Highland Valley Copper mine
The mine and its tailings pond from the northwest
|Company||Teck Resources (97.5%)|
Copper was known to occur in the Cascade Mountains near Princeton as the productive mines of Allenby in 1914 had shown. On the strength of this, prospectors searched for other deposits in the region. These they found north of Merritt and east of Ashcroft at Logan Lake. The deposit was large, but of low grade copper ore (less than 1 percent). The mines sat waiting for the richer deposits to yield, and for technology to improve to process large amounts of ore. In 1955 the Bethlehem Copper Corporation finalized the purchase of the 141 claims in the area and partnered with ASARCO to develop the property. Diamond drilling confirmed the presence of a large ore body and mining commenced. For fifty years the ore was dug using shovels and open pit method. A very large pit ensued--half a mile deep and two miles in diameter.
The current mining operation is named Highland Valley Copper (owned by Teck Resources) and operates one of the world's largest open-pit mines. The Highland Valley Copper Mine consists of several large deep pits, dug to expose low-grade copper and molybdenum bearing ore deposits. Large electric shovels and explosives are used to carve out the rock and ore with diesel haul trucks carrying the material to crushing and milling facilities on the site. Copper and molybdenum mineral concentrates, which include trace amounts of silver and gold, are sent via truck to nearby rail facilities in Ashcroft where the ore is carried to the Port of Vancouver and to international destinations (primarily Japan and China for copper and steel production). The mine employed approximately 1300 persons in 2011.
- "Huge B.C. mine has own style". Canadian Mining Journal. 2006-06-01.