Friday, May 11, 2012

Red Chris mine gets mine permit

May 4th the province issued a mine permit for Imperial Metals Red Chris project.  The project first entered the EA process in 1995 but that go around was officially withdrawn from the process in 2003 but was effectively withdrawn in 1998.   The ore body has been known about since the 1950s and was extensively explored in the 1970s.

Red Chris finished the BC Environmental Assessment process in 2005 and finished the Canadian one in 2006.   The plan was for the mine to be operating by 2006, but this has not happened.   One thing that is improving the feasibility of the project is the Northwest Transmission Line, though it ends at Bob Quinn Lake, some 115 kilometres away.

The mine is the heart of the Tahltan country and only 25 kilometres from Iskut.  Dease Lake is a further 65 kilometres north of there.   The Tahltan have not endorsed the project, but they have also not spoken against it.   The project should mean an increase in business and population in both Dease Lake and Iskut which have a current population of about 800.

The mine has a projected life of 28 years, so if it opens in 2014 or 2015, it should operate through to about 2043.  

The mine will employ about 300 people directly, these salaries alone will be worth $30,000,000 a year.  It is hard to estimate how many more people will be indirectly employed because of the mine, but it will be a significant number.

The mine will produce about 85,000,000 pounds of copper per year and 95,000 ounces of gold per year.  That is a gross annual income of  $465,000,000 based on the prices of copper and gold today.  The estimated cost to build the mine is about $443,000,000.

The opening of this one mine alone will have a noticeable impact on provincial revenues.   The province should recoup the $561 million cost of the Northwest Transmission line before 2020 from increased tax revenues alone.

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