The MAX molybdenum mine at Trout Lake will suspend operations at the end of October after factors including molybdenum prices, the high Canadian dollar and the quality of the ore being mined combined to make continued operation uneconomical.
MAX Mine spokesperson Scott Broughton said the areas being mined now are at “break-even” levels because of lower than expected molybdenum content in the ore. “Other zones within the deposit may provide better grades, but these lie outside the reach of the existing mining operation and current development.”
The operation will continue until about the end of October.
The mine’s parent company Roca Mines is now considering its options. “Roca’s management and consultants continue to evaluate various project alternatives towards reaching the Phase II expansion targets of the operation,” Broughton wrote in an Oct. 3 media release. “The evaluation includes updating capital cost estimates for additional mining equipment, installation of a backfill system, additional underground development and completing expansion of the existing mill complex.”
“A capital plan to resume production at higher throughput levels and lower unit costs will be completed shortly,” he stated. “Management believes this could allow for a sustainable operation at current grades and molybdenum oxide prices, while also preserving the opportunity to benefit from any increase in molybdenum prices in the future.”