As a result, the Company has decided that the current update to the Integrated Feasibility Study will be modified to reflect a standalone open pit mine. In view of the recently increased mineral resources, TetraTech, an industry leading international engineering firm, will also evaluate higher throughput production rates in the range of 70,000 to 90,000 tons/day. Completion of the updated feasibility study for the open pit is now targeted on, or before, August 2013.
Mr. Giulio Bonifacio, President and CEO commented: "As a result of closing the Red Kite Transaction, Nevada Copper will move towards a fully permitted and funded underground operation in the short term while maintaining 100% ownership of the Pumpkin Hollow project. We believe this is a superior strategy that will allow for the commencement of commercial production and cash flow in 2015 while also further facilitating funding of the larger open pit operation. We will also continue to move forward with the Lyon County Land bill and receipt of open pit permits expected in 2013, which will be a significant step in beginning the development of the second stage of Pumpkin Hollow."
Shaft Construction Update and Underground Project Activities
Commissioning of the hoist and head frame is underway. Hoist commissioning will allow for resumption of shaft sinking which is expected to continue through 2013 with completion by Q1-2014. Shaft progress can be seen on the project website: www.pumpkinhollowcopper.com.
Detailed mine design work is underway for the high-grade East deposit to provide the framework for mine planning. Once the production-sized shaft is completed to a total depth of 2,200 feet, drilling will resume from underground drill stations. This drilling program will target areas of higher grades with an initial objective of allowing for early production from the highest-grade stopes. For example, in the northern pod of the East deposit, drill holes NC 09-05 and NC 08-49 returned intervals grading 114.5 feet of 3.20% copper and 125 feet of 3.24% copper, respectively. In the south pod of the East deposit, adjacent drill holes NC08-14 and KM-21 returned intervals grading 52 feet of 6.79% copper and 84 feet grading 4.93% copper respectively. With mineralization in the East deposit currently open in several directions, management expects that further drilling from underground drill stations will also extend the current mine life of 12 years. Ore from the E2 deposit will be mined after the East deposit which will further add to the current mine life.
In addition, selection of firms to provide detailed engineering, procurement and construction services for the Underground Operation is in progress.
Feasibility Study - Open Pit Operation
On February 7, 2012, the Company SEDAR-filed a NI 43-101 Integrated Feasibility Study for the Pumpkin Hollow project. This Integrated Feasibility Study included ore reserves which were based on drilling results received to October 2010. During 2011 and 2012, the Company drilled 44,000 meters of additional definition drilling on the North and South open pit deposits ("Western Deposits"). This drilling was successful in expanding the measured and indicated mineral resources on the Western Deposits by 1.1 billion pounds to 5.4 billion pounds and a new updated mineral resource was SEDAR filed on October 19, 2012 (See resource table below and News Release dated September 13, 2012 for further information).
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