TORONTO, December 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – McEwen Copper inc., a subsidiary of McEwen Mines Inc. (NYSE: MUX) (TSX: MUX), is pleased to present a summary of the work on the Los Azules copper project in San Juan, Argentina, which began in earnest in July 2021. Our two immediate objectives on the way to the design and construction of the copper mine of the future are:
- Move Los Azules from its current stage of development (Preliminary Economic Assessment or PEA) to a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS); and
- Build a new road, the ‘North access road ‘, which will provide year-round critical access to Los Azules. The stream ‘Exploration route ‘ usually only usable for five months of the year due to winter weather conditions.
Below is a photographic account of our activities to date.
On July 6, 2021, we announced the creation of McEwen Copper and our intention to raise US $ 80 million in a private offering consisting of 8,000,000 shares at a price of $ 10.00 per share. We closed the first $ 40 million of the placement in August with Rob McEwen, and the remainder of the financing is expected to close in January 2022. Assuming the completion of the $ 80 million financing, McEwen Mining will retain 69% of McEwen Copper, and the new shareholders will own 31%. McEwen Copper will continue to own a 100% interest in the Los Azules project.
Los Azules is one of the largest untapped copper porphyry deposits in the world. It is located along the prolific copper belt of the Andes, as shown on the location map below:
Photo 2 – Before September 27e, we reopened the Exploration route in Los Azules, and the camp supply and caterer (Caterwest) had started to set up our work camps. Below is a photo of the Exploration route being improved. If you look closely you can see the road continuing past the front loader.
Photo 3 – When opening the Exploration route, July 19e we have also started the construction of the North access road. We see here the start of the eastern end of this new road. A major road construction company based in San Juan (Zlato) is building the road for us. The construction of the road was divided into five sections.
Photo 4 – By the end of November, we had completed Section 5 and approximately 50% of Section 4. We are awaiting permits, expected in the first quarter of 2022, to advance construction of the remaining sections. The expected completion date of the North access road is mid-2022.
Photo 5 – Back to the Exploration route, the road was reopened to our first labor camp, Candidito, on August 25e on the road to Los Azules.
Photo 6 – October 1st, the final destination was reached and Camp Los Azules was operational.
Photo 7 – 4 Novembere, the second labor camp, Embarrada, was operational.
December 1st, medical services and emergency rescue teams had arrived at the site and exploration drilling platforms were under construction.
Before December 20e, 36 drilling rigs had been built and 2 of the 10 exploration drills had arrived on site. The other 8 exercises are expected to arrive in January and February. Drilling will begin on January 4e. The first phase of our drilling program will include a 174,000 foot (53,000 m) program. It is designed to convert Inferred Mineral Resources to the Indicated category, as well as to test deeper exploration targets, where historic drilling ended in heavy copper mineralization.
McEwen Copper currently has 282 people supporting the exploration drilling program at Los Azules, approximately 85% of which is from San Juan.
Photo 8 and 9 – The first two exploration drills to arrive on site.
Photo 10 – In Los Azules, geologists from McEwen guide the drillers from Major Drilling, with the rock conditions they will encounter.
Project development workshop
Last week, December 14e to 16e, we held an intensive workshop with senior management from McEwen Mining and McEwen Copper and a strong group of consultants and advisers. In total, 30 people familiar with the design, construction and operation of copper mines, especially in South America, came together physically and virtually from Argentina, Chile, United States, Canada, d ‘Australia and New Zealand.
The workshop began with a presentation of Whittle Council from Australia, who over the past three months have evaluated various development scenarios for the Los Azules project. Their work suggests that there is considerable scope for improving the economics of the project.
The companies involved in the transfer from Los Azules to PFS are:
- Bechtel Company, America’s largest construction company with a long history of advancing, building and developing large copper concentrators and infrastructure projects globally, including the recent study update feasibility study on the El Pachon project approximately 75 km south of Los Azules; and
- Samuel Engineering, who will help oversee the project management, controls, metallurgy and design of the process plant, is a full-service, multidisciplinary project development and execution company bringing a team with extensive experience in major construction projects. copper in South America, including a past participation in the Los Azules project; and
- Stantec, a full-service engineering and consulting firm, with offices in Argentina, Chile and Peru, including selected contract consultants, will focus on geology, resource and reserve estimates, l mining engineering, hydrology, geotechnics and the design of tailings, waste and water management facilities.
Our primary objective is to design a mine that will be the model for copper mining at the 21st century. The one who provides the raw material to enable a greener world, while integrating the use of renewable energy sources to have a low carbon footprint and who uses technological innovation to realize an energy efficient mine.
At several points in the workshop, Jason F. McLennan from McLennan design in Seattle, a prominent figure in the architectural field and the green building movement, shared his thoughts on technologies, visions and attitudes on how mining could change to contribute to a healthy world and how lessons learned in other industries could be applied to transform certain elements of mining operations, infrastructure and facilities.
We all left the meeting energized and confident that the future of mining will be exciting, new and game-changing. For the world to make significant progress towards a lower carbon world, the world needs responsible mining to provide the materials to make it a reality.
At McEwen Copper, together with our consultants, we plan to design, build and operate a facility, a community, that will be at the forefront of a changing attitude in mining to protect our planet.
To view a .PDF of this press release, click here: http://mcewenmining.com/files/doc_news/archive/2021/20211222_McEwen_Copper_Update.pdf
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