TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Some concentrates headed for Japanese smelters from Imperial Metals' Huckleberry mine may be delayed but all shipments planned for this year are still expected to be completed, the company said on Monday.
Imperial owns 50% of the British Columbia mine and the balance is owned by a Japanese consortium that includes Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, Dowa Mining, Furukawa and Marubeni Corporation.
The operation has a life-of-mine contract to send concentrates to Mitsubishi, Furukawa and Dowa.
However, the firms have declared force majeure for shipments to their smelters in Japan, following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that damaged port facilities at the Onahama smelter.
The force majeure declaration has no immediate impact for Imperial, the company said.
It has confirmed that a shipment at sea and the next shipment scheduled for the end of the month will be sent to Mitsubishi's Naoshima smelter.
“While it is not clear how disruptive this event of force majeure will be, best estimates are that some shipments may be delayed, but all shipments planned for 2011 will be made,” the company said in a statement.
Imperial, which also owns the Mount Polley mine in British Columbia, produced 57,6-million pounds of copper, 48 369 oz of gold, 318 591 oz of silver and 42 014 lb of molybdenum in 2010.
The company said it expects copper, gold and silver production will decline this year, and it is not expecting any molybdenum production.
Imperial expects output will be 51,5-million pounds of copper, 45 400 oz of gold and 149 000 oz of silver in 2011.