The Minto Mine is a copper-gold mine that commenced commercial production in October 2007. owned 100% by Minto Explorations Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Capstone Mining Corp.
A predecessor of Capstone acquired Minto Explorations and all other project interests, including a partially constructed but dormant construction site, in June 2005. Within two years from acquisition, the mineral resources were redrilled to mineral reserve standards, a bankable feasibility study was completed, project financing arranged, a new mine built and commercial production reached. Since then, the mine has been expanded twice, increasing throughput by more than 100%, and eight new deposits have been discovered in five years.
The Minto Mine is an open pit mining operation with conventional crushing, grinding, and flotation to produce copper concentrates with significant gold and silver credits. Concentrates are exported via the Port of Skagway, Alaska, to smelters in Asia for treatment and sale. In March 2011, the results of an independent pre-feasibility study for the Phase V expansion of the Minto copper-gold mine were released which incorporated the results of some earlier exploration success, extending the mine life to 2020
Minto mine is located 240 kilometres north of Whitehorse in central Yukon, Canada. The Mine is accessible via the Klondike Highway to the Minto Landing on the east side of the Yukon River. At the Minto Landing, the mine operates a barge across the river in the summer months and constructs an ice bridge for accessibility during the winter months.
The Minto mine uses conventional open pit mining techniques and equipment for all of its ore and waste extraction. Blast holes are drilled out in accordance to issued designs. Explosives are loaded into blast holes and the rock is blasted to manageable rock sizes. Shovels are used to load haul trucks that will transport the rock to its intended destination. Ore is hauled directly to the crusher feeding the mill or to temporary stockpiles according to the graded characteristics of the ore. Waste rock is transported to waste rock storage piles.
The ore is fed into the primary crusher and the Semi-Autogenous Grinding (SAG) mill where it is crushed and grind to reduce particle size. The ore is enters a number of flotation circuits where copper, gold and silver minerals are separated out from other minerals. The concentrated ore is thickened and de-watered using thickeners and filters. The concentrate is moved to the concentrated storage shed where it is loaded onto trucks and transported off site.
Production and Processing
In 2011 the Minto Mine produced 37.1 million pounds of copper in concentrates. Current capacity is 3,600 tonnes per day and additional deposits are scheduled for development to extend the mine life.
In order to assess the possible opportunity for larger scale open pits and their potential impact on future permitting requirements, a preliminary study was conducted where an optimistic copper price and lower operating costs were used to understand potential pit limits. Although the large scale pits provide the potential for more tonnage through the mill (due to the lower operating costs and higher copper prices assumed), they do so at a reduced copper grades and also would require significant increases in waste dump capacities, as well as tailings storage requirements. It should be noted that this large open pit scenario is preliminary in nature and only serves as a rough indication of potential pit size. This option will be more fully explored in the Phase VI PFS, scheduled for completion in early 2012.
Minto Explorations will be seeking amendments to its current operating permits from the Yukon government in order to increase production and expand mining operations into the newly identified ore deposits (Phase IV and V).
The process facility built at the Minto Mine utilizes a conventional circuit comprised of a crusher, SAG and ball mills for grinding, and flotation to produce concentrates that are filtered and stockpiled in a storage facility for later shipping to the port of Skagway, Alaska, for export overseas. A filtered tailings system is being used to mitigate reclamation costs by allowing dry stacking of tailings.
The Minto concentrator initiated production in May 2007 with a design daily production rate of 1,563 tonnes per day. Since this time, Minto has expanded its operations significantly with the discovery of eight copper deposits within five years. A Phase II mill expansion was completed in 2008 increasing throughput to 2,400 tonnes per day. The plant throughput was subsequently increased to 3,200 tonnes per operating day in 2009 through improvements the process plant.
Subsequently, the Mine's resources and reserves have increased, extending the mine life to 2020.
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Saturday, June 15, 2013
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