Huckleberry Mine

  • open pit copper mine
  • mill processes 14,000 tonnes per day
  • commenced operations 1997
  • current mine life to 2021
  • copper concentrate trucked to Port of Stewart
  • mine located 123 km SW of Houston, BC
Claim Map: Huckleberry Mine
Imperial has a 50% interest in Huckleberry Mines Ltd., owner/operator of the mine. The other 50% is held by the Japan Group, comprised of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, Dowa Mining Co. Ltd. and Furukawa. Co.

Huckleberry is an open pit copper mine located in west-central British Columbia. The Huckleberry property covers 19,780 hectares, which consists of two mining leases covering 2,422 hectares and 39 mineral claims encompassing approximately 17,358 hectares.

Huckleberry mill operations were temporarily shut down on February 26, 2014 when a tooth failed on the semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill bull gear, damaging this gear and one of the pinion gears on the dual drive mill. To enable the SAG mill to be restarted, the damaged teeth on the bull gear were reprofiled to reduce the load on these damaged teeth, the north pinion gear was replaced with a spare, and the rotation of the mill motors was reversed. Mill operations resumed on April 5, 2014.

The Huckleberry mill continues to operate with the damaged SAG mill bull gear, rotating in the opposite direction. Monthly inspections are being performed to monitor the status of the damaged teeth on the bull gear. The replacement bull gear and two pinion gears for the SAG mill are on site and will be installed in November.

As a result of milling time lost and the replacement of the bull gear, the 2014 production forecast was adjusted from 42.0 million pounds copper and 200,000 ounces silver to 36.0 million pounds copper and 175,000 ounces silver.

Huckleberry Annual Production(1)

  Planned 2014 2013 2012
Copper - lbs 36.0 M 41,212,818 35,112,000
Gold - oz 2,900 2,983 2,578
Silver - oz 175,000 238,028 191,787
(1) production stated 100% - Imperial's allocation is 50%

Exploration at Huckleberry

No diamond drilling is planned for the Huckleberry Mine site or adjacent claims for the year. A limited grassroots exploration program for Huckleberry's claims is planned for 2014.

Geological Setting

The Huckleberry mine is a typical porphyry copper/molybdenum deposit. It is characterized as a calc-alkalic copper/molybdenum type mineralization. These deposits are typically hosted in intrusive rocks, usually of granodioritic or quartz monzonitic composition, and in volcanic rocks surrounding intrusives.

Huckleberry Mill Infrastructure

Ore from the pit is delivered to a 42"x 65" gyratory crusher and after crushing is conveyed to a stockpile. Ore from the stockpile is ground in two stages prior to flotation, firstly in a single 10,000hp semi-autogenous (SAG) mill, and secondly in two 5,000hp ball mills. A bulk copper concentrate is floated from the ball mill product. The bulk copper concentrate is then reground in a 1,500hp regrind mill, and then floated again to produce a final copper concentrate grading approximately 27% copper. Molybdenum concentrate is floated out of the copper concentrate.

Both final concentrates are thickened and dewatered prior to shipment. A Grinding Improvement Project (SAG pebble circuit) was completed by mid-2000. This circuit consists of a vibrating screen that removes critical size rocks from the SAG mill discharge conveyors then transports this material to a pebble crusher where the rocks are crushed and then returned to the SAG mill. Final copper concentrate is trucked to the Port of Stewart, British Columbia and then shipped by bulk carrier to Asia. The molybdenum concentrate is trucked to and sold in Vancouver under long term contract.

For additional information refer to the Company's Quarter Reports & Annual Information Form.

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