Highland Copper Company has announced the receipt of the mining, air and dam safety permits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) for its Copperwood project located in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan, USA.
The MDEQ has approved the Company’s request to amend the Mining Permit originally granted in 2012 to Copperwood Resources, the Company’s 100%-owned subsidiary, under the provisions of Part 632, Nonferrous Metallic Mineral Mining, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.
The amendment was required to allow the Company to begin construction at Copperwood in accordance with the changes to the mine plan and facilities described in the updated feasibility study released on June 15, 2018.
Upon review and consideration of comments received during a public hearing held on October 24, 2018 and a subsequent written comment period regarding the proposed amendments, the MDEQ issued a final decision to approve the amendments requested by the Company. The amendments were approved under certain conditions that the Company will have to meet, namely:
Provide a revised subsidence monitoring plan for the life of mine and post closure period;
Provide a plan to conduct confirmation baseline environmental sampling and review prior to the start of mining operations;
Reclaim the ore stockpile area and dispose of the geomembrane liner according to regulations; and
Reclaim or remove water intake and power supply infrastructure according to approved plans unless beneficial use agreements are established with another party.
Other key permits received – Air, Dam Safety and Wetlands
Based on the 2018 updated feasibility study on Copperwood, the Company had filed applications with the MDEQ to either amend, renew or obtain all other permits required to begin mine construction at Copperwood.
In addition to the Mining Permit, the Company has received three additional key permits from the MDEQ: the Part 55 Air Discharge Permit, the Part 315 Dam Safety Permit-Tailing Dam and, as previously announced, the Part 301/303/325 Wetland Permit. The application to obtain a Lake Superior water intake permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) is outstanding and a final decision is expected in the next few weeks.
Denis Miville-Deschênes, President & CEO of Highland Copper commented: “We have achieved another important milestone with all major permits required to build and operate the Copperwood mine now in place. This is the culmination of significant work completed in the past year by our Michigan team and I believe we have, most importantly, achieved the social license to operate in the community.”
The Michigan team continues to work internally on various aspects to improve the economics of the project including items such mine design, process plant and mobile equipment selection and financing options, concentrate transport options study, and power and communication infrastructure planning.
The state of the capital markets for a company such as Highland and current commodity prices make it challenging to raise additional funds. Management is looking at various options including issuance of new equity or debt, sale of assets and other potential strategic transactions. Management’s primary objective is to raise sufficient funds to meet its existing commitments, to fund management and administration expenses and to settle its working capital deficiency. However, there can be no assurance that additional funds will be available or available on terms acceptable to the Company or that a strategic transaction can be completed.
Source: Company Press Release.