Buchans Minerals Corp. thinks there’s life in the old copper mine yet.
The company is hoping to secure $3 million to explore the possibility of open-pit mining at its Lundberg and Engine House properties near the old mine sites.
Buchans once had some of the highest-grade copper in the world, but mining company Asarco pulled out in the mid-1980s when the resource was exhausted.
Paul Moore, vice-president of exploration with Buchans Minerals Corporation, feels there’s still potential there.
“In 1984, (Asarco) mined out all the high-grade ore they could find,” he explained. “What we’ve been focusing on the past three or four years now has been lower-grade material that’s been close to surface. They weren’t really set up to mine those kinds of grades, and metal prices have certainly come up since then.”
The price of copper on the world metal markets today — US$4.63 per pound — makes the prospect more attractive.
“The $3 million is for further work,” Moore said. “When metal prices are up and markets seem to be responding well, it’s a good time to go back and put more money in the treasury to do work for the next few years.”
Buchans Minerals is conducting an economic assessment to see how much it would cost to get a mine set up and built.
The demand for base metals can be traced, at least in part, to China.
“The Chinese demand is a whole new demand, and it’s basically sucking up all the metals,” Moore said.
He said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the company’s exploration activities.
“There will be a mine again someday in Buchans, and we’re certainly working towards that goal.”