The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has formally approved TSX-listed Kerr Mines’ mining plan of operation (MPO) at the Copperstone gold project, in Arizona.
The BLM this week issued a decision of record (DoR) based on a finding of no significant impact, marking the conclusion of the permit modification effort that started in 2018.
The receipt of the DoR will result in gold production increasing from the current allowable limit of 450 t/d to 600 t/d, the use of cyanide for recovery of gold from ore using captive steel tanks located in the gold ore processing facility and the storage of stabilised tailings produced from the ore processing facility.
It will also allow for the construction and use of a water evaporation and infiltration basin to be used to manage surplus water generated from underground operations and improved operating conditions which will further improve project economics.
“Receipt of the decision of record from the BLM is the culmination of the considerable, difficult and timely process that is not readily achieved, as demonstrated by the challenges faced by several projects in our sector. Final receipt of the decision of record is a major project milestone which will now allow for the restart of the Copperstone mine in the near term,” said CEO Giulio Bonifacio.
All other permits required for mine operations and gold production are in hand and do not require further modification.
The Copperstone mine produced nearly 500 000 oz of gold between 1987 and 1993 through openpit mining. Existing infrastructure which remains from this time, or which has been subsequently installed by the company’s predecessor and wholly owned subsidiary, American Bonanza Gold, is considerable and serves to reduce the current capital requirements for the mine.