U.S. Markets closed

Imperial Reports Production for 2019 Second Quarter

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Imperial Metals Corporation (the “Company”) (III.TO) reports its metal production from the Red Chris and Mount Polley mines for the 2019 second quarter was 19.12 million pounds copper and 12,052 ounces gold.

Red Chris second quarter metal production was 17.60 million pounds copper and 7,580 ounces gold. Copper production was up from the first quarter by 26%, while gold production was down by 10%. Gold production was down on lower grade as virtually all mill feed came from the Main zone, with less feed coming from the mid pit area where gold grades are higher. Metal recoveries were 76.20% copper and 42.56% gold, compared to 73.84% copper and 48.06% gold achieved in the first quarter.

The Company is working to obtain the necessary approvals and consents for the previously announced sale of a 70% interest in the Red Chris project to Newcrest Mining Limited.

Several factors that contributed to a strong production improvement in the quarter include:

  • Improved primary haul truck fleet availability that enabled pit production targets to be met and targeted copper and gold grades were delivered.
  • Unscheduled downtime was reduced substantially and a 91.6% plant availability was achieved versus the 89.6% budgeted.
  • During the quarter, tonnes per operating hour (TPOH) averaged 1,348, a 12.6% increase from the prior quarter’s average of 1,197 TPOH.
  • With the better availability and processing rate, 2.694 million tonnes were treated compared to 2.368 million tonnes in the previous quarter, a 14% increase.
  • Copper recovery improved and averaged 76.2% versus the previous quarter’s average of 73.8%.

During the third quarter Red Chris management plans to focus on:

  • Maximizing throughput through optimization of the pebble crusher and other debottlenecking initiatives to increase throughput rates. These efforts are achieving the desired result; for the first 20 days in July the plant treated an average of 1,454 TPOH, and on July 19, 2019 set a new record for daily throughput of 38,823 tonnes.
  • Completion of the tailings dam construction using both Red Chris equipment and personnel, and TNDC (a Tahltan construction company).
  • Confirm that installation of additional column cell residence time would improve plant recoveries by completing a program of test work using a recently installed pilot sized cleaning cell in the circuit.  

Mount Polley metal production for the two months prior to the suspension of operations in late May 2019 was 1.52 million pounds copper and 4,472 ounces gold.  Mill throughput from the low grade stockpiles averaged 16,432 tonnes per calendar day for April and May, and metal recoveries were 28.92% copper and 46.60% gold as low grade, oxidized stockpiles were treated.

A care and maintenance team is in place to look after the site and complete the final work on rehabilitation of Hazeltine Creek during the suspension of operations.

Subsequent to the quarter end, USW-Local 1937 was certified as bargaining agent for certain employees at the Red Chris mine. This certification follows the reconsideration of a previous decision by the Labour Relations Board. The company has filed a petition seeking judicial review of the Labour Relations Board's reconsideration decision.          

About Imperial

Imperial is a Vancouver based exploration, mine development and operating company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns the Red Chris, Mount Polley and Huckleberry copper mines in British Columbia. Imperial also holds a 50% interest in the Ruddock Creek zinc/lead property.  In March 2019, Imperial announced it had entered into an agreement to sell a 70% interest in its Red Chris asset to Newcrest Mining Limited for US$806.5 million, while retaining a 30% interest. Imperial and Newcrest will form a joint venture for the operation of the Red Chris asset going forward, with Newcrest acting as operator.

Company Contacts

Brian Kynoch | President | 604.669.8959
Andre Deepwell | Chief Financial Officer | 604.488.2666
Sabine Goetz | Shareholder Communications | 604.488.2657 | investor@imperialmetals.com

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain information contained in this news release are not statements of historical fact and are “forward-looking” statements. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect Company management's expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, but are not limited to, the timing and receipt of the necessary approvals and consents, and the completion of, the sale of a 70% interest in the Red Chris project to Newcrest Mining Limited, throughput rates at Red Chris and the benefits of initiatives to improve throughput, completion of tailings dam construction at Red Chris, the benefits of the installation of additional column cell residence time, completion of rehabilitation of Hazeltine Creek add the timing and outcome of judicial review of the certification of USW-Local 1937. In certain cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "outlook", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved" or the negative of these terms or comparable terminology. By their very nature forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, that approvals and consents for the sale of a 70% interest in the Red Chris project may not be received when expected or at all, initiatives to improve throughput may not realize the expected benefits, risks related to changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; future prices of mineral resources; possible variations in ore reserves, grade or recovery rates; accidents; dependence on key personnel; labour pool constraints; labour disputes; availability of infrastructure required for the development of mining projects; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing; that additional required financing may not be available to the Company on terms acceptable to the Company or at all; counterparty risks associated with sales of our metals; changes in general economic conditions; increased operating and capital costs; and other risks of the mining industry as well as those factors detailed from time to time in the Company's interim and annual financial statements and management's discussion and analysis to those statements, all of which are filed and available for review on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended, many of which are beyond the Company’s ability to control or predict. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and all forward-looking statements in this news release are qualified by these cautionary statements.