Industry sentiment was generally upbeat at the annual SME Arizona conference which took place in Tucson last week. Among the tidbits (not all of which are new) are that at the planned Ray Mine expansion, Asarco is adding additional life to the Elder Gulch tailings, about 6-8 years worth depending on final elevation, by raising the dam height. At the same time, they are working on a 6-year project to permit and build a tailings facility about 4 miles southwest of the mine on 7,400 acres of land they plan to buy from Arizona State Lands on Ripsey Wash. The Ray Mine is currently assembling their 21st 400-ton Leibherr haul truck. Insiders know that mine manager Steve Holmes' legacy is the advancement of mine fleet data collection and use of the Ardvark drilling systems.
Moly Corp mentioned the recently acquired Santoku facility in Tollesin, Arizona is a key part of their rare earth vertical integration/magnet manufacturing strategy.
Additional drilling is increasing the size of the resource at Resolution Copper presently at 1.6 billion tons. Speculation is that the expanded area underlies the Oak Flat campground, which is part of the proposed land exchange recently approved by the U.S. House. A pre-feasibility study should be completed in 2012, and the feasibility study in 2014. First production is scheduled for 2021, with full production in 2026. The project is forecast to create 1400 direct and 2300 indirect jobs. The No. 10 shaft is now sunk 4860’ below the surface. Company officials describe the volume of the mineralized zone as about the size of nearby Picket Post Mountain. To mine the deposit will require that the equivalent of a typical 20-ton highway truck load be hoisted up the shaft every 15 seconds for 40 years.
And we hear that Asarco’s exploration chief Tom Simpson is leaving this week to go to work for Newmont in South America.