring and monitoring tailings management facilities.
Geotechnical programs conducted in 2021 have indicated that some work is required to upgrade the existing facility and provided information required to update the tailings facility design for future operations.
For the March 2022 quarter, Huckleberry incurred idle mine costs comprised of $1.3 million in operating costs and $0.2 million in depreciation expense.