Huckleberry Mine revises mine life

Huckleberry Mine human resource specialist Wendy Curtis and environmental specialist Ron Robichaud recently updated the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako's (RDBN) committee of the whole about a planned expansion that will provide an additional 10 years of mining operations at the mine.

Huckleberry Mine human resource specialist Wendy Curtis and environmental specialist Ron Robichaud recently updated the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako’s (RDBN) committee of the whole about a planned expansion that will provide an additional 10 years of mining operations at the mine.

An additional drilling program conducted at the mine late last year has resulted in the planning of an expansion to the mine’s current pit.

Figures from the study show that an additional 50 MT (metric tons) of ore and 60 MT of waste will provide Huckleberry Mine with an additional 10 years of mine life, now looking to end operations in 2022.

Huckleberry Mine is an open pit copper/molybdenum mine located 123 km southwest of Houston. The mine is 50 per cent owned by Canadian mining company Imperial Metals Ltd. and 50 per cent owned by a Japan Group consisting of Mitsubishi, Marubeni, Dowa and Furukawa.

An archeological study was completed in December 2010 and a feasibility study was competed this month.

A mines act application for the expansion has also been completed this month.

The mines act application review process is now underway with an expected completion date of June 2011.

A permit is expected to be issued in June this year which will allow construction to begin in June and continue into July.

Huckleberry Mine currently employs 234 people, 200 of which are full time employees that reside in Burns Lake, Smithers, Houston, Granisle and Telkwa.

The mine has injected over $50 million into the B.C. economy through exploration, development and the operation of the mine and to date over $200 million has been paid by the mine to the government and Crown corporations.

According to the report presented to the RDBN committee the mine’s payroll for 2009 was over $19.9 million

A total of 17 per cent of the work force is comprised of First Nations employees while 15 per cent of the mines employees are women.

Seven per cent mine’s employees live in Burns Lake.

The annual investment into the B.C. economy is substantial.

A total of $12 million is spent every year on fuel, $32 million annually on operating and maintenance costs and another $6 million dollars is spent every year on contract services.

Robichaud reported that a total of $55 million is injected into the B.C. economy annually from the mine.