Thursday, June 27, 2024

Capstone produces first saleable copper concentrate at MVDP in Chile 

Capstone Copper (TSX: CS) (ASX: CSC) has produced its first saleable copper concentrate at the Mantoverde development project (MVDP) in Chile as the mine advances commissioning and ramps up to full production levels.

Mantoverde is a multi-pit mine located in the Atacama region of Chile, about 56 km southeast of the city of Chañaral. It is a jointly owned operation between Capstone (70%) and Japan’s Mitsubishi Materials (30%).

Capstone’s chief executive John MacKenzie said the first saleable copper concentrate production at MVDP represents “a significant milestone” for his company, adding that the mine remains on track and on budget with its previous guidance.

The MVDP is designed to expand on the mine’s existing production from approximately 35,000 tonnes of copper (cathodes only) to a run-rate of approximately 120,000 tonnes. This is expected to occur sometime in the third quarter of 2024, Capstone has said.

This expansion required a new plant to process sulphide material from the open pits into copper concentrates; previously, the Mantoverde operation only processed oxide ores. The concentrator plant was completed in late 2023, with the whole project costing $870 million.

Overall, the MVDP is expected to enable the mine to process 236 million tonnes of copper sulphide reserves, which represent approximately 20% of total sulphide resources, in addition to the existing oxide reserves, over a 20-year life.

Meanwhile, the company is also analyzing an optimization of the sulphide concentrator to sustain an average annual throughput of up to 45,000 tonnes per day (current capacity is 32,000 tonnes per day). A feasibility study for the optimized project is expected in Q3.

Shares of Capstone Copper traded at C$9.66 apiece by 11:40 a.m. ET for a 3.6% gain. The Americas-focused copper miner has a market capitalization of C$7.3 billion ($5.3bn).

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