Minto Metals Corp. [MNTO-TSXV] said Wednesday it produced 7.9 million pounds of copper in the third quarter of 2022 from its Minto Mine operation in Central Yukon, up from 7.3 million pounds in the same period last year. That brought production so far this year to 22.4 million pounds, the company said in a press release.
“Our third quarter production results highlighted our fourth consecutive quarter of operational improvement as compared to 2021, including a 7.0% increase in payable copper pounds for the third quarter, and we are confident we will meet the previously announced guidance of 28-31 million pounds of copper production in 2022,’’ said Minto President and CEO Chris Stewart.
“As we noted in prior press releases, we have had some water challenges this year and we continue to treat and discharge excess water from our mine site,’’ he said. “The third quarter demonstrates that we are now setup properly with our Water Treatment Plant and we can discharge clean water while meeting our copper production targets,’’ he said. “A lot of hard work by our team, our consultants and our contractors went into making this happen in such a short period of time and I want to thank everyone for their efforts.’’
On Wednesday, Minto shares were unchanged and traded at the 52-week low of $1.50. That compares to the year high of $3.00.
Back in September the company announced that it had submitted a proposal to the Yukon Government with respect to furnishing the $21 million increase in security costs required for the Minto Mine site utilizing a progressive approach. It said the Yukon Government and Selkirk First Nation are currently reviewing the proposal for adequacy in addressing the current security gap.
As part of the proposal, Minto made a $1 million cash payment on September 1, 2022 to the Yukon Government.
“Minto Metals Corp demonstrates daily its commitment and abilities to improve site reclamation and closure conditions,’’ the Yukon Government stated. “Given this positive progress, Yukon Government has agreed to extend and amend the Restricted Operating Conditions (ROC’s) related to the Quartz Mining License so that the Minto Mine operations can continue uninterrupted.’’
Minto has been operating under these ROC’s since April 5th, 2022, and notes that once the revised Security is furnished in full, the ROC’s will be completely removed.
The ROC’s involve additional reporting requirements which have now been adjusted to a bi-weekly reporting period instead of weekly as well as requiring the company, among other things, to increase its water storage capacity on site on an ongoing basis.
Minto said it and the Yukon Government and Selkirk First Nation are continuing discussions around the proposed security funding schedule submitted in the proposal on August 31, 2022, and expect to provide further updates to the market in the near future.
Minto is the second producing hard rock mine in the Yukon next to Victoria Gold Corp’s [VIT-TSXV] Eagle Gold Mine north of Mayo, which poured its first gold bar in September, 2019.
The Minto mine has been in operation since 2007, with underground mining starting in 2014. Since 2007 approximately 500 million pounds of copper has been produced from the Minto Mine.
Capstone Mining Corp. [CS-TSX], the previous owner, put the mine into care and maintenance in 2018 and operations were shut down. In mid-2019, Minto (formerly Minto Exploration Ltd.] purchased the operation and resumed production.
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